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2009 Dodge Journey: A New SUV for the Road


As Dodge works to reinforce and develop an international presence, a new SUV for the range is being introduced at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show in September. Named Journey, the first official U.S. sighting will be at the Los Angeles auto show in November, ahead of U.S. sales first quarter of 2008. Dodge is going after young families and young couples about to start a family; in life stages, Journey is set to step in once the realities of family life have been accepted, but the appeal of a minivan’s practicality hasn’t won out over that vehicle type’s staid image.


Being built at Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico, facility, Journey will go up against the likes of the Ford Edge, Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-7, Nissan Murano, and Toyota Highlander. It isn’t quite big enough to take on the Saturn Outlook or upcoming Ford Flex, but Dodge also offers a minivan and Durango SUVs for full seven- or eight-passenger lifestyles. Dodge will offer the Journey in its typical SE, SXT, and R/T trim levels, with standard five or optional five-plus-two seating. Instead of relying on elements of modern SUV styling (like the Lexus RX and Edge) or going ultra stylish like Mazda’s CX-7 and CX-9, the Journey offers a modern take on the traditional SUV look. It retains Dodge’s aggressive personality in a segment that more typically offers soft edges and styling. It will make a nice addition to a landscape crowded with me-too styling.

Journey will complement the truck-based Durango and Nitro SUVs, and is the best-looking product to come from the Chrysler D-segment platform. The Journey is significantly larger than the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring sedans on which it is based, sporting an extra five inches in wheelbase and two inches in overall length. Dodge refers to the Journey’s three-row seating arrangement as for only “occasional use” and calls it five-plus-two instead of seven-passenger or emphasizing the third-row aspect. This should help avoid criticism for a small third row by reducing expectations of a full-size third row from the beginning. Not a terrible idea.

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