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Flexible, Smart Looking: 2009 Dodge Journey SXT

For the protean needs of families, the versatile 2009 Dodge Journey offers the cargo-carrying flexibility of a sport utility vehicle or pickup, writes Sally Miller Wyatt.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2009 Dodge Journey SXT.

Families put a lot of demands on their vehicles. We typically need lots of seating, and also lots of cargo room. Sometimes the vehicle has to be dressy enough to chauffeur kids to proms or functional enough to deliver the baseball team to practice. Believe it or not, there are some vehicles, such as the 2009 Dodge Journey, that can fit all those bills. This versatile vehicle is not just for families, however. It can serve young couples or empty nesters just as well, because it is an artful mix of passenger car and mid-sized sport utility vehicle.

While the all-new Dodge Journey is a sporty looking crossover, it’s what’s inside that may please parents most: seating for seven.

Dodge Journey has a unique seating situation here. Pull a few levers and the five-plus-two seating arrangement quickly folds upward and forward, allowing easy access to two more seats in the third row. Or, if you need a flat cargo area, the Tilt ‘n Slide second row of seats fold flat, as will the third row of seats.

For parents with young children, two integrated child booster seats — the first in the mid-size segment — are available, which means you can leave the bulky child seats at home because the seats are built into the second row.

(Above): Interior view of the 2009 Dodge Journey SXT.

There are also an assortment of storage bins located here and there, including a Flip ‘n Stow front passenger concealed storage, and dual in-floor storage bins, so there’s a place for everyone’s gear. The glove box also offers a unique feature — a Chill Zone — which serves as a beverage cooler so the kids can enjoy a cool refreshment after soccer practice.

The Dodge Journey is available in SE, SXT and R/T models. All have some base features, however. Halogen headlamps illuminate the road, and halogen interior lamps offer a cool yet bright illumination for passengers getting into and out of the car, for example.

Two engines are available: either the 2.4-liter DOHC four cylinder on the SE models, or the 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 on the SXT and R/T models. All-wheel drive is available on the SXT and R/T models, as is a six-speed automatic transmission with auto-stick. Shoppers also have a choice of either 16-, 17-, or 18-inch aluminum wheels, depending on the model.

There are more than 35 safety features on board the 2009 Dodge Journey. They include anti-lock brakes, All-speed Traction Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Roll Mitigation, an Electronic Stability Program, energy-absorbing steering column, interior head-impact protection, a Safety Cage Body Structure, side guard door beams, three-row side curtain air bags, and keyless remote entry. A Remote Start feature is available as an option on the SXT and standard on the R/T.
On the road, I found the seats were very comfortable and supportive for the back and hips. The Journey handles very well on city streets, acceleration is smooth and swift, and road noise is adequately muffled at freeway speed.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2009 Dodge Journey SXT.

Visibility is good and the dashboard is cleanly designed. Our test car was well-equipped and included several nice-to-have convenience packages. The Premium Convenience Group included heated front seats, remote start and three-zone automatic climate controls, a feature much appreciated by those seated in the way-back. It cost an additional $940. The 5+2 Flexible Seating Group was another $920, and for $1,195 you can add the Rear Seat Video Group, which includes an eight-inch video screen, wireless headphones, six Infinity speakers and ParkView Rear Back-up Camera.

Families need a lot from their vehicles. Some days you can get by with a sedan, on others you really need the cargo-carrying flexibility of a sport utility vehicle or pickup. The 2009 Dodge Journey gives you those choices, all in one very smart-looking vehicle.

Today’s Test Drive
2009 Dodge Journey SXT

  • Base Price: $23,125
  • Price as Tested: $30,505
  • Engine: 3.5 liter V6
  • Horsepower: 235 hp
  • Torque: 232 lb.-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Mileage: 16/city, 23/highway.

Sally Miller Wyatt is a freelance writer who writes family-oriented auto reviews for newspapers, magazines and the Web.


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