NAIAS: 2013 Dodge Dart

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
naias 2013 dodge dart

What don’t you know about the Dart? I will tell you something: it is spacious inside. The rear seat is no-kidding suitable for full-sized adults In fact, it’s quite nice to sit in, front and back. Click the jump for some comments from Speed:Sport:Life’s Byron Hurd:

“In a scene more suitable for debuting a new iteration of the ‘Rock Band’ franchise than the launch of a new domestic compact, Dodge proudly introduced its new 2013 Dart. It’s small. It’s Italian (sort of). It looks like nothing else on the road… from the front or rear, anyway.

Actually, don’t look at the sides too closely or the Kia Forte greenhouse and Mazda3 rear deck profile (each its respective model’s least-attractive design trait) will be obvious. Of course, Dodge took great pains to point out that they were not beholden to any previous compact strategy, the subtext here of course that the outgoing Caliber was neither compact nor the product of any recognizable strategy.

Naught has changed since we received preleminary specs a few weeks back. Three engines offer either 160 or 184hp (the former from either a 2.0L non-turbo or a 1.4L turbocharged MultiAir; the latter available only from the 2.4L, naturally aspirated range-topper) and you have your “choice” of 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed slush-o-matic, or six-speed-not-a-DSG-twin-clutch. The dual-clutch unit will be available only on the MultiAir turboharged engine, and going by industry convention, we expect the 6-Speed manual will be limited to the 2.0L and lower trims of the 2.4L.”

Join the conversation
2 of 46 comments
  • Disaster Disaster on Jan 10, 2012

    Of course the big question is will it starts coming loose and rattling as it leaves the lot, like most Chryslers, or will it be doomed to Fiat unreliability.

  • Daveainchina Daveainchina on Jan 10, 2012

    I wonder what will be the car rental trim level? Should be interesting, if there are enough bells and whistles in that trim level, this could very well be a best seller very fast. It's attractive and might be a very good car for the american market.

  • FreedMike Race car drivers are all alpha-types. Aggression is part of the deal. I think you see more of that stuff in NASCAR because crashes - the end result of said aggression - are far more survivable than they would be in F1 or IndyCar.
  • Analoggrotto Only allow Tesla drivers to race, we are the epitome of class and brilliance.
  • Wjtinfwb When my kids turned 16 and got their Operators, we spent $400 to send both (twins) to 2 driving schools. One held by the local Sherriff was pretty basic but a good starter on car control and dealing with police officers as they ran the school. Then they went to a full day class in N Atlanta on a racetrack, with the cars supplied by BMW. They learned evasive maneuvers, high speed braking, skid control on a wet skid pad and generally built a lot of confidence behind the wheel. Feeling better about their skills, we looked for cars. My son was adamant he wanted a manual, Halleluiah! Looking at used Civics and Golf's and concerned about reliability and safety, I got discouraged. Then noticed an AutoTrader adv. for a new leftover '16 Ford Focus ST six-speed. 25k MSRP advertised for $17,500. $2500 above my self-imposed limit. I went to look, a brand new car, 16 miles on it, black with just the sunroof. 3 year warranty and ABS, Airbags. One drive and the torquey turbo 2.0 convinced me and I bought it on the spot. 7 years and 66k miles later it still serves my son well with zero issues. My daughter was set on a Subaru, I easily found a year old Crosstrek with all the safety gear and only 3k miles. 21k but gave my wife and I lots of peace of mind. She still wheels the Subaru, loves it and it too has provided 7 years and 58k miles of low cost motoring. Buy what fits your budget but keep in mind total cost over the long haul and the peace of mind a reliable and safe car provides. Your kids are worth it.
  • Irvingklaws Here's something cheaper, non-german, and more intriguing...
  • Wjtinfwb Happy you're loving your Z4. Variety is the spice of life and an off-beat car like the Z4 intrigues me as well. More than anything, your article and pictures have me lusting for the dashboards of a decade ago. Big, round analog gauges. Knobs and buttons to dial up the A/C, Heat or Volume. Not a television screen in sight. Need to back up? Use the mirrors or look over your shoulder. If your Z4 had the six-speed manual, it would be about perfect. Today's electronified BMW's leave me ice cold, as do the new Mercedes and Audi's with their video game interiors. Even a lowly GTI cannot escape the glowing LED dashboard. I'm not a total luddite, Bluetooth streaming for the radio would be nice and I'd agree the cooled seats would be a bonus on a warm day with the top down. But the Atari dashboard is just a bridge too far for me.