Our general consensus is that the 2013 Dodge Dart is far better on the highway than around town, so it's no surprise the white sedan spent most of last month on long road trips. That allowed the car to rack up 1873 more miles and bumped its cumulative fuel-economy average up to 28.6 mpg.
The Dart was perfectly suited to a long highway cruise: not particularly thrilling, but capable and comfortable.
The first journey came when your author took a weekend trip to Cincinnati, Ohio. The Dart was easy to drive on the dull, straight shot south on I-75; I was grateful for satellite radio and an iPod connection for entertainment. The Uconnect navigation system's voice recognition proved its worth when my friends' plans changed and I discovered you can't type a point of interest name while on the move. Saying, "Points of Interest. By name. Dave & Buster's," allowed me to pick a new destination without pulling off the highway, a useful feature and one that could reduce driver distraction.
My friends in Ohio were reasonably impressed with the Dodge Dart; one said he may soon buy either a Dart or a Ford Focus, but is leaning toward the Dodge because he loves the available lime green and bright orange paint colors. (To each his own.) However, they universally disliked the transmission's balkiness when we drove through the Cincinnati suburbs. "It's really bad," observed one friend. "The engine revs a lot but it stays in first gear."
The Dart’s next assignment was a trip to northern Indiana for Memorial Day. Jean Knows Cars associate editor Annie White reported no problems covering more than 400 miles over the long weekend. "The Dart was perfectly suited to a long highway cruise: not particularly thrilling, but capable and comfortable," she said.
"UConnect makes this car for me," White added. "The big touchscreen looks good and works exactly how I want it to." At the same time, it took some time for her to get comfortable in the "strangely puffy" seats.
The next long journey came when associate web editor Evan McCausland dashed to Toronto, Canada, to buy some Japanese-market Honda CR-V parts. He was satisfied with its highway demeanor: "The plush seats are nicely bolstered and quite supportive over long stints behind the wheel. The ride is nicely damped, and wind noise isn't too intrusive."
McCausland was less impressed when the navigation system led him on a wild goose chase for an ATM that no longer exists, although he appreciated the ease with which he was able to switch the digital speedometer and nav system to display kilometers.
Although the 2013 Dodge Dart has plenty of highway miles in its logbook, more are on the way over the rest of the summer. Between Fourth of July, Labor Day, and other summer trips, look for us to accumulate even more miles as we vacation outside of southeast Michigan.