Overview

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Overview (Final Score: C)

The Dodge Journey fits a niche segment of buyers who don't want to be seen in a minivan but want all of the amenities a minivan has to offer. The 2018 Journey is basically a minivan without the sliding doors and a more crossover-SUV look. It's a great vehicle choice as it checks all of the minivan boxes without actually being one.

The downsides to the 2018 Dodge Journey are many, almost entirely due to its age. The Journey is now 9 years old and hasn't seen a significant update or redesign in all that time. This means it's missing some technologies and items we're used to seeing in more modern vehicles, such as advanced safety features, better fuel economy, smarter powertrain designs, and smart infotainment and entertainment options.

For the growing family in need of a budget-ready people mover with smart everyday capability, it's hard to look past the 2018 Journey. Its well designed, safe and excellent in its coverage of the basics.

The 2018 Dodge Journey is a three-row midsize crossover-SUV with seating for up to seven. The Journey has two engine options, front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and four trim levels.

What We Love About the 2018 Dodge Journey:


  • Good interior with versatility and plenty of people-hauling roominess

  • The V6 with AWD is a solid powertrain for this vehicle

  • All trim points are family friendly and budget-smart


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Dodge Journey:


  • Exterior design is dated and a bit awkward

  • Four-cylinder base engine and transmission are underpowered for the vehicle

  • Reliability history is not very good


 

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Exterior View (7/10)

The 2018 Journey is a holdover from a time when crossover-SUV designs were a mix of flat-paneled van and big-nosed, heavy-wheeled truck. But the Journey pulled away from the truck-based sport utility appearance of some crossovers and is more van than anything else.

The square "I'm not a wagon" appearance, larger wheel wells and lack of sliding doors mark the 2018 Dodge Journey as a crossover. It's one of the few Dodge vehicles that isn't aggressive or muscular in appearance.

The front fascia of the 2018 Journey is similar to the Durango, with the Dodge cross dividing the grille above a heavy bumper and wide lower intake. The similarities end there, with the larger headlamps and plain hood design softening any aggression that the fascia created.

The 2018 Dodge Journey isn't ugly, but it's not terribly pretty either.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

The 2018 Dodge Journey has a well-done interior that caters to a family well. Quality materials and smart use of texture are highlights, with spaciousness being the core theme. Storage for most gadgets and gear are found throughout the cabin. The Journey can be compared to most minivans on the market and fares well in terms of interior space and storage.

Parents will appreciate the integrated booster seating in the second row, the easy-to-access LATCH anchors in four of five seats, the ease of access to the third row, and the handy storage bins below the feet of the second-row passengers.

Seating throughout the 2018 Journey is good, with roomy design and comfort as the norm. We like the driver and front passenger seating, which has plentiful legroom and headroom. The second row's captain's chairs are very well done with similar amounts of copious headroom and legroom. The third row, now standard in all Journey models, is for kids only but offers unusually good seating as well.

There is a lot of cargo space in the Journey, though not as much as some similarly sized competitors with a more modern design. There are 67.6 cubic feet available with the second and third rows folded, accessed through a wide-opening, square rear hatch with a fairly low loading height.

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Technology (9/10)

Technology in the 2018 Dodge Journey is through Chrysler's award-winning, top-notch Uconnect system. The basic equipment in the Journey is pretty bare bones, with a 4.3-inch touchscreen interface that has no real built-ins. Unless the Connectivity package is added, there isn't even a Bluetooth option or USB charging/connection port available in the base package. The base model Journey SE is mostly appealing to commercial buyers and fleets.

The upgrade for the Journey SXT is a 8.4-inch touchscreen upgrade option (standard in the Crossroad and GT trims). This has real tech power from one of the best infotainment systems on the market. The upgrade comes with navigation, smartphone apps integration, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports and great voice control.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

The 2018 Dodge Journey is pretty well rated for its mileage returns. The base engine in front-wheel drive offers an EPA-rating of 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. These are about average for crossovers with four-cylinder power plants in this segment.

Upgrading to the V6 (standard in some packages) adds a bit more power and lowers mpg ratings only marginally to 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway in FWD, and slightly less in all-wheel drive.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (7/10)

The 2018 Journey continues with the slight boost of reliability gained last year, earning an "About Average" rating in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study of consumer surveys. The Journey has had one recall at the time of this writing, for wiring faults in the cruise control system that affected a wide variety of Dodge, Ram and Jeep vehicles.

Safety (7/10)

The 2018 Dodge Journey has only received crash test results for the frontal and rollover results from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These resulted in four star (out of five) results for both tests. The unchanged 2017 model year Journey received five star results on side crash tests, giving the Journey an overall rating of four stars of five.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the 2018 Journey with top results of "Good" on all crash tests but the small overlap front driver-side result, which received a bottom score of "Poor."

Performance (7/10)

The base engine for the 2018 Dodge Journey is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that powers the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, which would be enough for the Journey in everyday driving if the transmission were more up-to-date. As is, the powertrain feels weak and noisy without much fuel economy payoff.

Upgrading to the six-cylinder engine (standard in some trims, added whenever all-wheel drive is opted) brings more power. The 3.6-liter V6 outputs 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is a much better match for the Journey. A six-speed automatic transmission is not perfect, but is far better for the V6 thaat's mated to the smaller engine. The slight dip in fuel economy is well worth the upgrade in performance and confidence that the V6 imparts.

Out on the road, the Journey has a good chassis which absorbs the road well and gives good maneuverability to the crossover. With the V6, get-up and go are nice and give the driver confidence in most situations. The all-wheel drive system is done well too, bringing some all-weather capability and light off-road coverage.

We were impressed with the Journey's generally quiet highway ride and comfortable feel. The Journey is also more nimble than might be expected of a vehicle this size, giving it a nice around-town feel. Especially, again, with the V6 equipped.

Pricing and Value (9/10)

Value is subjective, but the 2018 Dodge Journey offers a lot for the dollars spent. In most packages, the Journey is well equipped for the manufacturer's suggested price and most buyers can get a well-matched Journey for under $30,000. That's a song compared to the usual prices found in the minivan or midsize crossover realms where seating for 7 are offered.

Resale values for the Journey are low, causing us to ding it a little here. That couples with only an average reliability expectation. We'd recommend the Journey SE with the Popular Equipment and Connectivity packages added, as well as the AWD upgrade for the V6. The Journey Crossroad is similarly setup, but a bit pricier for its added interior accouterments. Not so much that it's a bad buy, but enough that we recommend budget-minded buyers upgrade to the lower-end Crossroad instead.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (59/80, 74%)

There are a lot of three-row offerings in the midsize crossover segment, but the Journey is definitely the lowest-priced option available. Close competitors include minivans, such as the Toyota Sienna (offered in AWD). As is, however, most competitors will be newer in design and better outfitted for today's expectations and capabilities. The Journey makes its way through lower pricing and bare-bones offerings in smart packaging.

The 2018 Dodge Journey is a great option if you're on a budget and need three rows of seating plus daily versatility. When packaged correctly, the Journey can be comparable to just about any minivan or midsize crossover for usefulness, and it will nearly always have a lower price tag.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
SE SE AWD V6 AWD 27395
SXT SXT AWD V6 AWD 29295
Crossroad Crossroad AWD V6 AWD 31495
GT GT AWD V6 AWD 34995
SUV - FWD
SE SE FWD 4 Cylinder FWD 22995
SXT SXT FWD V6 FWD 25795
Crossroad Crossroad FWD 4 Cylinder FWD 27995
GT GT FWD V6 FWD 33095

Comparison of 2018 Dodge Journey with Similar Cars

2018 Dodge Journey MSRP Invoice
2018 Dodge Journey $22,995 $22,831
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Ford Escape $23,940 $23,102 2018 Dodge Journey VS 2018 Ford Escape
2018 Chevrolet Equinox $23,580 $23,462 2018 Dodge Journey VS 2018 Chevrolet Equinox
2018 Subaru Forester $22,795 $21,547 2018 Dodge Journey VS 2018 Subaru Forester
2018 Hyundai Tucson $22,550 $21,724 2018 Dodge Journey VS 2018 Hyundai Tucson
2018 Kia Sportage $23,600 $22,656 2018 Dodge Journey VS 2018 Kia Sportage

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Dodge Journey ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Dodge Journey rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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