Review and photos by Paul Williams

The Dodge Journey has proven to be a very popular vehicle since its introduction in 2008, with sales increasing significantly each year in Canada. Why? Well, value is surely a major factor, as the Journey in base, four-cylinder form, starts at an attractive $19,495 for the Canada Value Package–equipped model (plus $1,595 destination charge).

That’s not bad for a spacious mid-size SUV with 17-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone air conditioning, power locks and windows, automatic transmission (albeit only a four-speed), keyless entry with proximity sensor, cruise control and power, heated mirrors. You can even specify seven-passenger seating for an extra $1,000.

The base price for our top-of-the-line R/T Rallye AWD model is $32,795, but with the destination charge and a range of extras the as-tested price was a loftier $38,890. For that you get a very well-equipped Journey with all-wheel drive, V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, leather seating surfaces, navigation, rear-view camera, 19-inch aluminum wheels, flexible seating package, premium audio and a rear-seat entertainment package to name a few of the upgrades. What you don’t get is a nice panorama roof (or even a standard sunroof), which was too bad as we were entering panorama country. The power sunroof, by the way, would add $1,295 to the price.

Something to note, however, is that the website now lists virtually the same vehicle at $34,290 including destination, so the end-of-model-year pricing is apparently as flexible as the seating. Big savings to be had, apparently!

2013 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye2013 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye
2013 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye. Click image to enlarge

On this Road Trip, the aptly named Journey was in for a long one, as my partner and I embarked on 3,000 kilometre tour of Southern Alberta and Southern British Columbia, camping in some of Canada’s most scenic National and Provincial Parks, stopping off for a trail ride en route.

After picking up our Brilliant Red Tri-coat Journey in Calgary, it easily swallowed the two large duffel bags containing what would be our accommodation and kitchen for most of the next three weeks, two carry-on suitcases full of clothes, along with a couple of knapsacks and a laptop (for all the writing I wasn’t going to do…). The roof rack system wasn’t required but could have been pressed into service.

Once underway, we could immediately see signs of the recent floods south of Calgary while heading toward the hard-hit High River area. Continuing south on Highway 22 at Black Diamond, we stopped into the Bar-U Ranch at Longview, once one of the largest ranching operations in Canada, now a National Historic Site.

Old trucks at the Bar-U Ranch
Old trucks at the Bar-U Ranch. Click image to enlarge

It, too, was recovering from the floods, although the cheerful and knowledgeable guides were making the best of things regardless. One of them recommended nearby Lundbreck Falls Provincial Recreation Area for our first overnight, and indeed it was as pleasant as he recollected. Most of the campsites are located on the banks of the Crowsnest River, downstream from the picturesque 12-metre falls (we recommend campsite 20, although you have to carry your gear in a little ways).

The Journey – the Dodge Journey, that is – smoothly motors along highways like a minivan with somewhat sharper steering and mildly sportier handling. The 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine is quiet and capable, although its 283 horsepower seems a little lazy at times with the transmission leaning toward fuel efficiency rather than sporty downshifts. It’ll tow 1,600 kg (3,500 lb), which is less than a V6 Toyota Highlander’s 2,268 kg (5,000 lb) limit, but more than smaller SUVs like the Honda CR-V. Rated at 12.8/8.2 L/100 km (AWD version), we saw between 9.8 and 11.0 L/100 km on sustained highway driving, numbers we’d maintain throughout our trip. Regular grade fuel, fortunately.

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