2018 Dodge Journey Expert Review

2.9 Overall Score
Performance 3.2Comfort 3.2Styling 2.9Value 2.8

Editor's Overview

In the world of 7-passenger SUVs, the 2018 Dodge Journey often gets overlooked. That’s a shame because the Journey has some very appealing qualities. The 4-cylinder SE is the lowest-priced 3-row SUV on the market, undercutting the Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Flex by thousands. A lack of advanced driver-safety assists, however, may be a deal killer.

You'll Like The 2018 Dodge Journey If...

Thanks to generous lease deals this year, consumers can get into a nicely equipped V6 Journey for well under $30,000. Stay with the 4-cylinder SE and the price drops to around $23,600. Standard 7-passenger seating and a roomy cargo area further the Journey’s appeal, as does Chrysler’s excellent UConnect infotainment system.

You May Not Like The 2018 Dodge Journey If...

The Journey’s 3rd-row seat is rather small, especially when compared with the Chevrolet Traverse or Honda Pilot. The Kia Sorrento offers a better warranty while the Toyota Highlander comes with standard driver-assist features unavailable on the Journey. And all of these models have better reliability and resale numbers.

What's New

For 2018, the number of Journey trims drops to four: SE, SXT, Crossroad and GT. All Journey trims now come standard with a 3rd-row seat. The Crossroad gains new “Black Noise” 19-inch wheels, while the Blacktop Package is now offered on the SE.

Interior Features

Every 2018 Dodge Journey's cabin now comes standard with 3-row, 7-passenger seating. Passenger space for adults is commendable up front and good in the second row, but legroom is very tight in the third row, which is best left for kids or occasional use. One of the best features of the Journey is its available Uconnect infotainment system. In addition to a large and easy-to-use 8.4-inch touch screen centered in the dash, there are supplementary buttons for climate and audio that are simple to see and use.

Exterior Features

Is it a sport-utility vehicle or the reincarnation of a station wagon? With the 2018 Journey from Dodge, its 192.4-inch length exceeds much of the competition, but Dodge's designers have given it exterior treatments such as the chrome-trimmed cross-hair grille and eye-catching aluminum-alloy wheel choices that keep it from being merely bland. If a more stylish look is important, opt for the R/T version, with its 19-inch wheels, monochromatic treatment and distinctive R/T labels. For a tougher-looking version, there's the Dodge Journey Crossroad, which features a faux skidplate, standard roof rails and blacked-out wheels.

Driving Impressions

Dimensionally, the 2018 Dodge Journey reminds us more of a big wagon than it does an SUV, but no matter how you see it, Dodge’s 7-passenger crossover SUV is as versatile as it is affordable. Dodge has done a good job with the Journey’s suspension, allowing it to deliver a comfortable ride with good cornering abilities. The nicely weighted steering feels good in the turns, but the Journey will lean when pushed hard. We appreciate the Journey’s upright seating position and found the front seats to be supportive and comfortable, even after driving long distances. As for power, while the 4-cylinder’s 173 horsepower can pull a fully loaded Journey, we think most people will be much happier with the 283-horsepower V6 and 6-speed transmission. Not only is the engine better suited to the Journey’s size, it actually manages fuel-economy figures nearly identical to the smaller 4-cylinder.

Pricing Notes

For 2018, the Dodge Journey has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $23,600, including destination charge. Mid-level versions such as the SXT and Crossroad start just over $25,000 and $27,000 respectively, while a top-line GT version with AWD reaches just over $34,000. Generous leasing rebates on upper-level trims and AWD models can save thousands. At its base price, the Dodge Journey SE remains the lowest-priced midsize SUV, and even after climbing trims is a good value among midsize SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Sorento. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Journey SUV. In the years ahead, the Journey's residual value is expected to be average, still lagging the Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9 and Honda CR-V.

Notable Equipment

The 7-passenger Dodge Journey is available in four trims, from the base SE to the top-line GT. At its most basic, the Dodge Journey SUV includes dual-zone climate control, 4.3-inch touch-screen media center, keyless entry and push-button start, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and power windows and door locks. Entertainment is provided by a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system with auxiliary and USB inputs, but Bluetooth is optional. Safety features include electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags for all rows.

Notable Options

Plenty of options can be had on the Journey. Among the more popular are traction-enhancing all-wheel drive in lieu of the standard front-drive setup, an 8.4-inch touch-screen Uconnect infotainment system and navigation. Amenities that bring an upscale feel include leather seating, Premium speakers, rear-seat video entertainment system with 9-inch screen and two wireless headphones, in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, and heated front seats and heated steering wheel. A Driver Convenience Group adds a rearview camera and distance-alert function when in reverse, but more advanced safety functions like blind-spot monitoring and automatic braking are not available.

Favorite Features

From the built-in 2nd-row floor storage bins to the compartment beneath the front-passenger seat, there’s no shortage of places to hide belongings from prying eyes. A flat-folding passenger seat creates a level load floor from the rear hatch right up to the glove compartment.

Powerful, refined and fuel-efficient, the Journey’s optional 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is one of the best in the business. Available on the SE, SXT and Crossroad, and standard on the GT and all-wheel-drive models, this engine is one of the Journey’s most appealing features.

Under the Hood

Two engines are available for the 2018 Dodge Journey crossover SUV. Standard on all but the GT is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes an only-adequate 173 horsepower. The engine we recommend is the 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that is optional on all but the GT trim, where it is standard. The V6 is also your only choice if you require all-wheel drive (AWD) instead of the standard front-wheel drive (FWD) to deal with inclement weather and slippery roads. Both engines run on regular unleaded gasoline. All Dodge Journeys use automatic transmissions, with the 4-cylinder stuck with an older-style 4-speed and the 6-cylinder using a more modern 6-speed. The Journey's towing capacity is on the light end, limited to 1,000 pounds with the 4-cylinder and 2,500 with the V6.

2.4-liter inline-4 (SE, SXT, Crossroad)
173 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
166 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg

3.6-liter V6 (GT, AWD trims)
283 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (FWD), 16/24 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

When the topic of 7-passenger SUVs arises, the 2018 Dodge Journey often gets overlooked. That’s a shame because the Journey has some very appealing qualities. The 4-cylinder SE is the lowest-priced 3-row SUV on the market, undercutting the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Ford Flex by thousands. Granted, the 4-cylinder isn’t very powerful, but you can upgrade to a 283-horsepower V6, as well as all-wheel drive and numerous features ranging from an excellent 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system to a heated steering wheel. The Crossroad trim offers light off-road possibilities, and hefty leasing rebates from Chrysler further sweeten the Journey’s appeal. However, if you’re looking for superior reliability, advanced driver-assist systems or high resale figures, the Journey may not be the best choice.

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