Test Drive: Dodge Journey R/T

If ever a vehicle qualifies as the proverbial ?Jack of all trades, master of none,? it would be the Dodge Journey. ?Part SUV, minivan, car and crossover, the Journey spreads its attributes over a broad blanket over a variety of categories.? Even the pricing runs wide from just over $20,000 for a base model to more than $35,000 for the top-of-the-line with all the options.

Although the Journey can?t be pinned down as being the best at any one thing, it does several things quite well, and offers the buyer a wide variety of configurations.

We picked up a 2010 Journey R/T AWD for a two-hundred mile drive home after an event where our senses had been numbed after driving 28 different vehicles more than 400 miles in just two days.

Frankly, the Journey had fallen off our radar screen, having not driven one since the introduction about two and one-half years ago.? On our get-reacquainted trip home in the Journey, we discovered a smooth ride, comfortable interior, and a high-level convenience and entertainment features.

Powered by a 235-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, the AWD Journey will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and it provides adequate passing power.? The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth and the console-mounted shifter has a manual shifting mode for better driver control.? Fuel economy is rated at 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway by the EPA and with us averaging 21.1 mpg in mostly highway driving.

The base model Journey with a 173-hp four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission has a 19/25 mpg EPA rating. ?Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an option on the two upper level models.

The Journey comes in three trim levels: SE, SXT and R/T.? In its base form, Journey is quite well equipped with features like power windows and door locks, air conditioning, keyless entry, tilt and telescoping steering wheel and even an MP3 compatible audio system with 6-disc CD/DVD changer.? All the safety equipment like Electronic Roll Mitigation, stability control, traction control, etc. are all standard on all models.

The R/T version adds features like leather seating, remote starting, premium Infinity audio system and several touches of chrome to distinguish it from the two lower level models.? The option list on our R/T test vehicle added nearly $7,000 and included the navigation system, backup camera, ?rear seat video with Sirius TV and a flexible seven-passenger seating group that allowed the rear two rows of seating to be stowed, scooted for and aft, and folded in a multitude of ways.

One of the more interesting features of the Journey is the abundance of storage spaces in the doors, consoles, under floors and in the cargo compartment.? It has to be one of the best cars we?ve ever seen for organizing a family.? There is even a Chill Zone? glove box beverage cooler and the in-floor storage compartments that can be used to ?ice? beverages.

The Journey certainly should be on the shopping list of anyone looking for a vehicle to move a group in comfort and keep them entertained. ?We were surprised by how much we liked the Journey?you might too.