The Dodge Journey couldn’t have hacked it as a Chrysler. The Chrysler Pacifica three-row crossover was a relatively plush avant garde three-row crossover, but Chrysler replaced it with a lump of mediocrity that was near or at the back of just about every comparison test pack. By the time the last Journey wheezed off the production line, it was 12 model years old and well overdue for replacement. What the Journey nameplate really needed was a shot at redemption, and outside of Canada and the United States, that actually happened.
And here it is, the current Dodge Journey. It probably doesn’t look like any Journey you’ve ever seen and there’s a good reason for that: It’s not actually built by Dodge. If you’re old enough to have been on MySpace, you might remember the Dodge Colt, a rebadged Mitsubishi Lancer brought in under the Dodge brand to compete in the small car space with Japanese reliability. Cars like the Colt, the Dodge Stealth, and the Eagle Summit Wagon were called captive imports, and the tradition of captive imports never went away in Mexico.
While the cheapest new Dodge in America is the Hornet crossover, the cheapest Dodge in Mexico is something called the Attitude, pictured above. It’s a chest-thumping name for a tiny little Mitsubishi Mirage G4 with a new grille, but this economical sedan serves its entry-level market fairly well. In fact, it seems to do well enough that Dodge tapped another automaker for product when it wanted to replace the Journey, except this time the automaker isn’t Japanese.
Nope, it’s Chinese. The second-generation Dodge Journey is a badge-engineered Trumpchi GS5 made by GAC. Stellantis changed the grille, the emblems, and little else to create the new Journey, and it looks like a massive improvement over the old Journey that we all know and loathe. Granted, any other midsize crossover was an improvement over the old Journey, but this new one’s actually refreshing.
For a start, let’s talk powertrain. With a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 166 horsepower, this thing is actually less powerful than the old Journey with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. However, the turbocharged motor puts out a stout 195 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to an automatic gearbox with six forward ratios! The four-speed Ultradrive 40TES automatic gearbox is officially dead and not a single soul will miss it. As for brakes and suspension, disc brakes are standard as expected at all four corners, while MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension sounds like a very agreeable arrangement.
However, the big upgrade comes simply in cabin design and appointments. While the exterior styling is certainly a matter of taste, the interior looks leagues nicer than that of the old Journey, and that thing received an entirely new dashboard in 2011 to ditch the rejected Fisher Price plastics that plagued the initial version. From a slick available 12.3-inch digital cluster to an optional panoramic moonroof to a thoughtful split console lid, this thing looks like a massive step up from the days of old. On the minus side, the new Journey loses its third row of seats, but that feels like a fair trade for this level of cockpit design.
All the modernity of the new Journey comes with a slight hitch: The base price of the new Journey is 592,900 pesos, or $32,177.57 at the time of writing. That doesn’t sound cheap until you learn that list prices in Mexico include a 16 percent value added tax and another regulatory fee. Add 16 percent to the price of a Dodge Hornet and the Journey works out to be more than $3,000 cheaper than the Hornet while being six inches longer and riding on a nearly three inch-longer wheelbase. A bigger car for less money is generally a good thing in the space-conscious crossover arena, and the new Dodge Journey appears to continue with a value mission while achieving redemption for the nameplate. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?
(Photo credits: Dodge)
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I was in Mexico in this last November, I saw quite a few of these, the look nice for what they are, and did wonder why I did not see these in our Estados Unidos! If prices near what the old Journey was, they’d sell well here.
That does look better than the old one. I daresay US buyers would welcome it with Open Arms. Especially if the option list let you get it Any Way You Want It. Is anyone else Feelin’ That Way? Or have we gone our Separate Ways?
I admire your optimism. Don’t stop believing.
I’ll be Alright Without It.
You could probably snag a pretty good deal on one After The Fall, though I wish it adhered more Faithfully to the original concept of a cheap family hauler, and I’m no fan of those Lights. I’d probably go with an Escape, myself.
At least the screen doesn’t pop up over the dash. That top shot has it looking pretty nice as well.
It’s no Fiat Freemont!
Here we are with another OG Dodge Journey hit piece. Why? It was an affordable 3 row CUV for people who didn’t want to spend $40,000+ on something similar. It was a shame it was killed off. It wasn’t even that bad looking. This new I’ve looks decent though.
Yea they do seem to be the butt of lots of jokes. Chrysler looked at the market and said, “build a 3 row suv for people with bad credit,” and they did exactly that. There were tons of them around military bases.
We had a 2010 for 5 or 6 years and really liked it for what it was. It wasn’t as convenient as a minivan or as nice as a Traverse or Pilot, but it got the job done reliably. Aside from the early model years needing their tiny brakes replaced every 30k miles or so, we never had any major issues.
Agreed. My father currently drives a nicely-equipped Pentastar-powered Journey GT (’18 or ’19 I think) and he absolutely adores it.
Yes, for a good while the Journey was absolutely competitive in its class. How do I know? I was shopping in that class in 2012, and ended up buying a Journey. The revised 2011 interior was way beyond anything from Toyota or Honda at the time. (Toyota especially had horrible plastic interiors from the mid-90s all the way up until the previous generation of cars & CUVs, with this current gen finally graduating into “acceptable”. I don’t know why auto writers gave them a pass for so long.)
Also, the Journey’s tweener size as a midsize CUV put it in a sub-class of basically two — itself and the vastly more expensive Kia Sorento. (The Journey’s half-brother Mitsubishi Outlander was actually a tad smaller.) It was bigger than a RAV4 but smaller than a Highlander, which was perfect for some folks (like me). The 3rd row seats were great for kids and livable for adults in a pinch. The Pentastar was very strong, and the only minor disappointment was the 62TE transmission, which sometimes liked to slam itself into 3rd.
I can only assume that the reputation of the Journey was ultimately done-in by FCA themselves, by *never updating it* after that 2011 refresh. They paused investments for 10 years while waiting for a merger that was perpetually just around the corner.
Current owner of a Journey. Mine is 8 years old, I have owned it since it was new. Its nearing 240,000 miles and has been driven in 48 states and 5 Provinces. It does everything I ask it to. Its a solid highway cruiser. We love to say how great a Toyota is for being boring and reliable, and that has been exactly what this vehicle has been for me. I did shop it against the Chevy offerings of the day. The Dodge won it because the V6 performed better and was less expensive than the Chevy Traverse at the time. I would love to pen an article about owning an unloved vehicle for this site.
It also developed a certain infamy as being a vehicle for people horrendously upside down on trade-ins or otherwise can’t support a full loan-to-value ratio as Dodge habitually slapped a briefcase of cash on the hood of them.
It was big, cheap and tried to be cool. That last is its’ sin – big, cheap and honest gets a lot less hate and even some respect from car guys.
Dodge ran an A/B test on this – notice how much more the Journey got dumped on than the Grand Caravan.
The Mitsubishi Outlander fills that niche now. If the condom breaks, Mitsubishi’s got your back.
The outgoing model did. For a while now the Tiguan has been the cheapest 7-seat CUV in the segment you can buy.
Wow. It’s not by much, but those crazy German bastards really did undercut Mitsubishi. In the Long Long Before you still would have gotten the Outlander for less because Mitsubishi dealerships would gladly throw cash on the hood to move product. I don’t know if that is still the case now.
*ahem* That Colt looks to be a rebadged Mirage, not a Lancer.
<3 / resident Lancer pedant
Are you still rocking the Lancer you and Mr. Regular took to track day?
Same idea with the Mexican Chevy Craptiva which is now a rebadged Baojun 530 (thanks SAIC), or the smaller Chevy Groove derived from a Baojun 510. I’ve seen far more Craptivas than these new GAC-Journeys here in Tucson, but to be fair the GM product is cheaper by a few grand.
As of now all cheap Chevrolets sold in Mexico come from SAIC-GM:
– Aveo (that nameplate never went away here), Sail in China
– Cavalier (revived the name in 2021), Monza in China
– Captiva and Groove you’ve mentioned
– Tracker, Trax in China
– Tornado Van, based on the Rong Guang (wrong one?)
Importing from China and relabeling them is much easier than actually designing and building cars yourself. It’s Mexico, who cares?! They won’t know the difference! Easy profit, so, it’s a no-brainer, right?
Use ’em, when they break, throw them away and buy another one! Just like microwave ovens!
It’s not bad looking at all. The interior looks modern without going nuts.
Looks to be better built tha’ the OG
I honestly thought it was a badge engineered Outlander….but this idea works too.
so you really feel a rebadged Fiat 166 built in china with a Dodge name is better than the 3.6 pentastar shortened dodge Journey of Yore? Both are utter crap, but I cannot get behind this Chinese turd in any way.
This new Journey is far better than the old Journey. However you lose over 30% of it passenger space. Now since it is lighter you do not pick up on power because the engine has been cut 37% from 2.4 to 1.5. Its name remains the same but it has moved into an entirely different class. From family hauler to econorental.
Thank you for remembering the Eagle Summit Wagon – my car through most of college and a bit after – one of the best cars I’ve had. always makes me happy to think about.
That new Journey is not for me. The front end is nicely “dodge” front, but the rest does not feel like it fits with dodge. Is it better than the old? probably. Is it better than the old at what the old was for? being relatively cheap 3 passenger that wasn’t a van? jurys out on that.
No wonder so many Mexicans are trying to make it into the US. /s