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1303 2013 Dodge Dart Sxt March Update
four seasons long-term tests

2013 Dodge Dart SXT - Close to Home

Miles to Date: 3987

SPRING
2013 Dodge Dart reviews to date
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.

"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.

2013 Dodge Dart Specs
  • Overview
  • powertrain
  • chassis
  • measurements
  • equipment
  • options
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
Packages & 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
PB
When will your April review be posted?  Looking forward to reading it!  Thanks for your review.
Janonathon Sminthernet
I downloaded jpegs of this car for when I just cant get to sleep.Front End = ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZAbout as appealing as a Neon.
Bruce63
I have the 1.4L Turbo with the 6-speed manual transmission in  my Dart Limited. I'm getting low 30's MPG, but I've found that driving style definitely affects mileage. If you drive a turbo hard (which is tempting - turbos are boost addictive) then you pretty much negate the efficiency gains versus the larger displacement engine. And I've never see any articles in any automotive magazine that approaches EPA estimates. Most automotive journalists have heavy feet.
I have yet to take my Dart on a prolonged road trip, but I suspect at a constant cruising speed on the highway I would likely see 40 MPG easily.
Jake Holmes
@PBhttp://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/12_month_car_reviews/1304_2013_dodge_dart_sxt_april_update/
Jake Holmes
@PB Stay tuned, it should be ready in the next couple of days.

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