Car Review: 2013 Dodge Dart offers Italian flavor to small sedan class

Dodge is out to make a bold statement with its latest Dart and it succeeds. Photo: Dodge Dart, bold and sassy Photo: Russell Dandridge

DALLAS, April 29, 2013 — What more could a driver want than a 2013 Dodge Dart with the added Rallye package and an orange exterior? Indeed, you will definitely be making a statement and one that the Dodge Dart is all about making in 2013.

The Dodge Dart in bright orange with a classy interior too.

The Dodge Dart in bright orange has a classy interior too.

All new this year, the Dodge Dart offers not only ample space, but features that are well worth the price tag and beyond. 

Add to that and this small sedan will find competition with the Ford Focus, Mazda 3 and the Hyundai Elantra and Chevy Cruze. Take particular note of the front-wheel-drive and the hatchback styling that seems a little European on this one making this one a real head turner.

Trims are the SE, SXT, Limited, and GT. Note too, the GT was a later trim additional, originally to be called the R/T.

The SE has 16-inch steel wheels, power windows, height-adjustable driver seat, and folding rear seat; with the Value Group addition, you can also have power mirrors, power locks, keyless entry and air-conditioning. The Aero package will add to that such features as low-rolling-resistance tires, cruise control, underbody aerodynamic enhancements, remote ignition on the automatic transmissions, and an enhanced trip computer.

On the SXT, it is the SE features with the Value Group and also 17-inch alloy wheels, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a sliding front armrest, upgraded instrument panel, and with the Rallye package add-on there are also fog lamps and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

On this trim you can also choose to add the Uconnect Voice Command package with Bluetooth, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a USB port or the Popular Equipment Group with cruise control, active grille shutters and underbody aerodynamic enhancements. The Uconnect Touchscreen Group will give you an additional 8.4-inch touchscreen display, rearview camera and a SD card slot and upgraded interior trim.

On the Dart Limited trim, count all of the above as standard and also add a six-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment and chrome exterior trim. The Dart GT comes with the Limited’s features and a more powerful engine, 18-inch wheels and a different exterior and interior trim.

You can also add the Technology Group to the Limited and GT trims and this will give you the added keyless ignition/entry, automatic wipers and high beams, rear parking sensors, blind-spot warning system, and a rear cross-path warning system or the Premium Group with leather upholstery and heated front seats and steering wheel.

Under the hood, the 2013 Dodge Dart has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower and 148 pound feet of torque. The standard is a six-speed manual transmission, but you can opt for the automatic as well.

For the GT you can get a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that will give you 160 horsepower and 184 pound feet of torque. This is also a six-speed manual transmission with an optional choice of an automated manual transmission called “DCCT.”

Also the Dart GT has an option under the hood of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that has 184 horsepower and 171 pound feet of torque.

Safety on the 2013 Dodge Dart comes in the form of standard antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side, side curtain and front knee airbags, and, depending on add-on packages, there is also the option to get a rearview camera as well as blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.

For its class, the Dodge Dart really does have an excellently appointed cabin and each trim offered gets better with the leather upholstery and little stitching and trim color details that stand out too.

The Dart is wider than other vehicles in its class and the backseats offer plenty of legroom with trunk space coming in at 13.1 cubic feet.

Overall, driving the Dodge Dart you will get zippy handling and response — think Alfa Romeo Giulietta — indeed this Dart will remind you of that one as it definitely has some Italian blood in it.

Should You Need to Know: The 2013 Dodge Dart came in with excellent safety scores, but the base engine is a bit slower than others in the class.

Miles Per Gallon: The miles per gallon on the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye that I drove came in at 27 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The cost for the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye was $24,390.

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1300 articles to her credit in the past 15-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a national radio show called “The Duva Show” where her “The Insider Mag’s” I’m Standing Here segment can be heard weekly between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Monday evenings.

Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and the North Texas Film Critics and writes for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily New, Living Magazine and Valley Scene Magazines as well as www.greensourceDFW. She also spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.

She recently received the 2012 Green Media Award from the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association.

Her latest book release is “Haunted Bartlesville, Oklahoma” from www.historypress.net and she will be publishing her ninth book this spring about Prohibition-Era cocktails in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.


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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.

 

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