Dodge Dart R/T
Bright Things Of Cars:
Stylish and aggressive design character
Excellent tech suite, with only a few blemishes here and there
Excellent fuel economy
Turbo lag in 1.4-liter models
Tech has a tendency to get bogged down
Suspension doesn’t absorb road deficiencies as much as we’d like
The 2013 Dodge Dart is available in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited, and R/T, which is due sometime later this year. For our 2013 Dodge Dart review, Rallye edition, which straddles the middle to upper end of the spectrum. Buers will be happy to learn that the Dart is priced rather competitively. Base price is expected to be $22,500.
The dash sports a flowing, almost fluid aesthetic that seems to wrap itself comfortably around the driver, while at the same time complimenting its fun design with a good degree of utility.
One of the interior’s most notable features is what Dodge designers call the “floating island” bezel, which traces around the main instrument cluster and navigation display. It’s undeniably useless but equally cool, and really, that’s what matters. Of course if you insist on being a slave to function, the Dart has some tricks up its sleeve, like a cargo space located underneath the passenger seat.
Standard on all Darts, save for the R/T model, is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine capable of producing 160 horsepower and 148 pounds-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is offered as an optional upgrade. Drivers also have the option of upgrading to a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that retains the 2.0-liter’s 160 hp but ups the torque to 184 lb-ft. Lastly, when it debuts, the top-end R/T model will feature Chrysler’s Tigershark engine that displaces 2.4 liters and capable of pumping out 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque.
Appeasing our purist’s heart, our Rallye review unit came equipped with the standard six-speed transmission and upgraded 1.4-liter. Overall we found the Dart to be succinctly quick off the line, delivering a sporty character rare in the compact segment. But getting the most from the Dart’s 1.4-liter engine required a little effort on our part, and it isn’t until 3,000 rpm that the Dart yields the most power. Generally speaking, those who opt for the manual and throatier 1.4-liter turbo will find the most joy from the Dart.
The Dart’s mandate is about more than delivering just fun and functionality to the compact segment: Fuel economy plays an important role. We’re happy to report the Dart delivers with some impressive EPA fuel economy numbers. It’s capable of achieving 27 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined when equipped with the optional 1.4-liter turbo and mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Opting for an automatic transmission sees those numbers dip ever so slightly to 27/37/31. While fuel economy isn’t as strong, the standard 2.0-liter is no slouch, with an EPA-rated 25/36/29 when mated to the manual and 24/34/27 when outfitted with an automatic.