Car City more cars more choice

 Car City officially opens its new show site on 28 January. The new site stretching over one acre is looking good, especially at night when the site is lit up until at least 1000 pm so potential customers can browse at their leisure in the evenings.

Car City  has traditionally stocked models by Honda, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu, Chrysler and Dodge, but what has changed is the way the cars are displayed.

The set up, with each manufacturer’s cars in one section under their banner, looks impressive, is colourful and makes it easier for the customer to locate models and also to compare models type for type by each manufacturer.

There is enough selection here to cover most lifestyles on the Island. From the funky Wrangler’s Jeep for outdoors types compact Suzuki Celerios in fantastic metallic colours that will appeal to the  young women about town, to  Dodge Journeys, the smaller and more economical alternative for the family.

Over the next few weeks The Observer On Sunday will carry reviews of some of the models available at Car City. This week an overview of the Dodge Journey.

Dodge Journey SXT
SUVs are popular in Cayman, but they are bulky and heavy on fuel. The crossover SUV market is growing among auto manufacturers because the crossover, which builds on a  car-like structure but combines it  with the utility of a traditional truck-based SUV, is less bulky, gives  a smoother ride and crucially,  has lower fuel consumption than an SUV.

While ChryslerCorporation has had an offering in this segment since 2004 in the form of the Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge introduced its version in the 2009 model year.

The 2010 Dodge Journey sees no major changes. Three trim levels are offered. The base SE has front-wheel drive, a 173-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, and a 4-speed automatic transmission. Uplevel SXT and R/T models have a 235-hp 3.5-liter V6, 6-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive.

Dodge could have chosen the sporty path for Journey but instead it has a more restrained functional look. Generally reviewers agree that the Journey has accomplished its mission in that it is  family-friendly, is fairly  roomy has good storage and for the  crossover market comes in at a good competitive price.

Most reviewers were quite happy with how the Journey handles giving it points for its light feel, quiet, smooth ride and firm braking.

Cars Direct comments the Journey “rides reasonably well and handles more like a big car than a big, clunky SUV.”

“The Journey is pleasant to drive, and V-6 models have a sportier feel than one might suspect. There is quick, rather firm steering with decent road feel. The rather soft ride is carlike. Handling is good, as is braking — although the pedal occasionally felt as if it needed a more linear action.”

Chicago Time

The Dodge Journey has standard seating for five, but that can be expanded to seven, which is good news for mothers who regularly ferry children about the island. And it will be comfortable as there is leg room and not a cramped feel.

There is also good news   in that as well as regular cargo room, the Journey offers a fold flat front passenger seat that will allow loading items up to nine feet long.

Unique storage
It also has nice little add ons in storage – the kinds of small things that make life just that bit easier. There is  a bin under the front passenger seat ( make sure people use it ),  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 centre console.

Most reviewers appreciated these little touches.

“Inside, the Dodge Journey is awash with innovation and first-class appeal. Storage is the theme here, as unique bins hold anything from multiple pop cans to laptops, sunglasses and CD’s. There is even a secret compartment located under the passenger seat cushion, the perfect location for hiding valuables from prying eyes.”

Road And Travel
Judged purely from the standpoint of family usability, the Journey’s cabin is hard to fault. Legroom is adequate in all three rows, and there are so many storage slots and cupholders, you’ll be able to corral every last cell phone and juice cup.

Entertainment options are plentiful, too, as the Journey has a six-disc CD changer standard and offers a hard drive radio and a rear DVD entertainment system.

One of the aspects where the Journey scores high is in safety features with excellent safety scores to prove the equipment works. In U.S federal government tests, it earns top scores of five stars for driver and passenger safety in frontal crashes and for front- and rear-seat safety in side crashes. The U.S Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Journey top scores of “Good” in front, side, rear crash protection and roof strength tests. Its good performance plus standard electronic stability control earn it a “Top Safety Pick” designation.