Sheep In Wolf's Clothing: The 2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad Plus AWD

Front 7/8 view of 2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad Plus
The 2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad Plus AWD.
The Dodge Journey is one of those vehicles that is unloved by automotive journalists but has found a niche because it is practical and affordable---a seven-seat compromise between a minivan and a crossover SUV for a base price of $20,995.  So what to make of the Journey Crossroad Plus AWD?

Side 7/8 view of 2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad Plus
2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad Plus AWD.
Cosmetically, it's clear what Dodge is doing---dressing the Journey in the performance image of the rest of the brand's lineup and making it look a bit like a baby Durango R/T. But the $8,600 step up in base price---that's steep.

Admittedly, that includes an upgrade from the standard and overwhelmed 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four cylinder and four-speed automatic transmission that's standard in the base SE model, to a 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with a six-speed automatic, as well as all-wheel drive and a long list of otherwise optional equipment that becomes standard (click here for the list).

But $405 shy of $30,000 is a different world in carbuying from $5 shy of $21,000.  And trading the four-cylinder for the six may buy you 110 horsepower, but the nothing-special EPA fuel economy estimate of 19 city/26 highway drops to 16 city/24 highway, which is the same as the Chevy Suburban our Publisher and Executive Editor tested last summer gets in the city and only one mpg more than the 55-hundred pound brute gets on the highway.

Interior view of 2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad
2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad interior.
Options on our test vehicle took it well beyond $30,000.  The Crossroad Equipment Group (leather seats with sports mesh inserts, premium door trim panels with stitching, a cargo net, an upgraded audio system with an 8.4-inch color touchscreen display, power driver's and passenger seat, lumbar adjustments for the driver, a front passenger fold-flat seat, passenger in-seat cushion storage, passenger assist handles, front and rear aimable LED lamps, an overhead console, a three-zone automatic climate control system and sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors) added $1,190.  The Popular Equipment Group (security alarm, high beam daytime running headlamps, a universal garage door opener, automatic headlamps, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel plus a remote start system) was $1,250.  The Navigation and Backup Camera Group (which includes SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link as well as rear park assist) added another $1,195.  And child boosters for the second row seat was $225.

With a $995 destination charge, the as-tested price of our vehicle was $34,360...or almost $15,000 above the base price of a base Journey ($20,995).  With incentives on base models at around $4,000 if you qualify for all available, you could get two of those for the price of one Journey Crossroad.  If you want the nicest Dodge Journey on earth, this is a way to get it.  But given that the Journey is at its heart a value proposition, this is like putting arugula on a Big Mac.