By on June 28, 2016

2015 Dodge Dart Limited, Image: FCA

Isaac writes:

Bark,

I graduated from college six months ago and took my first real paying job four states away from my family and anyone I know. In the process, I needed a different car, as for the past four years I was daily driving a 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula. While I love my Fiero and will never sell it (my dad and I restored it when I was in high school), daily driving a ’80s GM car is playing with fire. My parents were very gracious and were willing to sell me their 2013 Dodge Dart (Multiair, six-speed manual) for $8,000. I took it as that was the best deal I was going to find at the time.

Fast forward six months and I regret that decision.

While there is nothing wrong with the car (mechanically and reliability speaking), it is extremely pokey around town and the driveability is frustrating. I could expand more on my dislike, but all you need to know is I want to replace it with something else.

What would you recommend I replace it with?

Here is the thing, I owe $6,000 on the car and could get $10,000 for it if I sold it private party. I do not want to go over $10,000. The big kicker is that anything I replace it with will not be as new or with as few miles (the Dart has 59,000 miles on the odometer).

My criteria: has to be a manual, good in snow, get decent gas mileage (I do a lot of highway driving), be fun to drive, and not a Chrysler product (the ownership experience has been terrible). My first guess is to look at first-generation manual-equipped Mazda6 wagons, first-generation Ford Fusion, or a Miata (I’ve always wanted one).

Isaac

Well, Isaac, I’m not surprised that you’re not enjoying the Dart. It’s not a driver’s car to start with. While some people really like the 1.4-liter turbo in other applications (think 124 Spider), it doesn’t seem to work well in the Dart. I’m not one to think making payments on a car you don’t like is a great idea.

However, I think you’re a bit optimistic in your evaluation of its worth. I find it hard to believe that you could get any more than about $8,000 for the Dart when it’s all said and done (unless you have another relative who’s in desperate need of transportation) — and that’s assuming excellent condition.

But, let’s assume you’re right and I’m wrong, and you get enough money for your car to make your very own Brexit from FCA (Italialater? Italeave?) a desirable option. What should you replace it with? You’ve picked a wide variety of options, none of which would have leapt immediately to mind for me, so we’ll keep those for later as we investigate some choices.

It’s too bad that you said decent gas mileage, because I immediately thought of a Mazda RX-8. But gas mileage isn’t so great, and even the latest models are going to be out of warranty soon. So nix that idea.

An Acura RSX might not be a bad choice. You should be able to find a good example in your price range, and you’ll get good gas mileage, a reliable car, and it would be fun as heck to drive. You might even be able to find a Type-S, if you can negotiate a bit.

I haven’t used my Scion tC rubber stamp in a while, so let’s break it out here. The tC would absolutely fit every requirement you have. It’s also very good in snow as long as you’re not using OEM replacement Bridgestone tires. The tC is well within your budget, even for a lower mileage example.

Let’s keep it JDM and see if we can’t find an ’08 or ’09 Civic Si in your price range, too. There’s a ton of aftermarket support for these cars and no reason to think that it won’t continue to run long after you’ve had your fun with it. Gas mileage is decent, too.

And from the total sleeper category, why not check out a Sonic LT hatchback? I drove our former contributor Caroline’s Sonic hatch a bunch of times, and I liked it more with each exposure. You can get a lot of car under $10,000 with the Sonic, and you might even have some warranty left.

As far as your choices go … I’d nix all of them. The Mazda6 wagon is one of those cars that everybody thinks they’re going to love right up until the point they actually drive one. Plus, it sounds like you’re in a snow state, and I’m not convinced of the rustproofiness of that generation of 6. The Fusion is just going to bore the pants right back on you and any girl you’d want to date. And while a Miata can be made to be serviceable in the snow with some Blizzaks, it’s not a particularly nice place to be in a snowstorm, regardless.

(I drove a winter-tired Miata in a February snowstorm for over 1,000 miles. It handled the snow easily, but it also wasn’t what you’d consider pleasant. —Mark)

What would I actually buy with my money? None of the above.

I’d get a Fiesta SE hatchback. Fun to drive, good in the snow (with appropriate tires), outstanding fuel mileage, and new enough to get better financing rates. It might be just as new and have just as few miles as that Dart.

Need some advice on buying a car? Contact Automatch Tom at [email protected]! He’s probably too busy to answer your message, though, so send it to Bark at [email protected] after you run out of patience.

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271 Comments on “Ask Bark: How to Replace a Dart That Missed the Mark...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    Mazda3

  • avatar
    makuribu

    If there’s nothing wrong with the car, why not live with it at least until it’s paid off?
    Getting yourself into a cycle of permanent debt because you bore easily is not a good lifestyle decision.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      While I agree with you, I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment.
      (This is the argument my in-laws gave my wife and I even though they knew we weren’t going to have kids.)

      The years between college and marriage/kids (if that’s your style) are the few years you get for (relative) reckless abandon. This will probably be the only time for a long while where he will have a good income:responsibility ratio.

      Live a little. Sure, start saving now for retirement (NOW!!!) but go ahead and splurge on something that is going to enrich your life every time you drive to work (5/7 days). Just keep it reasonable and maybe bring your lunch to work Monday-Thursday to offset some of the expenses.

      Additionally, this will be a good way to start building your credit history.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “… go ahead and splurge on something that is going to enrich your life every time you drive to work (5/7 days).”

        Driving to work in a better used car is going to enrich one’s life? Only if it’s a very sad life.

      • 0 avatar
        jdmcomp

        Credit is the opiate of the masses! There, I said it. Great words from a great economist (now that I am retired)

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Agreed. I’ve gotten a bit bored with my Civic, but I can live with that when it’s been a paragon of reliability on a rough daily commute, and I only have about ten payments left.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I’m sure I’d have another $100,000 in my retirement fund if I hadn’t spent money on cars, many of which were foolish.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        You and me both, Fred. Sometimes cars are a temptation you can’t resist when you know you have some money saved up. Especially rare, limited-edition cars that you don’t come across every day. Like, say, a 1991 or 1992 Dodge Spirit R/T, a turbo sedan with a 5-speed manual, which was the fastest American production sedan of it’s day. Yeah, I had one of each, at the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      BagelConsultant

      Keeping the car and getting the Magneti Marelli ECM for the 1.4T would probably be a good compromise. Should make the car MUCH more peppy around town and he’s not gonna dump an otherwise perfectly good daily driver.

      • 0 avatar
        a5ehren

        Yeah, I’m not usually one for mods, but this seems like a good situation for it since the alternative is “dump the car because I’m bored with it”.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      When I got out of college, I drove a series of real beaters. I live in the DC area, and I didn’t have working air conditioning in my cars for the first 13 years. Of course, I was able to save alot of money and was able to buy a house, etc.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Might be able to squeeze into a Focus manual trans for $10,000 if he looks around. It was on my list, but life priorities took over and I wound up with a 2014 Escape, instead.

    Agree on the Sonic. They are surprisingly fun, and not expensive at all. I’ve a soft spot for the RS variant, even though I’m fully aware that it is mostly an appearance package.

    A tC would be a good find. Reliable with just enough fun tossed in to be entertaining (we had a 2012 up until this past winter, though the wife’s was automatic. ugh. Sold it for mid $11s, so a first gen might be more in his price range).

    Too bad there is still an issue/perception of rust on Mazdas…a Mazda3 would be a fun whip.

    Op has some good choices.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      For a Mazda3, I’m pretty sure he’s OK as long as he goes 2nd generation. I have a 2010 that’s seen 6 DC winters and 70k miles so far with no rust to speak of. It might be different with New England or Michigan levels of salt though, but knock on wood.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      As a Focus 5MT owner, if Isaac is pissed off about the lack of torque in the Dart, he will find no succor with the Focus. It’s a lovely car, but shift, shift, shift and rev, rev, rev. I mean, the Duratec 20 is essentially the Mazda MZR from the previous Miata with different heads.

      FWIW, while I would say the Focus and Cruze are substantially better than the Dart, I wouldn’t say they are so much better that if I had the Bank of Dad deal he’s getting, I’d trade in a Dart for one of it’s cousins. Tune that thing and see where it goes before trading Bud for Miller.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    You just got out of school and started a career, and have what appears to be a reliable functional car with a known history to get you to work on time every day.

    This is important. Do not throw this away. Certainly not for something equally bland like a first-gen Fusion.

    I recommend keeping the Dart as your “real” car and spending a few thousand for an older Miata as a toy car.

    Work for a few years to build up some stability and cash and pay off the Dart; and then you can buy whatever fun to drive new sedan you want. It’ll be more fun then. I promise.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This. He already has a toy car for fun as well, the Fiero. He’s just begging to throw money away on something (in a new job he might end up losing/quitting) because his car is boring.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “in a new job he might end up losing/quitting”

        Key fact. Yet he want’s to sell a one-owner reliable DD of CPO newness that is a guarantor of mobility no matter what happens with his job.

        Painful youth-ness.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Hopefully he hasn’t already made a very poor decision which he will regret and which will likely cause him to have Car Poor Syndrome (CPS).

        • 0 avatar

          How is it a guarantee of mobility? He’s making payments—he doesn’t own it outright.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Is he making payments to Bank Of Parents, or a regular bank? That was unclear, and a big difference.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            When the key turns it works every time. BHPH could put him in similar payments with something where it may not always work every time.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m never, ever suggesting to somebody that they go to a BHPH lot. I’m not Steve Lang.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wasn’t implying you were, my point was a knock-on-wood working car is a “guarantee of mobility” as Kenmore put it.

          • 0 avatar
            thattruthguy

            It’s a guarantee of mobility barring a personal economic calamity that will make not having a car moot. If he gets so far behind on an $8K car note (on a sound car, not a money pit) that it gets repo’d, the rest of his life is a dumpster fire anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      I’m in agreement with you and a few others on here. Based on what he will have to spend, the odds are high that in the long run he will end up with a worse car, and/or more problems by switching cars. Isaac, I get that you are tempted to move on to another car. Be smart and DON’T DO IT! If you do, I suspect you may live to regret it. So wait, be patient, and deal with the still fairly new Dodge Dart. Any other used car you get, no matter what you are told about it, you won’t know how it was used and perhaps abused. I can think of a car I bought as a young man which ran fine when I bought it. But the engine went out on it a short time later and I never abused the car. So I’ve been there and done that. But, at least it wasn’t my only vehicle to get to work.

  • avatar

    There’s nothing “wrong” with the car.

    I see plenty of them on the roads.

    The issue most would have with it is that:

    #1 it’s too small – just like the 200 and

    #2 There’s no performance variant. The SRT4 never happened and should have.

    I remember when these cars first launched and they sat on lots because the initial shipment had manuals. No one wanted one. On top of that, the engines were weak.

    Chrysler – under my leadership would have stuffed a 400HP Twin Turbo 4 cylinder in there and seen nothing but sales. I could give a goddddamn about the globalists and their “emmishunz” requirements.

    The real problem is that the millenials are cash-strapped and UP TO THEIR PUBE HAIRS IN DEBT.

    If they were able to take on car-loan debt that they wanted, most of the smaller cars would be selling better than they are.

    The used car market is no help either since residual prices there are still so high that buying used feels like buying new.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, that was a botched launch if I’ve ever seen one. You can’t launch a mass-market compact sedan with just a manual transmission. All of their advertising and initial interest went toward cars that 90% of people would never buy.

      And that’s just it…it *is* a mass-market compact. For most people, I think, it isn’t the emissions that bothers them; it’s the fuel-economy. So unless your 400 HP twin-turbo I4 could also deliver competitive fuel economy and come in at a reasonable price point, it would have been a niche car all the same.

      • 0 avatar

        Attacking Fuel Economy and emissshiooonz goes hand in hand.

        CO2 (and other emissions) are consequences of burning fossil fuels

        You can try to hide the emissions.

        You can try to change the point of emissions.

        You can lie and use cheat devices.

        But you’ll never get past: F= MA.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’m confused. All I’d said is that most people want their compact sedan to deliver superb fuel-economy versus other vehicles. Emissions themselves are of secondary or—especially in my area—tertiary concern.

          You could make your car emit very little, or you can do the opposite. Plenty of people wouldn’t care about the emissions. But they *will* care if a Dodge Dart only achieves 19 MPG average, which is abysmal for a small car.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Is that a legit figure, 19mpg from a Dart?!

          • 0 avatar
            LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

            According to Fuelly:

            2015 27.9 Avg MPG
            31 Vehicles
            1,177 Fuel-ups
            355,418 Miles Tracked

            2014
            27.7 Avg MPG
            42 Vehicles
            1,189 Fuel-ups
            352,676 Miles Tracked

            2013 29.5 Avg MPG
            181 Vehicles
            7,612 Fuel-ups

            2,543,655
            Miles Tracked

            1975
            19.4 Avg MPG
            2 Vehicles
            90 Fuel-ups
            11,662 Miles Tracked

            So yes, 19 MPG is accurate… for a 1975 Dodge Dart (not bad for ’75!)
            Realistically, you could expect 25-34 MPG.
            The boring-to-drive factor is another matter, however.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought maybe some of them had an engine management flaw, which cause 3.5VQ AWD mileage.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            No, I’m saying that people would be put-off if Big Truck’s proposed twin-turbo Dart got 19 MPG, which with 400 HP it probably would. No one would buy it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think your first problem there, was applying logic to a BTSR proposal. :)

          • 0 avatar
            Eyeflyistheeye

            I think the problem that Chrysler has not figured out is while almost nobody who buys a performance vehicle cares about economy, people who buy economy vehicles care about performance to a certain degree.

            At this point, Dart sales are so woeful that it might not be a bad idea to go all out and create a killer AWD 400 HP Dart Jon Norman edition.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        I believe Volkswagen didnt care too much about emissions. They have 14.7 billion reasons why emissions matter. But hey listen to the black Trump and see where it gets you.

        Keep the damn car for another year or so. No matter how bad the Dart is, its not worth getting into an even worse financial state.

        • 0 avatar
          MrGreenMan

          I think I’ll listen to black Trump then. It seems to be a common conversion – within the same fuel type, which you missed – between grams of CO2 per km and MPG….

          https://www.unitjuggler.com/convert-fuelconsumption-from-gperkmgasoline-to-mpg.html

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “black Trump”

            ROFL.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Black Trump is actually a thing:
            http://www.yourboyblacktrump.com

            Courtesy of The Daily Show.

            They realized that a lot of the braggadocios things Trump says would make more sense if a rapper said it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            BTSR means Black Trump is So Real.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            As I read your comment 28, Notorious BIG – Hypnotize came on me headphones. What a perfect moment.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Biggie Biggie Biggie can’t you see
            Sometimes your words just hypnotize me
            And I just love your flashy ways
            Guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid (uh)

            BTSR can just substitute his name for Biggie’s.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Few give any credit to Herb Alpert for that one.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I did not realize the Dart depreciated quite that quickly. I like the Civic Si suggestion, but you’ll have to be particularly diligent in finding one that hasn’t been abused. There’s also the Impreza or WRX, but I don’t think you’ll get very much car for your budget, since those tend to command a premium, especially in snowy states.

    But I sort of think you should keep the Dart.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      I agree that he should keep the Dart. He won’t be able to buy a vehicle from a better first owner than his parents. My sister drives an HHR she got from my parents because it’s a better option than playing used car roulette for an $5K car in California.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        Ditto, at least for now. I’m the farthest thing from a Dave Ramsey acolyte, but your parents did you a solid.

        Have you considered an ECU tune for the Dart? They apparently are available, and look like they have huge horsepower gains. Also, give an SCCA Track Night in America a go with the car. It may change your opinion on what it can do.

        http://www.hpsimotorsports.com/#!eurodrive-obdii-flash-tune-phase-1-da/c2b0

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yep. If he ditches it, he’s going to [at best] give away $2-3000, and end up with something less reliable. He needs to think outside of being 22 years old or whatever.

        His non-boring Fiero is there as well – just because it’s old doesn’t mean he can’t drive it on -some- days to work.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          He needs a C-body Cadillac.

          Look at her rollin’

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hey, it’s not broken any more – after I put another $300 into it. Every time someone looks at it, magically $300 disappears!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Magic.

            My Volvo’s A/C also started working again using magic, so its been seeing some use lately.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My AC wasn’t working, so I put in some refrigerant to see. Now I’m really very sure it wasn’t going to work. Ever.

            And now I have an AC bypass pulley on it.

            Because $1200 or whatever for a new AC-everything is a big faq that on a car worth so little.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Leather with no A/C? Ewww. Did you add R134a to an R12 system?

            I swear to you I have seen that work on a 91 Coupe de Ville, although I don’t know how it worked out long-long term.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Nope, I used the more recently available R12a, which is compatible with old R12 systems and does not require a refit or new compressor, etc.

            Guess I’ll summarize:

            -Turning to Auto triggered AC Service light, went back to econ.
            -Filled the system with couple cans of R12a along with the stop leak stuff to get the level up, see what’s what.
            -Well, that worked, and the compressor was kicking on, could feel the pull on the engine, and then the climate control stayed in Auto.
            -So down the road I go with AC on (warm air, but I was giving it a minute), and all the sudden after a mile or so BIG SMOKE! And a horrible grinding noise.
            -AC clutch is bad, and is dragging on the serp belt.
            -Left it sit for a couple weeks while I decided what to do.
            -Upon restarting, it had seized up and was making the most horrible grinding sound I’ve ever heard. This is with the AC off entirely. Clutch wouldn’t disengage.
            -Take to shop and have them put on AC bypass pulley, after they inform of the ridiculous cost of a new AC system.

            From what I’ve read the Cadillac compressors of this era don’t cope well with the higher pressure of conversion to 134, anyway. So I don’t think it would have worked even if I bothered with a conversion to new refrigerant. The compressor is not a sturdy 3800 part, it’s a 4.9-only part I believe. The amount of single implementation parts in this car is disappointing.

          • 0 avatar
            LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

            This sort of experience makes the owner swear to never buy another Cadillac. Some committee at one point decided that cutting corners was a good idea, and it was, in the short term.
            New Camrys are popular because old Camrys were so very dependable, not because new ones are such wonderful driving machines.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s not cutting corners though, it’s going out of your way to have special parts for only one or two cars. They could have used mostly 3800 parts but they didn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I enjoyed the depth of your post Corey and have facepalmed your experience. Given you seem to have accepted your fate, I would remind you Cadillac Allante owners have had similar issues and since the 4.x motors are all very similar its possible an Allante part would work in your case. For instance here is an A/C clutch and compressor reman for $152.95:

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cadillac-ALLANTE-1988-AIR-CONDITIONING-COMPRESSOR-CLUTCH-/380963876694?hash=item58b3376f56:g:yRkAAOSwGvhT2VxF&vxp=mtr

            @LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

            I agree using a common corporate part would have been better for GM and for end users, but we have to remember the history of the 4.x motor program. The 4.x series was conceived in the mid to late 1970s and debuted in 1982 three years ahead of its scheduled release date. The motors were exclusive to Cadillac and at the time were doing things few other GM motors were doing. The 4.9 in Corey’s is simply the final revised version of the 1982 4100. GM wasn’t going to say in 1989 for example we’re switching the A/C design in the 4.5 to use a common unit from other drivetrains. That’s just not 1970s/80s GM thinking, their thinking was (and probably still is) its ok for Cadillac to be a one-off because the margins will cover it and our customers demand this functionality to work a certain way because they’re Cadillac customers.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Interesting, I wouldn’t have thought to source parts from other era Caddy vehicles. But yes I’ve accepted my fate. It will remain forever a no-AC vehicle, long as I own it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            And to your second paragraph – things like this are why Cadillacs end up in junkyards much earlier than more simple 3800 implements with their giant parts availability.

            I think I may end up resorting to only owning Lexus vehicles in future.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My knowledge of automotive HVAC is near zero, although I do recall an older Italian gentleman a few years back irritating my mechanic with his instance of working A/C in his time capsule MY92 Seville 4.9. Chuck got it working but I know it was a major PITA, perhaps its just a Cadillac thing to have sh*tty A/C.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            One thing which I found hilarious, is the pamphlet regarding 134 included in my car when it was new. Talking about how GM is committed to converting to the responsible refrigerant and how important it is.

            There was no * at the end saying “*Not on this car though.”

            The problem is [now] that all the R12 was used up a while ago, and shops don’t have the equipment to do R12 work or analysis. The machines aren’t compatible with both fluids.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            How much was the estimate for a new A/C system? I wouldn’t want to be in southern Ohio without A/C, and IMO that car is nice enough to keep everything working even if it’s not worth much.

            The A/C system is one of the pieces of my Legend that makes me the most nervous. It’s R134a and working for now, but some of the parts are hard to get.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’ve had two people just estimate the AC at two different shops. They both ended up around $1500. It’s just not worth it when combined with the little paint issues at the front. And the fact that the air suspension will go out eventually ($800), and that the power steering rack is starting on it’s way out ($1000), and the brake master cylinder is a bit weak ($800).

            Right meow I’m leaning towards selling it on, and getting an Japanese SUV as secondary vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I can get R12, its just very expensive. Last I asked it was $100 a pound.

            If you really wanted that A/C to work I can talk to my guy, but you’d have to leave it in the Steel City.

            Oh and master cylinder for $800 even with pricey labor is a bit high (unless there’s other stuff involved).

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brake-Master-Cylinder-390129-for-Buick-Riviera-93-Cadillac-Seville-93-/141960478314?fits=Make%3ACadillac&hash=item210d80fe6a:g:RZ4AAOSwLmVXEQeH&vxp=mtr

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Nah, I’m not that bothered. I don’t have to drive it when it’s hot, and I can sell it when it cools off and the perceived issue of no AC is quite low.

            The shop told me the master cylinder wasn’t bad enough yet to fix it. When I drive it now, I’ve adjusted to just managing it without thinking about it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Do you know how to turn a wrench Corey? This would be the car to learn on, to some extent. Transverse like most of the universe, larger engine bay, primitive computer, minimal sensors.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Don’t have any tools, or really anywhere to do it. It’s not really something I desire.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Gotcha. I like to tinker, but I’m not a professional tech by a long shot.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I can diagnose – I’m decent just by sound at telling someone what the issue is, or do something simple like properly add refrigerant. That’s bout it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “an Japanese SUV as secondary vehicle.”

            You know that’s a birdcall for me Corey.

            What are you thinking of getting? What kind of budget

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well my initial thinking is a GX or RX350, for ~$10 or perhaps a bit less. I will NOT go offroading in it, just carry stuff occasionally. Makes me want to go the more practical route with the not-so heavy duty RX. The QX4 models are too old now to fuss with, and the FX is overpriced on the used market and not good at utility. GM is another option, though they tend to be more overworked and used than any Japanese option.

            **This will take place perhaps end of summer, after the Deville is sold, as my strict limit of N+1 cars will be enforced.**

            @28 As a single homeowner, it’s annoying to have to call my dad and/or borrow his truck from 35 miles away when I want to do something simple like buy a garbage can or wheelbarrow, or pick up something I bought from EBTH. I need utility.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Japanese SUV as secondary vehicle”

            SUV? Pwlease.

            SC400, SC430, or something ridiculous like the 89-92 Infiniti M30 Convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Considering that the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart are both built on the same Alfa-Romeo Giulietta platform – and considering that J. Baruth proclaimed the 200 to be an “extraordinary automobile” which incidentally echoes my sentiments when I get either the 200 or the Dart as a rental, I’d say keep it. You know its provenance and that’s half the struggle.
      Kudos to you btw for rocking a Fiero!

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      100% keep the Dart. Its newish, has been reliable. Given the amount owed, I think thats absolutely the right choice. Pay it off, get something out of it.

      I get the Dart pokiness. I test drove a 1.4T/6MT Dart and found it always waiting on the boost. Good on the highway though. (No need to attack me, Multi-Air fans)

      Trust me, the V6 first gen Mazda 6 is not better. I owned a 5 door and it was a let down. Handled well but freaking slow, terrible gearing, hard to find winter rims due to Mazda’s odd offset. That and these are what, 8 years old at the newest?

      Keep the Dart. A newer car that you are familiar with is a value its own. And trust me, I totally get yhe desire to change cars regularly! Ive had it since I had my first set of wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Did your 6 rust up there in Canada, or did you super Krown it all over or something.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          It was only 4 yrs old when I sold it. No visible rust yet. The 6 seemed to hold up better than the 3.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I suspect you got out of that one at the right time. Those gen 1 models have clearcoat issues I notice as well, if in darker colors.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Calgary is quite dry. It’s an even more favorable climate in terms of corrosion than where I am in the prairies, and I have no visible rust on my ’04 Mazda3 yet.

          “Eastern Canada” is the proper description to use if you want to associate rust with Canada. It’s humid out there and they use ridiculous amounts of salt. They do send a lot of used cars our way to sell to the suckers though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh, I didn’t realize it was dry. You see, in my mind all of Canada is very cold and wintery a lot, and looks like this.

            https://gardenvarietynews.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/st-john-newfoundland.jpg

            Except for the bit above Buffalo, and that just looks like rust belt America.

    • 0 avatar

      I had the same inclination when I read the query as quoted. Here is basically all we have: “while there is nothing wrong with the car (mechanically and reliability speaking), it is extremely pokey around town and the driveability is frustrating….” Even if you add “I could expand more on my dislike”, it’s not all that convincing. I am afraid that swapping it out with tC might not be satisfying, although a great idea. It’s not a car that’s full of character like Fiero. The iC is just a fun econobox, a Neon for our age. So, I would focus on other things instead, like advancing my career or finding a good woman. That car question is going to resolve itself once the money situation improves. But I am pretty sure Isaac is not going to listen and just wants to get out from the blasted Dart.

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        This. To expand on it, anyone who learned to love cars from something like a Fiero, MR2, 240SX, etc., is not going to find a single vehicle made in the last decade that they enjoy driving that isn’t also expensive to buy and maintain. If his *real* goal is reliable transportation with low payments, and if the Dart truly won’t do, I suggest he go see about a new Scion iA, which is a Mazda2, and is quite fun if you’re into driving a slow car fast. It also has the benefit of being a new car with a warranty whose payments can be stretched out over the rest of your life. But if the problem with the Dart is that it’s too slow, he’ll hate a 105-hp economy car.

    • 0 avatar

      I vote keep the Dart too. I have lot’s of seat time in one and agree they are annoying in town, they have old school turbo lag which make them fun at an on ramp when you hit 2500 rpm but really annoying in town stop and go. But they get decent gas mileage (I got 37 mpg on a long trip with cruise on and average 33 in stop and go commuting. ) Plus they are a better highway car then most of the competition.

      Also on the Mazda wagon, I’ve driven one I think they drive pretty nice actually, but they have reliability issues.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    So you have a car from 2013, whose history you know, was sold to you for cheap by your parents and your plan is to sell it and replace it with a much older used car whose history you do not know?

    This is a very, very stupid plan. My advice is keep the Dart for another few years and then trade it in on something newer that is more to your taste.

  • avatar
    Dan

    6 whole months out of college and still in a plebe Dart? Where are the house and nice car that you deserve?

    I recommend that you lease the most expensive BMW that you can’t afford.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      +1
      LOL “the most expensive BMW that you can’t afford”

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      Laugh if you want to, but there’s a financial argument for getting rid of that Dart ASAP.

      It’s an FCA product. That means the resale value is Zimbabwe junk bond status. Hes probably underwater on it now, and it’ll retain negative equity probably as long as he owns it.

      His choices aren’t “Negative Equity on the next car or pay this one”. It’s

      “negative equity on an FCA penalty box, or negative equity on a car he actually likes.”

      I’d vote option 2.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        If he owes 6K on it, he probably isn’t underwater. If he pays it off and banks the cash for a year or so, he’ll be able to afford a better used car, or something new.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        You’d vote option 2 without even reading:

        He owes $6K on it—can sell for $10K.

        I’d be doubling up on payments to get that $6K wiped out, and quickly.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Lol

        • 0 avatar
          Fie on Fiasler

          Whether new or used, Darts are poison. Just because he thinks he could sell it for $10K doesn’t mean he’ll actually get anything close to that; Bark may even be overly optimistic at $8,000.

          Not to mention that a Dart (combining the finest Italian “engineering” with the stellar build quality for which the UAW is truly world-renowned) approaching 60,000 miles is basically a ticking time bomb.

          Despite all this, I say that 6-8 months of double payments on the Shart could put him in a much better position to find the car he really wants. Just be sure to treat it with kid gloves during that time; preferably, keep it parked. Bum a ride with friends, take the bus whenever you can.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            A three to four year old Dart with 60K miles not a ticking timebomb. Get out of here with that nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            Fie on Fiasler

            “A three to four year old Dart with 60K miles not a ticking timebomb. Get out of here with that nonsense.”

            First-year production… of a notoriously half-baked vehicle… from a manufacturer at the very bottom of every long-term quality ranking out there.

            I sure as hell wouldn’t trust it as the miles piled up.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “A three to four year old Dart with 60K miles not a ticking timebomb.”

            Let’s not get carried away here.

          • 0 avatar

            Looking online I would say he should be able to get 9-10 if it’s a decent trim level and clean.

          • 0 avatar
            Eyeflyistheeye

            The Dart is simply the Sbarro of cars. Yeah, you could have spent your money on something better, but it’s not going to kill you.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          Apparently, you didn’t read, either. Bark says it’s not worth $10k, and KBB agrees, giving us a $6,600 – $7,700 trade-in value on it in Very Good condition. You find a dealer that will offer KBB “Very Good” value for a trade in (without messing with the front end of the deal to show more money on the trade), and you’ll have found something very rare. Most will offer the $5,900 “Fair” value, regardless of its actual condition. Why? Because it’s a 6-speed FCA pile of lot poison, that’s why. To find a private-party buyer willing to pay close to the $10k he wants for it, you’d be looking for someone with cash in his pocket and a burning desire for a manual Dodge Dart being sold by a 22-year-old. I’m guessing that person does’t exist.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I recommend that you shove that snarky comment right up your 4ss, Danny boy.

      • 0 avatar

        He nailed it though. Just very rude.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Pete – what did he nail? I failed to read anything about a BMW, being upside down on a loan or buying anything outside of a given budget.

          Dan didn’t nail anything.

          If you are ‘agreeing’ with Dan, you may also be projecting your feelings about some insecurity that I don’t want to read about, especially in an advice thread.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    $10k is the line where many enthusiast cars start to turn into garbage and you’ll have to shop long and hard to find a good example, but they can be found.

    I think Bark’s recommendation for a Civic Si is spot on, except an 08-09 may be fairly enthusiastic. I sold my 04 RSX-S in 2012 for 9k with 100k on the clock for comparison. Also, at this point the newest RSX were MY06, so you’re already looking at a 10 year old car.

    8th gen Si and all year RSX-S models have roughly the same depreciation curve due to their target market and mechanical similarity. That said, I beat on the car, autocrossed it, and tracked it. Even with all that it only cost me consumables, just like my S2000 now. I’ll go Honda all day long if I’m going to beat on it for the lowest overall cost and highest overall reliability.

    My personal recommendation would be a 2nd generation Mazda 3 hatch. If you look for a 2010-11, the hatch only comes with the 2.5L, so you get good power and torque, good handling/feedback, much better looking wheels, good enough mileage, and modern infotainment (bluetooth streaming, aux in). My MY10 hatch has 70k on it with an auto and the sunroof/Bose package and I’m looking at 10k private or 7k trade-in on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find one with a manual and similar miles for $1-1.5k less – just be sure to get the hatch, or at least the 2.5L.

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      The problem he’ll run into is Adverse Selection in spades.

      Barring luck, anyone selling an enthusiast car in his price range is going to be unloading a basket case car. The enthusiasts with well kept cars aren’t gonna be selling them , and if they do they’ll demand (and get ) top dollar.

      I’d vote for a Mazda 3 , or even a Honda Fit.
      Ignore the Ramsey-ites and their poor understanding of money. Debt isn’t bad; in fact it’s probably why most of us have jobs and are still reading this on a computer.

      • 0 avatar

        What do you mean, “even”? Fit is going to command a gigantic premium, which is why Sajeev didn’t suggest it.

      • 0 avatar
        DweezilSFV

        Debt isn’t bad: if you’re a financier or a corporation. Being a debt slave or a banker’s tool is what the average person becomes when trying to “leverage” debt to sustain a “lifestyle”.

        Someone has drunk the “debt is good” Kool-Aid.

        Worked so well for Millenials with college loans keeping them at home with Mom and Dad.

        And the thousands of non sub prime home debtors in the last housing crash. Or our trillions of dollars of unrepayable debt the country has wracked up.

        Keynesian BS wrapped up in shiny new things.

        But keep being a tool for the banks. I hear BK is not that bad as well.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Civic Si will be nice, but make sure to get snow tires. I am pretty sure 16s will fit over the stock brakes, so you won’t need expensive snow tires/wheels.

    I was going to suggest the 2013+ Honda Fit but it looks like they are holding value really well despite sales being down and gas being cheap. Previous one is just too slow IMO.

    I have a buddy who just got a Sonic LTZ 6MT and it’s given him nothing but problems. I would tread lightly.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      16s will fit. It has the same size brakes as the RSX-S and S2000, which both came with 16s in their earlier iterations.

      You can usually find someone selling a set of 02-04 RSX wheels for under $200 if you look around for a while on the forums.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well, it does look like a Legacy GT or Outback XT is available for $10K, although $15K seems like a better budget for those and they aren’t fuel sippers.

    Saab checks all the boxes, but I’m not sure if you want to go the dead brand route.

    The Kizashi was a thing that existed as well. But that’s going to be Saab trouble times 10.

    If it was my money I’d go look for a last-gen Mercedes C300 (which did have a manual). Those are generally listed in the $9k-$13k range with reasonable age and mileage.

  • avatar
    Shinoda is my middle name

    Sounds like the kind of young man who didn’t cut loose and trash the frat or otherwise cause a ruckus in his college years. So, now after keeping nose to grindstone for his college years and first year of ‘real-life’ (congratulations on finding that job, mate…you do realize how blessed you are?) he wants to feel his automotive oats a bit…good on ya, son. And while those who are urging you to keep the Dart are well-intentioned….make up your own mind. Bark’s advice about a Civic is spot-on. Fun, efficient, easily maintainable and fixable, and plenty of aftermarket jazz available. But you can still keep it clean and respectable enough so the first date with the boss’s daughter will garner respect for your taste and practicality. Upgrade to an Acura if you can find one…but stay in the Honda family.

  • avatar
    DougD

    I can somewhat understand since he had been driving an interesting car every day for the previous few years, but since he still has the Fiero now would be a good time to explore the dichotomy between interesting vehicles and transportation. The Fiero is interesting, the Dart is transportation.

    Gotta love millennials

  • avatar
    pb35

    If this was 2012 I would have sold you my low miles 2004 G35x for $10k. But it’s an automatic and it’s 2016. Keep the dart, take the cannoli.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’m in the camp of holding onto the Dart until you pay it down a bit more. Of course, it will probably depreciate as fast as you an pay it off. Especially since the used market will be absolutely flooded with no-mile 2015s in short order. But the main thing is, you have it now and it works as it’s supposed to.

    In either case, do not buy a first gen V6 Mazda6 unless you can confirm that the issues with the catalytic converter were remedied before it came apart and began the death sentence for the engine.

    Anything you can buy for that price with your qualifications will be a disappointment. Save your money and keep it handy for when the Fiero needs it.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    just out of college, has a car bought at a steep discount which isn’t problematic and has a manual transmission? cripes, keep the thing, pay it off, and get a different car later *when you can actually afford it.*

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Just get that vasectomy if you haven’t already. Everything else will work itself out.

    • 0 avatar
      LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

      This is the best advice of the day, and you would be a VERY wise man to take it.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      ABSOLUTELY NOT! He is too young to be shooting blanks!

      Peter: Well guys, my vasectomy is tomorrow.
      Cleveland: You poor bastard. After all, sex is pointless without potantcy.
      Quagmire: That’s right, you take the venom out of a cobra and what do you got? You got a…a belt.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Having driven the 1.4T/M Dart, I know how awful it is in town. I believe FCA remapped this drivetrain for the Renegade Sport and the upcoming 124.

    While I agree with the financial advice given here (keep the reliable car, pay down your debt), another option would be…

    Consider a new 2016 Dart GT with the 2.4/6A. I know you didn’t want another Chrysler, but they’re giving away Darts now. The 2.4 engine is rough-ish, but the 6-speed is good. You could score an owner loyalty discount; I’d lean on them for every dollar. After trading the 13 Dart, you’d essentially be resetting your payment schedule, but with a brand new car that drives a lot better.

    https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/660206246/overview/

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I think you missed the “manual” part of his request.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The sequential shifter on the Dart 6A works quite well, actually. Plus the 2.4 has a lot of power and torque for this class, so it’s a solid drivetrain choice.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I saw the ‘manual’ part.

        I drove manuals for 3 decades, and they’re overrated IMO. A well-maintained modern automatic will last just as long, and achieve the same fuel economy. But I’m still leery of DCTs.

        Besides, demanding a manual severely limits your choice of fine cars.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          But if he wants a manual, then he wants a manual. Me personally I wouldn’t care if the new automatics gave blowjobs. I have no use for a slushbox.

          I love these comments. Poor guy gets told to keep the car he doesn’t want, drive a transmission he doesn’t want, not have a family, start planning for retirement… shall I go on?

          Why don’t we just lead off Ask Bark columns from now on with “just kill yourself kid; you’re not allowed happiness in this world”? Abandon all hope, ye who inquire within!

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          @SCE to AUX – I’m with @kvndoom – there’s no option feature anything that will ever make me consider an automatic a superior choice to a manual. I’ve driven my last two stick shifts in heavy traffic all the time and I have zero regrets. Never once do I find myself wishing for an automatic, but I do find myself regularly being grateful for buying a manual. Especially in a small car like he’s considering, a manual is a huge portion of how you make it fun to drive. The Dart isn’t perfect, but I test drove a few with the 1.4t and I discovered you could actually have fun with it. Having an auto would kill the fun. I’ve driven the 2.4/6A combo and it’s not just dull, but the 2.4 is unpleasant in general and the auto only exacerbates that.

          The only way I would ever look at an auto is if it becomes too expensive to own a manual. At that point I’m probably just buying a Prius because if I’m going to be bored and uninspired by my car, I might as well save as much $ as possible so I can spend it on other fun things. With the death of the VW TDi models, our choices for practical useful manuals capable of delivering 35 + mpg combined are basically limited to Fiesta 1.0EB and Mitsu Mirages, only one of which can actually be described as a decent fun car (the Mazda 3 is close but not quite there). There’s the Scion iA but that sedan body style is too impractical in a car that small. Maybe Mazda can work on their mild hybrid tech and bump the 3 up a few while still offering the stick. Here’s to hoping that the Civic Hatch 1.5t with a stick turns in numbers similar to what the 1.5t auto sedan does.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Wow, that’s a helluva deal. And I agree on the 2.4 / 6A powertrain – I drove one with the Rallye package last year and it was a damned decent drive.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It really says something about the Dart that a fresh-out-of-school new professional dislikes the powertrain so much that he wants to offload a well maintained example at only 59,000 miles. You won’t get $10,000 for it. Bark’s estimate of $8000 is probably much more realistic. So unless you want a bigger car payment, you’re looking at an $8000 used car. Doesn’t seem financially prudent to me, so if you hate the Dart that much I’d just go whole hog and get a new manual Civic with the base 2.0. At least then you’ve got a 20-year car that will be very cost effective in the end, and one that holds its value well should you get bored with it five years in.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Enjoy your Dart for a while longer and save some money for something better later. Now is not the right time for you to make a change given your situation.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Define ‘good in snow’? Which four states will you be crossing? A full set of winter tires is implied in any case.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Mark, what tires were on the Miata and Fiat for that trip?

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Given that your FCA ownership experience has been terrible, have you tried going to a different dealer?

    • 0 avatar
      mazdaman007

      I don’t understand. If it’s been reliable and it’s only got 59,000 on it how can the ownership experience have been terrible ? Other than oil changes (which can be done anywhere) what else would have required a trip to the dealer ?

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    If you must change vehicles, look for something that doesn’t command a premium in the used market. A Focus SE with the manual transmission would be my first look. I’ve seen Mazda3s and VW Golfs around the $10K price point too.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s my take – Isaac is looking at cheaper used cars, so what’s the point of getting rid of the Dart? Yes, it’s a Dart, and Darts aren’t great, but it’s also cheap and given that it’s a ’13, I wouldn’t think anything truly catastrophic is going to go wrong on it anytime soon.

    So…what’s the point of trading one used car on another? Ten grand buys you a) something like a Fiesta, which is a better car than a Dart, but not THAT much better, or b) an older compact which God knows what will go wrong on. I don’t see the point.

    For now, if I were Isaac, I’d make extra payments on the Dart, pay it off (or pay the loan way down), and then in a little while you’d have a nice down payment on something truly cool.

    Here’s a chance to start your car-buying life right. Take it.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I contacted Tom at [email protected] and according to his response he’s a Nigerian prince whose is paying a nice finders fee for anyone who can help him transfer his oil wealth out of the country. Wow! I didn’t know you hobnobbed with royalty, Bark.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Why is the Dart so bad around town? Is it the lack of torque at low speeds on a relatively heavy car?

    I recently drove a Jeep Renegade with the same power train and the added weight of AWD thrown in. I thought it was pretty pleasant. I’m wondering if a powertrain computer flash/chip might not do wonders… or a MOPAR exhaust to give this thing the full Abarth treatment. :-)

    Seriously, it’s a relatively new car with a manual transmission, a known history, it’s been reliable, and it’s a decent comfortable ride with good fuel economy and FWD for the winter. I don’t think a used Fusion is going to give you all of that, at least not the more fun to drive or the known history parts. Any other used car that pushes our mutual performance buttons is also going to have a lot more miles at that price.

    I’d keep the Dart and spend $3-$4k on the best used Miata you can buy assuming that you have a place to store both of them. There are a lot of them out there. I just bought an immaculate NA with 78k miles on it for $4k. But I’m not biased. They are wonderful cars and I lived with one as my only car years ago (before kids) but I wouldn’t want to subject one to harsh winter conditions. Then you’ll find yourself wanting to add a hard top and winter wheels/tires and your cheap sports car becomes a bit more complicated and requires space to store all of that extra stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I dunno, I drove a Dart with the Rallye option, a six-speed auto and the 2.4, and it was more than acceptable (drove quite a bit better than the outgoing Civic and the Corolla). I have a feeling the early Darts were the ones with the issue you’re talking about.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      See my comment above ^^^. FCA remapped the turbo for the Renegade, and some feel it’s way more desirable than the 2.4/9A in it.

      Fortunately, the Dart’s 2.4 comes with a 6-speed automatic that isn’t weird like the 9-speed automatic found in every other FCA FWD.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know if the gearing is different or the tune is different but the Dart 1.4 feels nothing like the other 1.4 applications. First I think the car is to heavy for it second is the tuning it really has no guts below 2,500 rpm which can be really annoying for a daily driver.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    55 comments in and no one has told him to Trifecta tune that bitch? Geesh man, you can triple your horsepower AND double the gas mileage at the same time!

    Jokes aside, are there no chips or tunes for the 1.4T that would wring a little more love out of it?

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I like the Acura RSX idea. In 2005 I bought a 91 Integra. Drove it for 9 years and I bet I had less problems than someone who bought a new Neon or Caliber. I suspect the Dart won’t hold up well either. If you like it than awesome but if you don’t get something you like, it won’t necessarily be any less reliable. Nine years of Inegra ownership only cost me $2,500 in repairs/maintenance and one set up tires. Sold it for what I paid for it. Driving it always put a smile on my face.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’ve got actual work today so I’ll keep it brief. Son, if you can get anywhere near 10,000 USD for a getting-to-high miles Dodge Dart, take the money and run. You will be lucky to get what you owe out of it and truthfully I don’t think you’ll even get that much (remember: dealers give you LESS than its worth on trade unless you’re buying a high margin item).

    Let’s do a reality check:

    MY13 Dodge Dart SE (“6” denotes six speed)

    06/22/16 Manheim Kansas City Lease $5,000 34,130 Avg BLACK 4G 6 No
    06/02/16 Manheim Statesville Lease $6,500 34,981 Avg SILVER 4G 6 Yes
    06/16/16 Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth Lease $6,500 36,194 Avg BLACK 4G 6 Yes
    05/31/16 Manheim Houston Regular $3,600 37,955 Below RED 4G 6 No
    06/20/16 Manheim North Carolina Lease $5,500 38,529 Avg BLACK 4G 6 Yes
    06/14/16 Manheim Nashville Lease $8,100 38,989 Above SILVER 4G A Yes
    06/15/16 Manheim San Antonio Lease $7,800 40,218 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes
    05/31/16 Manheim Statesville Lease $6,300 43,327 Avg GRAY 4G 6 Yes
    06/23/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $5,800 45,169 Avg GRAY 4G 6 Yes
    06/15/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Regular $7,400 52,117 Avg SLVR 4G M Yes
    06/09/16 Manheim Tampa Lease $6,300 57,815 Avg GRAY 4G A Yes
    06/15/16 Manheim Dallas Lease $6,000 58,365 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes
    06/14/16 Manheim Baltimore-Washington Lease $5,700 63,489 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes
    06/09/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $5,800 66,131 Avg GRAY 4G A Yes
    06/23/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $4,600 75,266 Below SILVER 4G A Yes
    06/23/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $7,500 76,848 Avg GRAY 4G A No
    05/31/16 Manheim Nashville Lease $3,700 81,191 Below SILVER 4G A Yes
    06/23/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $5,300 90,234 Avg SILVER 4G A Yes
    06/01/16 Manheim Pittsburgh Lease $4,900 93,736 Avg BLACK 4G 6 Yes
    06/02/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $4,000 114,408 Below BLUE 4G A Yes

    Sure there are a few oddballs breaking far above 6 for whatever reason but the mean is 6,6. I estimate these will continue to depreciate for another year or so rounding out around 5. Bark’s advice is right on the money.

    My advice?

    You’re screwed. You bought a car nobody wants, without an automatic, with the added bonus of Chrysler resale. Drive it another 30K miles and then dump it for 5ish (then you’re out maybe 3K-4K for tens of thousands of driving miles? not bad). The upside is its an MY13 meaning all of the rubber seals and sensors aren’t old enough to randomly give out and leave you stranded. In the faux economic recovery, sans effective public transit, one of the biggest luxuries is a car that just works when you turn the key.

    In the meantime, devote your time, energy, and finances toward a hobby. Buy an old quirky car for three figures and restore it only using junkyard parts. Repair an old computer you bought for pennies on Ebay. Take a course at your local community college, how about machine shop and learn to make things? Maybe instead a free one online from Coursera. Learn a language. Paint your house. Take up jogging. Life is too short, get busy living or get busy dying.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Check out a Kia Forte Koup SX. You can find/negotiate a good deal in your price range.

    Don’t get a 2010 (like I did). Had more 1st-year quirks than I cared for. Get a 2011 or 2012 for sure.

    The 2.4L is a nice engine, and it’s not a bad manual to drive. I joked about mine as a “poor man’s Civic SI.” Actually not far from the truth.

    You should at least give one a drive. I was just too tall for the car, which is why I let it go.

    Crazy as it sounds, check out the Kia Soul as well. the perfect sweet spot is the 2012 and 2013 “Plus” trim with the 2.0L and 6MT (I don’t recommend the 2010 or 2011 because the interior is inferior). I enjoy driving my daughter’s Soul more than my own car (’07 Altima V6 manual), and that’s no lie. It is FUN to drive. I park the Nissan when I get home from work on Fridays and drive her car until it’s Monday morning again. When she gets her license next month it’s gonna break my heart. I got a 2012 in excellent condition for under $8000 before TTL.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    If the Dart isn’t falling apart, I’d keep it. Seriously.

    This is coming from someone who had a reliable car that he was bored with (a 2008 Mazda3 hatchback) and traded it for a new shiny car that now has a payment (2016 Mazda6). I love my car but damn, not having a payment was great.

    Depending on what your payment is on the Dart, I’d keep it. Unless of course you can get into a different car for cheaper (cheaper overall, not just lower payments).

  • avatar
    Jimal

    How about a 1.4T/6M Cruze? I’ve been looking at this as an option when my Jetta lease is up in October. Roomier than the Dart and not terrible to drive.

  • avatar
    davefonz164

    Honestly keep the car. You’ve got a fairly new product that still has warranty which came within your family ownership. There’s peace in that.

    Simple solution for your Dart, go to Madness Autoworks and install the GoPedal software, which will eliminate most of that pokyness you mention and give you more adjustability in your driving style.

    The application seems to work wonders on other models fitted with the 1.4 Multiair such as 500L, Renegade etc…

    Also, do you really want a Fiesta? lol……

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      Unfortunately , it’s still an FCA product.

      One with nearly 60,000 miles on it. Stuffs gonna start breaking, and I’m not talking about light bulbs. Water pumps, catalytic converters, and who knows what other reliability surprises .

      Kid faces a real concern of driving a Chrysler with the ownership costs of a BMW and the practical reliability of a Range Rover. And he’s underwater , or will be soon.

      If it were a Toyota being discussed I’d argue for keeping it, but that thing is already a financial time bomb. No need to wait for it to be a mechanical one too.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        LS1 Fan, dude, you are like totally over-exaggerating his car and his situation. What you are saying is NOT reality. There are many, many Dart drivers who love their cars and have found them to be the best car they ever owned. I’ve actually read many reviews on a lot of different sites. I took my Dodge Stratus sedan, with a 5-speed manual, from 7K miles to over 227K miles with rather minimal expenses over a period of 14 years. His Dart is newer, still under warranty, and is far safer than many older used cars he could end up with. In the not so distant past, even some highly rated Hondas and Toyotas have had some rather serious issues. Because nobody yet has made a perfect car. You pays your money and takes your chances.

    • 0 avatar
      LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

      Also check your tire pressure. A few pounds low can make it sluggish as well as sloppy around turns. Topping them off (without overdoing it!) can make it feel like you just had a tune-up.

  • avatar
    modemjunki

    Ditto to what 28-cars-later said.

    Keep the Dart and save your pennies . Keep it well maintained and drive it until you can afford a new or newer car without the Dart as any kind of equity. Then keep the Dart as a poor-weather driver or sell it off on Craigslist.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I will join the choir of “keep it”

    You have a new car (presumably reliable) that unfortunately depreciates like a rock, that you got at a very healthy discount. I’d just run it until it becomes worthless. You WILL NOT be able to find another vehicle of equivalent total value in the pragmatic sense of year/mileage for what you would be able to sell the Dart for ($8kish). That is unfortunately the price one pays with FCA vehicles (Wrangler exluded). I was able to sell my 5spd ’12 Civic LX with 53k miles for $11k on craigslist two weeks ago. And even with that deal, I probably can’t buy another sedan in equal condition year/mileage for $11k.

    if a second vehicle is an option, I highly recommend a motorcycle, or maybe something like an older Miata. Much more engaging than any modern hot hatch with EPS and a bunch of sound insulation.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    We’ve all driven cars we didn’t always enjoy because we had to. I say run it until you’re in a position to get what you want. Let’s be honest, whatever other econobox that would directly replace it would be older, with more miles, and not much better to drive.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

    If I were talking to 22-23 year old me, I’d tell him to buy a new Mustang, forget about how much it costs, enjoy the [email protected] out of it, and not get married until his mid-30s. Wait….my wife can read this now and know it’s me…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      No worries, I hacked your account in the last security breach and made you say all sorts of things. Remember?

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

        Now I want to get rid of my almost paid off C-Max and buy a Mustang. Because I deserve one [email protected]!

        Wife: Do you think we should have a second child? Daycare is expensive and I don’t want to feed a baby at 3 AM.

        Me: We could have another child, or we could get a Mustang.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          If we crunch the numbers over 18 years, you could actually afford several Mustangs; perhaps even a fleet!

          Seriously though daycare is one of these things which seems to be a huge question mark for many couples.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah my wife stays home and works a few hours a week freelance because with 3 kids daycare would completely destroy a 2nd income.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Which is what I would imagine.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

            Daycare would cost us $700/week if we had three kids. That’s also assuming two of those three kids are potty trained.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Obviously it varies, but those are good numbers to start with Bball. So 700 x 4 = 2800 * 12 = 33600 cash money to start. So if your wife isn’t grossing a min of 50K, it mathematically makes more sense for her to just be a mother due to daycare alone.

          • 0 avatar

            That’s why living in the Bluegrass is so great. My kid’s daycare was $80 a week, and it included two meals a day. Private school tuition for two kids is about $600 a month.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah my wife’s profession (veterinarian technician) isn’t high paying either so that amount would basically equate to negative income.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t think I have a real appreciation for how much children cost. This is one of those “know when you experience it” things.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

            I’d say figure it to be $250 a kid on the low end. We couldn’t find any place under $225 when our daughter was an infant.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I recently read that the true cost of a parent staying home to raise kids for 5 years was $700K.

            Huge number, right? It’s that big because of all the lost raises and bonuses, plus retirement savings that stay-at-home parents miss out on.

            I bet that once Republicans figure out how much our economy is losing because of the lack of a national childcare policy, they’ll start clamoring to support working families again.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “national childcare policy”

            Come again?

          • 0 avatar

            80 a week damn I think the unlicensed places in Bridgeport and Hartford charge more then that. (I live in CT). My kids go to a Charter school so no cost there, I have no idea what Catholic school runs here but the private high school near me charges $39,000 a year just in tuition before boarding fees. Just checked the private Montessori school my neighbors kids used to go to (elementary) was $10,000 a year per kid.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

            $80 a week?!?!?!?!?!?!

            $600 a month?!?!?!

            I pay almost $600/month in property taxes so my kid can go to public school.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You love PIP and property taxes! It’s the Pure Michgan way.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

            My auto insurance just went down by $100/month, so I don’t hate PIP right now.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Here in what has become San Francisco With Douglas Firs, care for just one kid at a quality place runs about $2000/month. With a second kid on the way, there is no way my wife is going back to work any time soon. We’d lose money on it.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

            Dal-

            Your comment should be moderated for being too obscene. $900/month for one is bad enough.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I was offended by that post, this isn’t a #safespace. (/s)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Now I see how this new moderation racket is going to work.

            At least I pay less in property taxes than you do. Mostly thanks to a 9.9% sales tax.

  • avatar
    IAhawkeye

    I think the tC was a good suggestion. Common drivetrain/parts, fairly good mileage, somewhat sporty-ish. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of Scion ads on Instagram, which is interesting considering the brands already practically in the grave.

    Never really been a fan of the Sonic, one of my ex-gf’s had a ’13 LTZ with 1.4t(?) and 6-speed stick. It drove well enough, and mileage for her was good, I was never a huge fan of the interior though, and I found it fairly uncomfortable. And it was terrible in the snow.

    Considering your fairly high demands it’s interesting you ended up with a Dart at all, even as cheap as you got it! The advantage with it tho, is you know it’s history and such.

    I just graduated in May, and got a good job. I’m working on paying off my admittedly fairly small student debts(at least considered small these days) before I work on fixing the complaints I have driving a 2-door Wrangler everywhere.

  • avatar

    Four states away, probably doing a fair amount of travel to visit family and everyone else he knows. If 12,000 miles / year is the accepted average, this car is travelling 20,000 per year perhaps even more.

    Its not the ideal car but considering the circumstances its perhaps the best car for the time being.

    Flipping a “not ideal” used car for another same price range used car (a lateral move)and racking up 20-25K miles per year is flipping a car for the sake of flipping a car.

    Pound more miles in the Dart, get more tenure with your present position, then flip the Dart for something else (not a lateral move).

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Keep the Dart, jeep a four leaf clover and hope the Dart holds together. I’ve seen a shre of these need a tow.

    Even when you have more money later just walk away from Mazda. I did when I saw how quickly their cars disintegrate in salt lands.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Add my vote to the ones saying keep and pay off. You are just getting started. Trust me when I say you will be better off in the end. I’m not that much older than you (32) and I am much better off thanks to keeping cars (especially my first one) a long time and trying to own a paid off one after that. Although my payment isn’t high on my current car, I can’t wait for it to be paid off.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I think you need a first generation MINI Cooper S. Supercharged, fun to drive, very available with a 6-speed manual, good in the snow with some Pirelli Sottozero tires, and you’ll love getting new $500 speed sensors for the wheels every few thousand miles. And the harsh, teeth chattering ride is sure to please on those long commutes.

    Or not.

    Seriously, when I graduated from college I got my dad’s ’87 Nissan Stanza (manual thank god) with over 200k miles on it. And I was happy to have it. A 3 year old car would have been heaven compared to the money I had to throw at that old Nissan – clutch, fuel pump, exhaust, tires, etc etc etc

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    These advice threads are where I get to read opinionated motherf*ckers tell a ‘youngster’ about ‘life’ and how spoiled they are.

    All typed within the 8AM-4PM work day that all you jack offs should be f*cking working. But instead you’re imparting your opinion about youth and how broken it all is.

    Isaac,
    buy the most enjoyable automobile that you can that suits whatever budget you’re comfortable with. Lead a care free life, attract one of these miserable old miser B&B’s daughter, then bang the sh1t out of her. You’ll be rescuing her from her hell hole life with her sh1t for brains father.

    • 0 avatar

      COTC(entury)

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

      This comment is everything.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I like how everyone else is an “opinionated m-fer” then you go on to blast out a vulgar, opinionated rant.

      Physician, heal thyself.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I am actually a big proponent of therapy.

        If you don’t like my vulgarity, I am sorry (it won’t change so just don’t read it).

        Also, if you don’t like me blasting the unsolicited judgement, go f*ck yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Time to stop day drinking, tres

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      @tresmonos – I average 48 hours a week at work and have clocked a few hundred hours of overtime since November. I’m commenting between 8-4 on a work day because this weekend while you enjoy your day off too much and do something stupid and hurt yourself and/or set something on fire, someone has to be working to put the it out and take your sorry butt to the hospital. If work called me for overtime today I would’ve taken it but unfortunately it didn’t, so instead I sit here jacking off and dispensing all the worldly advise my ancient 32 years have given me.

      oh, and the closest thing to a daughter I’ll ever have is my boyfriend’s/soon to be fiance’s Siberian Husky…

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Oh dear, I hope Isaac doesn’t take Tresmonos’ advice out on your husky.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

        How do you know that Tresmonos wasn’t working this weekend?

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          I don’t, but it’s a pretty reasonable assumption if he’s extolling the virtues of people who work the traditional m-f 8-4 schedule. Other likely explanation is he’s one of the poor schleps who have weekdays off and work weekends, which would make it pretty odd for him to be saying we should be working…

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Tres is in manufacturing like me. I’ve not had a single day off since May 31st. Projects gonna project.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge (bball40dtw)

            I can’t speak for last weekend specifically, but Tres does work both weekdays and weekends. He’s not an 8-4 guy.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            which makes it quite puzzling that he’s trolling those who work the same non standard schedule he does

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m so tired of projects which project their problems onto others.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        tjh8402,
        my comment was not directed at you at all. You know how you drove the same sh1tbox until you were 28? I drove a J body from age 15 to 31.

        My comment was reserved for the people who literally passed judgement on Isaac. It also reflects my regret for not living a little. It wasn’t until I had a friend pass away that I realized it’s important to stretch your budget to make sure you do as much as you can while you still have a pulse. If you’re in a privileged position, take time to reward yourself. Do it however you see necessary. Everyone’s priorities are different.

        As for everyone focusing on my comment about 8-4 – It was merely used to illustrate the irony of the miserable B&B’s sh1tty advice.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      LOL, literally.

      The misers’ advice relies on a key assumption: that financial stability is the single thing that brings the most happiness.

      That’s often not true, and *especially* not true when you’re young.

      I personally would just eat my spinach and pay back the Dart loan in OP’s situation, particularly given that he didn’t get nearly as good a deal from his parents as he thought (they sold it to him at the high end of the range). But once it was paid off, I’d probably take on an irresponsibly large payment and get something really fun. OP’s description makes me think he wants a new GTI.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @dal – it’s not just about financial stability, it’s about being able afford something fun sooner. Would the OP rather swap the Dart for a Scion TC, be stuck with that and likely something else boring after that for a while longer or own a Mustang/WRX/GTi/Bimmer whenever the Dart is paid off. Maybe be able to look at buying a house. I drove the same car from 16 years old to 28 years old as it literally fell apart. towards the end it had no radio, no horn, the tint was peeling, it leaded oil fast enough that it didn’t need to be changed, and the trunk was banged up and unusable. OTOH, I was able to replace it with a paid in cash BMW which was then replaced with an Abarth now costing me a quite decent $200/month payment. The only reason I’ve been able to afford fun cars for the last 4 years is because I sucked it up and drove something I didn’t want for as long as possible for the preceding 12. It’s also the reason I was able to buy a home and lock in a nice comfy sub $800/month mortgage.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        What tjh8402 said.

        I bought my Charger in 2014 when I was 28. I liked it pretty well at the time and various stupid BS stuff going on back then convinced me to buy it.

        The thing is, if I just held out with my “boring” Buick until this year I could have bought a *new* SS or SRT Charger around Nov-Dec, either of which would have made me happier than my current barnacle-b*tch R/T.

        So what does Issac really want? If it is a Mazda wagon or Scion then go for it. If he wants a 435i xdrive or Golf R or something with a bigger price tag then keeping the Dart for awhile isn’t a terrible plan.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      I should also add that if his goal is to attract, rescue, and bang the sh*t out of the daughter of one of the B&B, he definitely needs to keep and pay off the Dart. Girls cost $, and he’s gonna get a lot farther with a nice wardrobe, dinner at a romantic restaurant, thoughtful gifts (have you seen how much a dozen roses costs these days ?!?!) and a fun weekend getaway than he ever will by replacing the Dart with another $10k car.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You have some good advice here, it will warrant some Acclaim with women. He could also save money with the Dart and spring for a trip to Aspen or Durango, or even a quick Expresso and a shopping trip to Fifth Avenue. Surely then they’d be in the Spirit for a quick Rallye around the bedroom. Conquest is the name of the game, and these things along with a nice glass of Sapporo might just make for his Concorde moment. Show em the Cobra!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I’ve bought flowers for my wife exactly 2x since we started dating 13 years ago. Once was our wedding and once was some random anniversary when I didn’t have any better ideas.

        Our most recent anniversary was one of those “better ideas”. I had some artist friends illustrate a print based on an old MINI advertisement and an old picture I took of my wife with her MINI (just after delivery). They did a great job, threw in a bunch of personal touches of both my wife and her old MINI, and had the print ready just around our anniversary, delivery of the new MINI, and the old MINI going to the new owner. I probably paid less than a dozen roses. To be fair, though, when we get the print framed, it will probably cost another $100 or so.

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          @quentin – I thought I was getting out of the whole buying flowers deal by being gay, but nope, not with this guy. When we first started going out we had a xxx month anniversary that I didn’t do anything on and flowers was on the lists of “should’ve dones”. Needless to say he’s been getting a steady supply of them since. Not all the time mind you. It’s one of those things that if I do it all the time it loses it’s specialness. Definitely on annual anniversaries and when he returns from his patrols (he’s a submariner in the Navy), and then sprinkled occasionally like when he needs a pick me up or we are going to be separated for a while. As pricey $ as they can be, I am a bit grateful that he likes them because it simplifies buying him “thoughtful romantic gifts” since I know I can’t go wrong with flowers. I don’t have to overthink things too much.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Framing gets on my last nerves! A square of wood trim and a piece of glass should not be so costly.

          One of those “because we can” prices.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Go on… take the daughter and run!

      Ah-ooo-aaghhh

    • 0 avatar
      pb35

      I bought myself a brand new Mustang GT as my first new car in 1987 when I was 20. My insurance was $400/mo but I didn’t care, I had to have it. The night I met my wife, I was driving my dad’s K-car (Dodge 600 turbo, thank you) and she agreed to go out with me despite my poor choice in transportation. When I picked her up in the Mustang, it was game over.

      9 years later she got her PhD and then on to a very successful career. Now I drive whatever I want to.

      Maybe you should dump the Dart after all.

  • avatar
    scwmcan

    I seem to recall someone posting the great deal you can get on a scion IA, (otherwise known as the uglified Mazda2). I don’t know if he can manage an actual car loan or not (as mentioned before is his current loan bank of mom and dad or not), and/or the IA is any more fun than the dart, but it might be worth a look/ talk to the dealer, yes the deal I recall seeing was about $2000 more than he thinks he can get for the dart ( and probably much more over the actual price for the dart). But if he can get a good rate for the loan, his payments could be the same or less, and he would have a new car than it maybe more fun to drive than the dart, he just needs to be sure he enjoys driving it enough to keep it until the loan is paid off.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    “I could expand more on my dislike, but all you need to know is I want to replace it with something else.”

    This is pretty clear folks.
    Isaac didn’t ask for advice on keeping the Dart.

    Unsolicited advice to young men from strangers doesn’t work at car shows and cruise-ins. I don’t think it going to work on the net.

    edit- Tres beat me to it with more flair lol

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    Trade it in on a Fiesta ST financed at 0%.

  • avatar

    Keep the paid for car you dislike but that’s almost new, save money, fund your Fiero.

    Buying a car because you want one is one of the worst financial decisions you can ever make. I’ve been there. I now drive a Honda CRV that I loathe for almost the same reasons you hate your Dart. I’ll credit mine with at least being a Honda. I even tried to straight trade it for a Mazda6, an Acura TL, and a few other cars. Eventually, I gave up and realized that since I know the provenance of the CRV, it was a far safer bet than any used car of relatively equal value. And know what? I now have money to fund my Alfa Romeo, which is actually running reliably for the first time in a decade. I have much more fun with that car than any affordable daily driver.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Isaac’s primary points are;

    1. You state you current vehicle is mechanically sound.

    2. You just left college six months ago.

    3. You are not happy with your current vehicle, but it appears to get the job done.

    My advice to Issac is;

    1. Learn to be happy with what you currently drive as it is working.

    2. Save some money for your future, how and what you do now will impact your future, ie, save up for a home, further education(?), etc.

    Isaac, I believe you should stand back for a while and sort out where your life is heading. It’s good you are interested in improving your life, but a car is not going to make your life that much better in the longer run than investing your money in some form of investment or improving your position to make you more attractive for a better paying job.

    Why don’t you just drive your current vehicle into the ground, so to speak. It is a nice feeling to have a pretty set of wheels, but is this really necessary?

    One day when you settle down you’ll have the money to buy a nice new Colorado diesel, you can take your family camping, to the beach fishing and sitting around a camp fire drinking beer.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      “It’s not having what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got”

      -Sheryl Crow

    • 0 avatar
      kuman

      Solid advice.

      I wholeheartedly agree with Big Al…

      Learn to appreciate what you have, its a perfectly running car! That’s a rarity on its own!

      Besides, its not like you are going to make love with your car… ( bad jokes, i know )

      Also if i may add, a lesson learned from my younger years.

      In life, focus on getting the girl, not the method and means to get the girl.

      Let it be dress, cars or houses, they are all just a mean to an end.

      Otherwise you will end up being that great middle aged guy who does everything right and have more than enough, which logically all girls would’ve said yes to, but curiously remained single.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      For goodness’ sake, listen to the man, Isaac. Saying this pains me as much as eating a box of nails, but Big Al is completely right and he has made a cogent, logical point.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I’d nix the Sonic (or Cruze) because it’s the Dart all over again. Heavy car for its size, unexpectedly tall gearing, 1.4 liter turbo engine with zero torque off idle, and no resale value to get you into something else if you don’t like it. I drove one and while I loved its tidy size and civilized demeanor, I found its engine (and its paint, oddly) to be dull and lifeless. And this, BTW, was the RS with the shorter final drive; I shudder to think how poky the regular LTZ turbo would be.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      As someone who has owned two of the three domestic compact crapboxes except for the Dart (I say that in loving jest and I count the Sonic as the hatch version of the Cruze, yeah different platforms, etc.), the Sonic is better than the Dart by a good margin, though I’ve never driven a Dart aside from the 2.0/6M. I wouldn’t trade a perfectly-working Dart just to get into a Sonic though.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        I have driven both the 2.0 and 1.4t Darts, both with manuals, and the 1.4t is a way better engine, especially if you have any enthusiast in you whatsoever. The 2.0 was a dull pedestrian engine that was unsalvageable as something capable of generating fun even with the manual transmission. in that case, I actually would say you might as well go with the automatic because its an appliance engine that will work best with an appliance transmission. I actually found the 1.4t/6MT combo entertaining. yeah there is a good bit of lag, but once you keep the boost up it’ll go and the engine itself is rev happy and sounds good. Having the manual helps you make the most of that. If the Dart had been available in a hatch, I would’ve gotten a 1.4t/6MT instead of the 500 Abarth.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    If you don’t like the car, then you should probably move on. I will say that I drove a 1.4T 6MT loaded Dart Limited for almost 2 years and found the acceleration fine, and I’m a big guy who could stand to lose a significant amount of weight, so having me on board wasn’t helping matters.

    The secret? In town I always kept the car in a lower gear than you might otherwise which helped keep it in the “boost” range, so all you had to do was tip into the throttle and the car took off. My mileage didn’t suffer too badly with this approach either, as I averaged 27-28 mpg in my stop and go commute.

    Don’t be afraid to rev that sucker – it can take it. I beat on mine like a red headed stepchild, zinging it to redline all the time and it took all the abuse I could throw at it. The side effect of this though was that I had to keep an eye on the oil level and occasionally add a 1/2 quart here and there…annoying, but not the end of the world.

  • avatar
    Paragon

    In case it hasn’t already been said, learn everything you can about the Dart from other Dart owners. There are at least 2 or 3 or more Dart Owners Forums online. See what you can do to make your current car-owning experience better, rather than jumping ship, so to speak. If your car runs OK but could be better, it is only common sense that others have gone through it, too, so find out what they did to make some improvements.

    I test drove a new Dodge Dart SE with a 6-speed manual transmission a couple years ago and liked it a lot. It’s a little bigger and heavier than most of the other compact sized cars, but also has a number of available features not found on other comparable cars.

  • avatar

    A dart with a manual sounds like a fun car. It’s not. It’s the worst driving experience I ever had. Drive one for a few hours for some errands. My old AMC Eagles, in all their tractor like acceleration, gave a better experience. I’m sure when his parents bought the dart they thought it was practical, and then quickly learned the same thing and unfairly loaded to their son. What I would do is trade the POS in and lease something brand new if you have the credit for it. The Fiesta hatch manual is actually a good call. I own an S model myself, have had it a year and a half and continue to look forward to driving it like it’s a little race car. The S is for crank windows!

    You won’t get as tired of your cars and end up completely buried in your next purchase.

    Life changes quick when your young. In a few years you may need a family car, or a car to go chase down expensive women in. They are different, and leasing makes it cheaper to switch out often.

    You can get quite a few cars for a $10 lease. If you buy a $10k car, what’s it really gonna be worth anyway in 3 years and 40k more miles?

    If you don’t lease, I can imagine you being a typical negative equity customer in the coming years, always paying $50 to $100 bucks a month in payment towards paying off your last two vehicles. Not a good road to go down. Lease before you get to the point that you realize you should have!

  • avatar
    FalcoDog

    If it’s entertainment you seek; Keep the Dart save some money up and and buy a 5 year old 1 liter motorcycle. It will certainly be more entertaining than a used 4 cylinder car.


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