2010 Dodge Journey SXT FWD

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Dodge hopes trekking the globe with a product akin to an ox-wagon

Back in the almost seemed like stone-age, trekking is referring to the migration journey of the barbarians on a wooden wagon propelled by oxen. This ancient mode of transportation has been reinvented into the form of a fossil fuel powered station wagon with a stele-like bighorn sheep plaque adhere to the grill.

P5296551The original Dodge emblem features the head of a bighorn sheep emphasizing its manly humongous horns with Dodge’s farming like “Grab the Life by the Horn” slogan. If a chicken is running with its head cutoff is a phrase for being crazy, a bighorn sheep without the horns must refer to the Dodge Journey since the 2011 and beyond Dodge models are now featuring their new hornless emblem.

One of the many flaws is introducing a totally new model with a totally different name and showing no remorse of murdering its predecessors in the process, the Journey has got to be that damn good. Dodge thinks the Journey is so damn good that it has the ambition to migrate from the farms in Detroit to every continent of the globe.

This hornless sheep took us to a journey deep into the canyons of Central California where we think it would best fit and to relive the trekking era, along the way dodged the monster big foots, rock crawlers, and buggy variances that live deep in the hills. With country song blasting, we realized the creature comfort we found in the Dodge Journey was that we were somewhat civilized when compared to the stone-age journey in an ox-wagon.

Background – Commonality and Dissimilarity of these Wagons

The history of the Dodge Journey doesn’t go any further back than 2007. The Journey is the first generation, brand new contender in the mid-size crossover-utility-vehicle (CUV) mayhem. It is a dreadfully late comer in the game to compete with dozens of well-established and successive CUVs such as the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Murano, and Toyota Highlander just to name a few selected samples.

P5296528The Dodge Journey was debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show and went on sale in the spring of 2008 as a 2009 model. The fact that Chrysler has chosen Germany for its debut implies the Journey is available for global market not just in the Americas, for instance, it is the Dodge JCUV in China, JC in Japan. It replaces Chrysler’s first ever CUV, the Chrysler Pacifica, and the legend of all mini-van, the Dodge Caravan.

In 2010, Journey came in four trim levels: SE, SXT, Crew, and the 7-Passenger R/T where SE is the base model and equips only with the 2.4L I-4 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. AWD option is available to the SXT and above trim levels.

The tester in Bright Silver Metallic paint is the SXT FWD model with 6-speed automatic transmission. It has $24,740 MSRP and is assembled in Chrysler’s Toluca Assembly in Toluca, Mexico along side with the Chrysler PT Cruiser. For extra $ 2,490 this SXT can be equipped with AWD, and it automatically comes with 19-in alloy wheels, performance suspensions and quicker steering.

Powertrain – Two Oxen Power [OP]. Each with Four Propelling Limbs = Full Time 4WD

Under the aluminum hood is Chrysler’s EGG all-aluminum 3.5L V-6 24-valve SOHC engine with 60-degree bank angle. It generates 235 hp @ 6,400 rpm and 232 Ib-ft of torque@ 4,000 rpm on 89 octane fuel. The EGG consists of 96 x 81 mm bore and stroke oversquare layout with 10.0:1 compression ratio and variable length air intake. Dodge has advertised this engine as the “high output” engine.

P5296781This Kenosha, WI built power plant is derived from the original 3.3L pushrod cast iron block and aluminum heads engine introduced in 1990. This EGG engine has been Chrysler‘s workhorse and found in various products like the Chrysler 300 variants. It is being phased out by the all-new 3.6L Pentastar V-6 engine.

The engine is transversely mounted, driving the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transaxle (transmission code: 62TW) with Chrysler’s AutoStick Electronic Range Selector (ERS) manual mode. In ERS, tranny will not automatically downshift and allow taking off from complete stop in 5th gear. In D, shifting is slow, jerky and prone for gear hunting. Kickdown response is mediocre at best. After the throttle is mated to the floor, it takes 2 seconds for things to happen.

It takes this powertrain high 7 seconds to propel Journey’s 4,001 Ibs curb weight from dead stop to 60mph and finishes the quarter mile in high 15 seconds. When the tachometer approaches the EGG’s 6,800 rpm redline, the engine note emits the rental moving truck like industrial sound and harshness. The dual exhaust in the rear does nothing more than for show. A jab on the throttle in neutral, the engine responds and rev in a layback manner. The lack of urgency in the powertrain made it feel dated for today’s standard.

During our 650 miles of test driving from San Francisco Bay Area to Kings Canyon National Park, we averaged 22.5 combined MPG versus EPAs 16 city/24 highway and 19 combined rating. Fortunately, the Journey’s 0.37 coefficient of drag is relatively low considering its angular facade.