Described as “the Swiss army knife of vehicles” by Chrysler SA’s marketing head Guy Franken, the Dodge Journey has been given a raft of updates for 2012 and it’s a case of “its not on top, it’s inside”.

While exterior changes (on V6 models only) are limited to bolder front and rear bumpers, ‘ring of fire’ LED taillamps and a range of new colours, the big news is its brand new Pentastar V6 engine and completely retuned suspension.

The new petrol-powered, naturally aspirated V6 thumps out 206kW and 353Nm and is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The Journey’s seven-seat cabin has also been redesigned and here you’ll find what Dodge calls “premium, soft-touch materials” throughout.

It’s also big on gadgets and connectivity, featuring the company’s new Uconnect Touch audio system (with 8.4-inch touchscreen) as standard.

COMMAND CENTRE

Other cool features include keyless entry and start, three-zone climate control, fold-flat seats and “Flip-N-Stow” in-seat storage.

Buyers willing to fork out more can also opt for the “command centre” version of Uconnect, which includes navigation and voice-command music selection.

Engineers also put much effort into reducing noise, vibration and harshness – with a name like Journey, they’d have to be on top of such things, wouldn’t they?

Finally, safety is looked after by front, side, curtain and driver-knee airbags as well as traction control and electronic roll mitigation.

Now available in South Africa, you might not cringe at the prospective fuel consumption of the V6 Journey once you’ve seen the price.

At R320 990 for the SXT and R360 990 for the sportier R/T, they’re certainly pitched at the more affordable end of the large crossover market.