Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  

Our 5-year ownership experience

Recommended Posts

This is a 5-year report on our 2013 Dodge Journey R/T. My spouse and I thought we would share some stats as well as our experience so far with this vehicle. We use CarCare, a Windows-based vehicle management system, to track our operating costs.


Kilometres driven:                                         35,378 [21,983 miles]

Average fuel economy:                                15.65 l/km [18 mpg – Imperial gallon]

Furthest distance travelled [one trip]:      2,128 km

Best fuel economy:                                       9.4 l/km [c.30 mpg - not sure how this happened but we were surprised on that 2,128 km trip]

Total fuel cost:                                               $5,526.10

Total maintenance cost:                              $2,360.38 [e.g. oil, oil/air/cabin air filters, peace of mind inspections, wheel alignment, wipers, winter/summer tire changes, washes, and one non-insurance body repair ($866)]




We purchased this vehicle while we were both employed, as a more comfortable and dependable means of getting to and from work, for the running around that invariably is done with grandchildren to various events, and for long trips to see relatives in our neighbouring province. It was a huge difference from the Dodge Caliber SRT-4 we drove previously. I was laid off seven months after the purchase, however, my spouse continued to work until 2016. Since 2017, we have been using the Journey in a home-based business.


Warranty Repairs


  • 8.4N Uconnect NAV/radio/CD system. Either the disc player or the NAV system stopped working. The system was replaced twice. This involved resetting all the favourites on the radio (AM, FM, SiriusXM), re-pairing smart phones and in one case obtaining a new SiriusXM ID. On another occasion, the NAV system volume had to be adjusted as we could hardly hear it when the radio was playing.


  • Rear viscous coupler.

  • Passenger side temperature door actuator.

  • Left rear upper control arm.

  • Belt idler




    There were three recalls: power steering hose and fluid cooler, steering wheel wiring, and antilock brake system control module. FCA did not always notify us right away and we often learned about them through CARFAX, or the Government of Canada Recalls and Safety Alerts smart phone app. Eventually letters did come from FCA.




  • Wonky 6-speed transmission; it seems to have a mind of its own, up and down shifting.

  • Liftgate: it is heavy for my 5’2” spouse to operate and is challenging to open and close in very cold weather. We cannot understand how a vehicle of this size does not have a power option.  

  • A back-up camera (mounted near the licence plate) that constantly becomes covered with road film; we understand FCA moved the lens to the upper part of the liftgate after our model year.

  • A rear window wiper that does not clear in a 180-degree arc.

  • Fuel economy – we believe this model, even with AWD, should have produced better results. We know that speed, acceleration, temperature, vehicle condition, etc. are all factors and we do live in a cold climate for one-half of the year, affecting consumption. A transmission with a higher number of speeds would have been nice, however, we note that the Journey is still only offered with a 6-speed.

  • Garmin NAV system. This system has proven to be disappointing (aside from the warranty replacements), despite two map updates (through a company called HERE as Garmin does not provide the updates directly; it costs about $230 CAD for each update). The Garmin system often cannot find streets, guides us to the wrong address saying we have arrived or mislabels streets and highways. An example of the latter is one trip we took on Highway 17 (part of our national Trans-Canada Highway system) in northwestern Ontario only to see GARMIN show it as an “unimproved road.” There are parts of our city that just ‘disappear’ into nothing as there is no map data for it despite these areas having been built out several years ago. We have advised Garmin’s cartography department of these issues. As we mentioned above, we use our Journey for business and need to find clients’ addresses, so we do rely on the NAV system.

  • The voice command system seems to have a mind of its own. It’s hit and miss getting it to access what we want it to do. We turn off the blower motor, make sure the windows are rolled up and speak in a clear voice, using the commands we read in the cheat sheet document we downloaded from FCA. We have far better results with our smartphones [Google Maps, WAZE], but this does not help us with this vehicle’s systems. Not the end of the world, just frustrating.


    Wish List


    Other than the Park Assist and rear-view camera functions, the Journey has no safety monitoring systems that we are aware of [ e.g. lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, automatic braking, etc.]. We knew these did not exist for our model year; we are just surprised that they are not offered on current models (if we have misread the specs on Dodge’s website, please let us know).


    FCA really needs to get with its competition and offer a power liftgate. If the Caravan, Durango and Pacifica have it standard or as an option, why not on this model, especially as it’s been around for eleven years?


    This vehicle needs an increase in the transmission gears. Mated to the reliable 3.6 litre, we believe it would improve fuel economy and up and down shifting.


    Overall Impressions


    As we were preparing this report, Driving.ca posted an article on the top ten vehicles with the largest decline in sales. I was surprised to learn that the Dodge Journey is ranked #2 on the list with Canadian sales of only 5,013, a decline of 52% since 2008. According to Driving.ca:


  • Canadian demand for the Journey peaked seven years ago

  • It is based on the long-defunct Dodge Avenger sedan (news to me)

  • By 2017, demand was only half of what it was four years ago (when we bought ours)

  • The Dodge brand is down 26 per cent this year.


    Our Journey has proven to be very dependable and probably the best automobile for comfort and reliability we have had in 45+ years of automobile ownership. That said, my spouse does have some difficulty [osteoarthritis] getting into the vehicle and wants to reconsider this type of vehicle when we replace it, likely in a couple of years.


We’ve driven Chrysler vehicles for the last 25 years. My spouse’s comments notwithstanding, the jury is still out on whether we would replace it with a newer model or look at another manufacturer. The information from Driving.ca leads us to believe this vehicle will be phased out by the time we are in the market again.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

  I completely agree with your opinion of the voice commands. Luckily there is not a learn feature for the commands I repeat back when trying dial a contact.  Your L/ 100kms seems a little higher than my 2012 SRT averages but on the highway the 3.6 L gets good mileage. We do not have the back-up camera or the navigation system but, our 2017 Terrain with its Tom Tom system I hate it. Our portable Garmin for the DJ works great and free life time map updates. Very little maintenance our our end also, replace 2 sets of undersized brakes all around one we paid for and battery that is it ! Great report good read.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair review.  It is a very comfortable vehicle.   Not perfect, but very comfortable.   Many of the complaints are ubiquitous to most all vehicles.  The journey could have and should have been upgraded with many of the options on current offerings from other manufacturers, I completely agree.   Chrysler has continued to treat the journey as the red-headed step child of the fleet.  If they added creature comforts, upgraded the pentastar engine with a turbo, and dropped in the 8 speed transmission available in other Chrysler models, they would not be able to make them fast enough.  BUT, they're likely not going to do that.   They will probably drop it all together and design a new drag racer.  Evidently all Americans need a vehicle where a back seat is an option.  Dodge is going for a fleet with zero utility and maximum horsepower.  Maybe they will move a journey replacement to Chrysler and insert all that the DJ is missing.  Maybe. . . 

I plan to keep my DJ as long as possible because despite its shortcomings,  it has checked most of my boxes: utility, comfort, road manners, power, and descent mileage.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Power liftgate...Oh, how that would be nice!  Fuel economy (2014 DJ with V6) is sub par....I am getting on average 13-14 l/100k which is 16.8-18 mpg's (this is highway and city combined driving).  Although the v6 pantastar is a definite updgrage from my 4 cyl CVT I had, I have to admit that I am a little disappointed by it's power.  I find it sluggish off the line and when trying to get it into passing gear.  The positive, 7 seats!  Comfortable ride...Aside from the rattles which the music volume takes care of.   Dual climate control with rear climate control as well.  But if someone can please tell me how to defrost the rear side windows, that would be great.  Heated seats and steering wheel which comes on automatically when remote starting the car.    

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reviews all. One thing I don't see mentioned is the value you get with the DJ with the price. This was one of the more expensive cars I have personally purchased (about $17000 3 years ago), and haven't had to do anything other than really basic maintenance. I don't have the rear view camera (I'm still pretty flexible to turn my head), I don't have BT (I do have a short commute to work, they can wait), I don't have the NAV system (I pay a lot for cell service, and the phone clip was cheap), and I hate all those warning systems because it makes a lot of people lazy drivers (no accidents in 30 years of driving for me). I personally like the amount of HP I get, it's just enough to pass whoever I want, but still keep me from getting tickets, and I enjoy the long trips of 10-12 hours as far as comfort and control. A couple of little creeks in the front suspension, but nothing to drive me crazy. Anyway, I enjoy reading everyone's thoughts on their DJ's, and I too plan on keeping it as long as I can and passing it on to my kid (passed two vehicles on so far). I did recently look at a Tahoe for the size and power, but Damn that price on those things is incredible. Knock on wood, hopefully my DJ stays as reliable as it's been, but so far it's outperformed my Explorer, Windstar, and 528i as far as issues. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this