As far as I was concerned, American cars never fail to disappoint when applied to the British highways. The propensity for bulky, uneconomical Goliaths, designed solely it would seem to intimidate other road users, leaves this driver a little cold. In these, the eco-conscious noughties, vehicles are hailed for excellent MPG ratings, low carbon emissions and for keeping things small. Adversely, the American vehicles that have made it to these shores are often derided for their big-time sensibilities; all gargantuan, 0.6 Miles to the gallon, petrol-glugging, fume-wafting behemoths that fail to appeal to the more delicate British constitution.
With this in mind, I could barely muster a gnat’s whisper of excitement when told I was to be testing the new Dodge Journey. Without ever seeing a picture or footage of this vehicle, I had automatically painted a visual image of how it would look in my mind. It would be a huge, clunking 4X4, with scant regard for neither environment nor pedestrians. It would handle like an incontinent Ox; unrelentingly uncooperative and sluggish at best.
I kept these pre-ordained opinions firmly in mind right up until I was confronted with the Dodge Journey in reality. My suspicions were correct; it was large…very large. A more redeeming feature were the sportier curves, which I assumed had permeated the design blueprints of every car manufacturer except those based across the Atlantic. Despite hating the appearance of most 4X4s, I found myself warming slightly to the Journey’s cumbersome bulk.
Inside the Dodge Journey was a bit more of a surprise. The interior was positively European in its attention to detail. The functional dashboard and elevated driving position make the Dodge Journey a positively pleasurable place to find yourself.
The contentious issue of handling has also been dealt with. Whilst taking a sojourn along some of the more perilous country roads near my house, the Dodge Journey responded splendidly. None of the sharp turns required sharp braking or violent manoeuvring and most could be taken at a similar speed to that of a saloon.