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Used 2013 Dodge Journey SUV Review

2013 Dodge Journey SUV

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Dodge Journey SUV

  • Though not an obvious choice, the 2013 Dodge Journey has many positive attributes to make it worthy of consideration.

  • Pros

    Sophisticated interior; family-friendly size; available built-in booster seats; strong V6; smart touchscreen interface.

  • Cons

    Overmatched four-cylinder delivers slow acceleration and poor fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the Dodge Journey Crew trim boasts a stronger value proposition, as Dodge has added a few more standard features (such as leather upholstery and heated front seats) and reduced its price.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Dodge Journey SUV

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Dodge Journey Crew trim boasts a stronger value proposition, as Dodge has added a few more standard features (such as leather upholstery and heated front seats) and reduced its price.


When it debuted four years ago, the Dodge Journey crossover didn't have much in its favor. We used the comment "Needs Improvement" so frequently on its report card that we were certain its fate as a back-of-the-class entry was sealed. Yet two years later it was more like "Most Improved" as the Journey underwent a complete under-the-skin makeover that put it on the honor roll. Yes, the 2013 Dodge Journey may look the same as that original '09, but they're as different as a scholar-athlete is from the class clown.

Always in its favor has been the Journey's interior versatility. Roomier than your typical compact crossover SUV, the more wagon-like Journey offers a small third-row seat that can accommodate a couple of small kids. That added flexibility, along with its reasonable dimensions, makes the Journey the just-right choice for an ideal family vehicle without the added cost, fuel appetite and parking hassles of the larger three-row crossovers.

Under the hood, it's a tale of two engines -- one desirable and one not. The base four-cylinder is underpowered and its fuel economy isn't that great. The 3.6-liter V6, on the other hand, is one of the most potent engines in this segment, yet it still provides decent fuel economy. Underway, the Journey boasts composed handling and a supple ride, while inside is a stylish cabin fitted with high-quality materials and stocked with user-friendly high-tech features. Other attributes include hidden storage compartments and optional integrated child seats.

Thanks to its well-rounded nature, the 2013 Dodge Journey earns our approval. Of course, there are other impressive choices available as well. We also like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento; both boast a small but usable third-row seat, better four-cylinder performance and available V6 engines. If a third row isn't a priority, models like the Ford Escape or Honda CR-V are also excellent. But overall the Journey is a respectable pick for a small crossover, particularly with the optional V6.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Dodge Journey is available in five- and seven-passenger configurations. It is available in American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, R/T and Crew trim levels.

The American Value Package comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone manual climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a sliding and reclining second-row seat and a six-speaker sound system with a compact touchscreen interface, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The SE adds privacy tinted glass, side roof rails and LED taillights.

Moving up to the SXT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, unique front/rear fascias, a cargo cover/net and satellite radio. A premium sound system, sunroof and 19-inch wheels are optional.

The Crew adds a V6 engine, remote start, 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a six-way power driver seat (with four-way lumbar adjustment), dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 115-volt power outlet, a premium audio system, Bluetooth and a fold-flat front passenger seat (with hidden storage bin).

The R/T includes all the Crew features (minus the roof rails) and adds a monochrome exterior treatment, special 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and black perforated-leather upholstery with red stitching.

Some of the higher trim's features are available on the lower trims via option packages, while other available features (depending on trim) include rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a folding/reclining third-row seat, three-zone automatic climate control (with rear air-conditioning), integrated second-row child booster seats, a rear seat entertainment system and a navigation system with an 8.4-inch display.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Dodge Journey AVP, SE and SXT are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined – not great given its anemic acceleration and thriftier competitors.

Optional on the SXT and standard on the Crew and R/T is a 3.6-liter V6. It's good for 283 hp and 260 lb-ft and is matched to a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. At the track we recorded a 7.5-second 0-60-mph time for a Journey V6 FWD, an average time for the class. Fuel economy stands at 17/25/20 with front-wheel drive and 16/24/19 with all-wheel drive; both are a little below average for V6-powered small crossovers.


Every 2013 Dodge Journey comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Integrated second-row child booster seats are optional on every Journey. In Edmunds brake testing, a Journey V6 FWD came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, an average performance for its segment.

In government crash tests, the Journey received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars awarded for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Journey received the top score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

From both design and execution standpoints, the Journey's interior rates as one of the best in the segment. The materials are high in quality, the design is clean and modern and the up-to-the-minute technology is pretty easy to use. We especially like the extra-large touchscreen interface available on most models.

Other strengths for the Journey include its clever storage bins and available integrated child seats that make it decidedly family-friendly. Also helping that cause is a versatile seating arrangement. While the Dodge's sliding and reclining second-row seat is now the norm for this class, its optional third-row seat is not. Like the one in the Toyota RAV4, this seat is far from adult-friendly, but if you need to take a couple extra kids to a T-ball game, it should come in handy.

In terms of hauling cargo, the Journey offers a total capacity of 68 cubic feet with all rear seats folded. That's a few cubes smaller than the RAV4 and CR-V, but bigger than the Chevy Equinox. For smaller items, the Journey provides storage bins hidden under the second-row floor as well as under the passenger seat.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 Dodge Journey's four-cylinder engine just doesn't have enough power to get this heavy crossover moving. It also doesn't provide enough fuel economy to justify its lackluster performance. As such, we'd avoid it and step up to the 3.6-liter V6. This engine is used throughout the Chrysler/Dodge lineups, and for good reason: It offers smooth, robust power and decent fuel economy. Unfortunately, its six-speed automatic transmission can be slow to respond when a downshift (or two) is needed.

On the move, the Journey is competent for the class, with a smooth ride and secure handling. The latter feels especially confident, boasting precise steering with a light yet still nicely weighted feel to it. That said, a Ford Escape or Honda CR-V likely will feel more agile around town, while the Chevy Equinox provides an even more comfortable and quiet ride on the freeway.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 15 reviews) Write a Review

Best value for money

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Dodge Journey

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Fantastic car and even better value

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Vehicle: 2013 Dodge Journey

Bought a 2013 American Value Package new. Have owned for 3+ years and put about 55k miles on. Car has been fantastic. It is used by my wife to haul kiddos around and it has plenty of room and can take the abuse that kids can cause. Was the most affordable vehicle on the market. Other than normal maintenance, we have only had one trip to the dealer which was a minor issue covered under warranty

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Trendy suv on a budget

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Vehicle: 2013 Dodge Journey

My wife and I were at the dealer looking to buy a specific 2013 Grand Cherokee. The one we were looking at was out for a test drive, and I saw this grey sporty looking Journey SXT with black rims and all around tints. I saw the engine size being 2.4L, but also realized the purchase price was much lower than the GC we were looking at, plus it had several more technology features and we live in the city so engine size is not a huge factor. We decided to give the car a go and seeing how we desperately need to get a replacement for our Grand Prix GTP and also considering how we enjoyed the ride, we decided to buy it. Exterior is tough and sporty. We got side swiped by a truck and not a dent was left. Everyone comments on how sporty our car looks and I've even had friends with faster cars than me say they wouldn't want to race me. The 2.4L comes with a single exhaust, which kills the sporty look. The headlights, fog lights, and front all give the car a mean edge. When you turn the lights on, it starts with the fog lights and then the headlights. Trims are nice, rims are black. Brakes are disc brakes, but I do wish they added caliper caps to even out the car. It seems that Dodge needed to get an SXT out fast and unfortunately missed out on some details that kills the mood. I'm glad they only make the SXT's in 3.6 now. Interior is nice. Cloth seats, leather on door and middle glove compartment. Plastic all around. Instrumentation contains revs and speed, with a middle computer screen to view the basic diagnostics of the car. Steering wheel is the size to fit the bigger body and keep you from blocking the odometer. The Uconnect 8.4 is a nice feature to the car. My only complaint is when it gets cold, the touchscreen stops working. In terms of space, there is enough leg room for all the passengers to spread out. I like the extra storage in all the random places, and also the canopy that covers the back. The drive is comfy. If you've ever driven in Chicago, you will notice all the potholes. You feel them, but barely. I never feel out of control with the vehicle. I have been able to drive hours on end and my passengers have all seemed to be comfortable the whole way. The sporty suspension gives for a lower ride, and allows more control in rough conditions. This is a front-wheel drive, and I've been able to maintain my composure with the car when other cars were sliding in snowy conditions. The only downside of this car is the engine. I do wish we had the 3.6, but at the time I couldn't justify spending an extra 4 grand. Looking back, it probably wouldn't have been a bad deal. My reasoning is that even though I live in the city, the smaller engine makes it extremely difficult to accelerate the weight of the car. This leads to worse fuel efficiency, which I've seen get down to 12 mpg. Not what I expected from a 2.4 at first. On the highway, I've been able to get up to 30mpg and I go at least 400 miles without refilling. Even though engine size at higher speeds is nice, acceleration is lackluster. The car pulls away at higher revs, but struggles on the lower revs. Having come from a GP GTP that had a supercharger, it is a struggle trying to speed up on the expressway. I have made due and learned my lesson on buying a smaller engine size. The engine size is not a deal breaker for me though and I will love to keep this car for several more years.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Too many problems

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Vehicle: 2013 Dodge Journey

From the first day I have had problems in and out of service radio,alarm,remote start,and the TRANSMISSON has never worked right bangs, shifts terrible awd does not work right and what do you say when all you hear is the comp.doesn't show anything even though I have driven this car for 36,000 miles wish me luck filed lemon law and there willing to hear me maybe someone will listen

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2013 3.6 l dodge journey sxt - about 28,000 km.

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Dodge Journey

On June 1, 2014, was getting off a highway onto a ramp, stepped on brakes to slow down to ramp speed limit and then the brakes locked suddenly, and the vehicle came to an abrupt halt with the ignition still running. As expected everyone in the vehicle lurched forward. What a major scare! Have not had another incident since then. Have limited confidence in the vehicle now and am not willing to take it on long distance trips.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Postage stamp sized rear view

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Vehicle: 2013 Dodge Journey

We bought the Dodge Journey because it was a great value, it was big enough for our family of six and it got better gas mileage than a mini van. The seats are very versatile, but with all seats up, the car's blind spot doubles. The rear-most seats combined with the middle seat, block more than half of the rear window and all of the side windows. And the middle seats are difficult to return to an upright position when someone has to get out from the back. The stow bins are so shallow and small that they are practically worthless. The car seats are not the most comfortable, mainly because the headrests are too far forward. Since I have written this review, both middle-seat track systems have broken and had to be replaced. Fortunately, this has been within warranty and the rails have been fixed. I do believe that they are now easier to move back and forth. The "stow" areas are very shallow and can't hold very much, though the middle seat stows are nice for when I need to leave my purse or electronics. However, I will say that all seats go into a "down" position very nicely and I was able to fit a 17' extension ladder in the back with just a bit of the packaging intruding between the driver and passenger seats, so it has a very nice cargo capability with all the seats down.

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Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Dodge Journey Suv in VA is:

$56.67 per month*