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2015 Dodge Journey Review

2013 Dodge Journey Crew 4dr SUV Exterior

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Seating for up to seven
  • available built-in booster seats
  • useful interior storage solutions
  • smart touchscreen interface.
  • Weak acceleration on four-cylinder version
  • below-average fuel economy regardless of engine
  • mediocre handling abilities.

The Dodge Journey heads into 2015 with no major changes.

Edmunds says

The 2015 Dodge Journey has an available V6 engine and a third row so it might seem to be a decent pick for families on a budget, but overall it falls short of newer crossovers with more powerful four-cylinder engines and better fuel mileage ratings.

Cost to Drive Cost to drive estimates for the 2015 Dodge Journey American Value Package 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.42 per gallon for regular unleaded in North Dakota.

Vehicle overview.

If you find "compact" crossover SUVs a little too compact, yet you don't really want to deal with the large footprint and compromised fuel economy of a larger crossover, Dodge might have the answer. The 2015 Journey is one of the few "tweener"-sized crossovers that could prove the just right size.

As a people-carrier, the Journey has a few things going for it. The available third row of seating is big enough for small children, and there's enough space for adults in the second row, too. There are also built-in booster seats available, which will save any parent lots of valuable child-loading time. Up front, the optional infotainment system is an excellent extra we recommend. It's easy to use, control, and it doesn't distract from the driving experience.

Unfortunately, the 2015 Dodge Journey has some drawbacks. Even though there are two available engines, neither is exceptional. The standard four-cylinder comes paired to an archaic four-speed automatic transmission and doesn't get the kind of fuel economy we've come to expect from class-leading crossovers and it is lackluster at best for providing passing power. The available V6 gives a healthy dose of acceleration in comparison, but in our extensive testing, it was still slower than most rivals with upgraded engines.  Along with this lack of power comes a disappointing driving experience. Driven around turns at a decent clip, the Journey suffers from quite a bit of body roll that saps driver confidence. All of our favorites in this class provide more engagement and stability.  

One of those is the updated 2015 Honda CR-V . It may only have five seats, but it boasts lots of cargo space, an excellent ride and good fuel economy, too. The 2015 Mazda CX-5 and 2015 Ford Escape share many of the Honda's attributes but they're also a bit more entertaining to drive. If you require a third row, though, check out the Nissan Rogue as well as the larger 2015 Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe . The Kia and Hyundai are a bit pricier but have plenty of cargo space to show for it. Overall, the Edmunds "C" Rated 2015 Dodge Journey isn't a bad choice for your family, but there are several excellent vehicles we'd choose instead.

Performance & mpg

The 2015 Dodge Journey AVP, SE, SXT and Crossroad are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard, and you can only get front-wheel drive with this engine . EPA fuel economy ratings are 21 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway) – which is definitely subpar for a four-cylinder crossover.

Optional on the SE, SXT, and Crossroad but standard on the Limited and R/T is a 3.6-liter V6. It's good for 283 hp and 260 lb-ft and is matched to a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. We recorded a 7.8-second 0-60-mph time in a front-drive, V6-equipped Journey, which is about average for a V6 crossover in this price range. EPA estimated fuel economy for the V6 is 19 mpg combined (17/25) with front-wheel drive and 19 mpg combined (16/24) with all-wheel drive; both are below average for a V6-powered crossover in this price range.

Every 2015 Dodge Journey comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Integrated second-row child booster seats and rear parking sensors are optional on every Journey. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are available as an option on the SXT, Crossroad, Limited and R/T.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Journey V6 FWD came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, an average performance for this class.

In government crash tests, the Journey received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars awarded for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Journey received the top score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. Its seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

The 2015 Dodge Journey has two personalities depending on which engine you choose. The four-cylinder engine is noisy and really doesn't have enough power to get this heavy crossover moving. The outdated four-speed automatic transmission that comes with this engine does the Journey no favors in the fuel economy department, either.

Accordingly, we'd avoid the four-cylinder entirely and step up to the 3.6-liter V6, which feels potent in any situation. Unfortunately, fuel economy is still below average, and the six-speed automatic transmission can be slow to respond when a downshift is needed.

Around town, the Journey provides a smooth ride. However, the steering is on the slow side, and you might find yourself having to make more hand movements than you would otherwise prefer. When driven harder through turns, the Journey's body leans noticeably. The Journey feels heavier than other compact SUVs and solid on the open highway, even over rough surfaces, but it doesn't inspire much confidence around corners.

Though Dodge seldom has enjoyed a reputation for high-quality interiors, the 2015 Journey does boast pleasing materials and textures throughout the cabin and solid-looking assembly. The gauges and dashboard have a functional and contemporary design that wouldn't be out of place in any number of higher-priced vehicles.

There's almost universal acclaim for Dodge's available UConnect 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment interface. You won't find a system that's more straightforward to use or more pleasing to the eye, with large, readable typefaces and icons and sensible menus.

Families will appreciate the selection of clever storage places squirreled throughout the 2015 Journey's cabin, particularly the cubbyholes in the floor. There's a fair amount of legroom behind the front seats and the integrated child booster seats are a nice bonus. Also helping the family-oriented mission is the Journey's available third-row seat, which is bundled with a separate rear air-conditioner. This seat is far from adult-friendly, but if you need to take a couple extra kids to a T-ball game, it's handy.

Lower all the seats and the Journey coughs up 67.6 cubic feet of total cargo capacity, which is about average for this class, slightly less than the Kia Sorento and CR-V, for example, but more space than some other two-row compact crossovers.

2015 Dodge Journey models

The 2015 Dodge Journey is available in five- and seven-passenger configurations. It is available in American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, Crossroad, Limited and R/T trim levels.

The American Value Package comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone manual climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a sliding and reclining second-row seat and a six-speaker sound system with a compact 4.3-inch touchscreen interface, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The SE adds tinted glass, roof rails and LED taillights. Moving up to the SXT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, unique front/rear fascias, body-colored exterior mirrors, floor mats, a cargo cover and net and satellite radio. Moving up to the Crossroad gets you 19-inch wheels, chrome exterior accents, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (with four-way lumbar adjustment), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8.4-inch touchscreen audio display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a fold-flat front passenger seat with hidden storage bin.

The Limited adds a V6 engine as standard, remote start, automatic headlights, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a 115-volt power outlet. The R/T includes all of the Limited features (minus the roof rails) and adds a monochrome exterior treatment, unique 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, black perforated-leather upholstery with red stitching and a premium audio system.

Many of the features on the upper trim levels are available on lower trims via option packages. Other available features (depending on trim) include the Blacktop package (gloss black 19-inch wheels, grille and exterior trim), a sunroof, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a folding and reclining third-row seat, three-zone automatic climate control (with rear air-conditioning), integrated second-row child booster seats, a rear seat entertainment system, a navigation system (paired with the 8.4-inch touchscreen) and WiFi connectivity.

Reliability Ratings by RepairPal

Consumer reviews, read what other owners think about the used 2015 dodge journey., trending topics in reviews.

  • handling & steering
  • spaciousness
  • sound system
  • ride quality
  • infotainment system
  • steering wheel
  • off-roading
  • wheels & tires
  • transmission
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • maintenance & parts
  • fuel efficiency
  • acceleration
  • electrical system
  • climate control
  • driving experience

Most helpful consumer reviews

My journey through time...year one, 2015 journey sxt v6, loving my 2015 dodge journey r/t.....edmunds, you won't find a better car for the money, 2015 journey highlights.

  • Tire Pressure Warning
  • Stability Control
  • Post-collision safety system

NHTSA Overall Rating

  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Overall 4 / 5 Driver 5 / 5 Passenger 4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating Overall Not Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating Overall Not Rated Driver Not Rated Passenger Not Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings Front Seat Not Rated Back Seat Not Rated
  • Rollover Rollover 4 / 5 Dynamic Test Result No Tip Risk Of Rollover 17.9%
  • Small Overlap Front Driver-Side Test Poor
  • Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side Test Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test – Original Good
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test – Updated Not Tested
  • Side Impact Test – Original Good
  • Side Impact Test – Updated Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint Good

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2015 Dodge Journey

# 18 out of 19 in 2015 affordable midsize suvs.

2015 Dodge Journey

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$ 10,369 - 15,689

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$ 20,695 - 33,295

Original MSRP


2015 Dodge Journey Review

Other Years:

U.S. News Rating

The 2015 Dodge Journey has an underpowered base engine, a poor reliability rating, and limited cargo space. As a result, it places near the bottom of our midsize SUV rankings.

Intuitive infotainment system

Underwhelming base engine

Poor fuel economy

Low reliability rating

Below-average cargo space for the class

What's New for 2015

No major changes

Features and Specs

Seats 5 - 7

16-19 City / 24-26 Hwy

173 - 283 horsepower

Dodge Journey Rankings

The 2015 Dodge Journey's #18 ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Dodge Journey has a score of 6.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 45 pieces of research and data elements using various sources .

  • # 18 in 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs
  • # 22 in 2015 Affordable SUVs with 3 Rows
  • # 37 in 2015 Affordable Crossover SUVs
  • # 81 in Used SUVs with 3 Rows under $15K
  • # 137 in Used Crossover SUVs $10K to $15K
  • # 195 in Used Midsize SUVs under $20K
  • Critics' Rating 6.9
  • Performance 5.5
  • Total Cost of Ownership 8.9
  • Interior 8.0

Where This Vehicle Ranks

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2015 Journey Photos

2015 Dodge Journey Angular Front

2015 Dodge Journey Overview

Is the 2015 dodge journey a good used suv.

The 2015 Dodge Journey is an OK midsize SUV , but most of its classmates are better. Aside from its relatively low selling price and its user-friendly infotainment system, the Journey offers few benefits over its rivals. Most competing SUVs offer stronger engines, better gas mileage, more cargo room, and a higher reliability rating. Unless you are on an extremely tight budget, you're better off with another SUV.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our used car rankings and reviews are based on our analysis of professional automotive reviews, as well as data like crash test scores, reliability ratings, and ownership expenses. We researched 45 Dodge Journey reviews to help you decide if it’s the right used car for you.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, our staff never takes expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much is a 2015 Dodge Journey?

Based on listings for the 2015 Dodge Journey on our site, the average price is $16,000. Prices range from $11,900 to $21,000 and vary depending on the trim, mileage, location, condition, and features.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2015 Dodge Journey Cost to Own?

The 2015 Dodge Journey’s five-year estimated costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs come to about $24,200, which is a little below average for the class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Dodge Journey?

The Dodge Journey is one of the least expensive midsize SUVs you can buy – new or used. A 2019 Journey starts at $23,645, considerably more than the 2015 model’s average list price of $16,000. The 2019 model is the first Journey to offer the 283-horsepower V6 engine in other than the top trim levels. Also, the 2019 Journey comes standard with three rows, while the third row is an option in the 2015 model. Otherwise, the 2019 Journey offers few notable advantages over the 2015 Journey.

Read about the new Dodge Journey »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

Which Model Year of the Dodge Journey Is Best?

The 2015 Journey is part of a generation that launched for 2009 and includes the 2019 Journey. Dodge refreshed the Journey for 2011 and other than some shuffling of trims, there have been few major changes to the Journey over the years. The 2018 model was the first with standard third-row seating, and for 2019, Dodge discontinued the SXT trim and made the V6 engine available with the base engine. If you’re committed to buying a used Journey, there are few reasons to select a more-recent model, other than getting a vehicle with fewer miles on it. However, if you can stretch your budget just a little, you'll find better options in the midsize SUV class.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Journey »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Dodge Journey?

J.D. Power gives the 2015 Journey a reliability rating of two out of five, which is the worst rating possible.

Read more about Journey reliability »

2015 Dodge Journey Recalls

As of this writing, the 2015 Dodge Journey has six recalls. They address potential issues involving the inability to cancel cruise control, the accidental deployment of the driver’s air bag, the loss of power steering assist, the engine cover contacting the exhaust manifold, water entering the anti-lock braking system module, and an incorrectly labeled tire placard. Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Dodge Journey safety recalls »

Which Used Dodge Journey Model Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Dodge Journey comes in seven trims: AVP, SE, SXT, SXT Plus, Crossroad, Limited, and R/T. The base Journey AVP trim comes standard with a 173-horsepower four-cylinder engine, push-button start, and the Uconnect infotainment system with a 4.3-inch touch screen, six speakers, two 12-volt power outlets, and a USB port. The SE trim adds some minor cosmetic upgrades, and the SXT trim features an MP3 CD player and satellite radio.

While the three lower trims include a good amount of appealing technology, we recommend the Dodge Journey SXT Plus, as it has the best combination of features and value. It comes with a larger touch screen (8.4 inches), a fold-flat passenger seat with in-cushion storage, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

The Journey Crossroad trim mostly features cosmetic enhancements. The Journey Limited gets heated seats, a DVD player, Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth, and a 115-volt auxiliary power outlet. It also comes with the 283-horsepower V6 engine. The Journey R/T adds six premium speakers with a subwoofer and a 368-watt amplifier, as well as leather-trimmed seats that have perforated inserts with red accent stitching. Its sport-tuned suspension enhances the Journey’s handling.

See 2015 Dodge Journey trims and specs »

2015 Dodge Journey Safety

Score: 8.4/10.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2015 Journey four out of five stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2015 Journey the top rating of Good in four out of five crashworthiness tests. The Journey received the lowest rating of Poor in the small overlap driver-side front test.

There are no standard driver assistance features in the Journey, but a rearview camera and rear parking sensors are available.

2015 Dodge Journey Versus the Competition

Which is better: 2015 dodge journey or 2015 hyundai santa fe.

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe , like the Journey, is available with two or three rows of seats. In either configuration, the Santa Fe is superior to the Journey. This Hyundai offers just about everything you could ask for from a midsize SUV . Its base engine delivers plenty of power for everyday use, while its two available engines provide livelier acceleration. Both two- and three-row Santa Fe models have a good amount of cargo room and a user-friendly infotainment system. The Hyundai Santa Fe also boasts better crash test ratings and a better reliability rating than the Journey. Its ride can be a bit firm, but the Santa Fe is the one to choose.

Which Is Better: 2015 Dodge Journey or 2015 Dodge Durango?

You might think that two midsize SUVs made by the same brand would be very similar. That’s not the case with the 2015 Dodge Durango , which is a cut above its smaller and less capable sibling. With the Durango, you get a standard third-row seat, better safety scores, a higher reliability rating, and stronger engines. It comes with the same user-friendly infotainment system as the Journey (though its screen is slightly smaller), and its cabin is more upscale overall. However, you’ll have to decide if the Durango’s benefits are worth its price tag, as its average list price is nearly $11,500 more than the Journey’s.

Compare the Journey, Santa Fe, and Durango »

2015 Dodge Journey Performance

How does the 2015 dodge journey drive.

The 2015 Dodge Journey’s base powertrain consists of a 173-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a four-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is underpowered and noisy, while the transmission is unrefined. For better power delivery on the highway, look for a model that comes with the available 283-horsepower V6 engine, which is paired with a smoother-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.

This Dodge has a fairly cushioned ride over imperfect surfaces, and it handles well around corners, especially if you’re driving the sport-tuned R/T trim. Front-wheel drive is standard, and V6-powered models are available with all-wheel drive.

Does the 2015 Dodge Journey Get Good Gas Mileage?

The base 2015 Journey has some of the worst fuel economy estimates in the class, earning just 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Gas mileage with the available V6 engine drops to 17/25 mpg city/highway, and all-wheel-drive models shave another 1 mpg off those numbers.

2015 Dodge Journey Towing Capacity

The Journey can tow up to 2,500 pounds when properly equipped.

Read more about Journey performance »

2015 Dodge Journey Interior

How many people does the 2015 dodge journey seat.

The 2015 Dodge Journey seats five, and an available third row increases seating capacity to seven. Cloth upholstery and reclining second-row seats come standard. Available seating amenities include genuine leather upholstery, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, tilting and sliding second-row seats, reclining third-row seats, and heated front seats. Second-row built-in child booster seats are also available.

The Journey has plenty of in-cabin storage space, and it's available with a fold-flat front passenger seat with a storage compartment beneath the cushion. The front seats are relatively comfortable and supportive, and the second row is adult-friendly. However, the third row feels cramped. It can accommodate a couple of small-sized children, at best.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Dodge Journey?

For installing child safety seats, there are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the second row's outboard seats and a tether connection with one lower anchor for the middle seat. There are no third-row LATCH connectors. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its ease of use.

2015 Dodge Journey Features

The 2015 Dodge Journey comes with the Uconnect infotainment system, which features a 4.3-inch touch screen, six speakers, and a USB port. Heated mirrors, dual-zone manual climate control, and push-button start are also standard.

Available features include tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, an 8.4-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, satellite radio, hands-free text messaging, navigation, and a rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch screen.

Dodge’s Uconnect infotainment system is one of the Journey’s best features. It includes a large, easily readable display with crisp graphics. The menu structure is straightforward and works similarly to that of a smartphone. Plus, the Journey includes physical buttons for adjusting audio and climate settings, making it easier to operate these features while keeping your eyes on the road.

See 2015 Dodge Journey specs »

Read more about Journey interior »

2015 Dodge Journey Dimensions

Dodge journey cargo space.

The two-row Dodge Journey has 39.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. The three-row Journey has 10.7 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 37 cubic feet behind the second row, and a total cargo capacity of 67.6 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. These dimensions are smaller than what most midsize SUVs provide.

2015 Journey Length and Weight

The 2015 Journey is 16 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,818 to 4,238 pounds. The Journey’s gross vehicle weight rating ranges from 5,005 to 5,600 pounds.

Where Was the 2015 Dodge Journey Built?

Dodge assembled the 2015 Journey in Mexico.

Other Years

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Journey Shoppers Should Also Consider

2015 Chevrolet Traverse

# 1 in 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs

2015 Buick Enclave

# 2 in 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe

# 4 in 2015 Affordable Midsize SUVs


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  • 2015 Dodge Journey

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starting MSRP

2015 Dodge Journey

Base trim shown

Combined MPG

Seating capacity

View all  2015 Dodge Journey specs .

  • Limited body roll
  • Easy to maneuver
  • 8.4-inch display's simple interface
  • Crossroad trim's cabin materials and design
  • V-6's automatic can be hesitant to kick down
  • Nonlinear braking response
  • Some low-rent dashboard buttons
  • Ride quality

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2015 Dodge Journey trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Seating for five or seven
  • Standard four-cylinder
  • V-6 available
  • 8.4-inch touch-screen entertainment system available

2015 Dodge Journey review: Our expert's take

By Jennifer Geiger

The 2015 Dodge Journey is a low-cost, relatively family-friendly alternative to other people-movers, but you get what you pay for.

I want to like the 2015 Dodge Journey — with its affordable price, available third row and refreshingly simple multimedia system — but major ride and powertrain refinement issues sap a lot of its likability.

Again for 2015, the Journey is available in five- or seven-seat configurations with front- or all-wheel drive. Compare the 2014 and 2015 models here . The Journey straddles the compact and midsize SUV classes; competitors include compacts like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, as well as the Kia Sorento, a midsize SUV with an optional third row. Compare them here .

Exterior & Styling The Journey should look pretty familiar; it hasn’t changed much since it was introduced for the 2009 model year and then lightly revised for 2011. I tested a Crossroad trim that slots above the midlevel SXT model. Changes on the outside for the Crossroad include black chrome trim on its grille, headlights, roof rails and front bumper, which complement the smoked headlights and taillights and the 19-inch Hyper Black wheels. The package gives the conservative, suburban-looking Journey a kick of edgy, urban attitude.

How It Drives Power from a stop is respectable, but the Journey feels slow on the highway, even with the optional 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. The unresponsive, clunky six-speed automatic holds it back. Shifts are often delayed, and you can really hear and feel the powertrain straining to keep up with power demand for passing and merging. It sounds and feels very crude at highway speeds; competitors have much more refined road manners.

A 2.4-liter four-cylinder with an ancient four-speed automatic is standard. We haven’t driven the four-cylinder, but it’s hard to imagine that its 173 hp could satisfy when the V-6 is already borderline. Four-cylinder models have front-wheel drive only; V-6 versions can have front- or all-wheel drive.

Both engines have disappointing fuel economy. The four-cylinder is EPA-rated 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined, which is embarrassing against base versions of the CR-V (27/34/29), RAV4 (23/30/26) and Sorento (21/29/24).

In front-wheel-drive V-6 trim, the Journey is rated 17/25/19 mpg, a smidge under the V-6 Sorento (18/26/21). The CR-V and RAV4 don’t offer V-6 engines.

The Journey’s ride could also use some polishing. It lacks composure over even the smallest bumps, and larger ones ripple through the cabin like rocks tossed into a puddle. The brakes are also disappointing; the pedal has a mushy feel, and the brakes pulse unsettlingly even during normal braking.

Interior There’s a lot of black plastic in the cabin, but much of it is nicely padded. The overall look is sharp, thanks to some matte chrome trim with light gray contrast stitching, plus black leather seats with a sporty mesh insert.

The seats are long-drive comfortable but annoying to adjust. There’s a button to power the driver’s seat forward and back, but a manual lever to recline it. Front seat headroom and legroom are adequate, but one taller editor didn’t have enough knee room against the large, bulging steering-column housing.

I had a full house during my test and was able to fit two rear-facing infant seats in the second row with room for a small adult beside them. The bench seat has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard positions, as well as an extra single anchor in the middle position, an uncommon feature that makes the row more flexible for child-safety-seat placement.

Another family-friendly feature is a pair of integrated boosters, positioned in the outboard seats. They pop up easily and are quickly ready for use. The $225 option sounds steep compared with a $30 backless booster from Babies R Us, but you’re paying for convenience — integrated boosters make carpooling with extra kids safer and easier. They’re not for every kid, though; they can be safely used only with children weighing between 48 and 85 pounds. That’s a higher minimum weight than many traditional boosters, and because my 5-year-old weighs around 40 pounds, she was unable to test the Journey’s booster.

Lastly, kids will enjoy the optional DVD entertainment system’s 9-inch overhead screen, remote control and wireless headphones, though it’s not Blu-ray compatible.

A third-row bench is standard on the Crossroad model, and getting back there is a breeze. A lever on the second-row seat collapses the seat bottom and slides the whole seat forward, quickly creating an adult-sized opening.

Room in the third row is just OK. My 5-year-old’s booster fit well next to a small adult, and both were comfortable for a short ride. Unlike the Kia Sorento, though, the third row is available even on base models. It’s an extra $1,700 there as part of the Flexible Seating Group, which also includes extras like three-zone climate control and the easy-entry second-row feature.

Here’s where the Journey completely lost me: There are no lower Latch anchors in the third row. That’s not uncommon, as they’re not federally mandated back there, but Dodge also left out top tether anchors, making it unsafe for forward-facing car seats. Tsk, tsk, Dodge. Many competitors’ third rows have at least one top tether anchor, and some even have a set of lower Latch anchors.

Sunshades aren’t available for the second-row windows, either. This feature may seem minor, but it’s a helpful convenience on long trips with napping kids, and I missed it during my test weekend. Second-row captain’s chairs are also unavailable; many family vehicles offer them.

Ergonomics & Electronics Chrysler’s familiar 8.4-inch Uconnect touch-screen is front and center. It’s standard on higher trims; a small 4.3-inch touch-screen system is standard on lower trims. The 8.4-inch unit’s large, clear screen, straightforward menu structure and handy position high on the dash make it a favorite.

Operating the system for audio functions couldn’t get any easier — especially because the volume and tuning controls are separate dials located below the touch-screen — but using the navigation system was aggravating. There was quite a delay registering many functions; it was slow to respond to an address or make changes to the map.

Cargo & Storage Like so much about the Journey, small-item storage is hit and miss. First the good: The front passenger-seat cushion flips up to reveal a hidden storage compartment. There’s also a pair of second-row, in-floor storage bins. These hidden gems are useful for stashing valuables, and I appreciate their clever design.

In front, a big uncovered bin sitting in front of the shifter is sized right for devices. On the flip side, Dodge cheaped out with the seatback pockets; there’s only one, behind the driver’s seat. The center console is also small. It’s deep, but not very wide, so forget stashing even a small purse there.

There’s another handy underfloor storage bin behind the third row, but cargo space in general is paltry back there. With just 10.7 cubic feet of space, there’s not room for much. A small umbrella stroller fits, but a larger stroller does not. Behind the third row, the Kia Sorento offers 11.3 cubic feet of space.

Folding the third row flat for more cargo space is easy via a pair of seatback-mounted straps. Doing so opens up 39.6 cubic feet of room, besting the CR-V (35.3), RAV4 (38.4) and Sorento (38.8). In terms of maximum cargo volume, the Sorento leads the pack with 73.5 cubic feet, compared with 67.6 in the Journey, 70.9 in the CR-V and 73.4 in the RAV4.

Safety The Dodge Journey received an overall crash-test score of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Journey good (out of a possible poor, marginal, acceptable and good) in all areas of testing except the small overlap front test, where it received a score of poor.

Thick C-pillars and large third-row head restraints compromise rear visibility. A backup camera is optional on higher trims but unavailable on the base model. The Journey also lacks many safety features that are becoming common options, like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and forward collision warning systems. Seven airbags are standard: front, front-seat side-impact, driver’s knee and full-length side curtains. Click here for a full list of safety features.

A lack of third-row top-tether anchors meant we couldn’t install a forward-facing convertible child-safety seat in the third row, but two child seats fit well in the second row. Read our Car Seat Check for more.

Value in Its Class Sometimes, cost is a top priority, and the Journey definitely wins in that category. Base prices start at $21,690, including destination, which is around $2,000 to $4,000 lower than its competitors. But you might end up making up the difference at the repair shop; Journey reliability is historically bad.

Families tempted by the Journey’s low prices have a lot to consider, including whether sacrificing crashworthiness, reliability and refinement in the name of a deal is a good plan.

Consumer reviews

  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior 4.6
  • Performance 4.5
  • Exterior 4.6
  • Reliability 4.6

Most recent consumer reviews

I recommend this car.

Now, I did just purchase this car, just a couple of months ago, and even though it's an older car, it only had 55,000 miles when I bought it, and I purchased a 5-star warranty as well. First, I'm probably being a bit bias, b/c I'm a Dodge fan, due the Nitro I had previously. But so far, the other reviews I've read are pretty much spot-on. Mine has the 2.4L 4-cylinder. It's not as good on the gas mileage as other 4 cylinders, from the Reviews I had already read, b/c the Journey is heavy, but for me, it's also less to fill up than the 3.6L, 6 cylinder Nitro I owned previously. I also wouldn't take it on any sharp turns either. As other reviews had said, the engine does make some noise, but it's not that big of a deal to me. However, unlike the other reviews I had read, I have plenty of space as a driver, it's not as compacted as I thought it would be, but the cargo space has plenty of room, just like I've read. The infotainment system is really good too, just like the reviews I'd read had stated. I have SIRIUS, don't know how, I'm not paying for it, but if it's a feature with this car, fantastic, BB King's Bluesville station is on constant play, as other stations are too. It doesn't have the vehicle backing system nor an AUX connector that most cars now have, but it's a 2015, and the Journey wasn't Dodge's most elite model either. However, so far, I'm growing into this car, and glad I purchased it. I'll probably get the Hornet next. Ha.

  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior 4.0
  • Performance 4.0
  • Exterior 4.0
  • Reliability 4.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does recommend this car

Has anyone ever had any trouble with the paint fading? The paint in the roof and the hood of the car is awful it is also all chipped up on the hood like it's been driven down a gravel road at 60 mph ha this car has never seen a gravel road so its just weird to me

  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Exterior 3.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Purchased a New car
  • Used for Transporting family

I hate this car now I loved a year ago

I've had my car almost year, it's been broke down most of that year. Problems we can't seem to figure out. The check engine light is on and off . A light for traction comes on the car with squiggly lines . It makes the car jump. This seems to happen when the car is hot. We've put a lot of money into it already only to be able to drive it four days here, two days there . I'm so upset I’m paying for a car that I don’t get to drive. Something simple is blocking my car from moving.

  • Performance 1.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Does not recommend this car

NHTSA crash test and rollover ratings (scores out of 5)

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Latest 2015 Journey stories

Chrysler, dodge, jeep emissions recall: what owners should know.

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863,000 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep Vehicles: Recall Alert

By Patrick Masterson

2011-2015 Dodge Journey: Recall Alert

All model years for the dodge journey.

  • 2020 Dodge Journey
  • 2019 Dodge Journey
  • 2018 Dodge Journey
  • 2017 Dodge Journey
  • 2016 Dodge Journey
  • 2014 Dodge Journey
  • 2013 Dodge Journey
  • 2012 Dodge Journey
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is dodge journey 2015 a good car


  • R/T 4dr All-Wheel Drive

R/T 4dr All-Wheel Drive 2015 Dodge Journey Review

2015 journey new car test drive, introduction.

Dodge Journey is a midsize sport-utility that combines the smoother ride and better fuel economy of a car with the cargo space and roominess of an SUV. Journey seats five or seven, depending on options. Prices are appealing, too. Chrysler has claimed the Dodge Journey to be the most affordable seven-seat crossover sold in the U.S.  Not much has changed for 2015, except that the available SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link now includes five years of free service. The Journey Crossroad model, introduced for 2014 with mesh-insert leather seats and 19-inch black aluminum wheels, continues into the 2015 model year. So does the Limited model, as well as the SE V6 edition with all-wheel drive, which debuted during the 2014 season. Journey first appeared as a 2009 model.  Dodge Journey offers plenty of choices: four or six cylinders, five or seven seats, basic trim or full-lux leather. Like most crossovers, it comes with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which adds confidence in bad weather. Journey is considered a crossover vehicle because it uses a lightweight unit-body structure similar to that used by cars, instead of a body-on-frame truck chassis.  Up-level models are powered by the same modern 3.6-liter V6 that's become ubiquitous in Chrysler Group vehicles. It has plenty of power but is ill-matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, making it feel less powerful than it actually is. The V6 produces 283 horsepower at 6350 rpm, 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm.  Standard Journey motivation comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine of 173 horsepower. We found the four-cylinder engine rough and noisy, with too little power for a vehicle of this size.  Inside is where the Journey shines. Its interior design and materials give it one of the nicest cockpits in the class. Seating for five is standard, with a two-passenger third row optional. Either way it has useful, though not class-leading, cargo space. Filling the Journey with adults won't make all your passengers happy, but the rear seat should work well for children. Seats flip and fold to provide ample versatility for hauling people, cargo, or both.  The Journey offers a fold-flat front passenger seat that will allow loading items up to nine feet long. It features some unique storage solutions that owners should find useful. Among them: a bin under the front passenger seat, storage under the floor in the second row and behind the last row of seats, a dual glove box with Dodge's Chill Zone that cools soda cans, and all the usual cubbies up front, including a fairly deep center console. Entertainment options are plentiful, as the Journey has a CD player standard and offers a rear DVD entertainment system and a hard-drive radio.  Journey R/T models come with perforated leather seats, a dimpled leather heated steering wheel and dimpled shift knob, red accent stitching on the steering wheel and a performance suspension for even more responsive handling.  We recommend the V6 engine, which provides that extra margin of power that many buyers will want, as well as much more refinement. Be careful when it comes to options, though, as it's easy to boost the Journey past $30,000. 

The 2015 Dodge Journey is offered in six trim levels: AVP (American Value Package), SE, SXT, Crossroad, Limited, and R/T. The AVP is only available with front-wheel drive and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 4-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic are standard in Limited and R/T. SE, SXT and Crossroad models can be ordered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and with the four-cylinder or V6 engine. As with many crossover vehicles, a dizzying array of options is available.  All models provide seating for five in their standard configuration, or for seven with the optional Flexible Seating Group ($1,500 or $1,700) which adds not only a 50/50 folding and reclining third seat, but a 60/40 tilt-and-slide second seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a cargo compartment cover.  Journey AVP ($20,295) comes with cloth upholstery; cruise control; dual-zone manual air conditioning with air filtering; tinted glass; Uconnect 4.3 with AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA stereo with six speakers, 4.3-inch touchscreen, auxiliary input jack, and USB port; power windows; power heated exterior mirrors; power door locks; remote keyless entry; tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; driver's seat height adjustment; 60/40-split-folding second-row seat; headlights with time-delay off; a grille with bright accents; and P225/65R17 all-season touring tires on steel wheels.  Journey SE ($23,395) and SE AWD ($27,295) adds deep-tint sunscreen glass, black side roof rails, and LED taillamps. Also standard are cloth upholstery; cruise control; dual-zone manual air conditioning with air filtering; tinted glass; Uconnect 4.3 AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA stereo with six speakers, 4.3-inch touchscreen, auxiliary input jack, and USB port; power windows; power heated exterior mirrors; power door locks; remote keyless entry; tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; driver's seat height adjustment; 60/40-split-folding second-row seat; headlights with time-delay off; a grille with bright accents; LED taillamps; and P225/65R17 all-season touring tires on steel wheels. With AWD, the otherwise-optional 17-inch aluminum wheels are included at no extra charge.  Journey SXT ($25,695) adds SiriusXM satellite radio (with one-year subscription), floor mats, fog lamps, cargo cover and net, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Mirrors are body color rather than black, and the front fascia is more elaborate. The front-drive SXT can be ordered with the V6 ($1,700). Journey SXT AWD ($29,195) comes standard with the V6, which also gets bright dual exhaust tips, a performance-tuned suspension and a slightly larger fuel tank.  Journey SXT Plus ($26,395) and SXT Plus AWD ($29,895) add an option group that includes Uconnect voice-command with Bluetooth and 8.4-inch touchscreen, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power six-way driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, fold-flat front passenger seat with in-cushion storage, dual-zone automatic climate control, and additional features.  Journey Crossroad ($26,595) and Crossroad AWD ($29,995) include leather seat upholstery with sport mesh inserts, unique front/rear fascias with chrome accents, chrome side sills and roof rails, Uconnect 8.4 with SiriusXM satellite radio and CD/DVD player, 19-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels, and additional items that are included in the SXT Plus package.  Journey Limited ($30,895) and Limited AWD ($32,795) upgrade further with the V6 engine as standard; fully automatic halogen headlamps; dual-zone automatic climate control; premium leather seat upholstery with headed steering wheel and seats; Uconnect 8.4 with 8.4-in. touchscreen, AM/FM radio, SiriusXM radio, CD/DVD player, MP3/WMA/AAC, audio input jack, remote USB port and SD card slot; six-way power driver's seat with four-way lumbar support; fold-flat front passenger seat with in-seat storage; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; illuminated vanity mirrors; one-touch control for power windows; 115-volt power outlet; and 225/55R19 all-season touring tires on 19-inch Tech Silver aluminum wheels. Door handles, exhaust tips, and roof rails are all chromed.  Journey R/T ($30,895) and R/T AWD ($32,795) are the sporty models. They add firm-feel power steering; high-performance suspension; heated front seats; dimpled black leather upholstery with red stitching; dimple-leather wrap for the steering wheel with matching red stitching; INFINITI 368-watt premium sound; and 19-inch alloy wheels finished in Satin Carbon. Door handles revert to body color, matching the body color trim in the grille; and roof rails revert to optional status ($125).  Options include the Blacktop Package ($395) for SXT, including 19-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, black grille and headlamp bezels, black outside mirrors, and touring suspension. The Sun and Sound Group ($795 or $995) for SXT includes six premium speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, as well as a sunroof. A Navigation/Backup Camera Group ($995 or $1,395) for SXT and up includes Garmin navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio with Travel Link, tri-zone automatic climate control, universal garage door opener, rear park assist, and rearview camera. Rear DVD entertainment ($795 to $1,195) comes with a 9-inch screen, remote control, and two wireless headphones. Standalone options include six premium Infinity speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier ($395); an engine block heater ($95), sunroof ($975), integrated second-row child safety seats ($225), and a Trailer Tow Group ($145) with an engine oil cooler and a four-pin connector. Many more options are available, and the model you order (and the combination of options) can affect option prices.  Safety features on all Journey models include multistage front airbags; torso-protecting, seat-mounted front side airbags; head-protecting curtain side airbags that cover all seating rows; driver's knee airbag; front-seat active head restraints; a tire-pressure monitor; traction control; electronic stability control with rollover mitigation; ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist; and Dodge's trailer sway control. Available all-wheel drive improves stability in slippery conditions. 

On the outside, the Journey announces its presence with the familiar Dodge crosshair grille. The look might be described as bold. Actually, the upright shape of the grille and its relation to the aluminum hood and windshield is very reminiscent of the current Dodge Grand Caravan, and no SUV ever earned many sales by looking like a minivan.  That said, the Journey's front end is somewhat simpler than the Grand Caravan's, with more straight lines and straightforward shapes. Journey AVP and SE breathe through a full-width lower air intake, superficially resembling the Grand Caravan's but again more decisively shaped and divided into three segments. Upmarket Journeys sport a more aggressive front fascia with a single, centered lower opening arched at the top and defined by a faux skidplate below. Flanking it are round fog lights set into imitation brake ducts.  Around the sides, the Journey features pronounced wheel arches and a creased character line that starts at the top of each headlight, angles upward, and wraps completely around the vehicle. The roofline flows nicely from the windshield, curving down slightly front to rear. The B- and C-pillars are blacked out to convey, as Dodge puts it, the look of a car-like greenhouse and an SUV-like lower half.  At the back, the Journey's taillights wrap around the sides of the vehicle and continue into the tailgate, which opens upward. The taillights themselves are LEDs on all but the base model. The rear bumper has an integrated step pad that matches the height of the load floor. Models with the V6 engine can be distinguished by their dual chrome exhaust tips.  The Dodge Journey is bigger than it looks. In overall dimension, it's actually longer than such seven-passenger crossover competitors as the Toyota Highlander (although the Journey is just an inch longer than a Honda Pilot). The Journey's size translates to plenty of interior cargo room, but the design isn't as space-efficient as some of its competitors. 

The Dodge Journey features an inviting cabin, offering plenty of room for passengers and cargo, available seating for seven, and several smart and convenient storage solutions.  Rich, soft-touch surfaces form an attractive layout. The dash top, door panels, armrests and center console are all soft to the touch. Generous sound-deadening material makes the Journey quiet underway. The look, feel, and calm demeanor place the Journey at or near the top of the class for interior quality.  The center stack features three low-set knobs surrounded by several buttons. Climate controls are arrayed around the center knob, and they're easy enough to use.  Infotainment choices (Chrysler calls them Multimedia Systems) begin on the base model with Uconnect 4.3, which has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, standard audio input jack and USB port; add SiriusXM satellite radio and this setup becomes Uconnect 4.3S. The next step up (Uconnect 8.4) comes with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and a 30-gigabyte hard drive that can hold up to 6700 song files. There is also a premium version of this unit (8.4N) that adds Bluetooth streaming audio, voice command, a Garmin navigation system with SiriusXM Travel Link, Lane Guidance and pre-programmed hands-free texting responses. We've had limited exposure to this system, but it works fairly well. Given Garmin's reach, more people should be familiar with the navigation system, but we think it looks cartoonish. We also like the idea of hands-free texting.  The Journey offers plenty of entertainment features for all occupants. An AM/FM radio with in-dash CD player and six speakers is standard. An available rear DVD entertainment system has a nine-inch screen and wireless headphones. Dodge's Uconnect phone hands-free cell phone link and a premium Infinity sound system also are offered.  Cabin space in the Journey is good but not great. The driver's seat offers plenty of head and leg room for just about any occupant. The view is generally unobstructed front and rear. The Journey's unique storage and convenience features, however, are what really make it shine. All Journeys have a dual-level glove box with Dodge's Chill Zone up top. Chill Zone uses the air conditioning system to keep up to four soda cans cool.  The center console/armrest has a lid that slides forward three inches. It has enough storage space for up to 10 DVD cases. Two cupholders are located in front of the console, along with a tray for cell phones and the like. An additional, more discreet storage space is standard in upper models and optional for SE and SXT. The front passenger seat bottom flips up to reveal a storage bin that has about enough room for a good-sized purse. The seatback also folds flat, allowing items up to nine feet long to be loaded into the Journey. And to help drivers keep an eye on the kids, there is a popular minivan feature: a fisheye conversation mirror.  The second row is equally as ingenious. The three-passenger bench seat is 1.6 inches higher than the front seat to give passengers a better view of the road. It slides forward and back up to 4.7 inches in seven-passenger models, and can be ordered with integrated child booster seats for the outboard positions. The Journey also has two in-floor storage bins with removable liners. Each bin can hold up to six soda cans plus ice. The seatbacks are split 60/40 and fold flat. When the optional Flexible Seating Group is ordered, the second-row seats fold in a scissors action, with the seat bottoms tilting up, the seatbacks tilting forward, and the seats sliding forward to provide easy access to the third row. The rear doors open 90 degrees, making entry and exit easy.  Base seating is for five, but the Flexible Seating Group expands seating capacity to seven. The third row is 0.6 inches higher than the second row, is split 50/50, and folds flat. Dodge says it offers enough head room for a 95th-percentile male. That's all well and good, but leg space is tight and the bottom cushion is low to the floor, so adults sit with their knees up. It's possible to fit seven adults in the Journey, but the third-row passengers and second-row middle occupant will be none too happy about it. Younger children will have plenty of room, though.  Both the five- and seven-passenger Journeys have a shallow under-floor storage bin that extends from the rear of the vehicle forward to just behind the last row of seats. That means the five-passenger edition has considerably more space under the floor than the seven-passenger version. The cover for this bin is reversible, too, with carpet on one side and plastic on the other. The plastic will allow for worry-free stowage of items such as muddy boots.  Cargo space expands to 67.6 cubic feet with all seats down, which is average for the class but bested by the Toyota Highlander and even the smaller Honda CR-V. Loading cargo shouldn't be tough, as the liftover height is relatively low. It would be nice, however, if the tailgate had a separate opening glass. As an added bonus, a removable, rechargeable flashlight for the rear cargo area is included in an option group. 

Driving Impression

The Dodge Journey is nondescript when it comes to road manners. Ride quality is generally good, with little pounding over bumps. The head sway normally associated with a high seating position is also minimal. Even with the available 19-inch wheels, the Journey does a good job of ironing out most jolts. But there are plenty of midsize crossovers and SUVs with similar ride characteristics.  While the high seating position affords a good view of the road, it seems to hurt the feel behind the wheel. This is not an off-road oriented SUV, and as such it seems that Dodge could have made it sit a bit lower, which would have made it feel more carlike. The way it's engineered, however, means the Journey leans more in turns than other crossovers. The steering is light but predictable, and the brakes are easy to modulate.  Engines are comparable to the handling: capable but not as good as the best in the class. The base four-cylinder, Chrysler's 173-horsepower 2.4-liter World Engine, is loud in the Journey and delivers too little power in this 3800-pound package. The four-cylinder will certainly get you and your kids around town, but passing will require some planning and it's not rated for towing. With a 0-60 mph acceleration time somewhere between 11 and 12 seconds, a four-cylinder Journey is one of the slower vehicles in its class.  The 283-horsepower V6 is plenty modern, equipped with double overhead camshafts (that's four cams) and four valves per cylinder. However, it seems hampered by transmission and throttle tuning.  Power is decent from a start, but the transmission shifts up as quickly as it can, meaning power is no longer readily on tap. It requires a deep stab at the throttle to coax a downshift, and you practically have to floor it to get a two-gear downshift needed for highway passing. The problem is exacerbated by numb throttle response. We also found that with front-wheel drive, those foot-to-the-floor blasts can cause some torque steer (felt as a slight tug on the steering wheel) that temporarily disrupts fine steering control.  On the positive side, the 3.6-liter engine should provide 0-60 mph runs in the high seven-second range. Towing capacity is 2500 pounds, but a Dodge Grand Caravan minivan with the same engine can tow 3600 pounds.  Fuel economy numbers are decent. With the four-cylinder engine, the Journey is EPA-rated at 19/26 mpg City/Highway. The V6 is rated at 17/25 mpg with front-wheel drive, and with AWD it's rated 16/24 mpg.  Lacking low-range gearing, the all-wheel-drive system is mainly meant for slippery surfaces, not off-roading. In most conditions, it sends the power to the front wheels; but when more traction is needed, such as in wintry conditions, rain or on any slippery surface, it can send some of the power to the rear wheels. It can also aid handling, at least a bit. When traveling over 25 mph into a turn, the system sends power to the rear wheels to help the vehicle turn. It's not as sophisticated as systems from Acura and BMW that send the power to the outside rear wheel in turns, but it's a help. 

The Dodge Journey has one of the nicest interiors in the class, as well as an intelligent design with family-friendly entertainment and versatility features. Its handling is controlled and reasonably carlike. The four-cylinder engine lacks refinement, but the V6 doesn't, though it could use better transmission programming. Still, for the young family on the go, the Journey offers a pleasant ride, plenty of room, and enough space and entertainment options to keep the kids comfortable and occupied.  Kirk Bell filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report after his test drive of the Dodge Journey in and around Las Vegas and Sonoma, California. Additional material by John F. Katz. 

Model Lineup

Dodge Journey AVP ($20,295); Journey SE ($23,395), SE AWD ($27,295); Journey SXT ($25,695), SXT AWD ($29,195); SXT Plus ($26,395), SXT Plus AWD ($29,895); Journey Crossroad ($26,595), Crossroad AWD ($29,995); Journey Limited ($30,895), Limited AWD ($32,795); Journey R/T ($30,895), R/T AWD ($32,795). 

Assembled In

Toluca, Mexico. 

Options As Tested

Flexible Seating Group ($1,050) with third-row 50/50 folding/reclining seat, second-row 60/40 Tilt 'n Slide rear seat, and three-zone automatic temperature control (including the rear), cargo cover; Popular Equipment Group ($1,095) with upgraded cloth upholstery, 6-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, fold-flat passenger seat with under-cushion storage bin, leather-wrapped steering wheel, universal garage door opener, illuminated visor mirrors, remote engine starting, LED map lights, overhead console, alarm, daytime running lights; Trailer Tow Group ($145) includes engine oil cooler, four-pin connector and wiring harness. 

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2015 Dodge Journey trims (10)

(SE) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(SE) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(SXT) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(SXT) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(Crossroad) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(Crossroad) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(SE) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(SE) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(SXT) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(SXT) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(Crossroad) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(Crossroad) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(R/T) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(R/T) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(Limited) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(Limited) 4dr Front-Wheel Drive

(R/T) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(R/T) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(Limited) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

(Limited) 4dr All-Wheel Drive

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Here are the dodge journey years to avoid.

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Not all Dodge Journey years are created equal.

CoPilot Compare breaks down pricing and feature differences between Dodge Journey years so you can find the sweet spot between value AND reliability.

Dodge Journey  by Vauxford —  CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Dodge Journey is a mid-size crossover SUV manufactured from 2009 to 2020. Although it’s not in production anymore, there are many excellent used models for purchase. If you’re interested in this vehicle, you might wonder - what are the Dodge Journey years to avoid?

There’s a lot to consider when investing in a new vehicle for your life. If you’re going to spend money on a car, it should be a great one that will last. Read on to learn more about which Dodge Journey years to avoid and which one to look at as a potential future investment.


The CoPilot app is the best way to find a Dodge Journey for sale . Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll send you a curated list of the best used Dodge Journey listings in your area - no more scrolling through hundreds of listings looking for hidden gems.

Dodge Journey Years to Avoid

The Dodge Journey has had some great models, but there are also some Dodge Journey years to avoid if you are thinking about investing in a used model. There are many reasons why you should stay away from these versions.

The Dodge Journey years to stay away from include:

These are some of the worst years in existence for the Dodge Journey.

Many factors have made these years of the Dodge Journey challenging for the average driver. We’ll dive further into these next so you can better understand the reasoning behind selecting these as the Dodge Journey years to avoid. We can help you with the decision aspect of your next vehicle investment. 

What Makes These Years Worth Avoiding?

As we mentioned, several things make these Dodge Journey years worth avoiding. There are more than three issues with these years, but we’ll go over three of the most prominent to give you a solid idea of the most common problems you’ll encounter. According to carcomplaints.com , some of the top reasons that make these years worth avoiding include:

  • Brake problems 
  • Engine issues
  • Interior accessory troubles 
  • Interior water leaks
  • Malfunctioning remote keyless entry

These were not the only problems with the Dodge Journey years listed above, but they were the most apparent.

Read on to learn about each of these issues in more detail. The more you know about the potential problems you can face with the faulty models, the better a decision you can make about your next car choice. There are lots to consider when preparing to make an investment this large.


Although there’s a ton of information, we’ve narrowed down the critical portions for your car-hunting needs. Read on to learn more about the most reliable year Dodge Journey , the least reliable selection, and anything else you should know.

Brake Problems

Brake problems were the most prominent issue that emerged with the Dodge Journey, especially the 2009 model. This is an inconvenience and wildly dangerous for those who drive at high speeds. You don’t want a vehicle that struggles to maintain proper brakes.

Some brake problems include:

  • Premature brake and rotor wear
  • Noisy brakes
  • Calipers that lock up

These are just a few brake problems that can emerge if you select one of the problematic Dodge Journey years.

Brakes are a critical aspect of any vehicle. If you select one of the above models and don’t maintain your brakes, you could face danger and wild expenses in the future. This issue stands out as the worst of the Dodge Journey’s faulty years.

Engine Issues

Engine issues are the second problem in the faulty Dodge Journey years. Engine problems can be expensive and even dangerous depending on where they occur. If you’re a driver, engine problems are not something you want to deal with daily.

Some of the engine problems include:

  • Dying engine while driving
  • Ticking sound from the engine
  • Check engine light always on

It’s safe to say that none of these engine issues appeal to drivers, no matter how small they seem.

You’re paying lots of money for a used Dodge Journey, so why pick one with severe engine faults ingrained in its system? Go with a more reliable model to ensure that you stay safe on the road and save money.

Interior Accessory Troubles

Finally, interior accessory troubles are one of the final issues that plague some models of the Dodge Journey. These problems can deal with anything from the vehicle’s door to the car’s window and everything in between. 

These issues are both a nuisance to the typical car owner and an unnecessary expense. The more things break, the more it will cost to fix them. It’s vital to invest in a version of the Dodge Journey that has a stable interior so you can avoid the pain of fixing interior accessory breakages regularly.

Interior Water Leaks

Owners of the 2009-2018 Dodge Journeys have compromised their comfort of dampness inside the cabin. Apparently, the cabin is susceptible to water leaks which may occur at the low mileage of 58,000 miles.

According to the reports, the driver seat floor of the Dodge Journey may become moist whenever you’re driving in the rain. In some complaints, there are also leaks found near the rear side of the Journey, which may get your floor and carpet wet. Leaks were also reported near vents, windows, and headliners. You may need a professional to seal the leaky areas and solve this issue.

Defective Remote Keyless Entry System

There’s no shortage of neat features offered by the 2009-2017 Dodge Journeys – unfortunately, the remote keyless entry function isn’t one of them. The remote keyless entry system is one of the most reported issues with the Dodge Journey.

According to frustrated owners, the system refuses to work properly as you’ll either get wrong key readings or the dreaded “key not detected” message. In some cases, the system also interfered with the key fob that prevented drivers from locking or unlocking the doors. A software update is required to fix the issue.


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Which Years Are Safe to Buy Used?

We talked about some of the worst years of the Dodge Journey, but what about the best? It’s vital to understand your options before you go all in and put your money down on a used vehicle. We’ll go over some of the best choices for Dodge Journey years below.

According to carcomplaints.com , some of the best years for the Dodge Journey include:

  • 2015 Dodge Journey - If you want a used SUV that seats up to seven passengers, the 2015 Dodge Journey is a great option. However, make no mistake, the 2015 Journey is simply an OK SUV and you’re probably better off with its competitors. However, it offers good long-term reliability along with reasonable pricing.
  • 2016 Dodge Journey - The 2016 Journey is better than the previous year, and it’s more affordable than its segment competitors. It offers an intuitive infotainment system, versatile seating and cargo features, and fair reliability ratings.
  • 2017 Dodge Journey - The 2017 Dodge Journey comes with a low average list price, which is great if you’re buying used. Furthermore, it provides a comfortable ride and a sleek infotainment system. In terms of reliability, it received some fair scores but nothing too impressive.
  • 2018 Dodge Journey - Although the 2018 Journey may be more reliable than the models to avoid, it doesn’t have strong predicted reliability scores. Its main selling points are affordable pricing and low ownership costs.
  • 2019 Dodge Journey - The 2019 Journey offers good dependability and fuel economy. Other than that, it can be a hit or miss, especially in build quality. If you can find a good price for it, then by all means. Otherwise, this model is certainly a skip.

These years have been some of the best to date with the Dodge Journey.

If you are looking for the best Dodge Journey year to buy, these make for excellent options to choose from for your future. Look into each of them a little more to determine if they’re right for you. Whichever one you select, it’s sure to be better than the faulty years listed above.

Understanding which Dodge Journey years to avoid can save you lots of trouble in the long run. Many problems come with some models, such as engine failures and transmission breakages. If you can find a version of the car that won’t leave you with expensive repairs, you should purchase it as your next vehicle.

The Dodge Journey is an excellent car, but some years have faults. We hope that this information was helpful so you can select your next car without issue. There’s a lot to consider when dealing with a used car investment, and we hope to make it a little easier for you. There are lots to consider.

Are Dodge Journeys typically reliable?

First appearing for the 2009 model year and being discontinued after 2020, the Dodge Journey has a mixed reliability record. In particular, buyers will want to stay away from the initial model years for a more dependable ownership experience. 

How much does a used Dodge Journey typically cost?

The high demand for affordable family vehicles and tight supplies have significantly increased the cost for used Dodge Journeys. According to CoPilot Price Pulse , a 2013 Journey has a typical asking price of $10,020, which is 37% higher than what it would be in normal market conditions. A 2019 Journey costs $20,601 (including a 29% market premium). 

Is the Dodge Journey a good car to purchase?

Not every Dodge Journey model year is known for reliability. That’s something to consider before making a purchase. Research the most reliable years of the Dodge Journey before looking for what to buy. 

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Dodge Journey


Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

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A typical model has about 200 to 400 samples for each model year. For some model years, typically those of older or less popular cars, we do not have a large enough sample size to provide results of statistical confidence.

There are several ways in which a savvy car buyer can still research the quality of a car.

Learn more about Car Brands Reliability Learn How To Avoid A Lemon Car

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Moscow Metro: The Complete Guide

The Moscow Metro is busy, but easy to use

Robert Schrader

With nearly 7 million riders per day on its 16 lines, the Moscow Metro is the sixth-busiest metro system in the world as of March 2019. Riding the Moscow Metro, however, does not need to be a stressful experience. In fact, it's by far the easiest and most enjoyable way to get around Moscow, especially since many Moscow Metro stations are veritable works of art. Our guide to the public transportation will teach you how to ride the Metro and more.

How to Ride the Moscow Metro

Here is some essential practical information you need to know to easily and seamlessly ride the Moscow Metro.

  • Fares: Moscow Metro fares start at 55 rubles for a one-way ticket, which is good for five days after purchase. You'll pay more if your journey takes you outside of the central Moscow zones of A and B, though this is not the case for most tourists.
  • How to Pay: Cash is the only way to buy a one-way ticket. However, if you have Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, you can tap your phone directly at the ticket gate and enter using NFC technology. You can also use both mobile payments and credit cards to top-up your reloadable Troika card.
  • Routes and Hours: The Moscow Metro has 13 lines that snake and criss-cross the city, plus outer and inner loop lines that string them together, as well as a monorail. The Moscow Metro is open from approximately 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and trains run with a frequency that can range between 1 and 7 minutes.
  • Service Alerts: Download the official MosMetro app on the AppStore or Google Play .
  • Transfers: Regardless of how you pay to enter the Moscow Metro, you can transfer to any of the core lines plus the Moscow Monorail without passing through an additional ticket gate. If you wish to transfer to bus lines, airport trains or other rail services, paying with Troika or your mobile device might be more convenient.
  • Accessibility: Although Moscow Metro is impressive and modern in many ways, it is not very accessible . Visitors who use wheelchairs should try to avoid the subway and take aboveground transportation instead.

Beautiful Moscow Metro Stations

The Moscow Metro has achieved internet notoriety — and not just because of how busy it is. Several Moscow Metro stations are distractingly beautiful, including:

  • Aviamotornaya: Brilliant gold themed to the flight of Icarus.
  • Komsomolskaya: Bright yellow ceilings and murals chronicling Russia's journey to independence.
  • Mayakovskaya: Art Deco, featuring mosaic ceilings and pink marble floor
  • Park Pobedy: Modern station (built in 2003) with colorful murals; one of the deepest metro stations in the world (276 feet below ground!).
  • Ploschad Revolutsii: Constructed in 1938 at the height of Soviet pride, this station is home to bronze statues that locals still rub for good luck.

Although it's technically legal to take pictures within the Moscow Metro, guards might approach you if you spend too long photographing a particular station, or use professional equipment like a tripod. Be as discreet as possible to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation!

Other Moscow Public Transit

In addition to the (mostly) subterranean transport offered by the Moscow Metro, Russia's capital is home to a number of aboveground transport options. This includes a large network of buses, as well as trams and "trolley buses." While these are all cheaper than the Moscow Metro, they also require some command of Russian to use; the ordinary buses are also subject to sitting in Moscow's terrible traffic.

In terms of payment, your Moscow Metro ticket isn't valid for transit to any other form of transit, though a Troika card will allow you to do so seamlessly. Likewise, while the various Aeroexpress trains (between Sheremetyevo Airport and Belorussky Station, Domodedovo Airport and Paveletsky Station and between Vnukovo Airport and Kievsky Station) feature modern vehicles and offer fast, reliable connections to Moscow's major airports, these lines are not considered to be part of the Moscow Metro system.

As noted earlier, the Moscow Metro is technically organized by "Zone," with the center of Moscow being occupied by the "A" and "B" zone. Again, you shouldn't worry too much about this. If you're hanging out in the parts of the city, you probably speak enough Russian to be able to ask a local for advice!

Taxis and Ride Sharing Apps

The bad news? It is exceedingly unlikely that a taxi drive in Moscow will speak English. The good news? Uber works in Moscow as of March 2019, which means that if you have the app installed on your smartphone (and a Russian SIM card, which you can pick up at Moscow Airport), your next Moscow ride is basically a matter of plug-and-play.

Russia also has a number of homegrown ride sharing apps, though these aren't as ubiquitous as Uber — they also don't have good English-language interfaces. If you're interested in learning more about them, in any case, be sure to visit the websites of InDriver or Taxi Maxim . Keep in mind that many of these applications require Russian credit cards, or a Russian bank account to pay for rides.

Security-wise, the technological aspect of using ride sharing apps in Russia makes them relatively safe. On the other hand, taxis have a dodgy reputation at best. If you do end up needing to take a taxi in Moscow, make sure to use a registered car. The ones waiting at the airport stands are generally legitimate; within the city limits, try and have your hotel call a taxi to be safe.

Renting a Car in Moscow

Traffic in Moscow is reliably awful, to say nothing of how difficult navigating the city's serpentine network of ring roads and one-way streets can be. However, if you do want to rent a car in Moscow (or in Russia, more generally) there are some facts you should keep in mind.

Documentation wise, it's not officially necessary to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) — your US driver's license will work, at least if you plan to drive in Russia for less than six months. However, it might serve you well to get an IDP (you can apply at your local AAA office) for peace of mind. In Russia as in the US, you drive on the right side of the road; gas costs about 40 rubles per liter, or about $2.40 per gallon.

Another potential downfall of renting a car of Russia is the threat of interactions with Russian traffic police. While this doesn't put you in any mortal danger, there is a chance you'll have to bribe your way out of any confrontation, which outside the center of Moscow or other Russian cities will almost certainly necessitate some Russian language or body language skills.

Tips for Getting Around Moscow

Regardless of whether you take the Moscow Metro or any of the other transportation options listed here, these general tips for getting around Moscow will serve you well:

  • Moscow's city center is very walkable. Unless you're visiting on a bitterly cold day during the middle of winter, many of Moscow's attractions are close enough together that you could walk. For example, you can easily walk from Red Square to Gorky Park, Bolshoy Theatre , Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts , the Kremlin or simply along the Moskva River.
  • All roads lead to Red Square. Although Moscow is not a grid-pattern city, it is relatively organized. The majority of major roads start and end at Red Square; the rest are circular ones that connect the "spokes" from Red Square. With this basic idea in mind, it's pretty difficult to get lost in Moscow!
  • Moscow's awful traffic means that rail is usually the quickest option. Even if the physical distance between two places is shorter by car, traveling via the Moscow Metro is probably going to be quicker.
  • English signage in Moscow has greatly improved over the years. On the other hand, familiarizing yourself with the Cyrillic alphabet before your trip to Russia probably wouldn't be a bad idea. If you need to push someone out of the way (spoiler alert: you probably will!), say izvineetye (sorry) to excuse yourself.
  • Petty theft is common, especially during rush hour. Wear your backpack in front of your body, and don't keep large amounts of cash (or your smartphone!) in your back pocket. Hide any conspicuous signs of wealth to avoid being a target!

The Moscow Metro is easy to use—once you get the hang of it. After all, more than two billion trips take place across its rails every year. If it were difficult, this simply wouldn't be possible! Want to learn more about things to do in Moscow? Make sure to check out this guide to Red Square , which is both the geographical and cultural heart of Moscow (and arguably Russia).

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Getting around Moscow by metro and public transport

Moscow traffic / Photo by Leszek Golubinski @ FlickR

Moscow Metro

There is a ring-line (brown) which has crossings with all other radial lines. Metro entrances are marked with a large red letter "M".

Ploschad Revolutsii metro station in Moscow / Photo by Sbisson@FlickR

Tickets & Prices. The metro has no special zones - all the metro is one zone, and there's no time limit for using your ticket. You can buy a ticket for 28R ($1) for one trip and spend as much time inside as you like. You can also save money and buy tickets for 5, 10 or 20 trips – they are less expensive. If you don't pay , then you'll have to pay around $50 fine.

See a video of a trip in Moscow metro:

Moscow metro is sometimes beautifully decorated , in fact, it looks like an underground museum. One of the reasons is that when it was built it was supposed to be an underground shelter in case of war, so it was built to be pleasing to the eyes and to 'promote' communist way of life. Hence many mosaics and sculptures dedicated to the life of Soviet people.

Inside Moscow metro  / photo by Wrong_Wai@FlickR

Buses, Trolleys and Trams

Moscow trolleybuses - photo by Trolleway@FlickR

Selected Public Transport Routes in Moscow

It's great to experience Moscow if you move around by city transport - Moscow is a big city and there're many places worth seeing. The route given is the list of the areas the bus, trolley or tram goes through, it's not all the stops. If you don't understand where the areas and the streets are, read about this at Moscow Guide / Moscow Areas & Maps. The route is given in [square brackets].

Marshrutka (Minibus-Shuttle)

is dodge journey 2015 a good car

Taxi and Cars in Moscow

In any case the car prices have risen up in Moscow recently but are still not as high as in Europe, for example. Normally it should cost around 400-500 R ($12-$15) to get from the outskirts of Moscow to the center of the city (about 30-60 min drive depending on the traffic) and it's around 200 R ($8) to move around the center (10-15 min drive). I usually calculate 200 R ($7) for every 10 minutes.   Using the taxis is more safe and sometimes even cheaper, but there are not many taxis on the streets, only in lively places. You can recognize a taxi by a typical 'chess' sign on top and yellow colour. Usually taxis take around 10 R ($0.3) for one kilometer (only inside Moscow) and they start the counter at 25 R ($0.9). Here's a list of Moscow taxi operators (they barely speak English, though), the prices are as of February 2004: Allo Taxi. They charge 250 rubles for the first 20 minutes (300 rubles at night) and then 7 rubles per minute after that (8 rubles at night). Moscow – Sheremetyevo II: 850R ($31). Sheremetyevo II – Moscow: 1000 R ($37). Phone: +7 (495) 225-3588. Website: www.allotaxi.ru. (You can order online).

City Taxi. Their tariffs are 250 R for the first 30 minutes during the day (for the first 20 minutes at night) and then 6 R for each additional minute (7 R at night). Moscow – Sheremetyevo II: 700R ($26). Sheremetyevo II – Moscow: 850 R ($31). Phone: +7 (495) 225-9225. Website: www.citytaxi.ru. (You can order online).

Krasnaya Gorka. The cheapest in the list – billed by km: 5 R ($0.15) / km. Ask for a Russian car - Zhiguli - the cheapest. Moscow - Sheremetyevo II 700R ($25), Sheremetyevo II - Moscow 900R ($32). Phone: +7 (495) 454-6291/7201. Fax: 454-7201.

Taxi 505. Probably the cheapest, at least for airport transfers: prices are 170 R for the first 20 minutes during the day (180 R for the first 10km at night) and 5 R per each additional minute during the day (10 R per extra km at night). Moscow – Sheremetyevo II: 550R ($20). Sheremetyevo II – Moscow: 750 R ($28). Phone: +7 (495) 505-3661. Website: www.taxiport.ru. (You can order online).

Taxi Club. Prices are 200 R for the first 20 minutes during the day (250 R at night) and then 6 R per minute after that (7 R at night). Moscow – Sheremetyevo II: 750R ($28). Sheremetyevo II – Moscow: 850 R ($31). Phone: +7 (495) 540-0400. Website: www.taxiclub.ru. (You can order online)

XXL Taxi. Prices are 240 R for the first 30 minutes during the day (270 R at night) and 8 R per minute after that (9 R per minute at night). Moscow – Sheremetyevo II: 750R ($28). Sheremetyevo II – Moscow: 900 R ($33). Phone: +7 (495) 105-8866. Website: www.xxltaxi.ru/. (You can order online).

Limousine Service. The most expensive in the list. They use Lincolns or Mercedes limousines and charge $100 Moscow - Sheremetyevo II. Sheremetyevo II - Moscow costs $150. Phone: +7 (495) 257-4000/4400. Fax: 257-1596. Website: www.limos.ru. (You can order online).

Renting a car can be a good alternative to taking taxis. For example, a ride from a Moscow airport costs about $70, but you can rent a car for $50 / day directly from the airport if you rent it for 3 days (it costs less if you rent it for longer). Be sure to take insurance as well, it's worth it because driving in Moscow is a bit chaotic (similar to Greece, Italy or Caribbean). If they let you leave the car in another city it might be a good and cheap way of travelling around when you are in a group.

You can check the prices of the major car rental operators in Moscow using Way to Russia online car rental service . It will normally cost about $30-$50 / day depending on how long you rent it for. The Russian operator Eleks-Polus offers cheaper Russian cars ($25-$30 per day), but they don't have offices at Moscow airports and don't speak English.

AVIS Rent-a-Car Moscow. Address: Sheremetyevo II airport, Phone: +7 (495) 578-7179, Fax : 578-7179. AVIS Rent-a-Car Moscow. Address: Gallery Actor business center. Tverskaya Ul., #2. Entrance.3, 6th floor. Area: Tverskaya, metro Pushkinskaya (violet), Tverskaya (green). Phone: +7 (495) 937-9434, Fax: 937-9433

BUDGET Rent-a-Car Moscow. Address: Volgogradsky Prospekt, #43, building 1. Phone: +7 (495) 737-0407. Fax: 737-0406. HERTZ Rent-a-Car Moscow. Address: Chernyakhovskogo Ul., #4. Phone: +7 (495) 937-3274. Fax : 956-1621.

Bicycle and Scooter Rentals in Moscow

There are no special bike lanes and it's not safe to leave bikes on the streets, even attached. However, there are a few bike rental services in the city. Also, in Summer scooters are popular. Moscow is not the most pleasurable place to drive around with a scooter, but it's still a lot of fun. 

Kruti Pedali – www.kruti-pedali.ru  (in English), +7 495 642-1942 - rents bicycles and scooters in Moscow. They charge about $15 / day for bicycle rental (less if you rent for longer) and you need to pay a deposit of $30. For scooters they charge about $70 / day (much less if you rent for longer) and you need to pay a deposit of about $150.


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A History of Moscow in 13 Dishes

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The panoramic view of Moscow from ‘Federation Tower East’, one of a pair of new skyscrapers under construction in Moscow City.

Moscow 25 years on: do I still recognise the city?

When former Moscow correspondent Mark Rice-Oxley first set foot in the city, the cars were all Zhigulis, no one smiled, and a trip to Pizza Hut was a big day out. A quarter of a century on, how much has life really changed here?

  • Moscow then and now: interactive with images from the Guardian archive

W i-Fi on the metro. Startups in the suburbs. Glass towers in the business parks and rollerbladers on the embankment. What happened to Moscow? It used to be so gloriously haggard, like it was nursing the mother of all hangovers from 200 years of heavy history.

Not any more. Now lovers canoodle by fountains that dance to Tchaikovsky. Middle classes murmur in al fresco restaurants to a bossa nova soundtrack. There are marble malls and 24-hour supermarkets and lots of children’s playgrounds. Grass and pedestrian walkways and public conveniences. And still the facelift goes on.

It is 25 years since this correspondent first set foot in Europe’s largest city. In those days, the air was thick with cheap gasoline, cars were all Zhigulis (Ladas) and ZiLs – or else dodgy, paperless German saloons driven by men with thick necks and leather jackets. A chic lunch was a kebab at the Baku restaurant on Gorky street; a trip to Pizza Hut was a big day out. The colours people wore really were 50 shades of grey, only not so much EL James as LI Brezhnev . And no one smiled.

The question for someone who lived here through the 1990s but hasn’t been back for a decade is this: is it for the better? The answer has to be yes.

There are some things that jar. The first thing you notice is the traffic. In 1990, there were less than a million cars on Moscow’s roads. Now there are at least 4 million. Sometimes it feels as if all of them are stuck on the road in front of you.

The authorities appear to have decided that the solution is more roads, so a flurry of construction creates further hold-ups. Eventually there will be four ring roads, which might help. Or it might just bring even more drivers out on to the roads.

The thoroughfares and side streets are infinitely better than 20 years ago, however, when they were so uneven that sometimes it was a smoother ride to drive down the tramlines (trams have now been axed). There are also car parks and designated spaces instead of people just dumping their cars on the sidewalk, and digital departure boards for (new) buses and trolleys – plus an app that shows their current location.

Shopping is a very different experience too. In the late Soviet period, shops were named bluntly after the products that were supposed to be on sale inside but often weren’t: Bread, Milk, Products, Clothes, Flowers. In time these gave way to “kiosk capitalism”: a messy array of shacks and “pavilions” selling everything from Mars bars to medicine, and shoes to sunflower seeds. Impromptu markets sprang up everywhere: fruit, vegetables, and the sad sight of pensioners selling old radios, flowers, car parts – anything to supplement their income.

Now all that has gone. Instead, Moscow offers a retail experience every capitalist metropolis will recognise. Supermarkets and malls, nail parlours and jewellers, banks and car showrooms – oh, and lots of dentists, for some reason.

Moscow then and now

If there is an objection here, it’s that the architectural charm of old Moscow is being bludgeoned by neon and new monoliths; glass and steel is smothering history and nostalgia. More liveable? Yes. More civilised? Perhaps. More vulgar? In places, yes – although a leafy proliferation of green covers a multitude of sins.

The other notable change is the love affair with English. Twenty-five years ago, there were few clues for non-Russian speakers. Now, though, you can have a pedikyur after a biznes lanch at Coffee Khaus , while checking your gadzhet . This correspondent was directed by a volyunteer to a shattle (shuttle bus) for a meeting with a prshik (P-R-shik, or PR official).

Lifestyles and attitudes seem to have been transformed too – a collective lifting of mood. I’m not the only to notice: Ilya and Svetlana, expatriate Russians living in Germany who are back in Moscow for the first time in six years, say they are so pleasantly surprised that they might consider moving back. “Everyone seems to be free and moving about happily,” says Svetlana. “I’ve never seen the city like this before. It’s full of art and culture and just a different atmosphere.”

Things I have seen for the first time in Moscow this week include: unicyclists, parking meters, kids on trikes, open-air table tennis tables and slot machines. But not everything has changed. A concrete spray of high-rise buildings still fans out into endless suburbs – though even here, modernity is encroaching. One of my old apartment blocks (a typical 1960s, five-storey affair) is now dwarfed on all sides by high-rise office blocks in a style that new Moscow seems to like: terracotta redbrick punctuated by black glass.

Out in the suburbs, the first thing that strikes you is the space. Because everyone lives up in the air, not cheek-by-jowl on the ground, there are huge open reaches that nobody seems to quite know what to do with. Old Moscow is still very visible out here: kiosks selling fruit and newspapers, old ladies peddling books, shoes, lengths of old cable.

And while the bulldozers and diggers are coming, with manifold signs of reconstruction everywhere you go, perhaps the old tower blocks aren’t really all that bad. They may look ugly and tired in places, but they are energy efficient (important in a city which must keep 11 million people warm for six sub-zero months of the year). They also encourage neighbourliness and a community spirit, and deter loneliness. And they have these great rubbish chutes you can use to dump your trash 22 storeys down to the ground.

Other aspects of Moscow remain eternal. This must, for example, be one of the greenest metropolises in the world – there are more trees than ever here. And one of the whitest too, with very, very few black or ethnic faces on the streets. It may also be one of the thinnest – obesity is not something Russia has to worry about – and one of the most musical: there is always a soundtrack playing in the city’s public spaces – from tango to techno, Sinatra to Stevie Wonder, plus the full range of Russian favourites: pop, punk and folk.

And then there’s the metro, of course. A delicious waft of ancient air, biscuity with notes of damp greatcoats, hits you as you enter. A ride is 60p, less if you bulk buy. Trains every minute. There are more stops than 20 years ago, one or two new lines even, but everything else is remarkably unchanged.

It’s easy to imagine you’re in a film down here. Deep tunnels, marble and chandeliers. Escalators that plunge further than the eye can see. And that same solicitous female voice (has it ever been changed?) that asks you to be careful when the doors shut, and not to forget your things when you get off.

If anywhere sums up Moscow’s transformation, though, it is the city’s epicentre: cranes, smart upcycled buildings almost Hanseatic in style, vast pedestrian areas, and a stage in construction for Moscow’s next big party: Friday’s Russia Day . At the centre of it all is Red Square. And it still isn’t red.

  • Is the ‘Moscow experiment’ over?
  • Guardian Moscow week
  • Moscow holidays
  • Russia holidays

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