It’s almost here. Dodge has sharpened their new nameplate for the masses; now let’s see how deep it cuts. This is the 2013 Dodge Dart.
Dodge Dart Trims and Feature Highlights
The Dart is a compact sedan that’s all new for the 2013 model year. Initially Dart will be available in base SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited trims, with an R/T model coming later. And like a stealthy superhero, the aerodynamically inspired Dart Aero should arrive in the third quarter this year to deliver up to 41 MPG. Sporting classy style and all the right numbers- including a starting price of $15,995- the 2013 Dart has its sights set squarely on leaders Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus for top small car billing.
Based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Dodge wants to make sure shoppers get an equal mix of Italian flair and traditional Dodge punch. You’ll get three engine choices, lively handling (that’s the Italian part), and Charger inspired exterior bits accentuated by sizeable dimensions- at least for the compact class. Inside you’ll receive plenty of upscale-ness and tech, enough to thoroughly raise the price tag if you choose to get greedy.
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Dodge Dart Performance
Grabbing any Dart trim save for the R/T will get you the standard 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine worth 160 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. Drivers can pair the 2.0 liter with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
Optional on trims not named R/T is a turbocharged 1.4 liter 4-cylinder giving drivers 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. You’ll get a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual clutch automated manual. The latter combination will help the late release Dart Aero achieve 41 MPG.
Early test drives say the standard 2.0 liter is a quiet, smooth choice packing adequate power, but the 1.4 liter turbo, with its extra torque, represents the livelier option.
Dart R/T trims get a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder capable of 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. along with 6-speed auto or 6-speed manual transmission choices.
Dodge Dart Fuel Economy
EPA estimates for the manually driven 2.0 liter Dart are 25/36/29 (city/highway/combined) MPG; the turbocharged 1.4 liter with manual falls just short of the 40 MPG mark with numbers of 27/39/32. Automatic and 2.4 liter estimates have yet to be finalized.
As mentioned, the Dart Aero is tagged to hit 41 highway MPG when it comes out later in the year.
Dodge Dart Interior Highlights
Dodge is going for ‘best in class’ interior swag and the consensus is that this is a reachable goal. Soft surfaces, ambient lighting, and room to stretch- in front and back- all add up to a downright decent driving experience. Tech-wise, you’ll get an available 7” instrument cluster display located behind the steering wheel that gives vehicle info, blind spot warnings, and navigational info, among other things. And Dodge isn’t shy about anointing its 8.4” Uconnect touchscreen as the largest in class, and when you choose the SXT, Rallye (where Uconnect is optional), Limited, or R/T (standard) you can experience the touchscreen first hand, along with voice activation, Bluetooth, navigation, and WiFi connectivity.
The only real average feature seems to be trunk space, which has been measured at just over 13 cubic feet, though you can opt for an additional cubby space located within the passenger seat.
Dodge Dart Safety
Dart safety standards include antilock brakes with brake assist & drying feature (initiated when windshield wipers are turned on), stability/traction control, and 10 standard airbags. Available options include Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection alert systems.
There are no crash test numbers available yet for 2013 Dart, but given the emphasis on safety tech it’s a safe bet that Dodge won’t let their brand new nameplate slip too far in terms of results.
Dodge Dart Summary
Someone transported from 1974 would probably be amazed that the Dart is still around, but this is a brand new bag of goods that Dodge is rolling out. Dart shouldn’t have any problems finding an audience, even if higher trims max out buyers’ price ranges. Look for the 2013 Dodge Dart to become a compact class leader very soon.
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