The Dodge Journey is a real behemoth on busy European streets. Sure, it's not the largest family car available here but it looks and feels huge. The all round visibility is OK just towards the sides and the rear, mostly thanks to the high ground clearance and extremely high seating position.
Towards the front though, not so good. Even if the driving position is so high it reminds you of a bus, there's almost no way to judge how long the hood or the front overhang is by seeing input only. In other words, it takes a little time to estimate the distance to the car in front of you. Of course, thanks to the car's sheer size and block-of-rock design, you don't need to worry about people not getting out of your way.
Parking can prove to be a bit troublesome since on our test car we didn't have any parking sensors and, as mentioned earlier, this is no compact. Parallel parking should be more of a breeze though, thanks to the rear-view camera which shows you almost everything you need to see.
One piece of advice though. Do not rely on the rear-view camera alone when parking in reverse, there's a nice chunk of dead spot exactly on the right side of the rear so you should be careful and always double-check your mirrors as well.
To our surprise, despite the amount of power missing from the diesel engine coupled with the gargantuan 1905 kg (4199.8 lbs) kerb weight of the vehicle, our test car managed an average of 10.5-11 liters per 100 kilometers (US 21-22 mpg) of fuel consumption in stop and go traffic. This even bettered the Common Rail Golf VI we drove earlier, despite the weight increase and the older, non-Common Rail diesel engine under the hood.
The six-speed double-clutch gearbox made by Getrag handled beautifully and without the jerkiness we encountered on the Volkswagen counterpart. The funny thing about it is that at first it made us think it was the old five-speed automatic from the Mercedes-Benz parts bin, since on manual mode the gearstick had kept the left/right equaling minus/plus controls.
On the whole, the Journey CRD SXT isn't the best partner to accompany you to work through the busy streets everyday, but it sure as hell can keep up when it comes to fuel consumption and parking in reverse. Our main quarel with the car in the city, apart from its sheer size, was the hill-start-assist system, which apparently also works on leveled ground. It's highly annoying in stop-and-go traffic since it gives the impression of a lag between the time you take your foot off the brake pedal and the moment the car begins to move.
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
Oh man, and I thought the old Ram Van was the epitome of how a Dodge people hauler should look. This appears to be a bit smaller though. By the way, why is it called "Journey"? Any connection with the prog rock band? Maybe those old geezers need a new touring vehicle... I love it how the whole car is so "knock-knock" friendly. I only gave it a gentle tap with my fingers on the front grill and the whole front of the car started to vibrate. Didn't know chrome was so elastic. Oh, it's actually plastic, not real chrome? Hmm...
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