The 2013 Dodge Dart earns an above average Total Car Score for the Compact Sedans & Wagons segment.
The compact Dart sedan is the first Dodge model to be built on underpinnings shared with popular Alfa Romeo models. The results go well beyond its attractive exterior to include a choice of three available fuel-efficient engines putting out up to 184 horsepower and sharp European-inspired handling. Its roomy interior, which is as large as some midsize sedans, only adds to the appeal. Finally, there's the long list of more than 150 factory customization options, including seven different wheel designs.
Among the Dart's downsides is the fact that, while the starting price is reasonable enough, the bottom line can rise to dizzying heights if you start liberally adding those options. Buyers looking for a more flexible hatchback body style like those offered by several compact segment competitors are also going to be disappointed by the sedan-only Dart lineup.
Since the 2013 Dodge Dart is an all-new model, a significantly refreshed version won't be along for several years.
The 2013 Dodge Dart is a four-door, five-passenger compact sedan that's offered in SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T trim levels.
Buyers can choose from three four-cylinder engines. The base powerplant is a 2.0-liter that puts out 160 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The next step up is a turbocharged 1.4-liter that produces 160 hp and 184 lb-ft, while at the top of the powertrain list is a 2.4-liter rated at 184 hp and 171 lb-ft. The engines will be available with a choice of six-speed manual, six-speed dual-clutch automatic or a traditional six-speed automatic transmissions, all driving the front wheels.
The Dart model lineup starts with the SE, which is equipped with the base engine, manual transmission and projector headlamps. The SXT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, power windows and keyless entry, while the Rallye builds on that equipment list with black trim, fog lamps, an electronic vehicle information center and audio controls in the steering wheel.
The Limited also starts with the SXT accessories and adds bright trim, polished aluminum wheels, vehicle info center, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a 7-inch configurable gauge-cluster display. The top R/T trim level builds off the Limited and adds the 2.4-liter engine, dual exhaust, a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery and black exterior trim.
The Dart's list of optional features includes a number of items that were once unheard of on cars in this price range, including xenon headlights, ultrasonic park assist, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated seats, a navigation system and a premium audio system.
While official EPA fuel economy estimates haven't been announced, it's expected that 2013 Dodge Dart models with the 1.4-liter engine will be rated around 40 mpg highway.
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