The Dodge Durango has developed into one of the best SUVs around. However, does the lower price point and the current automotive trends make the Dodge Journey a better option?
The Durango has long been Dodge’s main SUV in their lineup. Its ever-expanding list of options for powertrains, trim levels, and technology packages makes the Durango one of the best SUVs on the market today. Meanwhile, the Dodge Journey only boasts 2 trim levels and one engine option. So, how can the Journey even compete with its cooler, better looking, and more well-known big brother? Let’s jump in and see whether Dodge’s SUV or Crossover is the right vehicle for today’s modern shopper.
Right out the gate, the Journey is at a disadvantage in the power area. Dodge removed the V6 engine option from the 2020 model entirely. Now the only engine offering is the 2.4L I4 on a FWD drivetrain. That’s great news for the affordability and fuel efficiency of the vehicle, but terrible for horsepower and towing capacity. Speaking of towing, if you’re only looking to haul small items like a couple kayaks or bikes, then the Journey holds enough power for you. Plus, it shares the helpful Trailer Sway Control with the Dodge Durango… but that’s just about it.
2020 Dodge Journey – dodge.com | Shop 2020 Dodge Journey on Carsforsale.com
The Dodge Durango continues to show up when it comes to power. The base model offers a 3.6L V6, but you’ll want to throw down some extra cash and get either the 5.7L HEMI V8 or the more powerful 6.4L 392 HEMI V8 in the SRT. You’ll see quite the drop in miles per gallon with the larger engine options, but you’re obviously buying a HEMI for the power not the fuel economy. The Durango also comes with RWD or optional AWD. If you’re looking to tow large boats, heavy trailers, or campers most weekends, I’d recommend getting the RWD with the 50/50 weight distribution to keep all that horsepower on the rear-axle. Otherwise, drop the extra $2,600 on the AWD. You’ll experience better acceleration and better handling with whatever nature throws at you, while still having great towing capacity.
2020 Dodge Durango hauling a 1970s Dodge Challenger – dodge.com | Shop 2020 Dodge Durango on Carsforsale.com
Currently, the Dodge Durango is one of the fastest in its class reaching 0-60mph in a recorded 6.4 seconds, and that’s just the V6! The Durango SRT with the 392 HEMI reaches 60mph in a staggering 4.4 seconds! Needless to say, the Durango is a competitor when it comes to straight line speeds, but that long wheel base doesn’t help as much in the turns. The NHSTA rollover safety rating for the 2020 Dodge Durango is 3 out of 5 stars even with its electronic roll mitigation safety feature. This means you’re going to have to let off a bit when it comes to winding roads. The same goes in the city where quick lane maneuvers or even just going through parking lots can be a hassle due to its longer stature. Not to say the Durango has the worst handling ever, the vehicle actually has a pretty enjoyable ride, but tight spaces just aren’t where it shines.
The Journey gets a little gold star sticker when it comes to handling, but nothing more than that. While its engine performance is nothing to brag about, the smaller wheel base and nimble suspension help give it a little edge when compared to the Durango. It has a better NHSTA rollover safety rating at 4 out of 5 stars and its soft suspension makes bumps in the road feel very minor to the passengers. Although, the base handling doesn’t really make any major impression, it’s just there. When you’re looking for an affordable crossover for city use that’s pretty much what you get – nothing too special, but it works. If you want a little bit more sporty responsiveness out of the Journey, the Crossroad trim comes standard with the Touring Suspension featuring better responsiveness and larger wheels to really dive into meandering trails.
The Dodge Journey is the cheapest new three-row SUV available today. It is clearly made for the modern family road-trip scenario. All of the available comfortable space is given to the parents sitting in the front seat, but you won’t see the added lumbar support or six-way adjustments unless you upgrade to the Crossroad. Meanwhile, the five rear seats would be considered cramped to adults, but perfect for the kids. Although, if you want those kids to be entertained, best to again upgrade to the Crossroad trim which offers a second row overhead nine-inch screen for DVDs or gaming. The interior feature that really caught my eye was the special in-floor storage compartments that included a cooler. Technology wise, you get a nice little infotainment system with a back-up camera, but the whole thing feels pretty outdated. All in all, the Journey offers a minimalistic interior for an affordable price, an idea that extends to the rest of the car.
Now, the Dodge Durango takes the road-trip idea, but leaves the kids at grandma’s house. The longer body gives enough room to seat six adults comfortably throughout the car. There is a seven-occupant option for the Durango, but the middle hump seat is thankfully thrown out in higher tier trims to accommodate armrests for the middle row and easier access to rear row. Not only does it offer plentiful passenger room, but luxurious interior options like embroidered Nappa leather and front seats with lumbar support, eight-way adjustments, plus heated or ventilated seat climate control. Then there’s all the special tech options. An oversized infotainment system with Uconnect, backup camera, and performance pages to really know your vehicle. But wait there’s more! Add in dual nine-inch Blu-ray rear displays, usb and AC outlets for front and rear passengers, and a driver information digital instrument cluster. Basically, if you really want it all the Dodge Durango is ready to offer it for the right price.
If you had to pick between the Durango or the Journey, the obvious answer is the Durango. With its better engines, better size, and better just about everything, the only thing you have to worry about is the price tag in the end, with a MSRP of $30,795 for a base model. And while the Journey does offer itself up as the cheapest new three row SUV with a MSRP of $23,675, its lack of performance, features, accommodating room, and quality don’t make it a very intriguing option. Until Dodge gives the Journey some rumored engine and design updates in coming years, you’d be better off shopping slightly used SUVs like the Ford EcoSport or Toyota RAV4 at its price range.