Overview

Overview

Among the lowest-priced midsize crossover SUVs in the segment, the 2013 Dodge Journey can seat five or seven passengers, is one of the only vehicles to offer built-in child booster seats, is available in a number of different models and has numerous entertainment options to keep the kids occupied and entertained when on the road. Key competitors include the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Kia Sorento and Toyota Highlander, but the Dodge Journey is generally less expensive than all of them.

What Experts Think

Auto critics are a tough bunch to please, especially when it comes to weighing in on family crossover SUVs. The bar is set high for these people-movers, alternatives to minivans and large sedans, with so many excellent competitors with fresh redesigns and loads of features. While the 2013 Dodge Journey has to duke it out among the crowded market, it does the job in fairly good measure.

While noting that the previous Dodge Journey fell somewhere between "something less than an also ran" and a "did-it-even-run?" crossover, Car and Driver says the Avenger-based SUV is a class contender, thanks to a "sharp new interior, a new optional V-6, and a host of chassis upgrades."

"Although the 2013 Dodge Journey might look as though it would ride and handle like a tall SUV, the feeling we experienced seemed more in keeping with a well-mannered wagon." (Kelley Blue Book)

In a review, Automobile Magazine called the Journey a "serious contender in its category," despite the fact that the number of competitors keeps increasing. The publication goes on to say the Journey "is quiet, rides well, and has an interior that doesn't feel like a cheap plastic prison."

"For the young family on the go, the Journey offers a pleasant ride, plenty of room, and enough space and entertainment options to keep the kids comfortable and occupied." (AOL Autos)

Over at Consumer Reports, the editors are a little less impressed with the 2013 Dodge Journey, calling it "still mediocre overall." Editors said the SUV "rides well and is quiet, but its lack of agility makes it feel larger than it is." They also find the transmission "reluctant to downshift" and quibble that the third-row seat is tiny.

Consumer Guide takes a more moderate approach, hailing the Journey for several things: "outstanding cargo flexibility, optional built-in child booster seats, and quiet cabin." Editors say its aggressive pricing, in combination with the crossover's strengths make the Journey a "compelling package for families of most any size."

What Owners Say

A review of various websites where owners post their comments about vehicles shows that, for the most part, buyers of the 2013 Dodge Journey are quite satisfied with their purchase.

From Kelley Blue Book and Cars.com to Yahoo Autos and MSN Autos, owners have a running commentary of hits and a few misses.

Moms, in particular, seem to rave about the Journey, saying it's easy for loading and unloading kids and groceries, plus, it gets great gas mileage. Others can't say enough about how comfortable the Journey is, how unique the style is and how many features you get for the money, and the fact that there is plenty of legroom, headroom and ample space throughout the vehicle. One owner commented that the Journey can hold four 300-pound adults with ease.

Interestingly, a few owners commented that they weren't in the market for a Journey, having come out of a minivan, but the deal was so good they couldn't turn it down, and they're extremely happy they bought the Journey.

Naturally, with such a wide owner base (families, owners who need to drive long distances and/or regularly haul work or supply items), there are a few complaints. Among them are some gripes about brakes, engine and transmission, a couple of nits about fit and finish, choppy ride and tends to be noisy.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2013 Dodge Journey is available in five models or trim levels: American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, Crew, and R/T. The AVP and SE are only available with front-wheel drive and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. Journey R/T and Crew have the V6 engine standard, and can e ordered with front- or all-wheel drive. The SXT can be ordered with front-wheel drive and either the four-cylinder or V6 engine, or with the V6 and all-wheel drive.

All Journey models get the new-for-2013 additions of a max setting for air conditioning for the climate controls, as well as an instantaneous fuel consumption indicator located on the color electronic vehicle information center screen.

The Journey American Value Package (AVP) model includes some family-friendly features at a much more affordable price. Included are cloth upholstery, dual-zone manual air conditioning, cruise control, a 4.3-inch Uconnect media center, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver's seat height adjustment, 60/40-split-folding second-row seat, and remote keyless entry.

The SE is the next trim up and adds LED taillamps and a long list of available options.

Moving on to the Journey SXT means the addiction of 17-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, deep-tinted sunscreen glass, floor mats, and Sirius/XM satellite radio. On the SXT AWD, which comes standard with the V6, other standard equipment includes a performance-tuned suspension, slightly larger fuel tank, black roof rails and bright exhaust tips.

The Journey Crew model gets automatic halogen headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power driver's seat with four-way lumbar support, Uconnect 8.4 with 8.4-inch touchscreen, AM/FM radio, Sirius/XM radio, CD/DVD player, audio input jack, remote USB port and SD card slot, leather-wrapped steering wheel, one-touch power windows, 19-inch aluminum wheels, chromed door handles, exhaust tips and roof rails.

The sporty Journey R/T models are outfitted with new perforated leather seats, "dimpled" leather heated steering wheel and shift knob, red accent stitching on the steering wheel, firm-feel power steering, black leather upholstery, heated front seats, Infiniti 468-watt premium sound system, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a new high-performance suspension.

 

Performance

Most reviewers say it's senseless to expect the base 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission to power a vehicle of this size, but opt for the V6, and it's another ballgame. The V6, concur auto critics, is very competitive in the power department.

Journey Crew and R/T models are powered by the 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. Torque is rated at 260 pound-feet. This engine/transmission combo is also available on Journey SXT.

Fuel economy, as rated by the EPA, is considered "decent," with the four-cylinder engine coming in at 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway. The V6 engine gets an EPA rating of 17, mpg city/25 mpg highway in front-wheel drive and 16/24 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Maximum towing capacity is 1,000 pounds with the four-cylinder engine and 2,500 pounds with the V6.

Interior

No question where the automotive press comes in on this all-important area: they nearly unanimously voice approval for the Journey's solid, quiet and composed ride, calling the seven-passenger crossover SUV a "surprisingly capable" family hauler.

Where the Journey seems to shine is in the high-quality materials and overall interior design. Featuring one of the nicest cockpits in the class, the Journey comes standard with seating for five, while seven-passenger seating (via the addition of a third-row seat) is optional.

Many reviewers mention the lack of space in third-row seats, commenting that they're really only suitable for children and "marginal" for adults. For kid-friendly features, it's hard to beat the optional built-in booster seats and a split second-row seat that situates children within easy reach of parents in the front.

Keeping the family entertained during road trips is easier with the standard CD player, hard-drive radio, and the available rear DVD entertainment system.

Flip-and-fold seats provide easy storage for cargo, hauling passengers, or both. The fold-flat passenger front seat allows items to be loaded that are up to nine feet long. There are also several handy storage solutions, such as a bin under the front passenger seat, under-floor storage in the second row and behind the third row of seats. A deep center console, numerous cubbyholes up front, and a dual glove box, and there should be more than adequate spots to carry and store needed family items.

Cargo space is 67.6 cubic feet with all the seats down. Testers note this is about average for the class, but not in the league with the Toyota Highlander. Low lift-over height is a plus for loading in cargo. There's also a removable, rechargeable flashlight included in the rear cargo area on some of the uplevel Journey models.

Safety & Reliability

Family crossovers have to provide the utmost in safety features, that is, if they hope to attract buyers needing to haul and transport other family members and their gear.

The 2013 Dodge Journey acquits itself nicely in the safety equipment area, including as standard front, knee, side and side-curtain airbags, front-seat active head restraints, stability control, traction control with roll mitigation, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, and trailer-sway control.

In government crash testing, the 2013 Dodge Journey received an overall rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Within the overall rating, the Journey received four stars each for front and rollover testing and five stars for side-impact testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Journey its highest rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact, rear crash protection and roof strength tests and named it a Top Safety Pick.

As for reliability, the 2013 Dodge Journey got only a two-circle rating in the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability rating. This means the Journey is at the lower end of the reliability ratings, or "The Rest," as the Power Circle rating indicates.

Echoing the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability rating, Consumer Reports says that the Journey's reliability has been "well below average."

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
SXT AWD 4dr SXT V6 AWD 26695
Crew AWD 4dr Crew V6 AWD 30195
R/T AWD 4dr R/T V6 AWD 30795
SUV - FWD
American Value Pkg FWD 4dr American Value Pkg 4 Cylinder FWD 19195
SE FWD 4dr SE 4 Cylinder FWD 19195
SXT FWD 4dr SXT 4 Cylinder FWD 23295
Crew FWD 4dr Crew V6 FWD 28395
R/T FWD 4dr R/T V6 FWD 28995

Comparison of 2013 Dodge Journey with Similar Cars

2013 Dodge Journey MSRP Invoice
2013 Dodge Journey $19,195 $18,988
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 Nissan Rogue $20,310 $19,363 2013 Dodge Journey VS 2013 Nissan Rogue
2013 Jeep Wrangler $22,295 $21,715 2013 Dodge Journey VS 2013 Jeep Wrangler
2013 Jeep Compass $19,495 $19,210 2013 Dodge Journey VS 2013 Jeep Compass
2013 Hyundai Tucson $19,595 $18,877 2013 Dodge Journey VS 2013 Hyundai Tucson
2013 Subaru Forester $21,295 $20,166 2013 Dodge Journey VS 2013 Subaru Forester

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 Dodge Journey ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 Dodge Journey rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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