$6,696 - $10,018

2011 Dodge Journey Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Dodge Journey was new.


Performance: 7.8

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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