Reviews

2013 Dodge Dart SXT – Commuting Duties and Service

Miles to Date: 18,662

Long-Term 2013 Dodge Dart Update: Fall 2013 ( 1 of 5 ) Miles to date: 18,662

From a utilitarian perspective, the Dodge Dart is well designed.

It was a quiet month for the 2013 Dodge Dart as the summer road-trip season wound down. Instead, we tasked the compact sedan with more quotidian duties — namely, waiting at the airport while associate editor Greg Migliore attended the Frankfurt Motor Show.
“From a utilitarian perspective, the Dodge Dart is well designed,” he reports. “The trunk is cavernous for a car this size; my carry-on bag and laptop case barely made a dent.”
Once home from Germany, Migliore got back into the swing of American life by taking the Dodge Dart to tailgate at a college football game. Once again confirming our impression that this compact sedan offers an outsize amount of interior room, Migliore had no problem packing the Dart with the drinks cooler, chairs, and food necessary for enjoying a Michigan State football game.


His one gripe sounded awfully familiar: “This gearbox always seems to have a hesitation or delay. I feel like this particular dual-clutch transmission needs more refinement.”
With that in mind, we were thrilled when the dealership reprogrammed our Dodge Dart’s transmission during a service appointment. The technicians discovered a technical service bulletin designed to address customer complaints of hesitant, rough, and noisy shifts from the optional six-speed dual-clutch. The new transmission software was installed for free, but not everyone is convinced it made a difference.
“It’s been reflashed?” asked copy editor Rusty Blackwell. “The low-speed downshifts still make a substantial ka-chunk sound.”
Associate online editor Joey Capparella, on the other hand, welcomed the software tweak. “Low-speed creeping is definitely smoother than before, and overall the transmission is less obtrusive. The driving experience isn’t significantly better, but it was enough to make the car a more pleasant companion on my commute.”
We had originally booked our Dodge Dart into the dealership for a front-end alignment, as the angle of the steering wheel no longer quite agreed with the direction in which the car drove. That ended up costing us $52.95. While the Dart was in the shop, Dodge technicians also performed two recalls on our car. The first involved reprogramming the turbocharged engine’s computer to prevent abrupt stalling in cold weather. Although we didn’t experience that problem last winter, we’re glad to know it won’t be an issue when the mercury drops in the coming months. The second recall involved modifying the fuel-filler door to prevent it from rattling or becoming difficult to open. Once again, this was not a problem we had experienced on our Dart.

Overview

  • Body style 4-door sedan
  • Accommodation 5-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest.) $18,790
  • As tested $23,195

Powertrain

  • Engine 16-valve SOHC turbocharged I-4
  • Displacement 1.4 liters (83 cu in)
  • Power 160 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Torque 184 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drive Front-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 27/37/31 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
  • Turning circle 37.5 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs/discs
  • Wheels 17-inch aluminum
  • Tires Continental ContiProContact
  • Tire size 225/45R-17 94H

Measurements

  • Headroom F/R 38.6/37.0 in
  • Legroom F/R 42.2/35.2 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 58.2/56.1 in
  • Wheelbase 106.4 in
  • Track F/R 61.7/61.6 in
  • L x W x H 183.9 x 72.0 x 57.7 in
  • Passenger capacity 97.2 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity 13.1 cu ft
  • Weight 3242 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R xx/xx %
  • Fuel capacity 15.8 gal
  • Est. fuel range 490 miles
  • Fuel grade 93 octane (premium unleaded)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 engine
    • 6-speed manual transmission
    • Stability and traction control
    • Variable intermittent windshield wipers
    • Remote keyless entry
    • 4-wheel disc brakes
    • Roll mitigation
    • Hill-start assist
    • Power windows
    • Manual 6-way driver’s seats
    • 17-inch aluminum wheels
    • Projector fog lights
    • Black chrome headlight bezels
    • Body-color grille crosshairs
    • Dual rear exhaust exits
    • Cruise control
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
    • Premium cloth interior
    • Trip computer

Options

  • 1.4-liter SOHC turbocharged I-4 engine
  • $1,300
  • Underbody aerodynamic treatment
  • Active grille shutters
  • Bright exhaust tips
  • 140-amp alternator
  • 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission $1,100
  • Popular Equipment group
  • $495
  • Vehicle information center and trip computer
  • Cruise control
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Front seatback pockets
  • 12V power outlet
  • Sun visors w/vanity mirrors
  • Illuminated cup holders
  • 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen group
  • $595
  • Illuminated instrument panel surround
  • iPod control
  • Remote USB port and SD card slot
  • Single-disc CD player
  • Uconnect 8.4 w/navigation
  • $494
  • Automatic headlights
  • SiriusXM travel and real-time traffic w/one-year trial subscription
  • $—
  • Rearview camera
  • LED “racetrack” taillights $225
  • SiriusXM satellite radio w/one-year trial subscription $195

 

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