Beginning production in 2008, the Dodge Journey has been on sale in the United States for over a decade, and it really hasn't changed much during that time. Which means by default, it's been getting a bit worse every year. Who wants a four-speed automatic in 2020? Still, the Journey is a hardworking soul, a $23,675 answer to the question of the cheapest legal way to transport seven people. But the journey ends in 2021—Autoblog reports that Fiat-Chrysler is finally retiring the budget crossover next year.
Frankly, it's about time. Starting life as a cheap CUV for families, the Dodge Journey has gradually evolved into—at least within the car salesman community—a symbol of uninformed consumers, predatory loans, and the cynicism of today's auto industry. The world needs cheap cars, but the Journey was past its sell-by date. Let's go back to a happier era, like when it first came out in the middle of the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression.
For the 2009 model year, the Journey was initially available with the option of either a 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder making 173 horsepower or a 3.5-liter V6 making 235 hp. Front-wheel drive was standard, with all-wheel-drive as an option. By 2011 the crossover was set for what Chrysler must've assumed to be a mid-cycle facelift, but of course, this facelift would last much longer than three years.
What was it like to drive? Completely forgettable. I would describe the Journey's driving dynamics by saying it doesn't have any. It moves around, sure. But that's its most distinctive quality. Fine, it's also pretty comfortable for a cheap machine. But acceleration, braking, mid-corner performance—it existed to meet expectations in the most anodyne way, not exceed them.
A few other minor changes happened over the last decade, such as the addition of Chrysler's 283-hp, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, but the Journey remained mostly the same right up until this year—four-speed and all. When 2020 rolled around, Dodge decided—perhaps a little late—that the Journey's days were numbered and started cutting costs accordingly. All engines besides the base 2.4-liter inline-four were cut, and the sole transmission option became the base four-speed automatic. All-wheel-drive was dropped as well.
So, unfortunately, the Journey isn't getting a goodbye party or any special edition trims to commemorate its demise. And if you include the upcoming Ram TRX, the Journey is actually Dodge's only car besides the Grand Caravan that hasn't gotten a Hellcat Hemi. We thank that's not quite right. Come on, Dodge. At least give us one Hellcat Journey before the poor old crossover kicks the bucket.
It wouldn't be the smart thing to do, or the best thing to do. It would, however, be the right thing to do.
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