2013 Dodge Dart

SE FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

2013 dodge dart Reviews and News

Five Car Comparo Parked Front View
The majority of the compact-sedan class has been heavily revised or totally redesigned in the past two years, and Dodge has just rolled out its Alfa Romeo-based Dart, the latest entry in a hotly contested segment. Will the Dart be able to topple the best of the bunch from the top spot?
The 2013 Dart is more than just a new model -- it is Dodge's first competitive small-car offering since the Neon was killed off in 2005. Most notably, it is the first Dodge byproduct of the Chrysler-Fiat merger. Modified versions of the same platform and powertrain found in Alfa Romeo's Giulietta hatchback hide beneath the Dart's slick sheetmetal.
Last year, we rounded up the top six compact sedans and we came away impressed by the high style, advanced technology, and fun-yet-frugal engines offered in the segment. To see how the Dart compares, we've pitted it against the top four contenders from last year's test: the Ford Focus, the Honda Civic, the Hyundai Elantra, and the Mazda 3. Last time, the Toyota Corolla and the Chevrolet Cruze finished in last place and second-to-last (respectively), so we opted to leave them out of this comparison.
We wanted to look at what most consumers will be buying, so we avoided top-trim models in favor of automatic-equipped, mid-grade sedans. There were two exceptions: Ford did not have a sedan available for our testing so we used a hatchback instead (however, almost half of Focuses sold this year were hatchbacks, so we let it slide). We wanted to test the Dart's new MultiAir 1.4-liter turbo-four, but Chrysler had just begun production of its new dual-clutch automatic, so a six-speed manual had to suffice for our test. In this very competitive group, does the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye have what it takes to beat the 2012 Ford Focus SEL, the 2012 Honda Civic EX, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS, and the 2012 Mazda 3i Touring?

Dollars and Sense

For many buyers in this segment, it's all a numbers game. Our most expensive car - the Ford Focus - rang in at $25,420 with destination. However, that includes $3325 worth of options. Forego the finicky MyFord Touch and navigation systems, the flashy 17-inch polished aluminum wheels, and the premium red candy metallic paint, and the Focus would cost an easier-to-swallow $22,565 and still include goodies such as heated seats and Ford's Sync voice-activation system with Bluetooth. Sadly, even those deletions still place the Focus higher than all but the Dart.
All of our cars came equipped with Bluetooth, but only the Focus and the Dart came with navigation. Dodge's crisp 8.4-inch touch screen also includes a backup camera -- the only one offered in the segment. The high level of equipment gave the Dart the second-most-expensive price here: $23,360 with destination. One of the big reasons was the MultiAir engine, a $1300 option. Our Rallye-trim car also came standard with projector-beam headlights (only available elsewhere from Mazda). The Mazda and the Honda Civic were mid-pack price-wise, running a reasonable $21,695 and $21,455 including destination charges, respectively.
At an as-tested price of just $19,350 (including destination), the Hyundai Elantra is a whopping $6070 below the most-expensive Focus. While it may not be the most tech-laden of the bunch, our Elantra GLS with the Preferred Package included things such as heated seats, Bluetooth, and fog lights. Hyundai also offers the best warranty of the cars here, at 10 years or 100,000 miles, which helps to keep costs down over the lifetime of the car. Buyers willing to splurge on a fully loaded Elantra Limited will shell out just $24,070.
Advantage: Hyundai Elantra GLS

The Inside Story

"The level of amenities and comfort here were unimaginable in the compact-sedan segment only a few years ago," stated deputy editor Joe DeMatio. Even in the blandly styled Civic, it's clear that plenty of man-hours were spent determining the placement and action of every button, knob, and switch in the cabin. While the Civic may have some of the best ergonomics, its drab beige palette, oddly grained plastics, and too-dark displays left us wanting more.
Hyundai was one of the first to spice up the segment with the Elantra and its swoopy, violin shaped center stack and fashionable-yet-simple concentric climate controls. While the Koreans have done an admirable job of graining plastics, some of the surfaces still look and feel cheap. The Elantra does benefit from the largest trunk in the group, at 14.8 cubic feet. Next would be the Focus sedan (not the hatch we tested) at 13.2 cubic feet, followed closely by the Dart's 13.1 cubic feet with an opening that is deep and wide. The other two cars fell below the Dart's size: the Civic at 12.5, and the 3 at 11.8. However, the Mazda's low lift-over height and deep, square shape belied its smallest-in-test measurement. (I found it easiest to enter, exit, and fit my slim 5'9" frame in the Mazda's trunk, as the pictures show.)
Decked out here with the optional MyFord Touch system complete with an eight-inch touch screen, the Focus' cabin oozed European sophistication. "It feels like a very high quality car," said DeMatio. It was also the only car in our comparison to come with automatic climate control, which is part of the $2530 201A equipment group. However, "every button is too small, even the digital ones on the touch screen," complained road test editor Chris Nelson. Foregoing the MyFord Touch system won't solve the problem either - without the touch screen, the Focus' center stack is sprayed with almost two dozen cell-phone-sized buttons that are no easier to operate than the slow and counter-intuitive MyFord Touch. "The dashboard is so overwhelming in every Focus I've driven," noted graphic designer Tom Hang. "There are just so many buttons and controls."
Stepping into the Mazda 3 from any of the other four cars was a breath of fresh air. The cabin is thoughtfully laid out with straightforward controls, and the look is attractive with a sweeping dashboard and modern, blue LED accent lighting. Everything is clear, legible, and within reach. Contributor Ron Sessions loved "the large gauge that indicates what gear you're in. It looks like it is right out of a Porsche." But the all-black interior was dour and dated to some eyes, and Mazda's too-small audio and trip computer screens won no fans.
While the Dodge's interior may not have been well liked among our editors, we found ourselves talking non-stop about the cabin's size. Our Dart was decked out in diesel gray cloth with "citrus" accents - a very bold combination of a drab gray hue and an eye-searing neon yellow. The Dodge was also, however, the largest car in our test and felt a class bigger when you were sitting in any of the seats, despite head- and legroom that actually fall mid-pack. The more time we spent in the car, the clearer it became that Chrysler's engineers made sure that every touch point was soft and that the controls were all quick to learn and easy to operate. As is the case in other Chrysler products, the oversized touch screen is sharp and lightning-fast in response. There were some complaints that the citrus accents could soil easily and that the gray gave the interior a rental-car-grade feel. Dodge also offers black/red and black/gray interior combinations that look much more upscale than our citrus-trimmed tester.
Advantage: Dodge Dart Rallye

Skin Deep Beauty

Until recently, function led form with inexpensive cars; thankfully, that is no longer the case for most of the segment. Not for all, however: the Honda Civic was variously described by our editors as "bland," "conservative," and "downright boring." Sessions claimed that the Honda was "straight from Planet Strange with its odd proportions and disappointing details," while associate web editor Ben Timmins faulted Honda "for not pushing the envelope in terms of the design."
Surprisingly, bland was a word also tossed around regarding the Dart. While the front and rear fascias were stylish and aggressive - the Rallye-spec blacked-out grille looked menacing in rearview mirrors and the LED taillights were a premium touch on a sub-$25,000 car - the rest of the exterior was an anonymous jelly-bean shape. Despite having reflectors that mimic the larger Dodge Charger's alluring "racetrack" full-width LED taillights, only the top-spec Dart R/T receives a similar treatment; all other models have C-shaped LED units only - a real styling let down.
Mazda also offers LED taillights, but only on its loaded Mazda 3 Grand Touring. Our mid-level Touring model was still sharp, dressed in cheery sky blue metallic paint. The 2012 update softened the 3's Cheshire cat grin, but the front visage still has a gaping smile of a grille that may not appeal to everyone. The rest of the car is athletic looking with swollen front fenders and a sharp crease bisecting the door handles and rising from the front doors to the taillights. It's a sporty design free of overwrought detailing.
The eye catcher of the group was the Elantra. Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture design language translates well to the 178.3-inch-long sedan, its flowing lines deemed "sexy and sensuous" by Nelson and "far from boring with all its surface excitement" according to Sessions. The front end has one of the best executions of the brand's hexagonal grille and the rear is simple but interesting thanks to the wraparound taillights. That said, all of our editors agreed that the Elantra's design may be sexy and innovative now, but could look as dated as a flip phone in five years -- that consensus kept the Hyundai from winning in the exterior design department.
Both timeless and daring at the same time is Ford's Focus. "The Focus is one sharp little character that manages to look beautiful and aggressive at the same time," opined Sessions. "I'm not sure the Darth Vader chin will stand the test of time, but it's contemporary as hell." Like the interior, the exterior is very Euro-chic with large wraparound taillights, creased bodylines, and a steeply raked windshield. We feel that the Focus' design is mature and will age well as the years go by; it looks like a package designed by a single, very experienced team.
Advantage: Ford Focus SEL

Getting From A to B

No matter how much it costs, how stylish the interior or how good it looks, the main use of a car is to drive. But we weren't looking for the ultimate driver's car here, instead we sought the best all-around consumer compact.
When our testing started, we expected the Elantra to rank highly here -- at first, the ride was comfortable and the Elantra felt like an ideal commuter car. The more time we spent with the Hyundai, though, the more its wallowy ride on the highway, its poorly controlled body motions in the twisties, and harsh impacts on broken roads worked against it. Sessions also noted that "the steering lacks feel and is rather numb." Everyone came away unimpressed with the Elantra's dynamics.
The best driver's car here is the Ford Focus, hands down. The 2.0-liter I-4 is powerful - its 160 hp is tied with the Dart as the most powerful - and the chassis is rock-solid, which inspires confidence behind the wheel. "The supple ride quality, precise steering, and responsive brake pedal feel are all very good for a car of this class," said DeMatio. Thanks to the spot-on steering, the Focus was a breeze to wheel around town and easy to place in the middle of a highway lane, no matter how narrow or badly patched. The Ford's biggest demerit came from the company's new PowerShift dual-clutch automatic. Around town, the PowerShift is clunky and hesitant between shifts, and often hunts for the right gear at low speeds. Once on the highway (and in sixth gear), it's fine but overdrive gives little passing power. Thankfully, downshifts at speed are smooth and unobtrusive.
The Dart was a close second in the race for best driver's car. Selecting the turbocharged engine paid off - the forced-induction unit was the most fun to wind up and felt the most powerful thanks to its 184 lb-ft of torque avaliable at a low 2500 rpm. But find yourself below that 2500-rpm threshold and the Dodge bogs down, its heaviest-in-test weight of 3191 lbs very apparent. The six-speed manual has long throws but great clutch feel; however, we couldn't help but wonder if the upcoming dual-clutch automatic would keep the turbo spooled better than we did. Will the Chrysler-engineered transmission be as slick as Volkswagen's much-lauded DSG or as much-maligned as Ford's PowerShift? More than anything, the Dart felt like the quirky car of the bunch, its inner Alfa Romeo coming out - we agreed that it almost was like an older Saab 9-3 or Audi A4 1.8T thanks to its slow-spooling turbo and larger size.
Also occasionally short of breath was the 155-hp Mazda. Its power rating placed it mid-pack, but any kind of passing left us wanting more oomph. Otherwise, the direct-injected 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder felt peppy around town and had enough power for getting up to speed on the highway. "Acceleration off the line is good without being abrupt," said DeMatio. "Transmission shift mapping is also nicely done, and the tap-shift is quick to respond," pointed out Sessions. The 3's steering was also second-best to the Ford's, nicely weighted and direct -- however, the suspension caused some head bounce over the pothole-strewn roads of downtown Detroit.
The Honda Civic was the Goldilocks of our group -- neither too stiffly sprung to turn off commuters, nor too soft to spurn enthusiasts. "I actually changed lanes on our way into Detroit to get on worse roads to test the Civic. Not only did it pass with flying colors, but the Honda has brilliant ride and handling paired to a responsive and creamy powertrain," raved Timmins. "Somewhere a Hyundai engineer is scratching his head trying to figure out how to make a car ride this well." The Civic also had very good steering. It communicated just the right amount of feel from the front tires and the wheel itself was the best size and shape with its small diameter and thick rim. The transmission was down a cog compared to the rest (five instead of six), but was still smooth and unobtrusive, which is "exactly what most Americans expect from an automatic," DeMatio pointed out. The Civic wasn't perfect, however: Honda's quest for cost savings sacrificed sound deadening, and the steering, while communicative, felt too boosted to be as good as the Ford's or Mazda's.
Advantage: Honda Civic EX

Your Mileage May Not Vary

Our contenders' EPA fuel economy ratings all fell within spitting distance of one another:
1. Hyundai Elantra GLS: 29/40 mpg city/highway
2. Mazda 3i Touring: 28/40 mpg
3. Honda Civic EX: 28/39 mpg
4. Dodge Dart Rallye: 27/39 mpg
5. Ford Focus SEL: 27/37 mpg
As we found during our First Drive - the Mazda 3 will achieve 40 mpg on the highway in the real world. Like the Elantra, the Mazda achieves 40 mpg without any special packages. However, the 2.0-liter Skyactiv I-4 is the only Mazda 3 engine that achieves the rating - the base 2.0-liter is good for just 33 mpg highway, while the larger 2.5 manages only 29 mpg. Hyundai offers just one engine for all Elantra sedans.
Both Honda and Ford offer high-mileage variants (the Civic HF and Focus SFE, respectively), but ask for extra coinage to gain efficiency. For the Honda, the HF costs $20,395 compared to the $19,595 Civic LX on which it's based (an $800 difference) and is rated at 41 mpg highway versus 39 mpg. For just $95, Ford will add the SFE package to a Focus SE sedan, gaining an additional three highway mpg (37 versus 40). Both Honda and Ford utilize aerodynamic tricks like different wheels, low rolling resistance tires, and active grille shutters to achieve the higher highway ratings.
Speaking of efficiency, the Dodge is not only the second-least car here, but it is also the only car in our test to recommend premium fuel. While it can be filled with regular, the automaker doesn't guarantee the full 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of power if regular is used, although Chrysler says fuel economy would be unaffected.
Advantage: Hyundai Elantra GLS

The Winner

You can't go wrong with any of the five cars here. The Hyundai Elantra won two categories, the only car to do so, and is a perfectly competent small car. Said Timmins, "If you're looking at a Toyota Corolla because you think you have to, look at the Hyundai instead." But the fact that the Elantra is a better variant of a long-in-the-tooth car does not endear us to it over the others here, despite the Elantra’s bargain price and (by a hair) best-in-test EPA numbers. The Hyundai Elantra lands in fifth place.
Ford went out on a limb, trying a clean-sheet design and was willing to push the envelope. In some ways it worked, in others it didn't. The Focus was the most fun to drive of the five, but at the cost of fuel economy, cabin space, and a high price. Technology issues also prevented the Focus from a better finish - MyFord Touch's clunky and slow interface turned off even the technophiles in our group and the poorly calibrated transmission had us drawing straws for who would be stuck in traffic with the Ford. Thus the Focus landed in fourth place. In quite the opposite direction from the Ford, Honda opted to stick to its tried-and-true formula. Thanks to its slick transmission, smooth ride, and thoughtful ergonomics, the Honda Civic finds itself dead center with a third-place finish. However, a low-rent interior, boring design, and obvious cost-cutting keeps this veteran of the compact sedan segment from placing higher. In quite the opposite direction from the Ford, Honda opted to stick to its tried-and-true formula. Thanks to its slick transmission, smooth ride, and thoughtful ergonomics, the Honda Civic finds itself dead center with a third place finish. However, a low-rent interior, boring design, and obvious cost-cutting keeps this veteran of the compact sedan segment from placing higher.
None of the six editors agreed on how the second- through fifth-place cars would rank, but the victor was unanimous. Despite being the newest entry in the field, the Dodge Dart did not win. However, its second-place finish shows that the merger of Chrysler and Fiat has a lot of promise. Dodge has crafted a car that drives well, looks good, and has space to spare, but "you can't put a few funky touches on a car and expect everyone to like it," remarked Nelson. The turbocharged engine is peaky and a price that's on the high side kept the Dart from the top spot. The Dodge put up a good fight, but came up a little short.
"It's funny," noted Sessions, "the oldest car in the test feels like comfortable sneakers." In fact, all of our editors related the Mazda 3 to perfectly-worn-in shoes. One commented, "Getting into the Mazda, even for the first time, feels like you're at home. Everything is exactly as it should be." Our logbooks filled with comments like "I can't think of many negatives about the 3" (DeMatio) and "a great all-rounder that has everything you need and nothing you don't" (Timmins). What kept us from naming the Mazda as last year's winner was an unrefined five-speed automatic and poor fuel economy. Both issues are remedied by opting for the new Skyactiv powertrain.
Nelson hit the nail on the head: "I've got nothing to add to the pile of praise for this car. The 3 is so good. No matter what, the Mazda is always an enjoyable experience." It might not have won any individual categories, but with its combination of a reasonable price, a user-friendly and attractive interior, a stylish exterior design, fun-to-drive road manners, and excellent fuel economy, the Mazda 3 can’t be beat.
2013 Dodge Dart Front Three Quarter In Motion 3
It's been said that fashion repeats itself on a twenty-year cycle. If you don't believe that also applies to the automotive industry, might we suggest you blow the dust off a January 1994 issue of this very magazine, in which we celebrated the new Dodge Neon, our surprise choice for Automobile of the Year.
Back then, the Neon delighted us with its impossibly low base price, distinctive styling, spacious interior, great handling, and gobs of horsepower. The biggest surprise was that the compact car happened at all -- it was developed quickly at a time when Chrysler's very existence was hanging by a thread, and the Neon debuted in the middle of what would be a highly successful onslaught of new, design-led Chrysler products that included the stunning LH cars (Intrepid, Concorde, LHS, and 300M), the handsome Cloud cars (Cirrus, Stratus, Breeze), and even a desirable supply of minivans.
A whole new lineup of great-looking Chryslers appearing in record time after the company almost went out of business -- sound familiar? In case you hadn't noticed, Chrysler almost ceased to exist a few short years ago, and now, just like in 1994, we're in the midst of a product assault: Chrysler will launch sixteen new cars this year. As before, that includes a new compact sedan for Dodge, and, just like two decades ago, it's a car defined by its looks and its low base price. Also like the Neon, the Dart is the biggest car in its class and rides on the lengthiest wheelbase. It also has the biggest interior and the most standard horsepower.
In fact, it's all so familiar that we're almost expecting a re-hash of the Neon's "Hi" advertising campaign. Except this time, the cute little car would have to say "Ciao," thanks to its Italian ancestry. Based on a widened version of Alfa Romeo's Giulietta platform, the first progeny to emerge from the Fiat-Chrysler union isn't exactly a small car. It's a foot longer than the Neon, making it closer in size to the mid-size 1990s Stratus, and with an even bigger interior than that sedan's, the Dart is also branded mid-size by the EPA. It falls short of its contemporary rivals in trunk space, but cramped luggage rarely complains as loudly as uncomfortable rear-seat passengers, and the Dart's rear seat is, by "compact" car standards, vast.
The front of the cabin is also a pleasant place to spend time. Dodge is especially proud of the wide assortment of color and material combinations available, a pleasant break from the monotonous beige, gray, and black interiors so common in this class. The asymmetrical dash is refreshingly uncluttered, dominated by what Dodge calls a "floating island bezel" that contains, optionally, a large and clear touchscreen for audio and navigation controls. Upper trim levels of the Dart come with an LCD screen in place of an analog speedometer -- a first at anything close to this price point. And in front of the passenger is a genuinely nice but often overlooked feature that disappeared twenty years ago when passenger-side air bags first popped out: a glovebox deep enough to store a laptop computer. Like every vehicle the Dart competes against, some of the interior materials are hard plastic, and unfortunately some of the Dart's are in places you might want to rest an elbow, like, say, the tops of the door panels. However, Fisher-Price-quality hard plastics like those that marred the Neon's interior are nowhere to be found.
The Dart is distinctive-looking car, if not as radically different from its competitors as the Neon once was. Its front end reads a lot like the current European-market Volkswagen Scirocco, and the relatively flat, featureless hood draws attention away from the enormous front overhang. The rear of the Dart was clearly inspired by its big brother Charger, and upmarket Darts even feature a ring of LED lights around the full-width taillight. (For the record, the Dart's narrower derriere means it gets away with only 152 LEDs versus the Charger's 164.) The brand identity is absolutely clear with the LEDs alight, but from some angles, the relatively narrow and tall stance makes the Dart's big taillight a bit reminiscent of the 1998-2002 Ford Escort ZX2. Whoops.
The switch to Alfa's platform required substantially revising Chrysler's DOHC 2.0-liter four-cylinder World Engine. Renamed Tigershark, the engine's exhaust now exits the front side of the cylinder head -- moving its sound and heat much farther from the firewall -- and extensive work was done to remedy the old engine's lackluster NVH performance, including a considerable reduction in piston stroke. The engine's tone is decidedly sharp, but the sound is distant and 160 horses of thrust is accompanied by a mere fraction of the vibration of the old 2.0-liter.
The optional SOHC 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is far more vocal. Its delightfully boisterous exhaust aside, the tiny-bore, long-stroke Fiat unit isn't nearly as smooth as the normally aspirated base engine. The Multiair 1.4 produces exactly the same amount of horsepower, but where the 2.0's torque peaks briefly at 148 lb-ft, the smaller engine's turbo blows out 184 lb-ft over a 1500-rpm plateau, and accordingly, this Dart is far zippier in traffic. It's also about ten percent less likely to dart into gas stations, as its 27/39-mpg EPA ratings easily best the 2.0-liter's 25/36 mpg.
Those figures are for cars equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission, which is a pleasure to row through the gears. Throttle calibration on the 2.0-liter manual car wasn't final, and engineers promised us its considerable lag would be corrected before production. The tuning of the 1.4, an engine we know from the Fiat 500 Abarth, was great, although the Dart's heft (it weights between 3100 and 3300 pounds) highlighted the port-injected engine's turbo lag and relatively narrow power band.
A third engine will be available later this year -- a 2.4-liter, long-stroke version of the 2.0-liter Tigershark. It eschews the second camshaft in favor of the 1.4's MultiAir variable valve lift system, which promises improved fuel economy and increased torque, and produces 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque.
The normally aspirated engines can be optionally paired to a six-speed automatic that's so good we had to ask Chrysler where it came from -- and the answer was Hyundai. Of course, the Tigershark engines are descendants of engines created by the Global Engine Alliance, a joint venture among Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai, so it's not all that surprising to see a Hyundai-sourced automatic transmission attached to them. The PowerTech torque-converter unit has a wide ratio spread, appropriate gearing, and seamless shift quality, and it even has a manual shift gate with the correct (in other words, racing) layout -- forward for downshift, backward for upshift. Overall, the transmission is so good, and such a vast improvement over Chrysler's other transmissions, that we're in no rush to try the ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne promised the Dart would receive next year. (The original Neon's automatic, for the record, had but one-third that many gears.)
The 1.4-liter turbo is a Fiat-sourced engine, so it gets its own automatic, a dry dual-clutch six-speed automatic, which will likely help to ensure that the downsized turbo powertrain remains the most efficient in the Dart lineup.
The Dart's Italian DNA is perhaps most visible to the driver. While the steering rack isn't especially communicative -- what electrically assisted system is, these days? -- it makes up for it with a quick ratio, a natural feeling of heft, and excellent straight-line stability. Our drive of prototype Darts took place during a major Northern California winter storm that dumped three inches of rain and felled trees, but it didn't dampen the Dart's spirit one bit. In the challenging conditions, the Dart remained composed at all times, although dashboard reflections on the steeply inclined windshield and wiper controls that are somewhat confusingly located, Mercedes-style, on the turn signal stalk were distracting.
The Dart's independent suspension is tuned for a smooth, very well-controlled ride, and cabin noises are admirably hushed. It feels both more substantial and more capable than most of its competitors in a hugely competitive segment. Chrysler points out that so-called compact cars are the single largest retail segment in the market, and the fastest growing. The Dart comes at the perfect time to take advantage of that, and it bolster the numbers of a car company that's already experiencing enormous growth.
Of course, this all happened once before -- we predict that, like the Neon, the Dart will be a sales success for Chrysler. At this point you might be wondering: whatever happened to the Neon? Well, someone decided that it was too cute and replaced it with the Caliber -- an ill-conceived, poorly executed quasi-crossover with a mug so unappealing that even Dodge's ad agency couldn't come up with a tag line better than "It's anything but cute." Luckily, the Dart is anything but a Caliber -- and to it, we say "Ciao, bello -- and welcome back."
On sale: Summer
Base Price: $16,745 (est.)
Engines: 2.0L I-4, 160 hp, 148 lb-ft; 1.4L turbo I-4, 160 hp, 184 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA fuel economy: 25/36 mpg (2.0L manual), 27/39 mpg (1.4L manual)
2013 Dodge Dart
2013 Dodge Dart

New For 2013

The compact four-door is currently available in four trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited. An R/T model will debut in the not-so-distant future, and an Aero model will debut later this year.


The compact-car segment represents more than fifteen percent of all new car sales. Dodge’s new entry in the segment, the Dart, uses architecture from an Alfa Romeo Giulietta —a benefit of being part of Fiat’s family—and resurrects a name from the 1960s. The Dart is larger all around than its overseas sibling and is wider, longer, and taller than most compact sedans. Under the hood there are two available engines, both paired to a Fiat-sourced six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder is available with a six-speed automatic transmission, and the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will be available with a Fiat-designed six-speed dual-clutch automatic. There’s also an R/T model on the horizon that will be powered by a 184-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder, but an on-sale date for that car hasn’t been set yet. Dodge will also start selling an Aero model, which ekes out 41 mpg on the highway, later this year. The Dart has a smooth and well-controlled ride, and it feels both more substantial and more capable than most of its competitors. That said the Dart doesn’t render other choices in the compact-car segment, such as the Mazda 3 and the Ford Focus, any less desirable. Competition is fierce in this group, but with the Dart, Dodge can put up a good fight.


Ten air bags, ABS, stability and traction control, a tire-pressure monitor, and hill-start assist are standard.

You'll like:

  • Capitalizes on its Italian roots
  • Nice interior
  • Plenty of powertrain options

You won't like:

  • Lots of competition, likely more on the way
  • Underwhelming exterior styling

Key Competitors For The 2013 Dodge Dart

  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Ford Focus
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mazda 3
AUTP 140400 DART 11
The 2013 Dodge Dart SXT is close to being an excellent compact car. If it were a football team, the cliché about being “one player away” from championship contention would apply. In the case of the Dart, that missing piece is the transmission. We enjoyed many elements of the car during its twelve-month stay with us, but we just couldn’t get past the Dart’s hesitant and clunky, dual-dry-clutch six-speed automatic gearbox.

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2013 Dodge Dart
2013 Dodge Dart
SE FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
25 MPG City | 36 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
2013 Honda Civic
HF FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
29 MPG City | 41 MPG Hwy
2013 Dodge Dart
2013 Dodge Dart
SE FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
2013 Dodge Dart
2013 Dodge Dart
SE FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2013 Dodge Dart Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
25 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
36 MPG
160 hp @ 6400rpm
148 ft lb of torque @ 4600rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
10,000 miles / 60 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
Recall Date
Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2013 Dodge Dart vehicles manufactured March 1, 2012, through February 28, 2013 and equipped with a 1.4L MultiAir turbo engine and dual dry clutch transmission. These vehicles may experience an engine stall when the temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
If the engine stalls while driving it may increase the risk of a crash.
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module, free of charge. The recall began on July 22, 2013. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753. Chrysler's recall campaign number is N32.
Potential Units Affected
Chrysler Group LLC

Recall Date
Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2013 Dodge Dart vehicles manufactured on November 27, 2012. Some vehicles may have been built with incorrect rear brake calipers, which could result in an inoperable parking brake.
If the parking brake is inoperable, the vehicle could roll when parked increasing the risk of a crash.
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected brake calipers, free of charge. The recall began on April 29, 2013. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753. Chrysler's recall campaign number is N21.
Potential Units Affected
Chrysler Group LLC

Recall Date
Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2013 Dodge Dart vehicles manufactured May 10, 2013, through August 24, 2013 and equipped with the Mopar 13 trim package. In the affected vehicles, the front seat mounted side airbags (SAB) may not have been properly installed into the seat.
In the event of a crash necessitating SAB deployment, the SABs may fail to deploy as intended, increasing the risk of injury.
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the SAB installation and re-install them as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on December 19, 2013. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's recall campaign number is N61.
Potential Units Affected
Chrysler Group LLC

Recall Date
Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2013-2014 Dodge Dart vehicles manufactured February 27, 2012 to January 23, 2014 and equipped with either a 2.0L or 2.4L engine. In affected vehicles, engine oil from the vacuum pump may seep into the brake booster, damaging a component within the brake booster.
Internal damage to brake booster could result in a loss of brake assist, lengthening the distance needed to stop the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash.
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the brake booster grommet for the presence of oil. If no oil is found, the vacuum tube assembly will be replaced. If oil is found, the vacuum pump, vacuum tube assembly, brake booster and master cylinder will be replaced. Parts are not currently available to remedy the vehicles. Owners will be sent an interim notification and then will be sent a second notice when remedy parts are available. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is R63.
Potential Units Affected
Chrysler (FCA US LLC)

Recall Date
Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Dodge Dart vehicles manufactured February 24, 2012, to June 16, 2015. The affected vehicles may experience failure of the transmission control module (TCM), causing the transmission to unexpectedly shift into neutral.
If the transmission shifts into neutral, it can cause loss of motive power, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.
Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the TCM and bracket, free of charge. Chrysler issued an interim notification to owners on October 14, 2015. The recall is expected to begin in January 2016. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is R42.
Potential Units Affected
Chrysler (FCA US LLC)

IIHS Front Small Overlap
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Rollover

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2013 Dodge Dart

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $24,432 What's This?
Value Rating: Above Average