Dodge Journey CRD SXT
We hit British roads in new seven-seater MPV.
The Journey is competitively priced and offers space in abundance. However, while the diesel engine is acceptably refined, it’s not particularly frugal. Plus, although it’s distinctive, the styling makes the car appear large and unwieldy. Couple this to the fact that the ride and seats conspire to make things very uncomfortable for passengers, and the odds are stacked against the Dodge.
Blending SUV and MPV always seemed an odd decision by Dodge. And that appears to be borne out by its new seven-seat Journey – the styling is very much an acquired taste.
There’s a prominent chromed grille, while the blocky headlights and unusual mix of people carrier and off-roader shapes do the Dodge no favours. At the back, the tailgate is bland compared to the likes of Vauxhall’s Zafira.
Luckily, the interior is much better and proves very family friendly. Features include triple-zone air-con, so the temperature of each of the three rows of seats can be adjusted independently.
There is under-floor stowage, as well as cubbies beneath the seats, while top-spec Journeys get a roof-mounted, drop-down monitor for playing DVDs. Both the middle and rear row of chairs can be folded flat to create a large luggage area.
The middle seats fold upwards and forwards at the pull of a lever to allow easy access to the surprisingly spacious pair of back seats.Dodge expects the diesel to be the biggest seller. This features a VW-sourced 138bhp 2.0-litre engine, coupled to a six-speed manual box. It’s easy to drive, with slick changes and the unit providing plenty of torque.
But the suspension is very stiff, and when coupled with the high-profile tyres, the ride is too bouncy, and could make passengers feel nauseous.
This problem is exacerbated by the seats, which are flat and offer minimal side support around roundabouts. So while the new Journey certainly stands out, it’s let down by its ride and seats – combining an SUV and a MPV appears to be a niche too far on this occasion.