Sometimes, I wonder if “esteemed automotive journalists” are just “failed ad copywriters.” When every new vehicle launch is met with a cacophony of praise, the legitimacy of an automotive critic certainly fades. I personally preserve unabashedly glowing reviews for well-engineered vehicles that represent something more than a blacker bottom line — vehicles that “give back” to car culture. In hope that I’ll maintain your trust, I present my video review of the Chevy Camaro. Over the course of several months and 2500 miles of testing in five states, I’ve forged lifelong friendships and have the Facebook to prove it. The Camaro has changed my outlook on honking: now, when I hear a blast at a stoplight, I’m sure it’s just another ally eagerly hoping his thumbs-up is well-received. That’s moderately embarassing honesty. That’s not hyperbole.
I don’t know how we went from this to this, but I do know the Dodge Journey is Chrysler’s attempt to keep their promises of future.
Even after ‘inventing’ the first contemporarily packaged, attainable mainstream minivan in the 1980s, Chrysler continued to dream aloud through moonshot concept multi-purpose vehicles. The Dodge Epic, Plymouth Pronto, and Chrysler Citadel concepts employed emerging “Cab-Forward” architecture to maximize interior volume. Somewhere along the road to retail, cost-cutting and stagnance took their toll on ChryCo’s bottom line. Bankruptcy ensued. Here we are today.
In execution, the Dodge Journey feels like a Hyundai-built Ford Edge — like the first-generation Chevrolet Equinox, engineered before GM gained “product religion.” Ergonomics oddities abound, and its lagging powertrain fails to deliver power or fuel efficiency superlatives. However, hope hides in each cleverly concealed crevice. The Journey’s suite of storage crannies proves that Chrysler is still staffed with real moms and dads who understand what it means to take a family roadtrip. If these creative engineers are given the tools and support to radically redefine automotive interior packaging, Chrysler could one day be a multi-purpose vehicle leader. Otherwise, the company will wither.
Just because there can never be too much video of an Enzo running around a race track, here’s one more video from my weekend visit to MSR Houston. The Enzo was run quite a bit harder during this session than in the first video, as evidenced by the helmets bouncing around. Once again, turn it up and enjoy the ride!