"Once the Dart gets to highway speeds, I actually feel content behind the wheel"
As winter arrived in Michigan, we said goodbye to our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT after 12 months. During its last month in our fleet, our feelings toward the humble compact sedan barely changed.
We started the month off by taking the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT in for another scheduled service appointment. The oil change, tire rotation, and inspection were completed for free as part of the car's warranty. Next we paid $100 to remount our Pirelli Sottozero Serie II winter tires, from The Tire Rack, our official wheel and tire supplier, onto the Dart's factory 16-inch wheels. We found them far grippier in snow and ice than the all-season rubber the car rode on for the rest of the year.
Next, graphic designer John Kalmar put serious miles on the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT as he traveled around Michigan over Thanksgiving weekend. The journeys between towns were fine, but Kalmar once again struggled to acclimate to the Dart's dual-clutch automatic when he arrived at his destination.
"Once the Dart gets to highway speeds, I actually feel content behind the wheel," he said. "But at lower speeds, the wonky dual-clutch transmission makes city driving a headache."
Other complaints came not from Kalmar, but from his friends. Three adults squeezed into the back seat and found themselves contorted like pretzels, prompting moaning until the after-effects of a turkey dinner put the passengers to sleep.
A short time later, Kalmar was on the road again in the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT, this time for a last-minute trip to see his beloved Michigan State Spartans play football in Indianapolis, Indiana. He reported no problems on his 13-hour round trip, even when unexpected snowfall put the winter tires to the test. In fact, Kalmar found the car's only demerits to be aesthetic: "This infotainment system is straightforward and easy to use. While the graphics may look like something from a PowerPoint presentation, its functionality trumps any personal graphic design complaints I have."
With that, our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT spent its remaining few days shuttling staffers to and from the office, to grocery stores, and to holiday parties. Nobody expressed much remorse when the car departed our office, even though most drivers found the car quiet, comfortable, and reasonably satisfying to drive. It was only the funky transmission that left us frustrated in our year 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|