2013 Dodge Dart
While it’s been a while since Dodge has had a real compact sedan in their line-up, we can’t think of a better way to return to the segment than with the 2013 Dodge Dart. It’s the first Dodge built on Fiat architecture, and the styling certainly looks the part. Based on the Alfa-Romeo Gulietta, the Dart’s low, wide stance is as Italian as Parmesan. There is a traditional Dodge crosshair grille up front, but it’s wider and flatter, and it’s just part of an aggressive front end that also features a large lower opening and front splitter. A lot of effort was put into optimizing aerodynamics, including active grille shutters, underbody panels, and an integrated deck-lid spoiler. In back, there are Charger-like full-width tail lights, comprised of 152 LEDs and dual exhaust tips.
Inside there is good use of color and lots of soft touch materials. Front seats are plenty roomy and everything has a European feel with a definite “driver-focused” layout. Gauges are part of a unique 7-inch Thin Film Transistor instrument cluster that can be configured in a multitude of ways. And the 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen media center should put the Dart at the head of its class when it comes to screen size.
Powertrain choices start with the Fiat 500 Abarth’s spunky 1.4-liter MultiAir I4 turbo, good for 160-horsepower. Next is a 2-liter Tigershark I4, also rated at 160-horsepower, and a 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir 2 I4, that cranks out 184-horsepower. There are also three 6-speed transmissions available; manual, automatic, and a new Dual Dry Clutch Transmission.
You can definitely feel the Fiat/Alfa influence when behind the wheel, as the Dart is eons away from the Neon. MacPherson strut front and bi-link independent rear gives the Dart a well composed ride. Steering is very responsive, and overall the car feels nimble and light on its feet. A wide range of trim levels are available for the 2013 Dodge Dart, with prices beginning around $16,000.
Engine: 1.4-liter MultiAir I4 turbo
Price: Beginning around $16,000