BIG MAN RIDES: 2013 Dodge Dart review( Its real nice but……..)

After sticking Americans with the gawd awful Excel, Hyundai returned to the American Market with a monster warranty.  A warranty that said hey, trust us!   10 years 100,000 miles.  The  warranty is a success . Last year Hyundai-Kia squeezed past Nissan to become the fifth best selling manufacturer in America.    Hyundai 10 year warranty is expensive to the manufacturer, I expect the company will scale it back in two years.

The 2013 Dodge Dart is the first born child of Chrysler and Fiat.  If you’re a car nut, you know the Dart is base on Alfa Romeo Giulietta

It’s been stretched and pulled for the American market .  The child uses engines from Fiat and Chrysler, the transmissions are all Fiat and the  interior is all Chrysler.   The Result is a very good-looking car, the camera doesn’t do it justice….

It’s a snarling car very Charger Esq, and like the Charger the rear end is like no other…

The Dart comes in many,many flavors, I drove the Rallye with the optional 1.4 liter turbo (160 horsepower and 184 pound feet of torque with the six speed manual.

The Standard  engine is a  2.0 four with 160 horsepower and 148 pound feet of torque.

Note: My daughter drove the Dart with the base engine and the automatic and thought it was a slug.


Looking at my pictures, it looks tight.

 There was actually a fair amount of room for this big guy, nothing went ouch.    The width was good and so was the leg room.  Initially, the seats were a bit hard but after a few hours I found them supporting.   The room in the rear is not bad, however the seats  are low..

  The steering  was excellent, dead on center (take note Toyota).  I had fun driving the car on twisty Hwy 20 in Lake county     The shifting of the six speed stick was smooth un-Chrysler like, not up to the levels of the Honda or Volkswagen but fun.   I liked the growl of the turbo.  Off the line, it was okay  however  the mid range power was good.

Chrysler’s along with Hyundai has the best entertainment navigation systems in the business.  Their intuitive and easy to use.    No car needs 20 to 30 buttons (Ford and Honda) or system that requires you take your eyes off the road to look down (BMW,Audi, Mercedes)  I could go on.

The car is very quiet (small cars have come a long way) until you hit some rough road.   The Dart is a heavy car, it’s anywhere from two to five hundred pounds heavier than the competition and you can feel it.

The car has a ton of air bags.  It can be equipped with rear view cameras, blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.

Gas mileage for this led foot averaged 27 which is what the EPA says the average should be (that’s a first) highway mileage is 32 with  the stick and 39 with the automatic.

Some of the things I didn’t like about the car was its premium fuel recommendations for the turbo.  While the dash and surrounding areas are soft touch, its black. That’ s so 2005.   Some of the plastic pieces look cheap and the trunk could be better finished.

Being a big man, people often ask me why do I like small cars.   The answer is a simple one for me, fun.   There are a few larger cars out there that are fun to drive, but most are built to soothe and coddle the passengers

The Dodge Dart falls in the upper middle for small cars…   It’s not a Volkswagen Golf, Mazda 3, or Ford Focus( manual ) but it is more entertaining to drive than the GM and Hyundai compacts, and the once great Honda Civic and aged Toyota Corolla .

My main problem with the Dodge Dart is history.     Fiat and Chrysler doesn’t have the best track record  for building quality cars.  This is the car!   The car Washington said Chrysler needed and couldn’t build on its own.   Like many buyer quality is an issue.  I believe this is the most important segment of the market.  Unlike anything is Chrysler’s line up, the Dodge Dart is the first car someone is likely to own.  If the experience is positive, they’re like to purchase another Chrysler product.

However if it is a poor experience they may never purchase a Chrysler or an American car again.      With so much resting on this first child (The Dart) I would have offered this car with a  better warranty.    The current warranty is your basic 3 years 36,000 miles   Like Hyundai ,I would feel better if  the new Chrysler offered a warranty that would say to consumers  trust  us.



1 Comment

  1. Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!


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