By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
The smallest sedan in Dodge's lineup, the 2014 Dodge Dart is a well-crafted 4-door that matches a contemporary appearance with good creature features and impressive overall handling. Based on a purpose-modified Alfa Romeo platform, the compact Dart goes head-to-head with prime rivals like the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda Mazda3, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta. Attractively priced and offering the choice of three engines and a host of class-exclusive techno touches, this roomy and comfortable front-drive Dodge also earns outstanding safety ratings. Those impressive credentials notwithstanding, the Dart still struggles to take market share in a segment that remains dominated by perennial class leaders, the Civic and Corolla.
The Dart's youthful styling, spacious and accommodating interior, sporty character, innovative class-above technology, and top safety ratings make this compact Dodge sedan an attractive (if frequently overlooked) choice in an extremely competitive segment.
Considerably heavier than most of its competitors, the Dodge Dart is neither the best-performing nor the most fuel-efficient player in its segment. And buyers who demand either a hybrid or turbodiesel will still have to look to rivals like the Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic, Ford Focus or Volkswagen Jetta.
Introduced in the late-arriving 2013 Dart GT, the 184-horsepower/2.4-liter "Tigershark" engine also becomes standard in the 2014 SXT and Limited models. Redesigned front bucket seats offer more comfort, and all but the base Dart SE boast additional standard features. Dart option packages also have been reshuffled to better reflect customer preferences.
Driving Impressions A rigid core structure and well-sorted Euro-flavored suspension give the Dart a confident and well-controlled feel that reaches a clear zenith in the enthusiast-oriented GT model. Although boasting the most...powerful base engine in its class, the Dart also is the heaviest player in the segment. That extra mass takes a toll on acceleration and passing performance regardless of engine or transmission choice, particularly in the SE when its 2.0-liter engine is backed by the 6-speed automatic transmission. While the 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo in the Dart Aero makes the same 160 horsepower, its 24 percent more torque at virtually half the revs make the Aero considerably livelier as well as less thirsty. Buyer requests for better performance led Dodge to fit the 184-horsepower/2.4-liter in the volume-leading SXT and Limited as well as the GT for 2014, but even that extra muscle can't match the 200-plus horsepower available in the far-lighter Civic Si, Focus ST and Jetta GLI.
MULTIAIR ENGINE TECHNOLOGY
Developed by Fiat and fitted to both the 1.4-liter and 2.4-liter 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 Aero, Limited and GT models, this innovative interior element is ringed in Ruby Red LED light piping and contains the reconfigurable 7.0-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) instrument cluster display and 8.4-inch UConnect touch-screen multimedia system.
The Dart's cabin is spacious and well-designed with lots of soft-touch surfaces and good overall control layouts. Whether trimmed in standard cloth, premium fabric or real leather, it's a quiet and comfortable realm that gains even more character in the Aero, Limited and GT models which also feature the "floating-island" dash bezel, programmable instrument display and 8.4-inch Uconnect screen. In addition to a large covered center storage bin, the Dart also has a cavernous glovebox big enough to swallow a laptop. The adult-accommodating rear seats have a fold-down seatback with a 60/40 split in all but the SE.Exterior
Sleek and sexy, the Dart's exterior blends contemporary international character with classic Dodge design cues. A long (106.4-inch) wheelbase, short overhangs and relatively wide stance give the Dart a well-planted look. Distinctive cosmetic interpretations of the division's signature "gunsight" grille and the full-width LED "racetrack" taillight surround highlight a host of model-specific color and accent touches. Unique wheel/tire fitments further separate this handsome 4-door from the rest of the compact field when it comes to curbside appeal. Previously an Aero exclusive, all 2014 Dart variants (save for the SE) also have efficiency-enhancing active grille shutters.
Even the entry-level Dart SE comes with a bounty of features including power windows, air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering column, a folding rear seatback, and a comprehensive suite of safety features highlighted by electronic roll-mitigation, Hill Start Assist and 10 airbags. The SXT adds the more powerful 2.4-liter engine, aluminum-alloy wheels, upgraded audio and a 60/40-split rear seat, while the Aero gets the mileage-maxing 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and cool 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen. The range-topping Limited and enthusiast-oriented GT each have Nappa leather upholstery with the former adding Garmin navigation and the latter getting a full sport suspension and 18-inch wheel/tire package.
The sole SE extra is the Convenience Group that brings it up to near-SXT spec, while the Aero offers a Garmin Navigation system. SXT add-ons include the Rallye Appearance Group that nets a premium cloth interior and a tauter touring suspension, Uconnect Touchscreen Group with the "floating-island" dash bezel, Sun and Sound Group with a power sunroof and Alpine premium audio, the Cold Weather Group and Garmin Navigation. Beyond its dedicated version of the Sun and Sound Group, the GT and Limited offer a Technology Group that features adaptive high-intensity-discharge headlights, rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection system.
While the Dart's trio of 4-cylinder engines carries over intact from 2013, their specific fitments have changed in response to owner requests for improved performance. The naturally aspirated 160-horsepower Tigershark 2.0-liter is now only found in the base SE model, while the econo-oriented 1.4-liter/160-horsepower turbocharged MultiAir engine becomes exclusive to the highest-mileage Aero model. The 2014 Dart SXT, Limited and GT all share the same 184-horsepower/2.4-liter MultiAir2-enhanced Tigershark. Buyers can opt for either a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic, but only the 1.4-liter offers the DCCT (dual dry-clutch transmission) automatic.
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)
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), 28/41 mpg (automatic)
184 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 mpg (manual), 21/30 mpg (automatic)
Pricing for the entry-level 2014 Dodge Dart SE carries over from 2013, opening at just under $17,000 including destination charges. That gives it a leg up on all of its class rivals, save for the Kia Forte. The Dart's value-oriented philosophy carries on throughout its model hierarchy, with the volume-leading SXT opening just under $19,500, and the range-topping Limited starting just below $24,000 and still sliding in around the $25K mark even with the optional Technology Package. Residual values on the Dart are projected to be marginally better than those of the Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus while matching a gasoline-powered VW Jetta. However, they do fall well behind the segment-leading Honda Civic and Jetta TDI turbodiesel, and trail the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte and Mazda3 to a lesser extent.
By Marina (PA) on Monday, December 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "good price, nice drive, high tech, luxurious"
Cons: "None so far!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I just bought the 2014 Dart GT with Sun and Sound Package and Hyperblack Rims, I love it!I test drove- 5 different cars The Dart was perfect for me in every way possible, and it is surprisingly powerful-it has the same engine as 2014 Jeep Cherokee- it really does have a nice acceleration to it. Just a wonderful car and a good price especially if you wait for incentives and do your research! It catches everyone's eye around here!"
By Bry (NC) on Monday, November 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Best car for the money,Fun to drive,Great MPG"
Cons: "None Yet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got the Rallye Edition(loaded)looks and runs great I've had it for two months now and completely love it. It handles great and has good get up and go when you need. I spend about 3 hrs a day in it and the interior is roomy and very comfortable, that and the gadgets make me not loathe the drive. I'm averaging 34 MPG mostly highway but in town included in that(gets better if you keep it under 70 but that's not easy). Best car I've ever owned so far."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Unhappy Dart Owner (TX) on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good look/inside technology"
Cons: "EVERYTHING ELSE"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Do not buy this car! I have owned this car for 8 months now, it has 10,000 miles, first month was a breeze, by the third month I took it to the dealership with minor problems, 6 months my car starting smoking/smelling like burnt plastic/fuels it left me 6 hours away from home carless (apparently it needed an update?!), at 7 months the visor fell, we are currently at 8 months and the AC is making a loud noise when you turn it on, the car keeps smelling like burnt plastic/fuels when its in traffic for more than an hour. Besides all this the constant problems I have encountered with this car is the take off of the car, it does not speed up, it takes a while, it has a horrible take off that jerks your neck each time. In 8 months I have taken this car to the dealership six times. Dealership refueses to take it back or work with me so I can get a different model. HORRIBLE CAR!"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Tom (TX) on Sunday, October 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks good, 30 mpg"
Cons: "Everything else"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car has been nothing but a service issue since 12k miles. It has spent over 9 weeks in the service shop for warranty over the last 3 months. Below is a list of issues that Chrysler group has acknowledged and has either fixed or still in the process of fixing. Turbo replaced Door handle fell off A/C not blowing cold air and blowing mist with humid air. Something in blower causing a loud noise. Bolt loose in trunk which rattled across whenever open or closed. Steering wheel buttons not working properly and replacing control module. In dash screen not changing between day and night mode. Passenger side of door has a metal stub sticking out slightly causing paint to chip off. Loud rattle in header above passenger side visor. Chrysler states this car does NOT qualify for lemon law buy back."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Yuggins (AZ) on Saturday, October 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,200overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles well, with great lane change warnings!"
Cons: "So disappointed with low gas mileage around town."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Keep taking it to the dealer; it took them from May to late August to fix the A/C; VERY loud in cab while driving, and doesn't get cool enough in hotter weather. Transmission keeps staying in low gear; you have to hit the gas pedal to get it out of gear. When the trany down shifts to the low gear the car pulls your head forward. The radio works, then it doesn`t. The driver's seat, side plastic that holds the leather seat together is falling apart. Terrible mileage around town, 20-23mpg. The dealer suggested I use high test gas, so I filled it ten times already but it's the same mileage, sometimes worse. Sorry to say this Dodge Dart turbo is bad news. The last time I bought a Dodge was 1987 and that was a good mini van, maybe because it had a mitsubishi engine."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By metalman (GA) on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 850overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "well fit comfortable to cruise in"
Cons: "only so so handling ,exelleration in the mountians"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"got the top of the line gt doesn't preform as well as I expected in the mountians but is a reasonably comfortable ride most other places a good looking car well fit really like the red and black leather interior. averaging around 28.5 m.p.g."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful