2014 Journey New Car Test Drive
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.
The 2013 Dodge Journey is offered in five trim levels: AVP (American Value Package), 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 with 4-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic are standard on Crew and R/T. The mid-range SXT can be ordered with front-wheel drive and the four-cylinder or V6, or with the V6 and AWD.
All five models provide seating for five in their standard configuration, or for seven with the optional Flexible Seating Group ($1,050) which adds not only a 50/50 folding and reclining third seat, but a 60/40 tilt-and-slide second seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a cargo compartment cover.
Journey AVP ($18,995) comes with cloth upholstery; cruise control; dual-zone manual air conditioning with air filtering; tinted glass; Uconnect 4.3 with AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA stereo with six speakers, 4.3-inch touchscreen, auxiliary input jack, and USB port; power windows; power heated exterior mirrors; power door locks; remote keyless entry; tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; driver's seat height adjustment; 60/40-split-folding second-row seat; headlights with time-delay off; a grille with bright accents; and P225/65R17 all-season touring tires on steel wheels.
Journey SE ($20,995) adds LED taillamps and a longer list of available options.
Journey SXT ($22,995) adds deep-tint sunscreen glass, SiriusXM satellite radio, floor mats, fog lamps, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Mirrors are body color rather than black, and the front fascia is more elaborate. The front-drive SXT can be ordered with the V6 ($1,600). Journey SXT AWD ($26,395) comes standard with the V6, which also gets bright exhaust tips, black roof rails, a performance-tuned suspension and a slightly larger fuel tank.
Journey Crew ($27,995) upgrades further with the V6 engine as standard; fully automatic halogen headlamps; dual-zone automatic climate control; Uconnect 8.4 with 8.4-in. touchscreen, AM/FM radio, SiriusXM radio, CD/DVD player, MP3/WMA/AAC, audio input jack, remote USB port and SD card slot; six-way power driver's seat with four-way lumbar support; fold-flat front passenger seat with in-seat storage; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; illuminated vanity mirrors; one-touch control for power windows; 115-volt power outlet; and new 225/55R19 all-season touring tires on 19-inch Satin Silver aluminum wheels. Door handles, exhaust tips, and roof rails are all chromed. Journey Crew AWD ($29,795) includes all-wheel drive.
Journey R/T ($28,995) and AWD ($30,795) are the sporty models. They add firm-feel power steering; high-performance suspension; heated front seats; black leather upholstery with red stitching; dimple-leather wrap for the steering wheel with matching red stitching; Infiniti 368-watt premium sound; and 19-inch alloy wheels finished in Satin Carbon. Door handles revert to body color, matching the body color trim in the grille; and roof rails revert to optional status ($125).
The Navigation and Sound Group ($995) includes Garmin navigation with audible turn by turn directions, POI and Lane Guidance, Uconnect Voice Command, Bluetooth streaming audio, hands-free texting and preprogrammed response, SiriusXM Travel Link, HomeLink universal garage door opener, rear park assist, and rearview camera; Rear DVD entertainment ($795) comes with a 9-inch screen, remote control, and two wireless headphones. Stand-alone options include the six premium Infinity speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier ($395); an engine block heater ($95), sunroof ($895), heated front seats ($295), integrated second-row child safety seats ($225), and a Trailer Tow Group ($145) with an engine oil cooler and a four-pin connector. Many more options are available, and the model you order and the combination of options you order can affect option prices.
Safety features on all Journey models include advanced multistage front airbags; torso-protecting, seat-mounted front side air bags; head-protecting curtain side airbags that cover all seating rows; driver's knee bag; front-seat active head restraints; a tire-pressure monitor; traction control; electronic stability control with rollover mitigation; ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist; and Dodge's trailer sway control. Available all-wheel drive improves stability in slippery conditions.