Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back on the blog

Once again I'm vowing to post more often to Abnormal Aspirations. But I have some changes planned. Obviously the layout is different. That's mostly because I'd screwed up the old one so bad, it was easier to just start over.

After that, there will be the inevitable posts about our family's new addition. Baby T II. We should have photos of the new little boy sometime in early May.

But I also have plans for more non-family posts. While I'm still writing for Autoblog and Engine Block, I still have thoughts on the automotive world that don't fit either of those two venues. The first post to fall under this heading will be a review of the 2009 Dodge Journey. It should be ready to read sometime this week. After that we'll see what happens.

Thanks for hanging with AbAsp.

Correction: I started writing the Dodge Journey review before this post, so now that it's live, it shows up below. Enjoy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

2009 Dodge Journey: : "Only the Young" are "Crying Now"

That's it for the cheesy references to the 1970s rock band Journey. I promise. I'd hate to have the music of those guys forever entwined with the newest crossover from Dodge. Because no matter how cliche Journey, the band, might be, it shouldn't have to share names with this vehicle.

So what could possibly be so bad about this brand new Dodge? I'll start with the exterior.

Likes: Aggressive grille, dual tailpipes and chrome 19-inch wheels.
Dislikes: Slab-sided design looks too much like a minivan; Melbourne Green paint.

Likes: Storage spaces beneath second row floor; nice color scheme of "Pastel Pebble Beige" leather seats; fairly quiet ride, built-in booster seats for older kids, ambient lighting.
Dislikes: Super-cheap materials, unusable glove box; terrible ergonomics, expensive gadgets that were annoying to use; absofreakingly huge blindspots and a mere slit of a rear window; child seat difficult to install; tight leg room in second row of seats; totally ridiculous lack of leg room in third row (photo is of second row, btw. The third is MUCH worse.)

Likes: Handsfree voice recognition is excellent, call clarity on both ends is very good; iPhone pairing easily completed; stereo has USB port that can charge iPhones and iPods and an auxilary jack.
Dislikes: USB port doesn't allow iPod or iPhone connectivity; loading photos onto built-in hard drive is very time consuming and almost pointless; I never figured out how to transfer music from any USB device; ergonomics are not up to par.

Likes: Smooth sailing over rough roads and rumble strips.
Dislikes: Wallows around city streets just like the SUV it's not supposed to be; fuel mileage (11 mpg!) worse than many Lamborghinis; delayed response from accelerator; brakes worked fine, but pedal sank all the way to the floor with a disturbing wheezing sound every time they were used.

Likes: Almost $4,000 in incentives; totally succeeded in not exploding while I was driving it.
Dislikes: $32,000 before incentives for this? Really?

Don't buy this vehicle. It may look really good on paper, but Dodge should be required to list "Buyer's Remorse" on the Monroney. Instead, if you're looking for a small SUV or crossover, consider the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV-4. If you really need seating for eight, just suck it up and get a Honda Odyssey. Your back seat passengers and their legs will thank you. Your macho ego will recover.

For a more detailed review, read my fellow Autoblogger Chris Shunk's review of a red Dodge Voyager R/T way back in August.

All photos are © 2009 Chris Tutor.