Another year, another decade over, a new one’s just begun. Now in the midst of New Year’s Eve champagne-fueled intellectual discussions, we could get into deep predictions about this decade as it relates to cars…. for perhaps this could be the last decade of the sedan bodystyle or even the internal combustion engine? But it’s New Years Day now so let’s stick to the present and remember some of the industry’s recently departed nameplates, and even more shockingly some of those that have survived into the 2020s.
As we bid adieu to the 2010s, among the 2019 in memoriam montage includes relatively unloved vehicles like the BMW 3 Series GT, Buick Cascada, Cadillac XTS, and Toyota Prius C, plus once more popular vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt, Buick LaCrosse, and Cadillac CTS, as well as vehicles with iconic histories including the Buick Regal, Ford Taurus, Jaguar XJ, and Volkswagen Beetle. Nevertheless, some have persisted, some probably much longer so than they have should have.
One such vehicle is the Dodge Journey (a.k.a. Fiat Freemont). Introduced way back in 2008 as a 2009 model, the Journey was Dodge’s first entry in the burgeoning midsize three-row CUV segment. Upon its introduction, the Journey received lukewarm reception for its lackluster styling, penalty-box interior, and overall blandness. Despite a mild facelift, back in 2011 no-less, the Journey has continued largely unchanged in one of the fiercest, most crucial markets of the industry.
Dodge does of course sell the only slightly less-elderly, yet larger and more competitive Durango, relegating the Journey to popular fleet queen status. Nonetheless, the aging Journey is entering its 12th year on the market and is way past the point of simply lacking refinement. Beyond its stale styling and interior, it lacks the availability of now commonplace features most new CUV shoppers take for granted such as blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.
Now of any brand available, at least in North America, Dodge’s lineup is arguably the oldest, with its last new/redesigned models that are not RAM pickups dating back to 2011. There are of course several vehicles even older than the Journey that are still on the market, including Dodge’s own Grand Caravan, but given the Journey’s competitive segment, I find its continued existence more shocking. Which aging vehicle are you most surprised to still see produced in 2020?