12 MONTH CAR REVIEWS: 2013 Dodge Dart SXT - Commuting Duties and Service

By - September 24, 2013
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Front Right View
Long-Term 2013 Dodge Dart Update - FALL 2013 (1 OF 2)
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.
2013 Dodge Dart SXT Front Right View
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.
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:

FALL 2013
2013 Dodge Dart SXT - Commuting Duties and Service
WRAP-UP
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Comments

Photo Gallery

  • Dart covered just 1316 miles this month.
  • Front-end alignment cured crooked steering wheel.
  • Dual-clutch transmission was reprogrammed for free.
  • Dart spent a week waiting in airport parking lot.
  • Staffers call Dart a "pleasant" commuting companion.
  • Trunk handily accommodates tailgating supplies.

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