The new offering from Dodge is very different to the common MPV or SUV to which we have become accustomed. I guess that’s why they call it a Crossover vehicle. It has the versatility of an MPV and the looks of a SUV, but this is not an off-road vehicle, nor does it pretend to be. It is the new breed of family vehicle.
This is a family vehicle with a presence that, surprisingly, turned many youngsters’ heads. I guess the 19in rims together with the large chrome grill and Dodge logo caused quite a bit of confusion as to what this vehicle really is. In a nutshell, a spacious 4 door SUV with ample seating i.e. five adults and two kids comfortably, with brilliant storage space/luggage options.
I had the 2 litre diesel RT model that came with two tone leather,and heated front seats. It also had the optional command control, which includes navigation, Bluetooth telephone connection, rear view camera, voice command and, best of all, an 18 gig hard drive for the long “journey” ahead. Inside, the car is well appointed with the usual creature comforts to which one is accustomed to, with this category of vehicle, such as electric windows, central locking, dual climate control. What makes this one different is the additional climate control for the rear seat passengers, including four additional vents in the rear headliner, so my kids were kept nice and warm during our recent icy cold Gauteng weather.
The diesel motor produced sufficient power for the vehicle to cruise at the national speed limit, with a fair amount of excess power to spare. This vehicle is meant for the open road, so don’t try any sprints, as this is where the vehicle was a modicum disappointing. There is a fair amount of lag between flooring the pedal and movement from the vehicle, in fact, if you are not too careful, it creates wheelspin before the anti-skid kicks in. I guess one has to bear in mind that this is a large vehicle matched with front wheel drive. Over the test period, I got more familiar with the way the gearbox changes, and this led to more enjoyable driving.
The versatility of this vehicle is excellent, as I came to find out quite by accident. The third row of seats folds easily forward with the pull of a lever on each side. The second row of seats can be moved fore and aft. These seats can also recline or fold flat to create a huge cargo area. The second row also moves forward to allow the third row passengers easy access to their seats. There are lots of extra storage compartments/areas all over the vehicle, like the one in the boot and smaller storage areas at the second row of seats, as well as a hide- away compartment under the passenger seat cushion. Whilst it appears as though there are two glove compartments in the vehicle, the top one is actually a fridge that has been designed to accommodate two 340ml cans.
The one thing that comes to mind when purchasing a car like this is, you get a whole lot of car for what you are paying. If you do plan on buying one, I would definitely recommend including the optional command system, which just completes this very different family vehicle.
Car courtesy of Dodge SA.
Azim Omar CA(SA).