It’s back, and better than ever. In the first incarnation of the iconic Dodge since 1976, the Dart has been updated, beatified, and turned into a compact force to be reckoned with. This zippy little machine is tough to ignore, with its style-forward exterior, features to tempt techies, and fuel-smart options – topped off with an attractive price tag that may even get brand-loyal fans like Ford Focus devotee's caught looking.
Power windows, LED taillights, and a generous 10 airbags top the list of standards in this blast from the past. Upgrade to a higher trim package and you’ll be looking at an 8.4” touchscreen with navigation, a wireless smartphone charging bin, and a healthy 506 watt stereo system.
Changes for 2013
In Dodge’s first entry in the compact segment since the Neon, 2013 brings a totally new flair to a car that brand enthusiasts probably assumed would forever remain in the graveyard annals of automobile history.
What We Like
The heated steering wheel in the Limited variant makes for a delicious creature comfort, and the solid road feel lends a more expensive feel to an affordable car. The glovebox is huge, and the Aero package offers insane gas mileage for a non-hybrid.
What Concerns Us
The base engine doesn’t offer much in the way of pickup off the line. The seats are mounted a bit high and the performance of the transmission on the turbo is somewhat unrefined.
The SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited come with a 2.0L in-line 4-cylinder 6-speed, 148 lb.-ft. torque, 160 HP, and 25/36 mpg in manual or 24/34 mpg in the automatic.
The Aero option is available for the SXT, Rallye, and Limited, and is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder 6-speed with 184 lb.-ft. torque, 160 HP, and 28/41 mpg manual, 28/40 mpg in the dual dry clutch automatic.
In the GT you’ll find a 2.4L in-line 4-cylinder 6-speed with 171 lb.-ft. torque, 184 HP, and 23/33 mpg manual, 24/34 mpg automatic.
From April 2013 to October 2015 there were a total of four recalls issued. Problems included an incorrect brake caliper, cold weather stalling, front side airbag installation issues, and TCM (transmission control module) failure. In all cases Dodge notified owners that their vehicles could be repaired free of charge.
Unfortunately the Dart has been plagued with complaints, many relating to engine functionality. Issues range from oil in the engine compartment, to the engine revving, stalling, or running rough. The issue with the second highest number of complaints is the transmission, from shifting rough all the way to complete failure.