By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
Dodge's first compact model since the Neon, the all-new 2013 Dart is an impressive exercise that's stylish, roomy, well-finished and offers loads of powertrain and personalization possibilities. With a host of new techno touches, innovative user-friendly features and multiple trim grades – including an econo-oriented Aero model and a performance-oriented GT variant – this engaging front-drive sedan can be tailored to meet almost any set of buyer preferences. Given its equally aggressive pricing, the 2013 Dodge Dart is poised to be a major player in a super-competitive market segment that includes established heavyweights like the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda Mazda3.
Bold looks, impressive features, outstanding interior space, Euro-flavored driving dynamics and fuel-efficient powertrain choices – eventually including a mileage-maxing aero package – coupled with value pricing make the new Dodge Dart a compelling choice in the compact segment.
Buyers who prefer more traditional styling or demand a vehicle with a hybrid or turbodiesel powertrain will still need to turn to Dart rivals like the Honda Civic or Volkswagen Jetta. With its available Skyactiv engine, the Mazda3 also makes a strong case for consideration.
As the first Chrysler Group product to be based on Alfa Romeo platform architecture, the 2013 Dart resurrects a classic Dodge name while introducing a new level of style, content and practical technology to the brand – and in several instances, to the entire compact segment.
Driving Impressions Based on an expanded Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform, the 2013 Dodge Dart features a super-rigid unit body rich in high-strength steel that gives it the kind of tight, solid feel...typically associated with a larger car. A long wheelbase, well-tuned suspension and nicely-sorted electric power steering combine to make the Dart as comfortable and controlled cruising down a highway as it is taking on serpentine back roads. Less-demanding drivers will find the standard 160-horsepower/2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine has adequate muscle to move this 3,200-pound sedan, but it's decidedly less stressed when backed by the manual transmission. The optional 1.4-liter turbocharged four with its substantially greater torque both feels and sounds more enthusiastic, but hard-liners will find the GT, with its 184-horsepower 2.4-liter engine and tauter chassis, to be their Dart of choice.
MULTIAIR ENGINE TECHNOLOGY
Developed by Fiat and fitted to both the 1.4-liter turbo and 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated Dart engines, MultiAir technology individually controls the lift and timing of the engine's intake valves to improve both performance and fuel economy.
FLOATING ISLAND DASH BEZEL
A class-exclusive feature that's standard on Dart Limited and GT models, this innovative interior element is ringed in Ruby Red band of LED illumination and contains the 7.0-inch reconfigurable TFT (Thin Film Transistor) instrument cluster display and 8.4-inch UConnect touch screen multimedia system.
Offering abundant space, innovative style, loads of soft-touch surfaces and numerous color/trim possibilities, the 2013 Dart gets our vote for best-in-class overall cabin design. Its front bucket seats, whether covered in cloth or available leather, provide a great combination of comfort and support while the rear bench is fully adult compatible. Available segment-exclusives like a reconfigurable dash display, huge Uconnect infotainment screen and a heated steering wheel further define its unique character while a cavernous glovebox that can literally swallow a laptop plus hidden storage under the front-passenger seat cushion on the Limited and GT models further add to the new Dart's appeal.Exterior
The 2013 Dodge Dart's sleek and sexy exterior previews a number of cues that will also appear in subsequent Dodge models. With its long (106.4-inch) wheelbase, short overhangs and relatively wide stance, the Dart has a well-planted look even when it's standing still. A distinctive interpretation of the division's signature "gunsight" grille design and the available full-width LED taillights integrate seamlessly with its different model-specific color and accent touches, while unique wheel/tire fitments and detailing further separate this 4-door from the rest of its compact rivals in the curbside appeal department.
All 2013 Dart models offer impressive standards that build within the model hierarchy. The base SE features a 160-horsepower engine, power windows, projector-beam headlights, LED taillights and a comprehensive suite of safety systems – including 10 airbags – while the SXT adds items like air conditioning, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and 17-inch alloy wheels. Rallye models gain cruise control and unique cosmetics, with the posher Limited adding the floating island dash bezel with UConnect plus econo-enhancing active grille shutters and underbody fairings – the latter two items shared with the SE-based Aero. The GT boasts a 184-horsepower engine, sport suspension, 18-inch alloys, Nappa leather upholstery and more.
Many Dart options are trim-grade related and available in various packages as well as in stand-alone form, including the new Mopar wireless charging bin for smartphones. Even the SXT offers the 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen, navigation and a 506-watt audio system, plus the 1.4-liter Turbo MultiAir engine. Dart Limited buyers can opt for Nappa leather in place of cloth upholstery, as well as the Technology/Premium Groups that bring items like high-intensity-discharge xenon headlights, dual-zone auto climate control, a heated steering wheel, Blind-spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Path detection. Both packages as well as unique 18-inch alloy wheels are available on the Dart R/T.
The new Dodge Dart offers three 4-cylinder engines, each optimized for efficiency and mpg. All but the GT start with a 2.0-liter "Tigershark" engine that makes a class-leading 160 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, but SXT/Rallye/Limited models offer an optional Fiat-sourced 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir engine which also is standard in the Dart's mpg-leader Aero model. It too develops 160 horsepower in all applications, but generates nearly 25 percent more torque. Topping the muscle charts, the GT's 2.4-liter Tigershark with MultiAir cranks out 184 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of twist. The engines can be backed by a 6-speed manual transmission or available 6-speed automatic – a conventional unit with SportShift for the 2.0-liter/2.4-liter models – or a 1.4-liter-specific dual dry clutch automatic transmission.
Dodge Dart SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited:
160 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/36 mpg (manual), 24/34 mpg (automatic)
Standard in Dodge Dart Aero/Optional in Dart SXT, Rallye, Limited:
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
160 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/39 mpg (manual), 27/37 mpg (automatic)
Aero: 28/41 mpg (manual), 28/40 mpg (automatic)
Dodge Dart GT:
184 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 mpg (manual), 24/34 mpg (automatic)
By JH on Sunday, November 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, features content, comfort"
Cons: "Drive train less sophisticated than rivals"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I don't get why the Dart suffers so badly at the hands of professional reviewers. I *love* this car. Only 2 months in, but I smile the whole time I drive it. Tried the competition, and only reluctantly tried the Dart due to reviews. I fell in love the minute I slipped into the cabin. Drive line is not as "refined" as some others, but it seems to work well. Exhaust note is a nice growl (I'd even go louder!). Went for the six-speed manual GT with full equipment. My other car is a Mercedes-Benz E350 which has mostly sat since I obtained the Dart. The Dart GT makes me feel 17 again, and probably the most fun to drive of any of the many cars I've owned. Takes to the highway with great confidence, and never feels slow. Would I like a little more power? Sure, but it's really not necessary. I can't address reliability as of yet, so a '5' just indicates neutrality on that one. I do have some light buzzing and rattling from some interior pieces, but I just raise the volume on the sound system and all is well. Buying experience with the dealer was stellar, although I had to drive more than an hour away to find this particular car. I weep for the future of this country when manual transmissions are so hard to find."
5 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Moparornocar on Tuesday, November 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,234overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great small car"
Cons: "No SRT version yet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Very comfortable to drive have had several comment on ride comfort no real complaints just wish they would stop dragging their feet and come out with a SRT version would buy again"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Mackdady on Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun and comfort"
Cons: "glare on navigation screen with sunroof open"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"great comfort package, very fun drive! good for long trips and as a daily driver. The built in navigation system is phenominal (I like the Garmin systems)."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Drew on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought the Dart brand new of the lot, the transmission has gone out every 15,000 miles and it just blew a head gasket at 35,000. This has been the most unreliable car i have ever owned and Dodge has refused to do anything besides fix it every 15,000 miles. This car is nonstop in the shop."
9 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Chrissy on Saturday, October 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty look, quick acceleration, MPG up to 40"
Cons: "Jumpy downshift, blind spots, rattling noises"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had my 2014 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye for 4 months now and I have to say I really enjoy the ride. I bought the show room model so it looks great with the sporty wheels, white full body pin-striping, and striped interior seats. I do a lot of highway driving for work and I average 35-40 per gallon straight highway. Around town is not as good on gas but not bad since gas prices have fallen. It handles the road and corners very well with exceptional pick-up. The downshift seems a bit jumpy at times, and there seems to be more blind spots then I would have expected. The clarity of the back-up camera is pretty grainy at night, but with the 8.4" screen it's tolerable, daytime the camera clarity is perfect. The features of the car are great, and the steering wheel controls for the stereo and blue tooth are very easy to use along with the voice control. You never have to take your hands off the wheel unless you chose to use the touch screen. There seems to be some rattling in the drivers side door and rear passenger door, but passengers in the car say they don't hear anything. Overall a great car, drives very well and I get a lot of comments on it. When you accelerate it sounds like there is a hemi under the hood which makes other drivers on the road look my way, it's quite funny at times. I live in the north and as winter is fast approaching and predictions for a lot of snow and/or ice I hope it handles well in bad weather conditions....we'll see."
10 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Dart Man on Friday, October 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive love the excust sounds good."
Cons: "Get the GT it has headed mirrors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This Dart has loads of standard eguipment great driving car. This car does better on gas then what others say theirs will do."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful