Home » This Is Likely The Best Defense Of The Dodge Journey You’ll Ever Read: COTY

This Is Likely The Best Defense Of The Dodge Journey You’ll Ever Read: COTY

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Some cars carry a reputation from the start of their production and long after they’re gone. Some of these cars don’t deserve the ink spilled against them. We’ve all seen hating on the Toyota Prius and cars like the Smart Fortwo. Even the Dodge Journey gets caught up in the crossfire.

Yesterday, Jason asked about the car you find yourself defending the most. Jason went up to bat for the Yugo and the Fiat 500L, H4llelujah gave a lengthy defense on behalf of the Dodge Journey:

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The Dodge Journey!

Was it an outdated, mediocre built, unexciting lump of a car that offered a snooze-inducing driving experience? Yes, all of those things.

But towards the end, they were the best option for many families.

Let me explain: In the days leading up to covid, banks weren’t terribly generous with thier lending to people without the best credit, especially on older (cheaper) cars.

So, very often I’d find myself taking care of customers that had a very strict budget, and not the best credit in the world. If someone had a budget of 400 bucks a month, I knew I’d be dealing with a high-teens interest rate on whatever 10 year old 100,000 mile minivan or suv they liked. Trouble was, banks dont like to loan on cars older than 8 years old, or with over 100,000 miles, often putting a nice reliable vehicle either out of reach or at a payment they could barely afford.

Enter the Journey. Dodge would do absolutely terrific terms on these, and they were extremely forgiving of rough credit, sometimes even offering a cash rebate to offset high interest, or flat out just giving an awesome rate to the borrower.

So if someone came in with 4 kiddos to haul around and a 580 credit score, they would come in expecting to pay 500 a month for a 10 year old highlander at 22 percent interest…….Or, they could get a brand new 7 seater with a full warranty with a 10 percent rate.

Overworked dads, tired moms, kids that had never been in a car newer than a 1995, I would see their faces light up in disbelief when I’d pull up a brand new bright red Journey.

I keep tabs on all my customers, and most of them that got into one of these tell me thats when their luck started turning around. No more suprise repairs draining thier bank account. No more adding oil every other fuel stop. No more dropping off thier kids in a rusty old caravan.

The journey sucked as a car, but I watched that one machine bring happiness to a lot of lives.

So the Journey, at least to me, was a damn good vehicle.

I think that context matters. The Dodge Journey may have been the bane of the automotive enthusiast, but it did get families on wheels, and I respect it for that.

David wrote about the advice given by countless car people that you shouldn’t buy a first-year car. Indeed, some cars are just headaches in their first years. Yet, at the same time, maybe you don’t want to buy a final model year, because you don’t know if the automaker has decided to cheap out along the way. Lots of great comments came out of that one, but Sid Bridge keeps his spot as a COTD regular:

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Hyman LTD.

This take holds up. The 1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile had an engine that had cooling issues that were addressed with improvements in 1905. Then again, 1906 introduced a version with a straight-up dashboard. I mean, who wants to buy a Curved Dash Oldsmobile without a Curved Dash? Get it together, Ransom.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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I_drive_a_truck
I_drive_a_truck
15 days ago

I think the Dodge financing thing is also why their sales are down so much. Stellantis simultaneously increased pricing while the credit terms stopped being so generous and all those bad credit buyers that were able to have their luck change at the Dodge dealership 4 years ago no longer have that option.

Weston
Weston
16 days ago

I really appreciate what it did for people and we need more of these cars in the world. However From 2017-2019 I worked for the State of North Carolina for a regional office in Charlotte, we had a bare bones Journey as a fleet vehicle, luckily one of my coworkers was on long term TDY in Raleigh with it because it allowed me to use our enterprise contract instead. Over the two years I probably rented cars over a hundred times and not once did I get something worse than that journey.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
16 days ago
Reply to  Weston

the journey with the v6 and the six speed transmission was much better than the base 4 cyclinder with the 4 speed transmission. I think you could also get a 2.4 four cyclinder with a six speed transmission but it was an odd duck that i don’t think they built many of.

Is Travis
Is Travis
16 days ago

I have a newfound respect for the Dodge Journey, not something I expected to find today.
Sometimes it is the things you don’t think of, such a great personal anecdote.

Myk El
Myk El
17 days ago

The defense of the Journey here seems to in part validate the Sam Vimes boots theory of socio-economic unfairness.

Linky

Jb996
Jb996
17 days ago
Reply to  Myk El

Yes. and let’s give Terry Pratchett his due for this genius explanation.

Is Travis
Is Travis
16 days ago
Reply to  Myk El

A++ reference and catch.

The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
17 days ago

damn with faint praise, since this was undoubtedbly the First and Only Defense of a Journey, ever.

Thus it would be the best, the most impassioned, defense ever. 1 of 1.

JDE
JDE
17 days ago

I will still go to bat for the Journey. it was a much better execution of the Mini van to Fake Crossover than GM or really anyone really did. in the end an AWD with a 3.6 pentastar was reliable, cheap and plentiful enough to make them the darlings of the High Interest lots as this guys indicated.

Sadly they were no less lame than even a basic ass RAV4. but they did stay around a long time and did not change much, they did not have to and I applaud the guys at Dodge for just making improvements that mattered, like a more reliable engine over pushing enough changes every couple years to fear the First year design blues on people….every couple of years.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
17 days ago

Just gonna point out the power of H4llelujah’s defense of the Journey. In a comment thread where you could talk about the Curved Dash Oldsmobile or the Dodge Journey, everyone is talking about the Dodge Journey.

I know for sure that given the choice between a Journey and a Curved Dash, I would much rather drive the Curved Dash (as long as where we’re going is walking distance).

Ncbrit
Ncbrit
17 days ago

The best thing about the Journey is that they are so unwanted that used ones can be had for cheap. The top trim level ones aren’t a terrible place to be.

Schrödinger's Catbox
Schrödinger's Catbox
16 days ago
Reply to  Ncbrit

It’s an appliance car, and it served an extremely good purpose in this use case. Makes me look at it in a little different light. So what if it’s a dated and not great design. Compared to the sad heaps that a family may have to endure versus reliable and relatively well-built new Dodge Journey, I have a little more respect.

That made the day a little brighter. Thank you.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
17 days ago

That’s a great post. Redeems an otherwise lame car.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
17 days ago

I drove a really low mileage high trim one as a rental. I’m used to driving shitbox cars so sunroof, fake leather, actual climate control is just pure opulence.

Seemed OK until I drove up a big hill on the freeway and it got stuck in top gear and wouldn’t downshift for some reason so I was flooring it going 45.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
17 days ago

Ugh, I remember making a similar defense of the Altima once and I still want to wash my mouth out with soap. As unreliable of a pile as mine was and as aggressively miserly as the Le Cost Cutting got over its lifetime, they did try to make some reliability improvements to later engines and it serves as an entry point into a new/newer car for a lot of folks out there. I’m convinced that a lot of the haterade is classism, plain and simple. Same goes with the Soul! They’re reasonably priced and everywhere, but they’re a solid entry point into An Car that’s more reliable than a used one for a lot of people. “Do you have reliable transportation?” is a significant barrier to entry into a lot of jobs, sadly, so we need cheap options out there.

Plus, Altima haterade a bit like my “it’s always a frickin’ Ferrari” that I said for a while with Le Mans crashes (hold on, hold on, stay with me here): well, duh, there were a bazillion Ferraris in the field for a while, and the more popular a car is, the more likely that some of its owners are going to get caught doing something stupid in them.

(I still have a grudge against the Altima for what it did to me, though.)

tl;dr—Preach on, H4llelujah. The world still needs aggressively cheap cars.

Last edited 17 days ago by Stef Schrader
Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
16 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

I agree that the Altima isn’t that bad and its opponents are classist, but being sold cheap to bad credit buyers increases saturation in poor neighborhood with higher rates of unregistered driving and theft, so it’s not just sales volume.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
17 days ago

The only thing I would knock the Journey over was its terrible crash test results. That’s not a trivial thing like having a cheap interior or lacking powertrain refinement. Still, it was a 3 row vehicle that saved the day for big families who struggled to make ends meet. Fortunately we still have the Outlander filling that niche today. It’s the Mirage of large crossovers.

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
17 days ago

Not a trivial thing at all, agreed. But still, probably overall safer to have a 2020 journey than a 2011 or 2012 whatever with 100k on the clock.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
17 days ago

I’m obviously a van guy, but now that no one makes a SWB minivan, and now that you can’t buy a minivan for less than 40k, a vehicle like the Journey is sorely missed.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
17 days ago

I’ve had several Journeys as rentals, and like others here I have never understood the hate for them. They aren’t great, but they were pretty good for the price point – especially with the V6. I was sad to hear it was going away, because the jump between the Journey and pretty much any equivalent (AWD and three rows) Stellantis product was shockingly large.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
17 days ago

Love ‘im or hate ‘im, but Mr. Alfred P. Sloan was right when he believed in “A car for every purse and purpose.”

Highland Green Miata
Highland Green Miata
17 days ago

The ever-escalating federal requirements for safety gear and the relentless expectation of ever increasing profits means it becomes less and less likely that such a basic “appliance car” will exist again, but it needs to for all the reasons mentioned.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago

It’s trim-flation for sure, it’s hard to even find a base model anything on any car lot but they don’t sit for long though. It’s the weird half optioned ones that rot on our car lot, we have fully loaded Buick Enclave with everything but a sunroof and it will NOT move lol.

VanGuy
VanGuy
17 days ago

Damn, I’d explicitly avoid sunroofs for myself unless they were 100% inset and didn’t open.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

That’s what the sales manager thought when he ordered it, that someone would want everything but the sunroof but it’s 500 days old at this point!

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
17 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

I own three vehicles with sunroofs, and that is only because they either came standard with them or were forced as part of an options package to get stuff like leather seats (a requirement per my wife). I absolutely hate the sunroofs on all three, and would have been willing to pay extra to remove them from the build.

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
17 days ago

I think we could have said that every year since the beginning of the car. What makes affordable cars less likely is the availability of long credit terms and a buyer that’s willing to go into a lifetime of debt to have a cool ride.

Schrödinger's Catbox
Schrödinger's Catbox
16 days ago

The Hyundai Venue is waiting on the red concourse phone for you.

Outofstep
Outofstep
17 days ago

I can’t agree more with that comment. We need affordable and reliable transportation.

I’ve definitely told this story before. I would never buy a Mirage over something else if I had the choice and I know a lot of other people who wouldn’t either but my friend who was struggling to make ends meet bought one. She could never afford something truly reliable with her income and three kids. She bought a lightly used Mitsubishi Mirage for cheap almost junker pricing because thankfully no one wanted them and she was able to pay it off and she had that car for a long time. It took her through going back to school and getting a well paying job and into home ownership. That car saved her from a continuous cycle of shitboxes and never being able to move forward with her life. I will always fight for those types of cars.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
17 days ago
Reply to  Outofstep
Outofstep
Outofstep
17 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Oooo. This is why I love the Autopian. Terry Pratchett references at the ready.

And now I have to re-read Discworld…

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
17 days ago
Reply to  Outofstep

I borrowed a lot of the Discworld books. I really gotta try to find the complete set. They are so good.

Outofstep
Outofstep
17 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

https://www.discworldemporium.com/product/discworld-collector-s-library-the-complete-collection/

That’s everything except the last book. It’s a bit pricey but damn now I’m so tempted even though I don’t have the space for 40 books.

DadBod
DadBod
16 days ago
Reply to  Outofstep

Dude is that a Minor Threat sheep? [heart emoji]

Outofstep
Outofstep
16 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

It sure is!

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
16 days ago
Reply to  Outofstep

The price didn’t look too bad until I checked the GBP to CAD exchange rate. Damn.

Outofstep
Outofstep
16 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Oh wow that’s way worse than the USD rate

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
16 days ago
Reply to  Outofstep

Yeah, the Loonie is not doing well these days.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
17 days ago

I dunno if pricing and availability put them in a different class south of the border, but Canada already had a better Journey. It’s called the Caravan. It had all the same capabilities as the journey (same platform) and had better ingress/egress, more room to sit, and more cargo capability.

With the Canada Value Package you had a basic option package for around $20,000 MooseBucks. They costed less than a civic or corolla of any given model year.

beachbumberry
beachbumberry
17 days ago

The journey replaced the caravan in the us market. If you wanted a van, you got the long wheelbase grand caravan only

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
17 days ago
Reply to  beachbumberry

h, that explains it. Up here, you bought a Journey because you didn’t want to be seen in a Caravan. They were the same price, and were often advertised together in a “choose either for the same price!” type of thing.
Even with just the Grand Caravan, they were always so close in price that the difference could be haggled on the sales floor.

Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
17 days ago

Correct. And the Grand Caravan already came with a standard V6 engine / 6spd while the Journey had a puny 4 cyl / 4 spd as the base powertrain.
Many people might have thought the Journey would save them some money on the fuel pump but that was not the case.

Bryan McIntosh
Bryan McIntosh
17 days ago

My biggest gripe about the Journey was exactly that for so many people who bought them, what they REALLY needed was a van. They probably would have had an easier time with sliding doors and a lower entry height, but there’s still a lot of “I won’t drive a freaking MINIVAN” sentiment among a lot of people. :\

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
17 days ago
Reply to  Bryan McIntosh

EXACTLY. I’m not a big fan of minivans (most of the driving positions are too high and I can’t get my knee into a position to properly unload the pressure on it)

But I always said that if I had to choose between a Journey and a Grand Caravan, I’d take the latter. The former is just a less practical minivan.

beachbumberry
beachbumberry
17 days ago
Reply to  Bryan McIntosh

This is absolutely accurate and a fair assessment. Our car after the journey was a ‘12 odyssey and we loved that one. We used to joke and call the journey an inconvenient minivan. It (and all other crossovers) aren’t any cooler than a minivan, they are just less convenient.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
16 days ago

In the US towards the end of the Grand Caravan’s run, it was going for 18k at dealers and seemed pretty nice for that cash.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
17 days ago

The Journey was simple enough for 2020. 4-speed automatic (not a CVT or dual clutch), easy 4-cylinder non-turbo, no direct injection

The Journey isn’t the greatest car ever made, but it’s definitely not the worst, especially by Chrysler standards.

beachbumberry
beachbumberry
17 days ago

Hit the nail on the head. We had a 2011 for years and it wasn’t the best car in the world but it did everything it needed to do reasonably well enough that we never worried. There is a reason why there are so many around military bases as well. It’s like dodge said, “make a 7 passenger vehicle for under $20k for people with shitty credit,” and they gave the journey. When I was stationed in the UK, AAFES sold a ton of these! They were all over the bases! It served its purpose really well, especially after the 2012 update that solved some earlier issues (brake sizes and weird 19” rim sizes were some).

But for the holy grail? Uk market fiat freemont diesel with a manual. I think they were even available brown.

Last edited 17 days ago by beachbumberry
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago

Being in the car business, I agree 100% about the Journey statement. I wish there was a better brand that put out such a vehicle than Dodge, but even a new Stellantis product is better than almost any 20 year old 100k mile anything.

I wonder if Toyota or Honda would ever put out a value people mover to get customers on the brand. It would lose money in the beginning but once the R&D costs have been recouped it could be sold cheap and still at a profit.

beachbumberry
beachbumberry
17 days ago

Exactly this. Reading this article got me thinking. I don’t know if any vehicle that fits this same niche. I have 4 kids and drive an expedition max because I can afford to now and use the space, but if I was on the same budget I was on when I bought my journey, and needed the 4 seats, I don’t know what car I could buy now. Maybe a base model sorento. Or a pathfinder? I know there are almost no options for new under $20k now but I can’t think of a single 3 row that would be under $20k

Edit: carfax says Tiguan and outlander are both ~$28k and are the cheapest new SUV’s with 3 rows

Last edited 17 days ago by beachbumberry
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago
Reply to  beachbumberry

Outlanders and Tiguans are everywhere in here in central Ohio for that exact reason. The value car isn’t glamorous but it’s definitely a large and strong niche

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
17 days ago

I maintain that if ford took the Maverick (an already proven, inexpensive truck) and gave it a Flex/Wagon type body with 7 seats, and kept it under 30K with Awd it would be incredible.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

Ford could really do so much more with that Maverick platform that they just…don’t. They could have just kept lightly updating the Flex and kept it as a value three-row but their dealers would have thrown a fit.

DadBod
DadBod
16 days ago

Ford drives me fucking nuts with their potential vs execution. Grrr.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
16 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

See also: GM

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
17 days ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

You mean a 3 row Escape? A decade ago we almost got a 3 row on the C platform, the Grand C-Max, but when fuel prices jumped Ford decided to go all hybrid for the US C-Max and dropped the 3 row version.

Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
17 days ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

They sold the Transit Connect with seven seats for over a decade, but no one bought them other than taxi and livery companies

Cerberus
Cerberus
17 days ago
Reply to  Baja_Engineer

TCs were expensive for what they were. A little while back, I looked into a stripped out one as a low running cost utility vehicle and was shocked that they were around or over $30k stripped. It was a damn C-platform and a less sophisticated one at that, but was more than better equipped platform mates that had things like AWD (even though I don’t want it), IRS, a turbocharged engine, and, uh, seats. My Focus ST was $23k!

Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
17 days ago
Reply to  Cerberus

true, I hadn’t seen what the MSRP was at the very end. I think the Chicken Tax ended up being its demise

Cerberus
Cerberus
17 days ago
Reply to  Baja_Engineer

I think you’re right as the pricing otherwise made no sense, though it explains why almost everyone I saw was for commercial use. I don’t know if a lot of people would have bought them as minivans if they were cheaper or not since so many people somehow think a CUV has a cooler image than a van, but I guess we’ll never know.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
16 days ago
Reply to  Baja_Engineer

I leased the LWB top trim passenger model for personal use. If only it had another 30bhp I’d have bought out the lease. It is sooo roomy on the inside while compact enough for city driving and parking.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
17 days ago

Toyota has no trouble selling the Corolla Cross, RAV4, Highlander, Grand Highlander and Sienna, and Sequoia. Soon to add the Crown wagon thing. I’m not sure what niche they are missing here. Corolla Cross starts at $24k and would be fine for most people.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

A 3 row that starts under $30k, option it like a Corolla Cross but price it like a Rav4. Could even just make a smaller sibling to the Sienna. Keep it cheap by using existing platforms and parts.

I completely understand that they have no direct incentive to do this but it would get them a different set of customers and they wouldn’t have to update it very often

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
17 days ago

There’s always the Outlander, and that’s great that it exists….but that 3rd row isnt really a 3rd row.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
17 days ago

A 3 row that starts under $30k, option it like a Corolla Cross but price it like a Rav4. Could even just make a smaller sibling to the Sienna. Keep it cheap by using existing platforms and parts.

So basically a Mercedes GLB but cheap. Weird how the GLB is the smallest 3-row CUV in the U.S. right now but because M-B it’s far from the cheapest.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago

Exactly!

Tbird
Tbird
17 days ago

I think  H4llelujah speaks a lot of truth. Most of us just just need a reliable car to get us around.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
17 days ago
Reply to  Tbird

It’s funny how our car companies sporadically recognize this, but then usually default to selling the sizzle. The recent discussions on Saturn really brought this to mind.

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
17 days ago
Reply to  Tbird

As a car salesman, I speak the truth quite a lot, and yet people are always surprised for some reason….lol

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

Saaaame

Musicman27
Musicman27
17 days ago

I wonder if any comments from a COTY article will ever be in another COTY article…

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
17 days ago
Reply to  Musicman27

COTY inception!

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
17 days ago

We have to go deeper!

Musicman27
Musicman27
17 days ago

*cough cough*

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
17 days ago
Reply to  Musicman27

It has happened with COTDs before, at least. COTY adds a little extra spice because the whole house of comments could fall apart of the subsequent COTD article is published day-of, instead of as COTY.

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