"I found myself double- and triple-checking before changing lanes or merging on the highway."
The 2013 Dodge Dart spent its tenth month in our care within the state of Michigan. At this point, we've come to terms with most of the Dart’s virtues and downfalls, and now we’re putting it to work as a pleasant day-to-day commuter.
Graphic designer John Kalmar spent a week behind the wheel of the 2013 Dodge Dart in October, crisscrossing the state in search of Michigan State football victories (they won), beverages and donuts from Uncle John's Cider Mill (judged delicious), and live music in Grand Rapids. Kalmar enjoyed his time in the Four Seasons Dodge but complained about the meager rearward visibility afforded by the Dart's fat C-pillars and rising beltline. Without any blind-spot warning systems on board, you need to be extra careful when dicing through traffic.
"I found myself double- and triple-checking before changing lanes or merging on the highway," he said.
Associate editor Greg Migliore, who has a 45-plus-minute daily highway commute, agrees that the Dart's blind spots are large but says it's far from one of the worst compact cars in terms of visibility. He reports that the 2013 Dodge Dart is an excellent highway commuter, a sentiment that echoes the views of nearly everyone who has taken the Dodge on a long trip.
Later, associate web editor Joey Capparella took the helm and used the 2013 Dodge Dart to drive to a concert in metro Detroit. With four friends on board, he was glad the Dart is one of the roomier "compact" sedans currently on the market.
"They had plenty of legroom but the back seat is only just wide enough for three adults," Capparella reported.
Next up was road test editor Chris Nelson's girlfriend, Kimmy Hay, who wanted to compare the white 2013 Dodge Dart to her white 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT. She took issue with the Dart's rounded, bulbous shape and also said she preferred the steering feel in her Avenger. Yet Hay conceded that she liked the Dart's intuitive touchscreen navigation system and gutsy turbocharged four-cylinder engine. She has no plans, however, to swap her Avenger for a Dart any time soon.
As our yearlong test winds to a close, we hope to take the Dart on a few last trips to get the most out of our time with the smallest Dodge.
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Base price (with dest.)||$18,790|
|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|
|EPA Fuel Economy||27/37/31 (city/hwy/combined)|
|Turning circle||37.5 ft|
|Suspension, Front||Strut-type, coil springs|
|Suspension, Rear||Multilink, coil springs|
|Brakes F/R||Vented discs/discs|
|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|
|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 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|