Dodge has been known to make American-style, rugged cars. The Journey is an example of the company's soft side. But which is the best year Dodge Journey?

The Journey is Dodge's first step into the crossover market. At its launch in 2009, the car had a tough time competing with rivals like Hyundai Santa-Fe, Ford Edge, and Honda CR-V. However, two years down the line, Dodge made significant changes to the vehicle in an attempt to make it get on.

Since its launch, the Journey has faced several issues. Dodge resolved most of them during the years that followed. 2013 was the best year for Dodge Journey as it recorded the fewest number of complaints. It also comes with sufficient features, making it a good low-budget crossover vehicle.

One of the reasons that the Journey went through a hard time initially was because its parent company, Chrysler, was going through turbulent times in 2009. It was obvious that the company paid little attention to the interior and design cues of the vehicle, as it had more crucial things to deal with. This led to a lower quality interior, which was equipped with fewer features than rivals.

Car experts believe that the Dodge Journey has had a tough time competing with its popular rivals throughout its production years. However, it comes at a budget-friendly price and is suited for families running on tight budgets. The vehicle is good for city driving and is comfortable and smooth on highways. But it has little to offer for car enthusiasts.

Best Year Dodge Journey

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2013 Dodge Journey

The 2013 Journey is a crossover with design cues borrowed partially from minivans and partially station wagons. It sits in the middle of the mid-sized crossover market but has some perception issues since it also comes in a seven-seater variant.

For many years Dodge Journey struggled to make a mark. But the 2013 model featuring a refined interior, an improved engine, and even a third-row seat, the 2013 Dodge Journey became one of the better choices among the Journey lineup.

Design

The design of the 2013 Journey lies somewhere between tall wagons and truck-like SUVs. It flaunts a look that makes it stand out among other crossover rivals. This does not make it very sleek, but it does help the crossover forego the family-vehicle label.

Upfront, the most noticeable thing, like on almost all other Dodges, is the massive crosshair grille. The vehicle features a boxy front, which gives it quite an athletic stance. Towards the side, the wheel wells are lipped, giving the vehicle a more streamlined look. The curved sheet metal is another feature that gives the vehicle a sporty look.

Step inside, and the design cues follow through. As soon as you open the door, you are greeted by a metallic trim that takes you to a more subtle dashboard with smooth finishing and high-quality materials. The cabin is simple and follows a smoothly swooping look. The knobs and dials are easy to use and fairly large. You cannot help but notice the audio system and touchscreen on some trims, bordered by quality material.

Performance

If you are looking for performance and fuel economy, it is best to steer clear of the 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, which produces 173 hp. The engine is coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain feels quite underpowered and can run at high rpm for longer periods, resulting in poorer fuel economy.

However, the bigger engine is more suited to Dodge Journey. It is Chrysler's Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, which produces 283 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. It is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission and is much more responsive than the four-speed automatic.

The Journey handles quite well and is responsive to steering input. Its suspension makes the crossover feel like a much leaner and lower vehicle; you will not feel too much body roll when running over bumps or during high-speed twisty road runs.

The Journey's ride quality is one of its strong points. The vehicle offers a smooth and comfortable ride with adequate damping and shock absorption, making it an excellent vehicle for long family trips. The steering response of the Journey is quick, a bit too quick for a family vehicle. The small ratios of the hydraulic power steering make the handling of the vehicle agile and responsive.  

The vehicle comes with wheel sizes between 17 and 19 inches. Although the ride remains soft and comfortable with the smaller rims, the bigger rims add to the vehicle's traction and handling capability. The added handling comes at a slight price of comfort.

Comfort and Space

Dodge has vast experience with minivans, which is reflected in the interior of the Journey. It is quite spacious and fits cargo and people with ease. There are plenty of storage areas for small items, accessories, and toys. The vehicle offers decent seating space for an entire family without adding extra size to the exterior.

The front seats are wide and well-spaced out, American style, if we may call them. We did not expect the backseat to be as spacious on a vehicle this size. However, it is big enough and well-shaped to support two large adults or three kids. The back seat can be reclined and slides a few inches to and fro to ensure comfort.

Behind the front seats, there is 67 cubic feet of space. For the five-seat variant, there is 39 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat. On the seven-seat variant, the space behind the second seat is 37 ft3, and behind the third seat, it is around 11 ft3.

Although the cargo space is adequate, the Journey impresses with several storage compartments located around the cabin. The glove box is quite large, and there is a compartment big enough for a few laptop bags under the cargo floor towards the rear end of the cabin. Even the passenger seat hides a storage bin. You can flip the seat cushion forward to reveal a rather large bin, which can be used to store items you would want out of sight.

Safety

The 2013 Dodge Journey is equipped with many standard safety features. These include:

  • For driver and passenger, frontal airbags keep the front occupants' heads safe and secure during a frontal crash.
  • Side impact airbags keep the passengers and driver safe during a side impact or a rollover.
  • Knee airbags keep the lower body from sustaining serious injuries during an impact.
  • Overhead airbags keep the heads of the occupants safe during a rollover or severe rear impact.
  • Anti-whiplash headrests keep the heads supported and prevent neck injuries due to whiplash.
  • Antilock brakes prevent the wheels from locking up in the event of hard braking. Locked-up wheels are more prone to losing traction, leading the vehicle to enter an uncontrolled skid.
  • Stability control keeps watch on the vehicle's handling limits. It can reduce or limit engine power to make sure that the vehicle remains under the limits and in control of the driver.

 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards the 2013 Dodge Journey four-star overall rating. This rating comprises a four-star frontal crash and rollover rating and a five-star for side impacts. The frontal crash rating is broken down into five-star protection for the driver and four-star protection for the passenger. Similarly, the side-impact rating comprises a five-star rating for the front seat and four-star for the rear seat.

 The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Journey a "Good" score for the most part, but the vehicle gets a "Poor" rating for small overlap towards the front. Even with one poor rating, the vehicle garnered the 2013 Top Safety Pick award from the testing body.

 Optional safety features that can be found on the 2013 Dodge Journey are daytime running lights, rearview camera, and rear parking sensors.

Features

The 2013 Dodge Journey can be found in five trim levels, AVP, SE, SXT, Crew, and R/T. All variants are available with five or seven seating options. The V6 engine and all-wheel drive options were available on trim levels SXT and above.

However, even the base variants are equipped with numerous features, which include:

  • Power mirrors, door locks, and windows
  • Cruise control
  • Keyless entry
  • Cooled glove box, which has a vent from the air conditioner
  • Audio system with a USB, which is hidden in the center console
  • Tilting and telescoping steering wheel

Moving up the trim ladder, you arrive at the SXT variant, which adds more features like:

  • Keyless starting
  • Premium sound system
  • Leather seating and upholstery
  • Under-seat storage bins
  • Moonroof
  • Dodge's UConnect, which provides a bundle of features like Bluetooth connectivity and a better infotainment interface

A step above the SXT is the Crew trim, which adds the following:

  • Automatic climate control
  • Remote start
  • Leather trim on the steering wheel

The R/T is the sporty variant and adds mostly appearance upgrades like:

  • Satin aluminum alloy wheels
  • Six-speaker premium audio system with 368-watt output
  • Red stitching on the accents
  • It also features a sportier suspension to deliver better handling and responsiveness

The UConnect, available on all trims above and including SXT, allows connectivity with smart devices and supports SD cards. It is operated using an 8.4-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation on Crew trim.

Fuel Economy

 The Dodge Journey is not for those looking to save up on the fuel bill. However, it is not all that bad. It ranks about average when compared to other crossovers in its class. But if you step into the V6 market, the vehicle fares quite well.

The 2.4-liter, inline-four cylinder engine with four-speed automatic transmission gets EPA ratings of 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on highways, and 21 mpg for combined running.

Swap in the 3.6-liter V6 coupled with a six-speed automatic, and the numbers change to 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined for the FWD variant. The fuel economy dips a little with the AWD variant and comes to 16 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined.

As you might notice, there is not much difference in the numbers between the four-cylinder and V6, and this is why we recommend the V6 as it offers better performance and a bundle of other features. Although the numbers on the V6 do seem low, they compete quite well with other V6 crossovers in the class.

Price Range of 2013 Dodge Journey

The price of the Dodge Journey starts at around $7,000 and can go up to $19,000, with the average price sitting at around $13,000. The prices vary due to location, mileage, trim level, options installed, and vehicle condition.

Running Costs of 2013 Dodge Journey

It is estimated that the annual running costs of the 2013 Dodge Journey come to around $4,000, translating to $20,000. These numbers include fuel costs, insurance, maintenance, and repairs and are average compared to other vehicles in this class.

Insurance Costs for the 2013 Dodge Journey

 Many factors play a role in the insurance costs of the vehicle. The most significant are the coverage level required, deductible, and insurance type you are opting for. Other factors like location, driving record, credit score, and even age and gender can influence insurance rates.

Reliability of 2013 Dodge Journey

The Dodge Journey is average when it comes to reliability. Our experts rate it around 4 on a scale of five. It is not among the best, but not too bad. We feel that the annual maintenance costs on the nearly decade-old Dodge Journey can reach up to $700 per year, which is quite good.

We feel that frequency of maintenance is equally important for reliability. It does not make much sense to have a reliable vehicle only because you visit the repair shop now and then. The Dodge Journey fares quite well in this area, as it does not require major repairs too often. Our experts estimate that it will require major repairs, probably two times in three years of usage.

About THE AUTHOR

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

Read More About Charles Redding