12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2013 Dodge Dart SXT - Close to Home

March 21, 2013
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Front Right Side View
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Long-Term 2013 Dodge Dart Update - SPRING 2013 (2 OF 4)
Miles to Date: 3987
"Uconnect is one of the best infotainment systems on the market because it's so quick and easy to navigate."
The Dodge Dart didn't venture far from home during its third month in our care, covering just 574 miles since our last update. The few staffers who drove the car were smitten with the optional touchscreen navigation and audio interface.
"Uconnect is one of the best infotainment systems on the market because it's so quick and easy to navigate," announced associate web editor and gadget freak Ben Timmins. Unlike the much-maligned MyFord Touch, Chrysler's touchscreen responds instantly to commands, and its large icons are easy to find at a glance. We were similarly impressed with the same system in our departed Four Seasons Dodge Charger.
"Reversing is totally drama-free because the backup camera is clear and fills up most of the enormous infotainment screen," says managing editor for digital platforms Jennifer Misaros. In other words, there will be no excuses for anyone who crunches the Dart's sheetmetal.
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Right Side View
"Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' sounds great at full volume," reports road test editor Chris Nelson, who was the first to use the CD player hidden in the car's center console. (The rest of us use iPhones and satellite radio to rock out.) "The radio controls mounted on the back of the steering wheel are far easier to use than front-mounted ones," adds Misaros. "I love that they toggle through individual radio stations, not just presets like on some cars."
Our only gripe is that climate control functions are split between the Uconnect interface and physical buttons below the display. After adjusting the temperature and fan speed with the chunky knobs, choosing which vents the air emerges from "requires clicking the 'climate' tab on the touchscreen," complains associate web editor Donny Nordlicht. "I wish there were a simple 'mode' button on the center stack."
With three months of driving completed, we have enough logbook data to see whether the Dart matches its lofty fuel-economy promises. The 1.4-liter turbo engine and dual-clutch transmission are supposed to return 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. So why have we averaged just 25.4 mpg thus far?
Much of the blame goes to enthusiastic driving styles -- "I love, love, love the raspy exhaust note," admits Nelson -- and staffers who cruise above the posted speed limit. Still, we expected better results from a small car designed to be a fuel-economy leader. That the turbo engine drinks premium fuel makes each fill-up even more costly.
As is the case with most cars, the Dart's on-board trip computer is somewhat optimistic when it comes to fuel consumption. Nordlicht was overjoyed when the computer reported 28.8 mpg on one journey, but careful scrutiny of the logbook reveals he actually averaged 26.4 mpg. Our mileage may vary indeed.
Next month we'll get a chance to see how the Dodge Dart fares on a long road trip when we take it to New Jersey. Let's hope a long stint on the highway will increase our middling fuel economy numbers.
Body style 4-door sedan
Accommodation 5-passenger
Construction Steel unibody
Base price (with dest.)$18,790
As tested $23,195
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)
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
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)
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
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

Long-Term 2013 Dodge Dart Reviews to Date:

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Photo Gallery

  • We love the snarl from the dual exhaust tips.
  • "White paint does nothing for this car," says one staffer.
  • Optimistic trip computer belies our 25.4-mpg average.
  • Clumsy dry dual-clutch transmission hasn't helped fuel economy.
  • 8.4-inch touchscreen is one of the best in the business
  • Hidden CD player sounds great blasting 1970s classics.

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