As midsize SUVs go, the Dodge Journey has some unique things to offer consumers. The list starts with standard three-row seating (as of 2018) and quite a bit of power (plus all-wheel drive) at a starting price below $30,000.
On the other hand, this model has struggled in other areas, including fuel economy and front crash-tests. Considering there hasn’t been a full redesign of this vehicle since the 2011 model year, that’s not too hard to believe.
For 2019, Dodge decided to drop one of the trims and bring more features to the base model to appeal to consumers. Here are all the changes in the Journey for the upcoming model year.
1. Journey SXT gets the axe.
Consumers had four Journey trims to choose from in 2018: the base SE, followed by the more connected SXT and then the V6 Crossroad and GT trims (both of which priced above $30,000). For 2019, the number will drop to three trims as the SXT model exits the lineup.
That change will bring more options to the base model, starting with an appearance package.
2. Blacktop Appearance Package in the base model
In previous model years, the Blacktop Appearance Package only came on the higher trim models. It includes a gloss-back grille, exterior mirrors, and rear fascia applique, plus roof rails.
That package will be available in the 2019 Journey SE starting at $24,720, which Dodge maintains is cheaper than in previous model years. A set of 19-inch gloss-black aluminum wheels will be an option with the package on SE models.
3. Standard features on the base model
Besides the optional package, the base Journey will get many new standard features. The list includes a performance fascia for the front and rear, fog lamps, fold-away mirrors, and LED tail lamps. (Three-zone temperature control will also become standard.)
Buyers can also get the SE model with a V6 for $25,195 to start. That will be a break over where things started for the previous model year. If you wanted to interpret these changes, you might describe them as a way for Dodge to add incentives standard on the 2019 Journey.
4. Reviewing the safety specs
As midsize crossovers become more competitive, you’ll find an enormous amount of advanced safety equipment coming standard. (The 2019 Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe offer two examples.) However, you can’t even add on these features as options in the Journey.
That won’t change for 2019, and neither will the Dodge SUV’s poor crash-test ratings and subpar headlight options. Child-seat latches also fall below the “acceptable” standard in the Journey.
5. Fuel economy and reliability
At 21 mpg combined for the base engine (2.4-liter, four cylinders) and 19 mpg combined for the 3.6-liter V6, the Journey will remain among the least economical midsize SUVs. There’s simply no way to change this without a new powertrain. That means you’ll likely get below 15 mpg with AWD in the city.
Reliability ratings have also been poor over the year, though owner satisfaction has ticked up slightly over the past two years for Journey. The 2019 model will be in Dodge dealerships by the start of fall.