Launched for 2009 as the crossover from the automaker who invented the minivan, the Dodge Journey went on to quickly become a bestseller with value-minded crossover shoppers.
Thanks in no small part to aggressive pricing, stand-out styling and generous levels of selection via option packages, powertrains and trim grades, it was easy to devise the perfect Dodge Journey for any need or taste.
Journey rides on a D-segment platform that housed other models like the Avenger and 200 and it offers a surprisingly car-like ride, despite its available seven-passenger seating. Flexibility, a multitude of storage options, and the famous Chill-Zone cooler compartment helped add appeal and set the Journey apart. Additionally, look for features like a sunroof, navigation, Bluetooth, heated leather, premium audio systems, and plenty more.
There’s four- or six-cylinder power and front or all-wheel drive (AWD) options. Notably, 2011 and newer units will offer the award-winning Pentastar V6 engine as the uplevel option, delivering 283 horsepower along with numerous modern fuel-saving technologies.
Consider the Dodge Journey alongside its plethora of competitors in the used marketplace — including comparable units from Nissan, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Honda. According to many shoppers, the Journey’s long list of handy, family-friendly touches inspired from Chrysler minivans, as well as its strong feature-for-the-dollar ratio, should make this one popular with growing families.
Test Drive To-Do List:
#1: Avoid the First Year
As it tends to go with many used vehicles, shoppers are advised to avoid the first year of Dodge Journey production where possible, as the 2009 models had, by a fair margin, the highest number of problems reported by the owner’s community. Among the most popular of these issues were premature brake component wear — from the pads to the rotors to the calipers. If you’re dead set on a 2009 Dodge Journey, have a mechanic inspect these components carefully.
#2: Listen to the Suspension
After confirming that the stereo and climate control fan both work as expected, switch them off and head to a rougher road. Numerous owners have reported a clunking, popping, or thumping sound from beneath the Journey on rougher surfaces, particularly when decelerating at a low speed and encountering a bump in the road, or during low-speed, sharp steering maneuvers like pulling into a driveway or parking space. Unwanted sounds and sensations like these are your invitation to have the used Journey’s suspension checked over by a mechanic for worn-out components.
#3: Try the Fancies
Your used Journey may come packed with numerous high-tech features and systems, including navigation, Bluetooth, remote key fobs, push-button start, power seats, a backup camera, and more. Before agreeing to purchase, triple-check any and every function inside of the used Journey you’re considering that runs on electricity, right down to the power windows and steering wheel mounted controls. If anything isn’t working as expected, now’s the time to find out. Note that in many cases, updated dealer-installed software can fix niggling electronic issues, as can a fresh battery. Pay close attention to the touch-screen UConnect system, if equipped. If a software update doesn’t remedy a detected issue with this feature, a replacement head unit may be required, and if it’s not covered by warranty, it won’t be inexpensive.
#4: Check the AWD System
Have a mechanic inspect the hardware that drives the Journey’s available AWD system for signs of a potential fluid leak, and especially if you smell anything that resembles burning oil on your test drive, or if the unit you’re considering is a 2008 or 2009. If the AWD system is leaking oil, it may contact the hot exhaust, causing the offending smell. Oily drips beneath the vehicle are another sign of this potential issue, which is typically fixed with a replacement seal. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the AWD system’s maintenance requirements and fluid-change intervals, and to follow them, for maximum durability from this driveline component.
#5: Seating and Interior
Give the Journey’s interior a good check over for signs of excessive wear to plastic panels, kick plates, rocker panel sills, and the seating fabric or leather. Any abundant signs of wear and tear should be called into pricing negotiations. Pay close attention to the plastics and carpeting in high-traffic areas where cargo and occupants get in and out, like the rear edge of the cargo hold, and the outer edge of the driver’s seat. Be sure all seats flip, fold and maneuver as outlined in the owner’s manual, too. Finally, be sure the tailgate stays open under its own power, even with a slight downwards pressure applied, or you may wind up taking some sheetmetal to the head. Solution? Replace the gas struts that hold the liftgate open.
Your Best Bet?: Shoppers set on a used Journey can buy confidently after the model passes a standard pre-purchase inspection at mechanic of their choosing, and is confirmed to have a braking system that’s in good shape, and to be free of oil leaks from the AWD system (if equipped). We advise a 2011 or newer unit, with the V6 engine: mileage isn’t massively worse than the four-cylinder engine, though plenty more power is available. With lots of selection in the used market, and highly reasonable pricing, Journey looks like an appealing used buy in an affordable second-hand family hauler.
Good To Know: