Great interior packaging and space, but still not a match for the Ford S-Max

What is it?

This is the new Dodge Journey – the American brand’s seven-seat family car, which is intended to take on the Ford S-Max in the growing crossover MPV segment. A recent tie-up with VW has endowed the Journey with a 138bhp pump-duse diesel engine and six-speed DSG auto.

What’s it like?

The looks are one of the biggest selling points, and we’ll let you decide whether the unashamedly American styling is to your taste or not.

From behind the wheel, the Dodge Journey has come close to European standards. The layout is well thought out, with a second row of seats that slides forward by pulling just one lever so the kids can access the rear seats themselves.

Other useful tricks include under-floor storage, a passenger seat that folds down to allow better visibility for kids in the rear, three-zone climate control, and genuinely spacious and comfortable seating – though adults won’t want to spend too much time in the rear.

Don’t get used to the interior finish, though - we found plenty of loose pieces of trim throughout the interior that will undoubtedly fall victim to a bored child.

All this space comes at a cost, though. The Dodge Journey is 12cm longer than an S-Max and, to make matters worse, visibility is very limited through the rear window.

The driving experience is equally hit and miss. In this installation the pump-duse engine was relentlessly noisy, if willing to respond thanks to a decent torque range.

Ride quality is very good. Most road surfaces, and even off-set cambers and speed bumps don’t unsettle the Journey, making it a comfortable car even in the very rear seats.

Another great hope for Dodge is the new optional six-speed, dual-clutch transmission. No prices have been confirmed yet, but we would suggest you leave that box unticked. It’s not quick to shift, there are no steering-wheel mounted paddles (gears are controlled using the stick’s side-to-side movement), and the Avenger/Sebring-derived underpinnings, though perfectly adequate, don’t encourage enthusiastic driving.

Should I buy one?

There are no prices for the diesel Journey models yet – the only other engine is a 2.4 petrol four cylinder, which has had its base price confirmed as £16,999 – but it will certainly undercut the obvious rivals by as much as 10 per cent. Even so, the Journey is a long way off the dynamics and build quality of the S-Max.

Join the debate


10 May 2008

I do not understand the comparison to the S-Max. It's a mid-size MPV and this latest piece of irrelevant American junk has the stance of a soft-roader!

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