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2009 Dodge Journey

A late addition to an increasingly crowded crossover field, Dodge's handsome new Journey is surprisingly good

Go shopping for one of those newfangled "crossovers" today, and you'll be infinitely more confused than you might be shopping for a traditional, truck-based sport-utility vehicle. Some crossovers are based on cars; some are their own creations entirely. And instead of harmonizing around a few similar sizes, crossover vehicles have spread themselves thinly over every size category, from the relatively teensy Pontiac Vibe to the grosser Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

Somewhere near the middle of that baffling array of crossovers is the new Dodge Journey. Like some other medium-size crossovers--the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe come to mind--the Journey presents a tidier package than the largest vehicles in its class, while still offering three rows of seating. It's perfect for small families just starting out, Chrysler says, though older folks stepping out of larger SUVs might be attracted to it as well.