Dodge Journey Review

2013 Dodge Journey Crew 4dr SUV Exterior

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Dodge showed up late to the midsize crossover SUV segment, finally entering the marketplace with the Dodge Journey. But the company that created the minivan has some party tricks of its own. Dodge has a proven track record of creating vehicles that can quickly transform from people mover to cargo hauler with minimal fuss. Add to that Dodge's characteristically muscular exterior styling treatment, and you have two factors that can help the Journey stand out in a crowded room.

As a crossover SUV with available seating for seven passengers, the Dodge Journey is meant to appeal to families wanting something versatile, but also more stylish than a minivan. Unfortunately, early Journeys fell well short of most rivals, particularly in regards to driving dynamics and interior refinement. But major improvements made to the Journey a few years ago have rectified most of the model's past ills.

Current Dodge Journey
The Dodge Journey is offered in five trim levels: American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, R/T and Crew. The entry-level AVP, SE and SXT models come standard with a rather weak 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 173 horsepower that is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is sluggish and fuel economy is subpar, so we highly recommend opting for the available 3.6-liter V6 that makes 283 hp and returns decent gas mileage. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is standard, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is offered as an option.

Even the entry-level AVP and SE come very well equipped, with notable features including dual-zone manual climate control, keyless ignition/entry, a sliding and reclining second-row seat, a touchscreen audio interface and USB/iPod connectivity.

As is typical for this class, there is an abundance of equipment available by stepping up to one of the upper trim levels. These include power front seats, leather upholstery, heated seats, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a navigation system and premium audio. Parents and kids alike should appreciate the available built-in child booster seats and DVD entertainment system.

Unlike in the first few model years of the Journey, this equipment now comes packed into an interior that features an attractive design, nice materials and solid construction. There are also myriad storage solutions that increase appeal, with containers that double as coolers and an innovative hidden compartment under the front passenger seat cushion. In terms of space, the Journey's first two rows offer comfort and versatility. The third row is very short on legroom and suitable for small children only, but is nevertheless a rare feature in this class. Cargo space is roughly on par with the larger compact crossovers.

As we've noted in reviews, the Dodge Journey has impressed us with its flexible seating and smooth ride. But the base four-cylinder engine is underpowered and lacks any significant fuel savings. If you can't spring for the V6, we'd recommend looking at a different vehicle entirely. Overall, though, this Dodge earns its place as one of the most appealing and family-friendly small crossovers on the market.

Used Dodge Journey Models
The Dodge Journey was introduced for the 2009 model year in SE, SXT and R/T trim levels. We weren't very impressed with these 2009 and '10 models. Besides the weak base four-cylinder engine that carries on today, the other engine option was a lackluster 3.5-liter V6 that made only 235 hp. No matter which engine you went with, acceleration was either slow or glacial. Other Journey drawbacks included soggy handling, vague steering, cheap interior materials, dated design and poor build quality.

For 2011, the Journey was significantly overhauled, and we would suggest considering only models produced thereafter. That year's refresh brought about a more powerful and efficient V6, revised suspension tuning and a completely redesigned interior with better materials, tighter construction and a smarter control layout. The improvements in ride quality and steering feel made the Journey more competitive with the top-ranked crossovers in this class.

Read the most recent 2014 Dodge Journey review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Dodge Journey page.

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