The Dodge Journey is a midsize sport-utility that offers the smoother ride and better fuel economy of a car with the cargo space and roominess of an SUV. It seats five or seven, depending on options. And with a significant price reduction, Chrysler claims the 2013 Dodge Journey to be the most affordable seven-seat crossover sold in the U.S.
Dodge Journey offers lots of choices: four or six cylinders, five or seven seats, basic trim or full-lux leather. And like most crossovers it offers front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Journey is considered a crossover vehicle because it straddles the line between car and SUV. It uses a lightweight unit-body structure similar to that used by cars, instead of a body-on-frame truck chassis. Available all-wheel-drive traction adds confidence in bad weather.
Up-level models are powered by the same modern 3.6-liter V6 that's becoming ubiquitous in Chrysler Group vehicles. It has plenty of power but is ill-matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, making it feel less powerful than it actually is. The V6 produces 283 horsepower at 6350 rpm, 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm.
The Journey's standard motivation is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine of 173 horsepower. We found the four-cylinder engine rough and noisy, with too little power for a vehicle of this size. The V6 is the one to get, in our view.
Inside is where the Journey shines. Its interior design and materials give it one of the nicest cockpits in the class. It comes standard with seating for five, with a two-passenger third row optional. Either way it has useful, though not class leading, cargo space. Filling the Journey with adults won't make all your passengers happy, but the rear seat should work well for children. Seats flip and fold to provide ample versatility for hauling people, cargo, or both. The Journey offers a fold-flat front passenger seat that will allow loading items up to nine feet long. It features some unique storage solutions owners will find useful. Among them: a bin under the front passenger seat, storage under the floor in the second row and behind the last row of seats, a dual glove box with Dodge's Chill Zone that cools soda cans, and all the usual cubbies up front, including a fairly deep center console. Entertainment options are plentiful, as the Journey has a CD player standard and offers a rear DVD entertainment system and a hard-drive radio.
2013 Journey R/T models come with new perforated leather seats, a dimpled leather heated steering wheel and dimpled shift knob, red accent stitching on the steering wheel and a new performance suspension for even more responsive handling.
New for all 2013 Journey models is the addition of a max air conditioning setting for the climate controls, and an instantaneous fuel consumption indicator in the color Electronic Vehicle Information Center screen.
With prices starting at $18,995 the Journey offers affordable utility. We recommend the V6 engine, which provides that extra margin of power that many buyers will want, as well as much more refinement. Be careful when it comes to options, though, as it is easy to get the Journey over $30,000, money that can buy larger and/or more premium SUVs.