A mini-minivan I think a significant portion of the Journey's success boils down to the fact that it’s differentiated from the traditional minivan.
Perhaps you have a family and you want something versatile, but you don’t want a minivan (which, incidentally, Dodge does very well). Enter the 2013 Dodge Journey. I’ve heard some pretty awful things about the Journey in the past, but it looks like the company has turned over a new leaf as the refreshed model, or more specifically, my 2013 Dodge Journey R/T AWD isn’t so bad at all. 2013 is the best year so far for the Journey and I think a significant portion of its success boils down to the fact that it’s differentiated from the traditional minivan.
My top-of-the-line R/T Rallye tester was finished in a bright red, looking very handsome might I add. Compared to the base Journey, the R/T Rallye is a huge step up both in terms of the visual differences as well as the overall image it conveys. Almost all the relevant body panels have better and more aggressive styling, it’s almost hard to tell they’re the same car. The front end has a blacked-out grille, a more aggressive bumper design, and fog lights. The R/T Rallye also comes with huge 19-inch aluminum wheels and polished dual exhaust tips, giving it a sporty look. Although these things may not sound like much on their own, it’s enough to change the image from “mom/dad who has given up on life” to “cool mom/dad with a cool car”.
Although the base models get a 2.4L inline-4, my R/T Rallye tester came equipped with Chrysler’s very-popular 3.6L Pentastar V6; the same engine used in a good portion of Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep applications. The Pentastar is good for 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Although this sounds pretty decent on paper, it’s a little less exciting in execution, but not bad at all. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, power delivery is assertive and smooth, albeit lazy, but it suits its purpose, which is to move large amounts of people in a very comfortable manner. It’s not like you’re going to be using the Journey to race Dominic Toretto at the lights.
There is a manual shifting option but honestly it’s not going to give you any sort of satisfaction using it, so you probably shouldn’t even bother. Dodge’s fuel economy ratings are 12.8L/100km city and 8.2L/100km highway. I achieved around 11.5L/100km over mixed driving. The Journey is a big car and it certainly feels that way in the corners. There is very little steering feel and precision, and quite a bit of body roll under cornering and dive under braking, but certainly not more than you’d expect. Our tester model was equipped with all-wheel-drive and although this Canadian winter is finally over, I’m sure it will be of great use for the next one. The R/T is equipped with harder suspension and paired with the 19” wheels but the ride is surprisingly comfortable still, and quiet as well.
The interior, meanwhile, is miles above of what I expected from an American minivan-SUV crossover. It’s got a much more premium feel to it, a lot less plastic-y than I’m used to. First and foremost, there are three rows of seats, making the Journey a very capable people mover. Although third-row access will never be as good as the sliding-door system of minivans, it’s still relatively straight forward and easy. The rear-seats fold flat with ease and there are plenty of storage compartments, maximizing the Journey’s overall utility.
The entire interior is black with comfortable leather seats. The front seats are heated and highly adjustable as well. The red-stitching is a nice touch as well. In the center console is a big 8.4” entertainment/information interface with all the features and options you’d expect such as SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and a Garmin-based navigation system (which is great). The Alpine speakers sound very good for this vehicle segment and there is even a 9” TV in the back for the kids.
Overall, the 2013 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye offers a very comprehensive package for an as-tested $35,000. The inside of the Journey is a nice place to be, especially with the family on road trips. It’s comfortable to drive in as well as ride in. Its Pentastar V6 gives it good power and its AWD system offers control and safety. It’s very much a crossover, offering lots of practicality and utility, but a lot less “beige” or “grey” than the base Journey, and definitely most minivans.
2013 Dodge Journey R/T AWD