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#16

in 2011 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $12,611 - $19,955
Original MSRP: $22,245 - $33,645
MPG: 19 City / 26 Hwy
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2011 Dodge Journey Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Overall, reviewers like the performance on the 2011 Dodge Journey.  They say power from the new V6 engine is good, but complain about the underpowered four-cylinder engine that’s standard on base models. The new suspension and steering setup gets praise, with reviewers saying the Journey is pleasant around town.

  • "At the top of this list of major improvements is an all-new 283-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that's significantly more powerful and refined. A similar makeover has been applied to the suspension and steering, and as a result the Journey is noticeably more buttoned-down." -- Edmunds
  • "Driving the Journey is utterly prosaic, and that's not a negative. The transmission is slightly sluggish but under normal driving conditions passengers will be unaware the crossover is swapping gears. A high driver's seating position aids visibility. Its 128-foot stopping distance from 60 mph is a middle-of-the-road number for its class, but more than adequate." -- Motor Trend 

Acceleration and Power

The base engine in the 2011 Dodge Journey is a 2.4-liter in-line four cylinder that makes 173 horsepower. That engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and is standard on the Journey Express trim.  Reviewers say it’s underpowered and recommend avoiding it.

All other trims get a standard 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 283 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers like this engine better, and say it has enough power to hustle the Journey onto freeways with no problem. However, going for a trim with the V6 will add $2,000 to the Journey’s base price.

The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy estimates for the 2011 Journey, but Dodge says the four-cylinder engine gets 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway. The V6 gets 17/25 city/highway in two-wheel drive and 16/24 with all-wheel drive.  Since these estimates come from Dodge, you may want to take them with a grain of salt, and remember that the EPA estimates may be different, as will your real-world fuel economy.  

  • "Our brief stint in a Journey Lux with all-wheel drive, estimated to weigh somewhere north of 4200 pounds, proved that the 2011 Journey isn’t a total slug. The V-6 has a far easier time with 4200 pounds than with, say, 5000 pounds of Dodge Durango, and we estimate the Pentastar-powered Journey should hit 60 mph in the low-seven-second range." -- Car and Driver
  • "We'd suggest avoiding the four-cylinder engine that's standard on the base Express model, as it just doesn't have enough oomph to get this 5,000-pound beast up to speed quickly enough in common scenarios like merging onto a freeway. The new 3.6-liter V6 is a far better choice, as it produces quicker acceleration with only a slight sacrifice in fuel economy." -- Edmunds
  • "Our [V6]-equipped Journey tester with all-wheel drive and six-speed automatic was good for a 7.5-second 0-60 mph time and 15.9-second quarter-mile run, which is spritely enough for the more heroic merges onto the highway. As peak torque and horsepower come later in the powerband -- 4400 and 6350 rpm, respectively -- drivers may experience the need to get the six-cylinder's revs up. There's 4350 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic that won't get moving on its own, after all." -- Motor Trend
  • “With only 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque in a seven-passenger van with a curb weight of 3,800 lbs, the Express won't live up to its name when it comes to acceleration, however, and uphills will be a challenge as well." -- Examiner.com
  • "The V6 doesn’t offer direct injection, but it does feature variable valve timing and gobs of solid power. Smooth and refined, it powered our all-wheel-drive Journey feature vehicle with impressive performance. Front-wheel-drive is standard, but we only had the opportunity to spend time in the snow-belt model." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

For 2011, the Dodge Journey gets a revised chassis.  The result, reviewers say, is a crossover that rides smoothly, with a planted feel.  Reviewers also say the steering is direct and nicely weighted, though a few say it is too light.  It’s no sports car, but reviewers say the Journey is pleasant to drive.

  • "Within a few miles, we were impressed with the Journey’s composure and feedback." -- Car and Driver
  • "This year's complete redesign of the suspension and steering gear has completely transformed the driving experience. Handling feels much more confident now and the ride, while not silky-smooth, is still quite good. The steering is now much more precise and predictable, with a light but still nicely weighted feel to it." -- Edmunds
  • "Our first drive in the 2011 Dodge Journey, however, proved the value of the Journey's basic suspension upgrade. The Journey doesn't hustle around corners like a sports car or even most four-door sedans. It's taller and has a higher hip point for the driver, and its longish wheelbase means it's not a quick turner." -- Examiner.com
  • "Our test Journey rode smoothly and confidently and gripped well through curves. Its steering is still very light and devoid of sports car feel, but it is certainly more confidence-inspiring than its chief rival, the Toyota Highlander. The package feels refined and well worth the roughly $33,000 price tag of our tester." -- Left Lane News

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