By on March 8, 2015

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It was one of those weekends where nothing went quite right. The first rental car I got was pretty banged-up on all corners, and the interior reeked of menthol cigarettes. Worst of all, it wasn’t even a Mopar, and since I was on the way to Thunderhill so I could race a Neon with famous Mopar engineer, Hellcat inventor, and Viper-related head-shaver Erich Heuschele, I decided to Gold Choice my way into a Dart. Both Erich and I are still awfully passionate about Neons despite the fact there hasn’t been a Neon for sale for quite some time now, and I thought that the Dart, as the Neon’s authentic successor, would be a good choice.

The first thing I noticed about the Dart was that it had nearly 35,000 miles on it. The second thing was that someone had swapped the front tires out for astoundingly noisy, unbalanced cheapo replacements. The third thing I noticed was that it did not have cruise control, and by then it was too late to turn back.

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The question for me was: Could I still review the Dart fairly despite the hideous howling coming from the front end? I decided I’d try to edit it out, the same way some of my contemporaries edit out the interior of the Cadillac ATS when they’re busy vomiting praise for that vehicle onto the printed or virtual page. So let us go then, you and I, when the Sacramento evening is spread out against the sky.

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The oddball spec of our rental car appeared to be basic SE with some extra-cost aluminum wheels. It’s not a bad-looking car, you know. Compared to most of its competition it’s very attractively proportioned, with none of the tippy-toe tall-and-narrow aesthetic that characterizes the Elantra and Corolla. It doesn’t look like anything in particular, and the Alfa Romeo underneath is spectacularly well-disguised, but at least it’s not ungainly.

While the Dart is, nominally speaking, a compact car, it’s even larger than the Chevrolet Cruze, which itself is larger than the rest of the class. The not-so-small-Dodge comes within an inch or two of the 2002 Honda Accord in most dimensions, if that helps put it in perspective. No surprise, then, that I had plenty of room behind the wheel and that all of my luggage, including my 49.5-pound Samsonite race-gear hardshell monster, fit in the trunk.

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The interior feels deliberately cheap, but there are a few metal accents to relieve the cave-like aesthetic. The USB port in the center console will charge most devices and will play music from a recent iPhone. If you want Bluetooth, however, you’re out of luck. The same is true for cruise control, which is not standard on the Dart SE or even on the SXT in some configurations over the past few years. It’s a forty-two dollar install after the fact, which just points out how weirdly cheap FCA can be sometimes. All the cruise-control programming is there, you just don’t get the switch.

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The combination of two-liter, 160-horsepower engine and six-speed automatic is not rapid by any stretch of the imagination, and there’s a surprising reluctance to rev. It’s been twenty years since the two-liter, three-speed automatic Neon, and if this new car isn’t actually slower against the clock, it sure feels like it is. Power is only ever adequate and calling for a late pass results in a mildly alarming case of distraction from the transmission. which clearly dislikes the idea of grabbing a lower gear and will punish you for suggesting it.

The chassis, on the other hand, is clearly better than what you get in an Elantra, Corolla, or Civic. It has the responsiveness and roll control of the Focus, which is kinda the class leader here, but it doesn’t ride nearly as harshly. As a highway proposition, it’s remarkably livable, assuming there isn’t some sort of terrible howl coming from the front tires. Those front tires also drove a stake through the heart of anything like lateral grip, but the Dart is certainly well-behaved while it’s communicating the lack of cornering traction. Like the Cruze, the Dart has a mid-sized presence on the road. Never did I hear a random squeak or rattle despite the high mileage of our rental example.

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HVAC performance was strong and relatively silent. Observed fuel economy hovered in the 32mpg range, but I should point out that the Dart spent a few hours idling in the chilly NorCal mornings to warm up the pit crew and power a few cellphone chargers. There just isn’t too much to complain about with this car, but neither does it possess much in the way of singular virtue. Most cheap European cars are just like this, you know. They handle okay and they work okay but they are neither Bimmers nor Yugos.

As a six-speed manual-transmission car with decent tires and the cruise control installed, this would make a better than decent car for anybody with under twenty grand to spend. I preferred it to the Cruze, mostly on the basis of looks and dynamic cornering behavior. The problem is that the Dart just isn’t that far away from the Camry and Accord in pricing. With automatic transmission, this is nearly nineteen grand. A Camry LE is $22,970 and nowadays Toyota piles the incentives on just as thick as Chrysler does.

After a race weekend that got progressively worse as time went on, I was happy to steer the Dart back towards the Sacramento airport. With cruise control, it would really be almost the perfect rental car. Nothing wobbled or fell off and I never felt cramped. The question is: why buy it over a Civic? Well, it’s bigger and roomier and different, but those qualities don’t mean much to the typical Civic buyer. Still, if you’re willing to look past the Civic to cars like the Elantra or Forte, you should give a look to this one as well. I wonder, however, if people will be as passionate about the Dart twenty years from as some of us still are about driving, and racing, Neons.

Scratch that. I don’t wonder about it.

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107 Comments on “Review: 2015 Dodge Dart Fleet-Spec...”


  • avatar

    I talk to people who have Sebrings, Darts and Avengers. I’ve never met a single one who didn’t love their car.

    the only thing holding the Dart away from greatness is that there’s no SRT Dart trim (yet). If and when an SRT Dart finally replaces the SRT-4, there will finally be something to generate hype and attract buyers.

    As is: the Dart has great features and a ‘good enough’ interior.

    I’d definitely take one over those BORING soul-less econobox imports.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      For every person with an old Dodge that they ‘love’ there are 40 who had an old Dodge, sold it, and are much happier now that they’ve moved on to a reliable car.

      • 0 avatar

        Good for them.

        But I’m on my 5th Chrysler… and I’m planning to buy a 6th.

        and a 7th.

        MAYBE the author would have liked this one more if it actually had features beyond seats and a steering wheel?

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          They break down so quickly requiring frequent replacement?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The problem with Chrysler products of the past was that they were sporadic in quality and failures. Some people owned Chrysler products for decades and never had a breakdown, or a complaint.

            Others weren’t so lucky. These others outnumbered the people with good ownership experiences by a wide margin, hence the bad rep for Chrysler.

            But as the owner of a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, made by today’s UAW and imported from Detroit, we haven’t had any complaints or breakdowns. Recalls are now beginning to show up in our mailbox though, i.e. altermator diodes board failure, power brake housing rusting, EHPS power steering fluid low alert, cabin electrical wiring fire alert.

            But maybe, there’s hope, yet.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            So in other words they were like every other car ever made?

            I know people who had Hondas that were fantastic, and I know people who have had Hondas that were a PITA. Same for every other brand, to the point were I think it is the owners much more than the cars.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Is that like how people who buy new Camrys every 2-3 years sing the praises about their wonderful, super reliable, unkillable, long lasting Camry on internet forums, only too stupid to realize that 2-3 years and 25-30K miles is not long enough to judge the car’s long term reliability?! Virtually ANY new car will perform excellent and reliably in that amount of time, import or domestic (as long as its not a JLR product).

            Oh! But the Camry is SO GREAT compared to the LTDs, Vega’s and Volares sold new accross the street! See?! My Camry with 12,000 miles on it PROVES IT!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I think there is a new mentality these days about cars in general. More people are leasing instead of buying.

            Fewer people are keeping the cars they bought until the wheels fall off, trading more often, and sooner.

            Owners of old Japan-built Camry have told me they won’t buy the new American-made Camry because it is no better and no worse than any other American car these days that all use the same American part suppliers.

            Camry and Accord continue to draw in new buyers because of their well documented reputation for value and durability. But they’re no better than their competition today.

            And the American brands have also improved considerably, no doubt. That’s what happens when you’re on the bottom of the heap with no place to go but up.

            But for many who had a bad experience with their Detroit 3 cars, there is no going back.

            Why reward a manufacturer for a bad ownership experience by buying another car from them?

            Many choices out there. Exercise that freedom of choice!

          • 0 avatar

            @highdesertcat,

            sincerely sir, and let me tell you a secret, and you know I like you and respect you right?

            your friends are wrong. there is little difference between an american and a japanese built camry nowadays. Why?

            – the days when macro economic conditions favored Japan Inc and they could build in for no price disadvantage little extras into their cars that guaranteed better quality are ling gone. The playing field is more leveraged now, so a beefier suspension in a Camry will cost the same as a beefier suspension in the Fusion. Quite different from the past.

            – American Camrys are built to the same standards as current Japanese ones. So besides the point above that leads to the next point….

            – Japanese techniques of lean manufacturing, zero defects, workers stopping an assembly line when they spot a defect, keizen, the whole package has been brought in and put in place in all, but i tell you, in all, major car companies around the world. So the advantages Toyotism brought Japan Inc are well understood and adopted by everyone. Of course, internal cultures still crash and collide with these concepts depending on company and variations exist, but everyone follows the same playbook.

            So that leads us to the conclusion that, the Camry stood out (past tense) in the 90s for a variety of reasons, the main ones, being the 2 pointed out above. However,everyone has those two points under their belts now, so the Camry no longer stands out. Not because it’s bad, but because others have basically caught up with. And those others often include a factor or other that the Camry doesn’t provide (fun, ride, spirit, gusto, design).

            So it’s not because the Camry is built in the US, but rather because everybody copied Toyota and added their strengths, and in comparison, Toyota now has to offer more and thus far has been unwilling or incapable of doing so. In comparison, others are just (or almost, I’ll give you that, hard to change a culture even in the 2 decades auto makers have been at it) as good, while offering something Toyota doesn’t.

            And now Camrys come from the US and not Japan and Japan Inc retains its fame, but it is simply not that.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Marcelo, anyone is free to disagree with me or my comments. I won’t be offended. Unlike some of the B&B I don’t claim to know it all about everything and every topic.

            There is indeed little difference between cars these days and I believe that is because the domestics have gone up in quality while the imports and transplants have come down to the level of the domestics in quality. Reasonable, because they all use the same American suppliers, like CTS gas pedals, etc.

            I have to add that although I have been pleasantly surprised by how well our 2012 Grand Cherokee has held up, I also have to say that the three 2014 Grand Cherokees bought by my wife’s sisters have all been shop queens. Based on those experiences, I would not buy another Grand Cherokee with other people’s money!

            Ditto with the Highlanders they bought which were built in North America, and our 2008 was built in Japan. Ours has never been back to the dealer for anything, while my wife’s sisters traded their Highlanders off for 2014 Grand Cherokees because of all the issues they had with theirs. Who knew!?

            The Camry has remained the best-selling sedan in America, but I believe that is because new buyers are drawn to them based on the reputation of the old Camry. I know a few people who own two, three or four Camry of different vintages, all bought new at one time. They just kept handing them down to their kids, and fixing them to keep them running.

            The old 1989 Japan-built Camry I bought recently is a remarkably well-built little car, and IMO put together a lot better than anything put together in North America these days. After 26 years, it still runs strong, has no rattles, and the paint and cloth upholstery is still in tact.

            And whatever perception drives an individual’s motivation to buy, many people on this board and other boards have voiced their disappointment in current Camry sedans.

            Even Mr Toyoda admitted before the US Congress that Toyota quality had tanked, and he vowed to do better. It’s true that everybody else reverse-engineered and copied what made the Japan-built Camry so great and incorporated it into their own products. Smooth move!.

            So the greatness of Toyota products today will largely determine if Toyota will remain at the top, or not. We’ll be able to tell from the annual sales stats. But there still are people that won’t be buying another Camry based on their evaluation of how the Camry of today stacks up against the Camry of yester century, built in Japan.

          • 0 avatar

            “anyone is free to disagree with me or my comments. I won’t be offended. Unlike some of the B&B I don’t claim to know it all about everything and every topic”

            Exactly, and that is why you are a pleasure to debate with. We are basically adults, and can agree to disagree, with nary a hair of respect lost. In fact respect can only grow as I read the rest of your post, agreed, resoundingly agree. Think for yourself, watch, learn. Take care of your stuff. And heed a bit what others (credible others), based on sound reasoning and experience are saying (not newsbits off the radio or tv or internets).

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Marcelo, I do need to mention that I converted to the religion that is Toyota with the purchase of that 2008 Highlander.

            So, I’m a believer in Toyota. I currently own that 2008 Highlander, 2011 Tundra and 2015 Sequoia.

            The fact that we also own a 2012 Grand Cherokee we attribute to my wife’s weakness for its styling and color. An aberration on our part, but a gamble that resulted in a win for us because the Grand Cherokee has been trouble-free.

            Were I to buy a new vehicle today, I would gravitate toward buying a Toyota product. This does not however make me blind to the fact that Toyota products of today are not what they used to be. Too many people have stated they were cheapened.

            And I think a lot of people who owned one of the old Toyota products have noticed the difference between how they were built, and how the new ones are built. Lighter weight sheet metal. Noisier interiors. Abysmal handling. The list goes on.

            But for those former Camry owners, there is always the magnificent Avalon. Boring maybe. Uninspiring, often. But truly a joy to own, based on what people I know who have bought them told me, among them my best friend from whom I bought that 1989 Camry. This guy is not given to BS, so if he raves about something, it is worth raving about.

          • 0 avatar

            But then again, that just proves my point. You may be a total Toyota convert and I won’t disavow you because of that. Besides that, you have a Jeep. Valid point of comparison and indicative of a willingness to experiment. If by 2030 you are still buying that same Highlander, I may question you. Like the old Camry you bought. Great. Almost no contest. But if because of that you had bought 15 Camrys in a row and didn’t even consider the Fusion (for example) and came here to offend, put down, or belittle anyone who did, then we’d have a case.

            As is, you take care of your cars, look around, are aware, and are as now a Toyota convert. Why do you think I put out an alternative message on Fiat? It is because I have spent the better part of my driving life behind the wheel of one without any undue problems, my friends and family have been well served by those cars. I don’t care what a frenzied, foaming, VW apologist will say on the internet (above comment based on prevailing Brazilian market conditions, :)).

            May your Toyo-love live long. Just keep your eyes peeled (as I do, never thought I’d recommend a VW or GM product in our market, though now I so often do! things change).

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I am a Toyota-convert now, but started with GM, Ford, Mopar, AMC and IHC products back in 1959, rebuilding my dad’s 426 Hemi engines for his dragster starting at age 12.

            Over the years I have had the opportunity to drive many rentals, some good, some not so good, plus I had four brothers in the bid’ness of selling multiple brands for over 30 years.

            I had the occasion to form my own experiences and know what I like.

            Always good talking with you, Marcelo. Good night.

          • 0 avatar

            Boa noite! Durma bem.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N,

            If you’re the sort of person that needs to have a new car at all times, you’re still better off buying one that will be trouble-free for 150,000 miles. That’s because there is going to be someone else willing to pay for all the potential you’re letting go of at 36K miles. If you buy a Detroit-disposable instead, confident that it will treat you well for two or three years, you’re going to eat it when you trade into your next short term car. Resale value isn’t born of claims that the new ones are good, and this time we mean it!

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @CJinSD

            Common sense would suggest that, but lease residuals don’t reflect it. Residual on a Camry at 36 months/36k is 51%, Accord is 52%, and Altima is 51% — but Fusion is 52% as well.

            Malibu is pretty far behind at 48%, ditto the 200 at 43%.

            Sonata is actually the highest at 53%, versus 47% for the Optima, a gap that’s kind of hard to explain.

      • 0 avatar

        “The question is: why buy it over a Civic? ”

        Because a Civic is BORING and UGLY.

        One of my employees has a Dyno Blue Pearl EX-L and despite the fact that I could easily borrow it for long enough to shoot a low-quality iPhone video that may or may not go viral and have Honda’s infrastructure angry at me…

        …it’s so boring I just don’t care to do so.

        Come to think about it – maybe I should!

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Starting every morning: so boring! What an appliance! No soul.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            It might start, but will it go anywhere?
            I see lots of relatively new Civics on craigslist for cheap with bad trans. These are not 200K+ beat-to-death, used up cars. They look to be in otherwise good or even excelent condition aside from being a better lawn ornimate than a drivable car.

            I dont see newer Focuses or other similar small cars in a similar state. True, the Dart isnt old enough to be commonly found in derlict condition, but, if you want to point and wag your finger at everyone raving about Honda reliability, perhaps you shoud take off your “smart a$$” hat for long enough to realize Hondas do have problems like any other car.

            Do I need to bring up the failure rate of Honda transmissions in their larger vehicles (minivan, Pilot, etc and V-6 Accord)? How about every Honda Ive ever owned consuming oil like its easier to digest than gasoline? What about CV axles and how Hondas seem to need them ALL the time (at earlier mileages than others)?

            Now, Im sure youll attack me for driving a Taurus, but before you do, know that it has 193K on it, uses virtually no oil, has its original engine, trans, CV axles and most other major components except for the starter and water pump. It runs and drives excellent and although it isnt perfect (oem struts/spings worn out), its 100% reliable and Id drive it anywhere.

            I had a Honda Accord LX I-4, same year, with similar mileage (I sold it at 191K) that had considerably more work done to it and used oil regularly despite being well maintained its whole life (was 100% stock, older adult owners so it wasnt beaten on by a kid).

            I do like Hondas. I am looking at a 98 Prelude 5-speed right now. Its not going to replace the Taurus as a daily driver (its far too expensive to maintain and repair, not to mention it requires higher octane fuel), itll be a fun second car. But, I am not delusional about them. They break just like any other car and cost quite a lot to fix compared to an American car.

            *Edit: Add the “Triptronic” (auto-manual) Prelude to the list of Hondas commonly seen with transmission problems. I saw an 01 with 54K on it for cheap with a bad trans. The worst part, it was a one owner who said the trams had been replaced already by Honda under warranty, but now being forced to pay out of pocket, the owner gave up and listed it for sale. Aside from how much I enjoy a manual, especially in a sporty coupe, I cross each and every last-gen, auto-equipped Prelude off the list as soon as I realize it for that reason.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Not a big Civic dashboard fan, but I’d tolerate it compared to this mess. I’m trying to this of a more nondescript, bland exterior than the Dart and I just…can’t. Maybe that Mitsubishi monstrosity…

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Monstrosity means “something, especially a building, that is very large and is considered unsightly.” How does this apply to any USDM Mitsubishi? The Fuso medium duty cabover trucks? Sure, theyre not exactly sexy, but is it fair to compare them to a sedan?

            And, really? Cant think of a more boring looking car? Seen a Jetta lately? If you saw a new one, youd be forgiven if you at first thought it was from 10 years ago because of how bland, dated and boring it looks. The Nissan Sentra is a snooze box, and the Dart easily wins against the overstyled Hyundai (the best comparison I can think of would be Pelosi’s face after the Botox starts wearing off). Corolla still looks bland, but maybe thats just me seeing through the styling and considering the decades old car underneath.

            Being bland (or ugly) is not one of the Dart’s problems, especially when seen in a color other than white or silver. But, I guess if youre reaching for reasons to hate it…

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Is the Civic dashboard still huge enough to land a Cessna on?

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Is it wong that you dont know the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Yes, but nobodys perfect

          My “claims” are based on what *I* see, and I dont need a survey to tell me what Ive seen isnt true. Honda Civics, along with Odysseys, Pilots, Preludes and V-6 (especially) Accords are very common for automatic trans issues. It isnt “made up” just because you dont want to hear it. Why do you think there is a http://www.hondatransmissionsettlement.com (iirc, may be off on the exact wording)? A website dedicated to represent the victims of Honda’s reliability (or lack thereof).

          Instead of getting all butt hurt about it, how about you go out and get some real experience, instead of repeating crap you overheard.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            “Is it wong that you dont know the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Yes, but nobodys perfect ”

            I’m a stickler about grammar and spelling, too, but… oy vey!

        • 0 avatar

          @JohnTaurus
          Bought my ’08 Civic at 35k, it’s up to 78k. Only problem so far was a t’stat. Had a ’99 Accord to 200k, and it was pretty reliable, although not bombproof.

          Now, it’s obviously too early to make big pronouncements based on the Civic but transmissions haven’t been a problem for Honda at least since ’08, according to the latest Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue, and most of the Hondas going back through ’09 earn “better than average” or “much better than average” used car verdicts (the Odyssey is an exception–all “average”).

          Unlike you, I’ll go with the statistics.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “My “claims” are based on what *I* see, and I dont need a survey to tell me what Ive seen isnt true.”

          I don’t care what the brand or loyalty is, this type of willful rejection of contrary evidence cracks me up. I don’t need statistics, I know what I see!

          By the way, since you made a big fuss about the misuse of “your”, I should point out you spelled “wrong” as “wong”, didn’t put the apostrophe in “I’ve” and “don’t” and didn’t use capital letters on your acronym.

          Are you just a temporary ranter here or will we get the pleasure of your company long term?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I think it’s funny that a guy with a ‘jellybean’ taurus with one of the most failure prone transmissions in the past 20 years, the AX4N, (worse than V6 Honda automatics I’m pretty sure) is spitting such vitriol. Is it sort of like the firebrand anti-gay politician that’s caught soliciting in the mens’ room?

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          Bottom line, if the Dart had a Honda or Nissan nameplate some of these anti American twits would have nothing but nice things to say about the Dart. Raving on the durability and simpleness of the interior. The 28.5’s on the site grew up hearing negative things about American made products and don’t know how to act any other way.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      After having an Avenger as a rental a couple of times, I can’t imagine how it could inspire love. I’m not a fan of Hyundai/Kia, but the Avenger makes a rental spec Optima look extremely desirable.

      • 0 avatar
        Cirruslydakota

        I’m on third and fourth Chrysler product and all have treated me well. Avoid the Diamler era cars as they were cost cut to the bone and it shows.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Bottom of the heap? Ive never heard such utter BS in my life. So, nobody built a worse car than the US?! Lol

      If you think American cars are or were that bad, then clearly you dont remember Japanese imports for the first 15 years or so they were here (or the Koreans for that matter). A Pinto is an awful car, and unsafe, right? Then how is it that it had a lower “death rate” than the Toyota Corolla and Datsun B210 of the day? How is it that so many Pintos are still running today (outside of the salt belt obviously)? The 2.3L OHC was incredibly durable and reliable. They were awful, reliable, ugly and long lasting cars.

      In the 1970s and early 1980s, it was very common for a Honda to need a new engine at or before 40K miles. Broken timing belts (before their recomended replacement), cracked heads/blocks, and other such issues were incredibly common with these cars as well as Datsuns and Toyotas of the period. The Ford LTD and Chevy Caprice mightve been ill-handling, ugly, gas sucking behemouths, but they lasted A LOT longer than early imports. Far from the bottom, they were not great but not unusually poor for the period and a damn sight longer lasting than anything from Japan in that era.

      Ive owned many 1980s and 1990s American (mostly Ford) products. And, Ive had Nissans, Hondas, Toyotas and Mazdas.h ALL had issues sooner or later. My Camry was an utter pile of GARBAGE. Every week, it was something new, and at a cost of 10X what the same part/repair wouldve been on a Tempo or Taurus. I traded that pile of crap for a flippin Ford Festiva because I couldnt be late for work again, nor did I fancy walking 3-4 miles when the Camry decided to do its stall/no-start thing again.

      You can pretend that every American car died at 4,652 miles and every Japanese car runs 300,000 with 0 repairs if you want to, that does not make it true.

      You know how many cracked head/block 22 R engines Ive seen?! A lot more than GM Iron Duke 2.5Ls or Ford 2.3Ls, thats for damn sure. Theyre on craigslist everyday, many with 150k miles or less “needs motor” or “just rebuilt engine”. I just LOVE it when some ignorant a-hole swears thats the greatest engine EVAR!

      • 0 avatar
        Thatkat09

        This is in response to you’re reply.

        Everybody knows Honda had transmission issues in the early part of the 2000s. I’m not disputing that, I am disputing your claim that Honda’s reputation for reliability is mostly an exaggeration.
        I give you a source stating Honda has the most trade ins of models with over 180,000 miles and you tell me to see for myself how thats not true because you’ve seen Craigslist ads that may or may not exsist.

      • 0 avatar
        mechaman

        I have to agree. The first car I owned was a ’78 510. My mother owned a Gold Duster. The Duster was older than my 510 when I got mine, but it outlasted the 510 by at least three years, and before anyone gets the wrong idea, it was totaled by a drunk (and I am lucky to be here to tell it). The decision to total it out was my mothers’ and the insurer. The thing was still running, but the damage to the drivers’ side and front suspension was too extensive. And it was NOT babied, just got regular maintenance. The 510 was rusting despite getting rust treatment; the Duster was also rust treated, but showed only a hair of rust around the taillights, and you’d have to look close. Now, I will say that both models were reliable, but the Duster was still running when the 510 had died. It got regular maintenance, as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Data collectors, like Consumer Reports and TrueDelta, have a tendency to disagree with you.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      ‘Cheap’ was my first impression of the interior as well. Same with the Corolla: what’s Toyota’s excuse there?

  • avatar
    RyleyinSTL

    That ridiculous/ugly Dodge badge in the middle of the steering wheel is 11 kinds of distracting. It looks so cheap, really sets a tone for the interior.

  • avatar
    darex

    Nice to read that I’m not the only one who finds the ATS’s interior cramped and off-putting. I was beginning to think it was just me!

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Cue DeadWeight rant in 3…2…

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Blake Zong recently reviewed the Lexus RC-F 350.

        It’s way less expensive than I had anticipated.

        Okay, I just found out accurate pricing on this.

        Aside from the hideous predator grille, this RC 350 @ $43,000 or RC-F 350 @ $47,000 TOTALLY EMBARASSES THE CADILLAC ATS AND CTS IN TERMS OF PERFORMANCE, FIT & FINISH, QUALITY, ETC.

        THIS IS WHY GM/CADILLAC SUCKS NOW AND ALWAYS.

        If you look at the comparison in seat stitching, seat quality, interior trim, paint quality, fit/finish, etc., the Lexus SHAMES THE CADILLAC ATS OR CTS.

        IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE.

        Look at some close up photos of the gauges, stitching, paint, panel fit, etc. Cadillac is sad. Look at the ORANGE PEEL IN THE ATS PAINT FFS!!!

        Yet Johan wants to charge BMW money for the ATS & CTS.

        The ATS & CTS can’t even touch Hyundai Genesis quality.

        Here’s a thread with photos demonstrating what I’m speaking of:

        http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f21/cadillac-interiors-197585/index5.html

  • avatar
    eManual

    You need to work at it, but you can get a Passion Red Pearl exterior with a light frost interior on the SXT 6MT model. A real exterior color (not white, black, or silver) with a light interior in a manual! But none of the local dealers (within 250 miles) have anything but black interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      Further research shows that there is only one Dart SXT 6MT that is dark blue with a light frost interior in North Carolina. Almost replaces my 1987 Dodge Lancer 5 MT with a light blue exterior and interior. Ah, for the days when interior/exterior colors sometimes matched…

  • avatar

    Better chassis than Japanese and Koreans. Larger inside then the GM. As good a ride as a Focus, but more comfortable.

    Gee wiz goddam. Hitting on the reasons why there are so many that like their Fiats. Hush, don’t let the secret out. Better to let others enjoy their superior products while we scum FCA buyers enjoy our rides for less.

    No cruise control. The inhumanity! First world problems,:).

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Until, like this Dart, you’re sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

      The Dart has horrid reliability issues. Just about every publication I’ve read their test cars have had problems. The only way I’d buy an FCA car again is with one of those Maxcare warranties that covers everything for 100,000 miles.

      Comparison tests? Gets blown out of the water. Never mind value or warranty either.

      But yes, lets buy for the chassis…which is 300 lbs too heavy. Chrysler would have been better off refreshing the Avenger with the Uconnect 8.0.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly. This is the attitude I was thinking about when I wrote this. Meanwhile none of my Fiats have ever let me stranded on the side of the road while one of my Fords have as well as one of my Renaults. I should discount my personal experience because the internets, magazines and gossip tells me.

        Jack knows a thing or two about cars. I know when a car feels right. Fiat has always made what I value which is a very nice ride and good handling with a level of involvement with a rominess that is disproportional to external size and shames most competitors. By Jack’s review they still do.

        So forgive me if I ignore what I hear and follow my owm likes and thinking

        • 0 avatar
          mechaman

          Marcelo, I think we all synthesize our experiences, readings, anecdotes from others into a decision. That’s why I don’t buy into Consumer Reports’ ‘objectivity’. (For other reasons too long to go into here, as well). Right now, only a desperate need would get me to buy a Chrysler or Mitsubishi model, I just don’t trust them based on too-recent experience … that doesn’t stop me from looking at some of ’em, though.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      +10, Marcelo. Some of these posts read like they were written by bad rock music critics.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Don’t want to sound negative again, or be accused of ranting…but what about the Mazda line?
      You speak as if the Mazda3 does not exists. And IMHO..it is the leader in ride and handling. Perhaps not interior or interior sounds…but certainly not to be ignored.
      The Focus is really, really close…but still feels less fun around town. Likely that trans, dunno.

      “It has the responsiveness and roll control of the Focus, which is kinda the class leader here”
      So it seems Jack agrees with you…and again I ask why?

      • 0 avatar

        Because we prefer the Ford over the Mazda? I haven’t driven the current or last Mazda 3. I’ve never driven a Mazda 3. Most of the guys who do write about cars I know and whose opinions I generally concur with usually place Golf and Focus above the Mazda, with the Mazda somewhere near a Mégane or Bravo. That means that Mazda 3 is a very good car, above a Cruze hatch, but below the leader Focus and Golf. I have driven Miatas and Mazdas X9 (?) and they are great cars, but the Focus has something (in spite of the current generation being ugly) that other cars don’t.

        Take that as you will. i1ve been around Fiats, Renaults, Fords, Peugeots, VWs all my life and have had little contact with Japanese in this arena. The few times I have been in them I have always encountered some ergonomic issue or simply not quite there suspension that made me wince (with the exception of the Euro Honda Civic hatch from the 90s, great design and car, what a car). Maybe the Mazda 3 is better.

        Then again I think of the Festiva and Fiesta. one a Mazda the other a real Ford. One maligned, the other heralded. Or outside the US we all live a massive delusion, or we just simply value something Japanese cars come close (with the added benefit of reliability, that Mazda it would seem doesn’t as much) but don’t match.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Marcelo, I’m glad you comment because you provide a counter-balance to the somewhat insular opinions we Americans have, as we’re not nearly as exposed to much of the forbidden fruit that you have access to in Brazil (and South America, in general; Seat, Skoda, Renault, more Fiat products).

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      +1 Marcelo

      I had a 1.4T Dart as a lease that I recently turned in. 50,000 miles and never stranded me or failed to start. I really enjoyed driving that car and I loved the tech in it.

      • 0 avatar

        You probably knew how to drive it and were accepting of the differences.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          Indeed I did. We americans have become far too used to overpowered vehicles and this mentality that even a basic family sedan has to be able to do 0-60 in 6 seconds or less is ridiculous. I’m convinced that the press whining about the Dart being “underpowered” helped to stifle sales. It’s not a sports car….its a sporty commuter car. It has plenty of power for its intended mission.

  • avatar

    Wow, 20 years since the Neon came out. That makes me feel old.

    I took my driver’s test on my dad’s ’95 Neon (the rare 1-year-only base model with the giant grey bumpers, in Teal) back in 1997. About 3 months later, it was totalled when someone in what was probably the east coast’s last running Renault Encore decided to make a left turn into the side of it.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Right on Marcelo. I’m seeing the 180 HP manual with a few hundred bucks of amenities for less than $18k in my area. That doesn’t seem so bad. Looks like the the quality problems are ironed out, too.

    Kind of interesting to see a car reviewed under worst case scenario conditions.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I remember seeing a lot of Neon’s on the track. Can’t remember if it was a spec serious or they were just good. Wasn’t there also a special racing edition or something as well?

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    I test drove a Limited 1.4t awhile back and really liked it. Kinda glad I didn’t jump on it though. Edmund’s long term Dart was a nightmare and my cousins bright orange 2.0 liter SXT has already needed to be towed.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I’ve never warmed up to this car, and when I look at its profile I still think it looks a lot like Christmas Poo.

    I’d like to see a month by month breakdown in sales for the last two years, which I bet have not been so hot.

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      I think low Dart sales are the only reason the Compass/Patriot are still in production. The Dart sold 7400 units last month, the Patriot/Compass twins sold about 14,000. Both were supposed to be gone by now but without them Belvedere would be severely below capacity.

    • 0 avatar

      Evidently sales went up in November 2014, although that seems to mostly be caused by the demise of the Avenger. From previous TTAC articles, the huge rebates/financing promos on the Avenger were cutting into Dart sales, because buyers figured they could get a bigger/better equipped car for the same price.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/november-2014-dodge-darts-best-month-ever/

  • avatar

    No Bluetooth or cruise control? That’s a non-starter…even if the latter is a $42 install…

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      They’re both included in a $775 option package (along with keyless entry) that anyone with a brain would add if they were buying one.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        $775? That’s a ripoff. As stated in the article, the cruise control software is already there. Bluetooth probably manages the keyless entry, and you can buy a bluetooth audio dongle for $20. Plus $42 for the cruise switch, and you’re overpaying $700 for something that should be in the car already. That’s probably a lot for Dart buyers.

      • 0 avatar

        Wait…is that keyless entry (as in being able to use a remote fob to lock and unlock the door), or keyless go (as in smart key)? I could do without keyless go—my DD doesn’t have it—but every modern consumer vehicle should have keyless entry…

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          Yeah, the remote fob. The package also includes air conditioning, which I didn’t catch before.

          It’s just an advertising gimmick, to allow them to advertise a low MSRP. There isn’t actually a Dart within 200 miles of me that doesn’t have that package.

          The catch is that since it isn’t standard, you end up with cheapo rental spec cars like this. For a while they were doing the same thing to the Challenger — it’s one thing in a Dart, but who would ever buy a Challenger without Bluetooth? I passed up a few on rental lots on that basis alone.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I can’t believe a rental car wouldn’t have cruise control in this day and age.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Wow, it’s the fob that’s missing? That’s even worse than I would have guessed. I couldn’t imagine any new car being sold without a key fob these days. That’s why, when I hear the phrase keyless entry, I assume some bluetooth connection that automatically unlocks the doors as you approach.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    So VW isn’t the only manufacturer running a 2.Slow in the US. The Jetta’s engine heralds from the early 90s, how old is the 2.0 in the Dodge? Has anyone here driven both of these and care to compare?

    This car comes with 3 different engine options and there are problems with all of them that tend to become the focal point of many reviews. That’s unfortunate because it seems to have a lot to recommend it otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      I don’t think its a fair comparison. The Darts 2.0 liter is definitely the better engine. While not great performance wise its definitely livable, especially considering how heavy the Dart is. The 2.slow in the Jetta makes 45 less horsepower, gets worse gas mileage, and by far makes a Jetta equipped with one the worst performing entry in the class.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The 2.0L is a carry over GEMA World engine co-developed with Mitsu and Hyundai ~2005. Not a bad engine, but not particularly powerful, especially in a 3200lb car.

      It’s only available in the base model Dart now, choose any other trim except Aero and it gets the 2.4L.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        Actually the 2.0L in the Dart is one of the newer “Tigershark” variants of the GEMA engine family. The differences are minor, but they improved the VVT system (expanded range), improved NVH, moved the intake to the bulkhead side of the engine (it was on the radiator side) and relocated the exhaust to the front. It’s not major stuff, but the engine is a lot quieter and more refined than a 1st gen 2.0L in a Patriot (assuming they still offer it).

        What’s odd to me is that they still build the 1st gen and 2nd gen (Tigershark) versions of the engine. Most assembly plants hate complexity like that.

        • 0 avatar
          Thatkat09

          I don’t think you can get a 2.0 liter in the Compass anymore but I think you still can on a Patriot. Fun fact, you can still get a patriot without AC or without power window, locks and mirrors.

    • 0 avatar
      01 ZX3

      The Focus also has a 2.0L, 160hp I4. Meanwhile, the Cruze has two engines under 2 liters and under 140hp.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    Tired whines written from Mom and Dad’s basement…

  • avatar
    kojoteblau

    The dealer gave me a Dart loaner when I was getting service done on my 500. SXT model, all the expected options. It was a nice drive, very comfortable ride and plenty of power for the hills. Coming out of the 500 though, the extra size was a bit to get used to.
    My only complaint was the seats. After a few hours of driving, my back missed the seats in my own car (I’ll admit, I didn’t try very hard to play with the adjustments). When I did get back into the 500, I remembered how much I love tossing my car around, and the heavier Dart might have been too “grown up” for me.

  • avatar
    dzwax

    My wife sold her 2nd Neon and bought a new Dart with 6 speed manual. Although I do not love the car it has its good points. With the manual I have recorded exceptional mileage. On a trip from Florida to North Carolina, fully loaded, averaging 75 mpg we got an honest 40.5 mpg. Hypermiling it around town we have recorded over 45mpg on Shell premium. Driving it like I slammed my foot in the door I get an average of 35mpg.

  • avatar
    r129

    I drove a well-optioned orange Dart GT with the 2.4 and manual, and I really liked it. In fact, in many ways I enjoyed driving it more than any of the other vehicles in its class, though I haven’t had a chance to try the newest Mazda3. I also think it’s one of the better styled compacts. The problem is that it can get pretty expensive with options, you know you’re going to take a massive hit in depreciation, everyone will think you have bad credit, and the reliability is a question mark. They weren’t exactly piling on the incentives, either. Last year, when I was looking, the temptation of a $16,000 Chrysler 200 with a V6 sitting across the showroom from the $22,000 Dart would be too difficult for many to pass up. Heck, even I was tempted.

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      Hell, I was tempted by a V6 200 convertible while contemplating my Dart.

      I recently had new 200 C for a rental car while my Dart was at the body shop, and actually found it to be kind of lousy. The nine-speed automatic has one gear too many, I had trouble getting my youngest kid’s car seat to mount properly, I hated the placement of the transmission selector (if you’re not looking when trying to adjust the A/C, you could accidentally put the car in a different gear), and for some reason the C has the five inch sorta-touch-screen.

  • avatar
    markf

    Why buy it over a Civic? I guess if you want a car that will disintegrate in 5 years then you should def. buy this over a Civic.

    The 2015 Dodge Neon, er Dart……

  • avatar
    MK

    I’m just curious about the photo juxtaposing the Dart with the three (running?non-running?) land sharks.

    What’s the story there….

  • avatar
    omer333

    Part of the reason I did go for a Dart is a friend of mine who spent the better part of ten years driving a Neon SRT4 traded it in for a 2013 Dart SXT 2.0/6AT, and he loves it. He put over 10,000 miles on it in around six months and had no trouble with it.

  • avatar

    No cruise on this car – especially a domestic compact, which is usually well-optioned compared to the competition – is simply inexcusable.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      No battery gauge, or charge indicator on the Grand Cherokee either. Fortunately, there are after-market gauges that plug into a power outlet that will tell the driver how the electrical system is functioning.

      But no Cruise Control is a serious omision in any new car these days.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I want to like this car. It’s reasonably good looking, hits a sweet spot on size, and talks to me through the steering wheel. But the reluctant transmission coupled with a no guts engine kills it. Then the other deal breaking issue is all the reported reliability woes. Haven’t sampled the MT but think I read it’s clunky rather than snickersnack. That’s too much to expect to ever get fixed.

  • avatar
    Cirruslydakota

    Added a 2013 Limited 1.4T 6 speed to the stable in January for my wife replacing her 05 Focus ST. We went to both the Baltimore and D.C. auto shows so she could see all her choices without going to different dealers and being pestered. She hated everything Japanese and Korean in the compact class category finally narrowing it down to the Focus, Cruze, and Dart. The Focus had button vomit on the center stack which she immediately hated along with the seats. I was pulling strongly for the Cruze diesel but it didnt have a manual as per our requirements and she found the cloth dash odd and most likely a pain to clean. The Eco did meet the requirements but im not paying for a vehicle with drum brakes in 2015. Then we looked at the Dart SXT which she really liked but disliked the black wheels along with no brightwork on the car to break up the color. A week later I found a 2013 Limited with just 14,000 miles on it with everything she was looking for including the 8.4 Uconnect and 7″ TFT configurable screen but not the RB5 with navigation and satellite radio which can be added. I really wanted her to get a 500 Abarth because of its glorious sound but she deemed it too small. The Dart sounds almost as fantastic but with another resonator added. Most publications complained about the throttle lag turn tip in which I noticed at first but the dealer performed a TSB that had been issued which made an enormous difference. Also the Kumho tires that come equipped from the factory are simply terrible and will be changed out to a nice set of Bridgestones when they’re worn out which cant be soon enough.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    If they made this into a hatch and called it “The Omni”, I’d be more interested.

    Until then I’m more into Golf’s and Focus’s, compact sedans just seem like compromises to me.

  • avatar
    bluegoose03

    If you rented an automatic DOHC Neon in 1998 you would have been bored to death! The three speed auto prevented the DOHC from utilizing its power band. It was sloow. When you put the A/C on you’ll have trouble climbing hills. Plus, you’ll get 22 MPG highway.

    The Dart is not a bad combo in GT form with the stick. However, it needs more forward thrust with all of its weight. Hopefully that is coming with the refresh and the rumored Hurricane 4 in late 2016. The Fiat 1.4 Turbo with the Fiat DCT has been a quality disaster.
    Comparing a Dart GT to a Neon R/T is like comparing an F-22 to an A-10.
    The Neon R/T outfitted with the competition suspension is a great car. However, it will never be made again because of all of the safety equipment, electronics, and sound deadening they put in cars today.

    I own a 1998 R/T coupe in white with blue stripes. It has the Mopar computer and the competition suspension. So if you want to do a comparo using my Neon and the refreshed Dart in the future, I am more than willing to cooperate. I love your work Jack!!

    • 0 avatar

      The ’13 Dart is on Consumer Reports’ list of used cars to avoid in their ’15 Annual Auto Issue. As for the latest Dart, they like the handling and ride, but characterize the 2.4 liter as “lacks refinement”, the 2.0 as sluggish, and the 1.4 turbo as “thrashy”. Reliability for each engine is “unknown”, “average”, and below average, respectively.

      Jack, I only once drove a Neon, a rental, in SF during the 1993-4 xmas season. I seem to remember that the engine was smooth, which it undoubtedly would have been compared to that in my ’93 Saturn (stick), but I thought it looked dorky as HE-double. I would be very curious to read a paean to the Neon.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        “The ’13 Dart is on Consumer Reports’ list of used cars to avoid in their ’15 Annual Auto Issue.”

        This is corroborated by TrueDelta’s website as well. Reliability is not one of the Dart’s strong suits.

        • 0 avatar
          DrGastro997

          And yet just about everyone ignores the facts held by data. Dodge and good quality don’t mix per the facts- but they deserve some credit for improvements being made…

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Most products, regardless of brand, are OK as long as you have the factory warranty and a dealership that will honor it.

            But after the warranty runs out, that’s when the pain begins if you have to have your ride fixed.

            So a lot of people trade before the warranty expires and let the breakdowns and repairs be someone else’s worry and pain.

            Warranty-wise, Hyundai is the best in the business; 10yr, 100,000mile warranty.

            Let’s see Toyota, GM and Ford give that on their products.

        • 0 avatar
          salhany

          Edmunds had a Dart as a long-term tester and the thing done blown up on a highway onramp and disappeared from their website forever. And that was after numerous other problems they had with it in a relatively brief time.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            Misinformation. If you read the wrap-up, you will find that the engine didn’t “blow up”, it was just a faulty spark plug that caused a severe misfire, which of course made the car go into limp-in mode to protect itself from further damage.

            The reason why the car “disappeared” around the same time was because Edmunds was actually over the mileage they were supposed to return the car by, so rather than deal with the issue, they just gave it back to Chrysler since the test was over anyway. The explained this aw well in the wrap-up.

      • 0 avatar
        mechaman

        My sis-in-law owned a Neon. Having been burned by previous Chrysler prods, I considered it not. Once had to change oil and brakes for her – not bad, but nothing special to drive. Maybe when it was set up for the track?

  • avatar

    @highdesertcat
    and a lot of us buy used–probably the majority, as the average age of cars in the US is 11. My ’08 Civic was beyond warranty when I bought it. It’s been fine for the last 40k, and based on the stats, I’m pretty confident it will remain that way for a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      David C. Holzman, I understand that. I’ve been there and done that myself when I was young and poor and didn’t have any money. Back then, that same lack of money also forced me to effect repairs on my vehicles when they broke down. And break down they did, invariably and inevitably.

      When you bought your Civic, you had the reasonable expectation that with scheduled maintenance alone you could expect to enjoy your used vehicle for a long time. Honda has a great reputation by and large for vehicles that run fowever with only a minimum of repairs and scheduled maintenance. I read about a guy whose Honda product went over 1 million miles and Honda gave him a brand new accord, I believe. Never heard any of the Detroit 3 doing that for a customer.

      But things weren’t always that way. The Detroit 3 vehicles were predisposed to early and unexpected breakdowns while the imports proved to be holding up much better.

      A lot has changed since then. The imports became transplants no longer fabricated under the Japanese work ethic and the domestic brands improved their quality and durability. The Detroit 3 became better and the imports and transplants became worse.

      As many people progress through life, they lose the interest in tooling and wrenching on their cars to keep them running, especially if they enjoyed an overabundance of such exercises in futility during their younger years.

      For them, there is the Lease option. For those who prefer to buy instead of Lease, they may choose to trade before the warranty expires, preferring to release their vehicles to the used-car market for risk-takers betting the used car they buy will be trouble-free, and for people like yourself who don’t mind buying used and are able to pay for any possible breakdowns.

      I say to each his own. A person has to do what works for them. I recently picked up a 1989 Camry V6 for a buck. It runs great but I won’t be taking any cross-country trips in it — just grocery-getting and running around town.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    I had a Dart 1.4T Limited with a manual trans as a lease that I put almost 50,000 miles on by the time I turned it in. The engine never gave me any trouble, but I did have to add a little oil to it from time to time in between the 8,000 mile oil changes the computer called for. Maybe I’m just being forgiving, but my experience with turbo engines is that they always seem to eat a little oil, so I didn’t think much of it.

    The only mechanical thing that failed was the clutch master cylinder (clutch pedal sticking on the floor), but it never left me stranded – the issue was intermittent, and the dealer apparently decided to believe me, even though the problem wasn’t manifesting itself when I brought it in.

    The 8.4″ radio did lock up on me twice, but pulling a fuse to kill the power to it cured it in both instances.

    The only other issue was an ill-fitting fuel door, but there was a TSB to correct it, and afterwards it fit perfectly.

    To Jack’s points, the car was a blast to drive (just keep the RPMs in the boost range) and it handled very nicely, all while being serene and comfortable when just noodling along on the highway. I’ll concede that the back seat room was tight, but I’m single and the back seat doesn’t matter to me. I honestly would have preferred a coupe version of the Dart, but I know that isn’t going to happen.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    Marcello: The yen is back over 120. I doubt that it will change much for Toyota except the ability to lower effective price $100 or so.

    Here is an interesting chart: http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=JPY&to=KRW&view=10Y

    It is a JPY vs KRW. if you want to see where the Koreans started kicking some ass, it is right there. And supports the importance currency manipulation or devaluation vs quality and asian manufacturing. Gotta say, I love the Korean’s using the same playbook on Japan as Japan used on us.

    The $US has risen about 25% against world currencies over the last 6 months. I hate to see anything that hurts American manufacturing. See USDX. It’s gone from 80 to 100 appx.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    I just saw a Neon today. Haven’t seen one in at least a year. Is there anyway I can get someone to start a post about money in mechaman’s pocket?

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I test drove a 2.0 with the MT and found it terribly underwhelming. I think the problem is the 2.0 engine – it didn’t want to rev, made no inspiring noises, etc. I would’ve gone for the oft criticized 1.4t and dealt with the lag. The 2.4’s fuel economy is atrocious, and I wasn’t impressed with the personality of that engine in the one Dart I did a demo drive at a car show in. Unfortunately, Dodge does not offer this car with a hatchback, or else the 1.4t would’ve been a slam dunk for my next car. Instead, I went for the added versatility afforded by the Fiat’s hatchback, even if the absolute amount of space is less.

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