After months of hint-dropping about a special econo-oriented version of its new compact sedan, Dodge has released the full story on the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero. On sale now, the heart of the new Dart Aero is the same Fiat-designed 1.4-liter/160-horsepower turbocharged MultiAir 4-cylinder engine used in other Dart models. It can be backed with either the standard 6-speed manual transmission or the optional 6-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DCCT). Fitted with the former, the new Dart Aero earns a 41-mpg EPA highway rating, a number that slips to 40-mpg on Aeros equipped with the DCCT.
Like its key rivals, the Chevrolet Cruze ECO (42 mpg/39 mpg), Ford Focus FSE (40 mpg) and Nissan Sentra FE+ (40 mpg), the Dart Aero relies on a number of wind-cheating modifications to help raise its mpg marks. In this case, those tweaks include active grille shutters, special underbody fairings and a lowered profile along with low-rolling resistance tires and several mass-reducing aluminum chassis components.
Price of entry for the well-equipped 2013 Dodge Dart Aero begins at $20,090, which is $3,300 beyond the beyond the starting point of a base Dart SE but only $300 up on a mid-line Dart Rallye. By comparison, the 2013 Nissan Sentra FE+ opens at $18,440, the 2013 Ford Focus SFE at $20,185 and the Chevy Cruze ECO at $20,475. In other related news, the Dodge Dart in all of its iterations has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.