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2013 Dodge Dart Limited Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Dodge, Test Drives

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The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart enters into the mix of Dodge vehicles to thrill consumers with a technologically advanced compact sedan. Though the Dart name is reintroduced in compact form filling the a void the Neon once occupied almost 8 years ago, Dodge manages to bring a new style to the brand offering many features once reserved for luxury vehicles wrapped up in stylish, economical and versatile package.

The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart slots just below the Avenger sedan but really appeals to a wide range of consumers due to its long list of standard and available equipment. Such equipment ads a newfound value on compact sedans and the Dart uses it to the best of its abilities.

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For its first year, the new 2013 Dodge Dart takes many of its styling cues from the rest of the Dodge line up of cars. Many traits found in the new design language of the larger Charger are nicely trickled into the exterior design traits. The rear LED tail lights are an impressive yet unique part of the Darts character. The front end’s miniaturized version of the typical Dodge ‘cross’ grill has a profound statement of where the Dart belongs in its ranking among other Dodge vehicles. Overall the new Dart is a good looking compact exuding a classy look yet sporty enough to catch the eye of enthusiasts, especially in its sporty Rallye or GT  trim levels.

My new 2013 Dodge Dart Limited test vehicle comes equipped with the new 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder TigerShark engine producing 160 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 148 pounds-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission in my test vehicle, though you can opt for a 6-speed manual transmission.

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A 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque 1.4-liter 4-cylinder Multi-Air Turbocharged engine is available on all trims except the GT and exceptionally fuel efficient Aero trim. The MultiAir 1.4-liter is standard for the Aero trim, touting an impressive 41 mpg on the highway. The extra bit of torque is a benefit for the 1.4-liter turbo over my test vehicle’s naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine. When configured with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, the automatic transmission option is a 6-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) with an AutoStick for a manual shift mode.

In my 2013 Dart Limited’s configuration, acceleration is a bit sluggish making it to 60 mph in about 10 seconds. Though around town my Dart Limited tester proved to move along with the flow of traffic with ease. The only times the power deficiency was noticed is when attempting to over-take vehicles on the highway or just starting from a dead stop. The 6-speed automatic transmission adapts well to most driving conditions where it will hold lower gears longer when it detects sporty driving characteristics as to limit hunting or repeated downshifts when an extra bit of pulling power is needed.

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The handling and ride quality is good considering the engine could use another 20 or more horsepower on a chassis that seems up to the extra duty. The Dart Limited’s suspension is tuned well for everyday driving but quickly demonstrates a good amount of body roll entering into turns at fast speeds. Powering out of turns is also a bit of a downer as the engine barley has enough torque to break the front wheels loose. With the limited amount of forward momentum from the new 2.0-iter TigerShark engine, it manages to muster out a respectable 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. These figures are slightly improved when equipped with the manual transmission getting as much as 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.

The interior of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart Limited visually looks like it is in a class above most compact vehicles. Although, the feel of a quality fit and finish is slightly displaced and misleading as many of the bulky edges of the dashboard meeting trim pieces protrudes to the point that it looks out of place. Much of the way the interior feels, with the exception of the leather seats, large 8.4-inch LCD touch screen and dashboard LCD screen cluster instrumentation, is a bit ordinary. Where the new Dart Limited really makes up for the interior’s physical perception of quality is in its class-leading gadgetry.

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Having a total of 6 different trim levels, SE, SXT, Rallye, Aero, Limited and GT, the new Dart has a versatile selection of feature sets, powertrains and optional equipment. The levels of customization, not only from the standpoint of the multiple trim levels, makes the new Dart a very desirable compact sedan for all types of consumers. Speaking of customization, my new 2013 Dodge Dart Limited test vehicle was equipped with many standard premium luxury features such as its touted Unconnect system with a high-resolution 8.4-inch touch LCD screen, the same unit found in other Dodge vehicles like the new Charger. Feature sets and menus are easy to navigate through the new system as well as the Garmin-powered GPS navigation system. There are several configurable options within the navigation system to combine ease of usability and the functionality demanded in a well-adapted mapping system.

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Continuing the spectrum of features and options found on my new Dart Limited tester, it came equipped with an optional Premium Group package including dual-zone auto temp controls, Limited leather seats (heated front), heated steering wheel, remote start, and a universal garage door opener. An optional Technology Group package added keyless enter-n-go push button start, rear parking sensors, blind spot and rear cross path detection, rain sensing wipers and automatic high beam headlights. A rear backup camera came as standard equipment on the Dart Limited trim.

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Probably one of the more intriguing parts of the new Dodge Dart Limited is its configurable 7-inch color LCD cluster display. The new display has many configurable options, controlled through steering wheel buttons, to place information in your desired location and even choose between a virtual analog speedometer or a digital read out. Additionally, the screen display’s pertinent vehicle information, such as the tire pressures, fuel computer, vehicle temps and vehicle settings are easily accessed on the LCD screen. The fuel gauge and rpm gauge are fixed items to the right and left of the configurable color cluster LCD screen.  The over-all visualization of the new instrument cluster is excellent with the one exception of the brightness being a bit on the low side on sunny days. The LCD screen tends to get washed out a bit with sunlight.

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The all-new 2013 Dart has placed Dodge in an optimal position to really exude the vehicle’s standard and optional technological aspects ahead of its competition. Opting for the GT trim with the higher output 184-hoursepower 2.4-liter TigerShark engine is surely the way to go for enthusiasts, as my Dart Limited’s athleticism was not its strong suit. As the average consumer seeking a value-oriented compact sedan would have it, there are several other trim levels, including my Dart Limited, to choose from. With a starting price of just $15,995 for the base-level Dart SX trim, Dodge has reintroduced head-on competitiveness in the compact segment. My 2013 Dodge Dart Limited has an as-tested price of $24,965 including a $795 destination charge.

Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Dart SX $15,995 / Dart Limited As-Tested $24,965
  • Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder TigerShark 160 hp @ 6,400 rpm / 148 lb.ft. of torque @ 4,600 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 106.4 inches
  • Total length: 183.9 inches
  • Total width: 72 inches
  • Total height: 57.7 inches
  • Track: f/r-61.7/61.6 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,186 pounds
  • Fuel tank: 15.8 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-38.6/37 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-42.2/35.2 inches
  • Cargo volume: 13.1 cu.ft.
  • EPA mileage: 24 mpg/city, 34 mpg/highway (automatic transmission)
  • 0-60 mph: 10.2 seconds

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