2009 Dodge Journey Heads to Frankfurt
( Auto ) - Although Chrysler won't stop believing in the minivan ("Crossover This," AW, Aug. 20), they've played it safe by developing a crossover as well-the 2009 Dodge Journey.
Debuting at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show, the midsize Journey shares styling cues up front with the new Caravan, and it resembles an elongated Caliber out back. Journey is based on neither; rather, the crossover is built upon a modified Avenger/Sebring platform. The wheelbase grows nearly five inches to 113.8 inches, giving room for passengers, cargo and the possibility of a third-row seat.
Second-row seating consists of a 60/40 split bench that can be moved fore and aft by 4.7 inches. The larger portion of the seat can travel an additional two inches to move tykes in car seats closer to the driver. There's barely room for two more passengers in the optional third-row bench. Dodge's PR folks claim the third row is only for "occasional use" and resist calling it a seven-seater. Instead, look for "5+ 2" models to arrive at dealerships.
While it doesn't have the Caravan's Stow 'n' Go flexibility, Journey does offer quite a few locations in which to hide, stow or lose valuables. A flip-forward cushion on the front passenger seat reveals a hidden cubby, while two under-floor compartments in the second row pull double duty as coolers. A reversible load floor on five-passenger models can hold grocery bags; "5+ 2" models sport an in-floor storage bin behind the third-row seat.
Not surprisingly, powertrain offerings differ little from those in the Avenger. Base engine is a 2.4-liter, 173-hp, 166-lb-ft I4, coupled to a four-speed manual; a 2.7-liter V6 capable of running on E85 is optional and comes with a six-speed transmission.High-end R/T models come standard with the 3.5-liter V6 coupled to a six-speed auto; an optional all-wheel-drive system is only available with this configuration.
Journeys destined for European markets come equipped with much more interesting hardware. The 2.4-liter and 2.7-liter engines are available with five- and six-speed manuals, while the 2.0-liter turbodiesel I4 is available with a Getrag-designed dual-clutch semi-automatic six-speed.
All Journeys sold stateside come with standard ABS, stability control and trailer-sway control. Side-curtain airbags for all three rows of seating are optional.
Expect production in Toluca, Mexico, to ramp up by the end of the year, putting Journeys in U.S. dealerships early in 2008 and in Europe next summer.