The summer traveling season is approaching but with the economy the way it is, families will likely be forgoing the expensive European vacations in favor of a more cost efficient terrestrial tour of the good ‘ol U.S. of A. Unfortunately, unless you purchase the right vehicle, you won’t be saving much. Of course, you could stick with your current family hauler, which is most likely a full size SUV. However, by the end of your vacation, there is a chance you will have spent more on gas than you would have on the purchase of a more fuel efficient vehicle. Either way, there is going to be a trade off. You are going to have to spend more than you want to on at least one unavoidable component whether it be, on a vehicle upgrade, at the pump, or both. Or…You could by a Dodge Journey.
All expenses can be minimized with the purchase of a 2009 Journey. Its $19,985 base MSRP is the lowest in its class. With the base 2.4 liter engine in place, and a conservative driving demeanor, you will achieve the best in-class fuel economy. Last but not least, as part of their Lets Refuel America program, Dodge will hand you a gas credit card which ensures you will spend only $2.99 per gallon at the pump for three years.*
That sounds great, but do all the incentives entail a short features and amenities list? Not in this case. For one, you won’t need to waste valuable cargo real estate with an icebox to keep beverages cool, as the Journey provides not one, not two, but three compartments in which you can refrigerate cold drinks. There are two waterproof storage bins in the floor boards behind the driver and passenger seats in which ice and 12-packs of soda can safely be stowed. There is also a compartment above the glove box referred to as the Chill Zone. This compartment is cooled by Freon from the air conditioner which means the temperature can be adjusted as it can in the cabin of the vehicle. The storage solution list goes on and on with notable features like a flip ‘n stow front passenger seat (only on SXT & R/T models) and cup holders galore.
Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about corralling your kids for horsing around in the back on the way to Walley World. The available MyGIG Multimedia infotainment/entertainment system will keep everyone amused with its ability to play DVD audio or video, download up to 30 gigabytes of music via USB or Bluetooth, or connect to your IPod directly through the available UCI (Universal Customer Interface) located in the glove compartment. Furthermore, there are numerous power outlets throughout the cabin including a two-prong wall-style outlet for middle row passengers to plug in various home electronics or appliances they may find entertaining or useful. However, a three-prong outlet would have been welcome as most laptops require one.
The Journey’s driving characteristics lean towards comfort and tranquility rather than sport. The ride is serene and noise levels are minimal. On the highway, the environment becomes akin to that of a 747 at high altitude. To add to this atmosphere, Dodge has even provided the driver and passenger with jetliner-style reading lights. Simply press the bezels of the lights to activate them and angle them as you desire. Ergonomics are also a strong point. All controls and gages are angled toward the driver and placed in a way as to not block outward visibility. There is no chance your view of the Grand Canyon will be blocked by the wing…or dashboard rather. The gage cluster itself takes on a retro look. Unfortunately it is to the 1980s rather than a more classic decade such as the ‘50s. Furthermore, if winning drag races against Greased Lightning, or keeping up with Christie Brinkley in a red Ferrari is your goal, you had better look elsewhere, as neither the four-cylinder nor 3.5 liter V6 engines offer impressive acceleration.
While the Journey may be more reminiscent of the Griswold’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster than a Porsche Cayenne, if enjoying quality time with your family while maintaining the peace of mind provided by a lifetime power train warranty and reasonable gas prices are important factors involved in your decision to buy a car, the 2009 Dodge Journey is definitely worth a look.
*for details on the Lets Refuel America program visit www.dodge.com
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