A competitively priced crossover.
The crossover field is expanding rapidly as minivan-shy families abandon traditional SUVs in favor of vehicles with at least somewhat better fuel economy. The Dodge Journey, which has been around since 2009, has always sat toward the smaller end of the crossover spectrum, yet it manages to cram in an optional third row in a bid to appeal to more buyers. Don’t expect to put adults back there, though. Even the second row is marginal for adults, but they both work fine for kids. Two nice features for youngsters are optional built-in booster seats and a split second-row seat that puts offspring within easy reach of Mom and Dad. If those parents are on a tight budget, Dodge offers the American Value Package model, which starts at a hair below $20,000 and comes with standard features such as air-conditioning; a 4.3-inch Uconnect media center; power windows, locks, and mirrors; and remote keyless entry. If power and towing ability are more important than price, Crew and R/T models come with a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s also available on SXT models. The Journey is a serious contender in its category, even its list of competitors grows with every year. It is quiet, rides well, and has an interior that doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic prison.
Hyundai Santa Fe
new for 2013
AVP, SE, and SXT models come standard with new 17-inch wheels. Crew models are $200 cheaper and now come standard with leather, plus heated front seats and steering wheel. R/T models cost $1000 less than last year with a new performance suspension setup. SXT models receive 17-inch aluminum wheels, as well as an optional 8.4-inch touchscreen and power sunroof.
Front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; stability and traction control with roll mitigation; ABS; and trailer-sway control are standard.
Smooth, quiet ride
Low price of entry
Cramped rear seats
Base Price Range: $19,990–$30,990
DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: AVP, SE, SXT, Crew, R/T
BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5- or 7-passenger
ENGINES: 2.4L I-4, 173 hp, 166 lb-ft
3.6L V-6, 283 hp, 260 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 4- or 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: (5-passenger/7-passenger) 99.6/123.7 cu ft
CAPACITIES: Towing 1000–2500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 10.7/37.0–39.6/67.6 cu ft