2013 Dodge Journey R/T AWD Versatility with a Racy Edge>

Sometimes, there’s a thin line between an SUV and a crossover. Most SUVs never go any further off-road than the grass next to the soccer field; many crossovers are nothing more than minivans with non-sliding doors. And then there is the 2013 Dodge R/T AWD. It’s classified as a crossover, but is minivan-like in some aspects, yet has more in common with high-performance SUVs than the conventional family hauler. A commanding view of the road, loads of storage space, flexible seating configurations, a high performance 283 horsepower 3.6-Liter Pentastar V6 engine and an exhaust growl that’s down right sexy!
Looks can be deceiving, however; the Journey R/T is a bit of a sleeper. A few well placed R/T badges, 19-inch painted aluminum wheels, a sleek cargo rack free roofline and chrome dual exhaust tips only hint at what lies under the hood. My test model wasn’t shy though, it was dressed in Brilliant Red Tri-Coat Pearl paint, a color that can easily be called “race car red.”
Speaking of race cars, the 3.6L Pentastar V6 delivered an impressive 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque in a flash. The 6-speed transmission automatic transmission with AutoStick lets you feel like Danica Patrick without the need for a clutch. The performance tuned suspension and all-wheel drive system helped keep the heavy 4,283 vehicle firmly planted, even on the twistiest of lake roads. And unlike a race car, Journey R/T is rated to tow up to 2,500 pounds. Of course, there is a trade off for power and towing capability, the EPA-estimated MPG is 16 city, 24 highway and 19 combined.
Inside, dramatic red stitching on the door panels, dash and seats added to the overall style of the Journey R/T. The driver’s seat was comfortable and well bolstered in keeping with the R/T performance-oriented nature. Both of the 60/40 split rear seats featured forward and aft adjustments as well as reclining seats. 7-passenger seating is available.
The test vehicle had lots of optional goodies – integrated child bolster seats, a split screen rear seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, ParkSense Rear Park Assist, ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera, a Garmin Navigation system, the excellent Uconnect touch screen radio with SiriusXM, a CD/DVD player and Alpine speakers. There’s a remote USB port and a 115-volt household-style power outlet in the second row. No more bored rear seat passengers, no more dead laptops, iPads or cell phones. Remote start and keyless Enter’N Go make the morning rush to get out the door and into traffic easier. The only feature lacking is a power liftgate.
If space is the final frontier, then the Journey is a rocket ship. It has more usable space than any crossover I’ve driven, with a big emphasis on practicality. Yes, some vehicles may have more cubic feet, but how much of that space is usable for carrying real stuff? Items can be stashed simply lifting a seat cushion or floor panel, folding down the second row or flipping forward the front passenger’s seatback. There are simple, thoughtful solutions, like grocery bag hooks on the back of the driver’s seat, perfect for those quick runs to the store. I easily loaded a pair of brand new chaise lounges for my deck into the Journey, with the front passenger seat folded flat, these 6 foot plus deck chairs disappeared inside the vehicle, leaving room for the driver and one rear seat passenger. Even with two people in the front row, the Journey offers 67.7 cubic feet of storage space. There’s extra storage under the rear cargo compartment perfect for hiding Christmas gifts or that pair of shoes you can’t bring in the house just yet; there’s even storage under the front passenger seat cushion for small valuables.
The 2013 Dodge Journey starts at $18,995 for the AVP FWD model; the top of the line Journey R/T AWD has a base price of $30,795. Our Journey R/T AWD test vehicle, equipped with Brilliant Red Tri-Coat Pearl paint ($500), Navigation and Sound Group I ($995), Rear Seat Video Group ($795) and Second-Row Seat with 2 Integrated Child Booster Seats came in at $34,305.
All in all, the Dodge Journey is an excellent alternative for those of us who have too much stuff but refuse to be a part of the minivan brigade.
Written by Eve Pickman. Photos by Ingo Rautenberg