DriveApart Review: 2013 Dodge Dart

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Categories: Dailies, DriveApart

DriveApart Overview
The 2013 Dodge Dart is the first vehicle to be designed with Alfa Romeo DNA after the Fiat purchase of Chrysler in 2009. With new designs from Alfa Romeo, the Dodge Dart is a hip, aesthetically pleasing, fun-to-drive compact sedan that offers a lot of bag for the buck. The new Dart is offered in five different trim levels and 12 exterior colors that feature some breakthrough technology and class-leading safety features. The Dart is available with three different engines and transmissions giving the buyer a lot of packaging choices and pricing options. Dodge is also introducing the Dodge Dart Aero, a highly fuel-efficient version of the vehicle that gets at least 41 miles to the gallon on the highway.

What We Like
With the injection of Alfa Romeo DNA into its design, the 2013 Dodge Dart's new styling shows off an eye-pleasing exterior engineered for maximum performance. The addition of state-of-the-art technology like the 7-inch touchscreen in the center console, 10 standard airbags, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross path detection adds a lot of value to the vehicle. The increased fuel efficiency of the vehicle is welcoming. We dig the slew of options that the Dodge Dart offers and, in a nod to the younger generation, a high level of customization for the end user.

What's Not To Like
There isn't much there's not to like about the new 2013 Dodge Dart, most of the cool goodies and features exist across all of the different models. However, the high MPG version of the Dodge Dart, the Aero, costs than the basic model by $3300 dollars.

The rear of the Dodge Dart.

Tow and Haul
With a towing capacity of 1000 lbs, you won’t be able to tow anything heavy but you can absolutely haul a trailer and a small motorcycle, we recommend a vintage XL100S. The trunk contains 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space which will be enough to carry your groceries, tools, and any other goodies you manage to throw in there. If you need more room for your gear, the rear seats fold down too.

The Dodge Dart in motion.

The Drive
We put on close to 600 miles on our test and we loved every moment behind the wheel. The injection of Alfa DNA did a lot for the compact sedan and makes a fine replacement for the begging to be put down Dodge Caliber. The Dart is zippy to drive, especially with the turbo mated to the six-speed dual dry clutch transmission. The car is quiet, out performers at its price point and has a sporty drive without being too obtrusive and boy-racer in feel. The steering is one center and with the turbo, doesn’t have the turbo lag, front wheel spin, a major plus when driving in wet conditions.

Engine and Drivetrain
The 2013 Dodge Dart offers three four-cylinder engine options. A 160 horsepower naturally aspirated 2.0 liter engine, a 160 horsepower Turbocharged engine with MultiAir fuel saving technology and a new 184 horsepower 2.4 liter MultiAir engine that Dodge calls the Tigershark! The Dart also offers 3 transmissions options - a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic and a six-speed dual dry clutch (DDT) transmission. That's a great amount of diversity for an entry-level compact sedan. The MultiAir technology allows for "optimum combustion at any speed under all driving conditions by allowing direct and dynamic control of air intake and combustion” which allows for a 7.5 percent increase in fuel efficiency.

Interesting Vehicle Features
The Dodge Dart has a lot of technological features that you would normally only find on higher-end cars, such as a completely customizable 7-inch touchscreen gauge cluster and the 8.4 inch UConnect console located in the center stack. The customization extends to the exterior of the car as Mopar offers more than 150 different options and themes for the Dart. The interior was created with toady's tech user in mind - the center console has auxiliary jacks for electronic devices and the glove box can easily stow an iPad. The Dart was designed with more than 60 safety features like Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection and comes with 10 standard airbags.

Gas Mileage
For an entry-level vehicle, the base 2013 Dodge Dart has excellent gas mileage, 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The fuel-efficient Aero model gets 28 mpg city and mpg highway.

The interior.

Interior and Exterior
The interior of the Dart was designed for the convenience of the driver, the layout is driver-centric and places everything within easy reach. The interior has 14 different interior trim combinations with six wheel options allowing the driver to personalize the vehicle to their own style, to add to the custom aspect, the Dart is available in 12 exterior colors. Even though the Dodge Dart is a compact sedan, you never feel cramped. Sitting in the front or back seat it feels like you are posting up in a much larger vehicle. The exterior was designed with performance in mind with an athletic and fluid appearance. The lines and accents across the body evoke the thought that the new Dart was engineered for performance and handling.

Pricing
The SE model starts at $15,995, which is great for an inexpensive, completely customizable compact sedan with relatively high gas mileage. As you go up in range, the price increases gradually with the SXT at $17,995, the Rallye at $18,995, the Aero at $19,295, and the Limited model at $20,995. With the most expensive version not even breaking $21,000 dollars, it’s a lot of vehicle for your dollar. The Dodge Dart is one of the least inexpensive compact sedans out there. It's competitors such as the Ford Focus, the Chevrolet Cruze and the Honda Civic start at $16,200, $17,310, and $18,165 respectively.

The 2013 Dodge Dart.

The Verdict
A great start for the first effort from the Fiat owned Chrysler group and a great replacement for the aging Dodge Caliber. We think the Dart, especially the Limited version with the six-speed dual dry clutch transmission and the 1.4-liter turbo is a great little car for the money and earns a must shop if looking for a small, fun to drive sedan.

Click here for more info on the 2013 Dodge Dart

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