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That means you can hold on to your cash for when the kids are grown, and you can spend it on that dream machine you’ve coveted since the day you got your driver’s license. If you have a large family or a lot of stuff to haul, you’ll want to consider the SUV crossover Dodge Journey. Dodge has consolidated the Journey into five trim levels, with a starting price of $20,895. You can get the better-appointed Crossroad trim starting at $29,995. Dodge calls the Journey the “Swiss Army knife of crossovers,” as it offers a choice of a four- or six-cylinder engine, seating for five or seven people, and front- or allwheel drive. A unique feature is the various storage bins within the passenger cabin, including spaces under the rearseat floor that can hide valuables from the view of thieves while the car is parked. The standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine comes with a four-speed automatic transmission and delivers 173 horsepower and 166 foot-pounds of torque. This gets a respectable 26 mpg on the highway. The 3.6-liter Pentastar six-cylinder engine, optional on the higher trim levels, has a six-speed automatic transmission and 283 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque. Most reviewers recommend that you spring for the six-cylinder engine, especially for buyers who will carry heavy loads or a lot of passengers. A review by Edmunds notes that the Journey has not changed much in the past several years, and competitors are leaving it in the dust. The engine is outdated, and not as powerful as those of other crossover SUVs. Handling can be rough, especially on turns. But the Journey has some plusses, especially given the low price. “Its suspension provides a smooth ride even over the roughest road surfaces,” the reviewers wrote. “That, in combination with supportive seats and a quiet interior, makes the Journey an ideal companion on long road trips.” Interior comforts include dual climate controls, reclining second-row seats, a 4.3-inch touch screen, and a six-speaker sound system, Edmunds noted. There is plenty of head and legroom, though the optional third-row seats are not very comfortable for adult passengers. The Journey is a “solid family pick, and one of the least expensive ways to get a third-row seat,” wrote Bengt Havorson of The Car Connection. “If space is important, you’re getting more vehicle for the money” than with competing crossovers. If you don’t need quite that much cargo space, you may want to consider the Chevrolet Equinox, a leading contender in the ever-growing compact-SUV segment of the auto market. The five-seater comes in four trim lines, starting at $22,600. While it has escaped the attention of the automotive press in recent years, the Equinox is Chevrolet’s second-best-selling model. Most changes in the Equinox for 2016 are in the exterior and technology, including a redesigned grille, projector-beam headlights for better nighttime visibility, a seven-inch touch screen and a rear-view camera for the entry levels, and LED running lights and upgraded interior fabrics for the higher trims. These changes had the result of injecting a youthful flair into a vehicle that already sells quite well, wrote Justin

2016 Dodge Journey’s suspension provides a smooth ride over the roughest road surfaces. 2016 Dodge Journey with all-wheel drive

Dodge Journey offers many interior comforts.

NJ Lifestyle Magazine Winter 2016  
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