There are two powertrain configurations for the 2018 Dodge Journey. The first setup consists of a 2.4-liter inline-4 with 173 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The power is sent to the front wheels. The second setup has a 3.6-liter V6 with 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The power is sent to either to all wheels or to the front wheels only. With the V6 engine under the hood, the performance is adequate at best unless when fully-loaded. The throttle response is slow when pressing down the gas pedal. There's a lack of low-end grunt and that was quantified by taking almost eight seconds to reach 60 mph. The handling of this compact crossover SUV was sluggish and felt heavier than its size. Body roll was noticeable and there was a lack of grip through the corner. The steering was not the most responsive and did not contribute a feeling of agility when driving. Under intense braking, nosedive and shakiness were evident. The stopping force wasn’t as smooth and that showed by taking 126 feet to brake from 60 mph. Fortunately, a firm pedal was helpful, especially in stop-and-go driving.
The base SE trim comes standard with a height-adjustable driver seat, keyless ignition and entry and an infotainment system with a 4.3-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system. The Connectivity package includes Bluetooth, satellite radio, a USB port and voice recognition. The Popular Equipment package adds more interior appointments and the Comfort/Convenience package adds a power-adjustable driver seat. The SXT trim comes standard with features from the preceding trim including the package options. The Uconnect package comes with a bigger 8.4-inch touchscreen, automatic climate control, amiable interior lamps, and several advanced safety and driver aids. The Premium package adds satellite radio, a power-adjustable driver seat, and better interior appointments. The Crossroad trim builds on the SXT trim and comes standard with the Uconnect package. Additional features include heated front seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, navigation and a six-speaker sound system with a subwoofer. The Driver Convenience package includes more advanced safety and driver aids. The top-of-the-line GT trim builds on the Crossroad trim and adds remote start, a security alarm, heated steering wheel, and a premium Alpine sound system. The Trailer Tow Prep package includes a hitch and a four-pin wiring connector.
The 2018 Journey has the same chassis and exterior as its 2017 model. Despite the NHTSA not having tested the 2018 model, the 2017 model was tested and earned four stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover test. The 2018 model has been tested by the IIHS and it scored “Good” in most of the crashworthiness tests but its headlights were considered “Poor” for the crash avoidance and mitigation test. Advanced safety and driver aids are only available as add-ons and they are rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
The 2018 Trax has a length of 192.4 inches, a width of 72.2 inches, a height of 66.6 inches and a wheelbase of 113.8 inches. This year’s model is visually similar to the 2009 model, the birth year of its current generation. Among its competition, it is long overdue for a redesign and an update to its exterior. The standard wheel size comes at a 17-inch diameter but only the Crossroad and GT trims have the option for 19-inch wheels. The Blacktop package for all trims except the Crossroad has a dark theme applied to certain exterior parts.
With its smaller footprint, entering the cabin was more akin to stepping in rather than stepping up. The doors reveal an entrance to a cabin that was spacious enough. However, legroom could be tight for the long-legged passengers. The headroom and legroom for the third row are best suited for children. There are three rows of seats that can accommodate seven people on board. The power-adjustable driver seat felt comfortable even when driving for long hours. The adjustability for the front and second rows was convenient to better accommodate the passenger. Despite its lack of agility in handling, that was made up for in ride quality. It remained stable even through harder bumps and just cruised on smooth pavement. Combining the comfortable ride with good attenuation of external noise, the overall ambiance was serene.
There is 10.7 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats, and 37 cu-ft behind the second row. When folding down the second and third rows, 67.6 cu-ft of space becomes available for cargo.