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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

DART FEVER!


2013 DODGE DART REVIEW

2013 BEST CAR TO BUY NOMINEE


The 2013 Dodge Dart has brought Chrysler back into the compact sedan game, and it does so with a winning combination of both attitude and world-class design. The Dart is a different kind of Dodge; it’s a front-wheel-drive sedan, which is based on an Italian hatchback. It starts with its basic structure, suspension and steering, which was borrowed from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta that is sold in Europe. And yet there’s plenty of classic Dodge flavor scattered throughout to make sure it fits in with its relatives but still stands out in a very competitive field. It’s bigger than the Alfa Romeo in almost every dimension, especially its extra foot of length. More importantly, it’s the biggest compact sedan on the market, with dimensions that exceed those of the Volkswagen Jetta. It is also especially wide, which provides more passenger space and creates the feeling that you’re driving something rather substantial. It really doesn’t feel like a compact car. 

2013 Dodge Dart Limited Front
2013 Dodge Dart Limited - Front
Until now, Chrysler had yet to craft a competitive compact, even throughout all its years in existence. Chrysler has finally delivered a vehicle that is stylish, fun, fuel efficient, and above all else, priced to please. On the road, the new Dodge Dart is instantly exquisite; an affordable luxury that comes in a refreshing selection of bright colors and different trim materials. As we all look for relief from high gas prices, the Dart couldn’t have come at a better time.

The 2013 Dart is a rugged, elegantly handcrafted sedan that offers a wide range of customizing options. In the compact car market, it has earned Dodge some much-needed respect. Dodge will offer three engines, three gearboxes, several trim levels, and countless personalization options that all but guarantee no two Darts will be identical.

When you step inside the Dart, you’re sure to notice how distinct and modern the interior is designed. It features one of the nicest interiors in its class, and the interior only gets nicer as you move up the trim levels. The difference is in the details. Higher-spec Darts include additional soft touch plastics and a cleanly-stitched panel above the instrument cluster.
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Front
2013 Dodge Dart SXT - Front
The exterior styling of the Dart represents a new direction for Chrysler. There are some familiar signs, like a version of the Dodge crosshair grille and available “racetrack” LED taillights like the Charger, but the Dart has traded its rugged, sturdy lines, like the Charger and Avenger for a look that’s more sleek and intricate.

Think of the possibilities…

The 2013 Dodge Dart is available in six trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, AERO, Limited and GT. The GT, which Dodge originally said would be called R/T, will be a 2013 midyear addition.

2013 Dodge Dart SE All Black Dashboard
2013 Dodge Dart SE - All Black Dashboard
The base SE models are at the beginning of the lineup, starting at an economical $15,995, but that sticker price doesn’t include air conditioning or power locks. The SE comes equipped with 16-inch wheels, power windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The Value Group Package adds power mirrors, power locks, keyless entry and air-conditioning.

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Dashboard
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Dashboard

Next you’ll find the refined, well-crafted and powerful SXT models, which include all of the SE features above and starts at just $17,995. Also included on the SXT are 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a sliding front armrest, an upgraded instrument panel and a six-speaker sound system.

Following the SXT are the well-tailored Rallye models, which start at $18,995. The Rallye models put the fun back in functional and include a few extra bold styling touches, which include fog lamps, unique exterior and interior trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

Both the SXT and the Rallye are eligible for several different option packages. The Uconnect Voice Command Package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a USB port. The Popular Equipment Group Package includes cruise control, active grille shutters, underbody aerodynamic enhancements, remote ignition (automatic transmission only) and an enhanced trip computer with an upgraded display and tire-pressure monitoring information. This package also includes automatic headlamps when you also opt for one of the below packages that includes the large touchscreen electronics interface. The Premium Audio Group Package adds the touchscreen, a rearview camera, a USB audio jack, an SD card slot and upgraded interior trim. The Uconnect Touch Multimedia Center Package includes those items plus an iPod interface and a single-CD player located under the center armrest between the front seats.

Next is the more efficient AERO, which starts at $19,295. The AERO will achieve at least 40-41 mpg on the highway due to its aerodynamic enhancements, low-rolling-resistance tires and a lighter weight resulting from low feature content. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 28 mpg in the city with the manual and 27 mpg in the city with the DDCT.


2013 Dodge Dart Limited - Upgraded Interior w/Sport Red Accents, Nappa Leather Seats and Contrasting Red French Stitching
2013 Dodge Dart Limited - Upgraded Interior w/Sport Red Accents,
Nappa Leather Seats and Contrasting Red French Stitching
The Limited models are next, starting at $19,995, and include all of the above, plus a six-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment, Bluetooth (available separately on the SXT and Rallye) and chrome exterior trim.

Last, but certainly not least, is the GT. The GT is the most technologically advanced compact in its class and starts at $20,995. It is equipped similarly to the Limited, but also gets a more powerful engine, 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery and different exterior and interior trim.

Both the Limited and GT can be equipped with the Technology Group Package, which adds keyless ignition/entry, automatic wipers, automatic headlamps, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and a rear cross-path warning system. Also available on both trims is the Premium Group Package, which adds leather upholstery (Limited), heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control.

A Garmin-based navigation system with real-time traffic and satellite radio can be added to the Limited, GT and those models with the Uconnect Touch Multimedia Center Package.

The Dodge Dart redefines performance by giving you a choice of three gasoline engines and three advanced transmissions to get you where you need to go. Standard on all Darts (except the GT) is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder DOHC Tigershark engine, which is capable of producing 160 horsepower and 148 pounds-feet of torque. This engine has been fine-tuned to deliver an optimal balance of power and efficiency, with either the standard six-speed manual or the optional six-speed automatic.

2013 Dodge Dart SXT MultiAir Turbo Engine
2013 Dodge Dart SXT MultiAir Turbo Engine
Optional on all trims (except the GT) is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder MultiAir engine that retains the 2.0-liter’s 160 horsepower but increases the torque to 184 pounds-feet. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automated manual transmission (Dodge calls it the “DDCT”, or “Dual Dry Clutch Transmission”) is optional. The turbo and manual transmission combo was good for a 0-60-mph time of 8.3 seconds, which makes it one of the quickest cars in its class, according to Edmunds.com. The DDCT adds only 0.3 seconds to that time.

Lastly, the top-end GT models feature Chrysler’s 2.4-liter Tigershark engine, which displaces 2.4-liters and is capable of pumping out 184 horsepower and 171 pounds-feet of torque. This engine includes Fiat’s innovative MultiAir valve and cam timing technology to save fuel and improve response. It gets the same transmission choices as the 2.0-liter. Acceleration and fuel economy estimates were not yet available as of this writing.

All of the engines can run on regular gas, though the turbocharged prefers premium for maximum performance. The EPA gas mileage estimates are as follows:  

2013 Dart                                                                              Engine & Transmission SE
SXT
Rallye
Limited
SXT
Rallye
Limited
AERO R/T
2.0L DOHC Tigershark™  25 City                36 Highway
160 Horsepower plus 148 Pounds-Feet Torque
Six-speed Manual Transmission
2.0L DOHC Tigershark™  24 City                34 Highway
160 Horsepower plus 148 Pounds-Feet Torque
Six-speed Automatic Transmission
1.4L Turbo w/ MultiAir®  27 City              39 Highway 28 City              41 Highway
160 Horsepower plus 184 Pounds-Feet Torque
Six-speed Manual Transmission
1.4L Turbo w/ MultiAir®  27 City              37 Highway 28 City              40 Highway
160 Horsepower plus 184 Pounds-Feet Torque
Six-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) w/ AutoStick
2.4L Tigershark™ MultiAir® II  N/A
184 Horsepower plus 171 Pounds-Feet Torque
Six-speed Manual Transmission
2.4L Tigershark™ MultiAir® II  N/A
184 Horsepower plus 171 Pounds-Feet Torque
Six-speed Automatic Transmission


Each and every 2013 Dodge Dart comes equipped with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. A rearview camera is available, as are blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.
According to a brake test, which was done by Edmunds.com, the Dart came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, putting it among the best in the segment.

Click here to take a look at our exclusive Dodge Dart inventory.