This article reviews the new (returning) Dodge Dart - An impressive joint American (Chrysler) and European (Fiat) effort that has resulted in a car that really hits the automotive bull’s-eye.
Many drivers remember the Dodge Dart from the 60s and 70s. Actually, the Dart was manufactured from 1960 to 1976. And after a long absence, the Dodge has returned.
So what does the new 2013 Dodge Dart have to offer?
It is a compact in name (it is actually the largest compact sedan on the market) front-wheel drive five-passenger four-door sedan.
The base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (developed with Mercedes and Hyundai) providing 160 hp and 148 ft. lb. of torque. Other engines include a 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder providing 160 hp and 184 ft. lb. of torque and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivering 184 hp and 171 ft. lb. of torque. The transmission is a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic. Later this year, there will also be a six-speed dual-clutch (DDCT) transmission with shifting on the steering wheel Depending on the engine and transmission combination, the car’s 0-60 mph time is from 7.6 to 9.1 seconds.
The Dart’s wheelbase measures 106.4 inches and its curb weight is 3,200 to 3,350 lbs. depending on the engine, transmission and equipment. This car’s trunk offers 13.1 cubic feet of space, and the fuel tank holds 15.8 gallons. The car’s highway cruising range is 568 miles.
On the exterior this sedan has a clean, wide and modern look.
At the front the windshield is well raked and curved back (the car’s drag coefficient is .29 Cd). The hood is wide and smooth with raised edges. It also includes a recessed area running down the center. The headlights are large slanted units that curve back into the front fenders. The grille is large and blacked out with some light trim at the top. Black inserts that house round driving lights are at the corners.
The side profile of this four-door Dodge looks like a coupe as the roof extends well back. The rear window is fastback flat. The upper glass follows the roof’s theme and also stretches back. There is a rounded cut line just above the door handles and a recessed area at the bottom of the doors.
At the rear this sedan has a high but short trunk lid. The edge of the trunk extends several inches beyond the taillights. The taillights are horizontal units that are integrated in the trunk and rear fenders. There an insert that matches the taillight’s color. It is integrated in between the taillights with the Dodge name done chrome. To top it all off, the taillight area is concave. At the bottom there is a black insert with dual oval shaped exhausts at the corners.
On the interior the Dart has one of the nicest interiors in its class. The materials and their fit and finish are very good. The cabin is wide and provides the feeling of spaciousness. The driver sees an open gauge cluster that includes a half circle tachometer on the left, a round speedometer in the center and a partial circle fuel gauge at the right. The front seats are reasonably comfortable and supportive, however, some tall drivers might fine them mounted too high (best to check this out for your personal preference). There is an optional 8.4-inch touchscreen interface that provides entertainment and navigation. The system features easy to navigate, large buttons and a knob that allows quick and easy iPod menus. The rear legroom is good and the 40/60 split rear seat folds down to increase the cargo area.
The brakes are vented discs at all four corners measuring 12 inches at the front and 10.4 inches at the rear. The Dart’s 60-0 mph stopping distance is in 120 feet. The tires measure 205 55 16 inch. Larger wheels and tires are available.
The suspension is barrowed from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. At the front it includes MacPherson struts, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. At the rear the setup includes multi-links, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar.
Standard features on this Dodge include dual driver and passenger climate control, fold flat passenger seat, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, audio controls on the steering wheel, power door locks, windows and mirrors, remote power door locks, cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, front cupholders, remote trunk release, rear defogger, external temperature display, electronic speed-proportional power steering, 12 volt power outlets, interior air filtration, 4-speaker AM/FM in-dash single CD player, auxiliary MP3 audio input and more.
Standard safety features include four-wheel ABS brakes, front and rear head air bags, dual front and dual rear side-mounted air bags, passenger air bag occupant sensing deactivation, child seat anchors, rear door child safety locks, engine immobilizer, daytime running lights, auto delay off headlights, stability and traction control, electronic brake force distribution, tire pressure monitoring and more.
The fuel rating for the Dodge Dart is 25 city and 36 mpg highway.
On the road the Dodge Dart is European buttoned down and its handling is taunt and precise. The steering is nicely weighted and it is easy for the driver to point the car. The Dart’s refinement is good and its ride quality is impressive. Highway cruising is no problem for this sedan. All in all, this Dodge provide a sporty and highly pleasing drive
The base price of the 2013 Dodge Dart is $16,790.
The 2013 Dodge Dart combines the best of America (Chrysler) and European (Fiat) automotive engineering. It is a sporty and fun to drive sedan that offers good space, many features and style (flair) for the money.
All in all, the Dodge Dart is a very impressive sedan that really hits the automotive bull’s-eye!