The 2013 Dodge Dart comes in five different flavors, with a base model starting at $15,995 all the way up to the Limited model I tested, with nearly every option on board, that rings the bell at $25,190. The 2013 Dart is an all new car born of a collaboration between Chrysler and Fiat. Before you ask, the only thing this Dart has in common with the Dodge Dart of the 60s and 70s is the name. I have no connection with the old Dart so it doesn’t irk me a bit.
The new Dart is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta chassis and my tester was powered by the 16 valve, 2.0 liter Tigershark motor. I would have liked to give the 2.4 liter MultiAir Tigershark borrowed from the Fiat 500 Abarth a go, but that’s for another time. The 2.0 liter is good for 160 bhp and 148 lb-ft of torque.
My testers engine came paired to a 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The dual clutch auto is an $1,100 option over the standard, in the Limited, 6-speed manual. I would have much preferred the manual. The automatic has an odd delay when you step on the gas and when the car gets going from a stop. Once underway the auto is smooth and quick, but that delay really bothered me. Having previously been in a manual, I would recommend you learn to drive stick if you decide to pickup a Dart.
So what all does that $10k bump between the base and Limited get you, other than the auto? Outside the car you get a more sophisticated look with a body color matched grill, surround and side mirrors, chrome, fog lamps and a nice set of 17 aluminum wheels. The interior of the Limited is very nicely loaded with comfort and technology features usually found on much more expensive cars. Leather can be found throughout the interior, there is a heated steering wheel, backup camera, blind spot detection, automatic rain sensing wipers, keyless entry and push-to-start automatic high beams, dual climate, a hand storage area under the passenger seat and tons more. This is a very well thought out interior. You also get a gigantic 8.4 inch touch screen top center and a second 7 inch LCD in the gauge cluster. The interfaces throughout are very easy to navigate and the gauge cluster LCD is really quite stunning. For $25,000 it would be very difficult to find a better all around interior. Hell, I’ve tested $40,000 cars that can’t touch the Dart.
As for driving, the Dart is a competent performer in the city, through the twisties and on rough mountain roads. There is a good balance of comfort and stiffness, though the steering could use a touch more feel. It’s not a sports car, but it is fun to drive without being so fun that your ass hates you. The Dart delivers 25/36 MPG, I averaged 33.
Throw together a Dodge Dart Limited, stick with the 6-speed manual not the $1,100 optional automatic, and you have one of the best deals on the road.