"What if you need something from the cubby and someone is sitting on it?"
After eight months with our 2013 Dodge Dart, there's one part of the car staffers have seen plenty of: the interior. All those hours spent commuting and road-tripping have given us ample time to discover just how many clever details are packed into the Dart's cabin.
First, we wanted to check how much stuff would fit inside the car. Jean Knows Cars associate editor Annie White took the Dodge Dart to Indiana and loaded up four friends for a trip to the lake. She reported that while the back seat has adequate space for three adults, they won't be particularly comfortable. Later on, a grocery haul and an assortment of colorful pool noodles fit in the trunk with ease, ideal for drivers who regularly swim and eat. When she got home from her travels, White also reported that the Dart's trunk had enough capacity to move large boxes of kitchen paraphernalia from one apartment to another.
Speaking of storage, several editors have applauded the hidden cubby in the passenger seat. Simply pull a tab, and part of the seat cushion lifts to reveal a small compartment that is the perfect size for stashing electronics such as an Amazon Kindle. Still, not everyone thinks that the compartment is that clever: one passenger complained that it made the seat cushion uncomfortable, and White questioned its usefulness altogether: "It's inventive but not totally practical -- what if you need something from the cubby and someone is sitting on it?"
More compliments go to the Uconnect touchscreen. We continue to find it straightforward to use when entering navigation directions, playing music, and pairing Bluetooth phones. Staffers also heap praise on the large, straightforward physical controls on the car's center stack. Videographer Sandon Voelker gave the thumbs-up to the hidden radio controls on the back of the steering wheel, which are operated with your fingers wrapped around the steering wheel rim and whose location keeps the front of the wheel less cluttered. Finally, associate web editor Donny Nordlicht reminded us just how much he enjoys the optional red ambient light that glows from the dashboard: "I'm still giddy when night falls and I can see that awesome interior accent lighting."
Associate web editor Joey Capparella was nonplussed when he took a more critical look at the interior of our Dodge: "The materials look pretty cheap, especially in combination with the industrial look and feel of the seat fabric. I think the interior functions well, but its drab looks don't live up to my expectations of a brand-new 2013 car." He also reiterated our earlier concerns about the funky but nearly illegible speedometer and the fact that the climate controls are divided between the center stack and touchscreen.
Despite having mixed feelings on its innards, we're enjoying driving the 2013 Dodge Dart enough that we put another 2169 miles on it in August. With just a few months left before the car leaves our Four Seasons fleet, we'll see what else we can learn about Dodge's newest compact sedan.