Just Car Blog
|2013 Dodge Dart GT Review & Test Drive||
Dodge took a big gamble this year by entering the hottest segment in the automotive industry-the small four-door compact sedan-competing against the Toyota Corolla, Nisan Sentra, Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Mazda3, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, to name a few. With the 2013 model year ending in September, Dodge Dart total sales were slightly more than 25,000 units. That’s not bad considering the competition. I tested the uniquely designed five-seat Dart GT and found it a very competent performer on the street with standard equipment inside that isn’t even offered by any of the competition and at a price of just $20,995.00 and $23,275.00 for the loaded edition that I tested. The new Dart is loaded with innovative technology, class-leading safety features and clever functionality; it sets a new standard in the compact car segment by offering unmatched personalization, roominess, style, functionality and fun-to-drive dynamics.
The exterior styling boasts a timeless, stylish and distinctive exterior design. It sports an athletic, sculpted, fluid and aesthetic ally agile appearance from any angle. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta based architecture’s low, wide and long dimensions ensure a stable body-in, wheels-out stance and coupe-like silhouette. Once the basic design was in place, with dynamic lines and curves from every angle, designers inserted a little Dodge attitude into the mix. The face of the Dart is styled with the unmistakable Dodge chrome split crosshair grille, but with a modern, sleek look that ‘floats’ in the front fascia, giving the Dart a full-width mask. The rear view of the all-new Dart GT features the Charger inspired ‘racetrack’ full-width tail lamp with 152 indirect glow LEDs and a lip spoiler with lower diffuser and dual, 4 inch wide oval exhaust tips. The front of the Dart has been designed for smooth airflow around, above and below the car without compromising styling or engine cooling requirements. In addition, a lower radiator close-out panel is positioned below the front fascia that not only contributes to the Dart’s lower front-end appearance, but also reduces drag while still allowing for an 8-inch curb clearance. Tasteful, detailed accents add to the design of the Dodge Dart. Style lines on the hood lead the eye to the floating crosshair grille, while chrome accent spears below the projector headlamps and projector foglamps highlight the attention to detail.
From the side are steeply raked windshield A-pillars, aero-styled heated/power-remote sideview mirrors with repeater turn-signal lights, body-colored pull-out door handles, lower side extensions and flared fenders featuring 17X7.5 inch hyper black cast aluminum wheels wrapped with premium, high-performance Continental 225/45R17 inch Pro Contac tires. This sleek and sexy looking body is designed and engineered for world-class aerodynamic performance with more than 600 hours in the wind tunnel during its development using technology typically found on more expensive vehicles. Dodge engineers and designers looked at every aspect from the ground up to optimize aerodynamic performance. The all-new Dodge Dart is the first Dodge vehicle to use an active grille shutter system. The system automatically stops airflow through the lower intake at highway speeds when less engine cooling is needed and aerodynamic drag is most significant. When closed, the shutter system enhances aerodynamic performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the car and down the sides, rather than through it. The active grille shutter system will open or close automatically based upon engine coolant temperature and vehicle speed. Furthermore, underbody panels run stem to stern on the Dart, covering the majority of the lower vehicle from the front fascia to the rear fascia. Constructed of mold-in-color black composite, the panels both enhance the aerodynamic performance and also block road noise. Tire spats located forward of the front and rear tires were engineered to function as mini air dams and were optimized for shape and ground clearance, adding to the underbody efficiency in conjunction with the underbody panels. Triple-sealed windows further lessen noise from coming into the cabin. I haven’t seen or heard of any other compact sedan with these standard aero features.
The all-new Dodge Dart is powered by three fuel-efficient, powerful, state-of-the-art four cylinder engines that add to the Dart’s fun-to-drive personality. A new 160hp Tigershark 16-valve, DOHC, all-aluminum in-line four-cylinder engine that comes with the Limited, a 160hp MultiAir intercooled turbo engine and a new 184hp 2.4 liter Tigershark 16-valve, DOHC MultiAir 2 in-line four-cylinder engine that comes with the GT model I tested.
Each of these engines features a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with sequential AutoStick shifting, and a six-speed dual dry clutch Powertech automatic transmission available on the 184hp Tigershark engine. My GT came with the smooth shifting six-speed Powertech automatic with AutoStick. This top-of-the-line powertrain really moves the GT quickly from stop lights/signs, out accelerating other compact sedans. Merging onto fast moving highways was no problem when I pushed the throttle hard, and passing slower moving highway vehicles was also no problem. With the dual-pinion electric power steering system I felt a great transmission of feel from the road with quick reaction to my steering inputs and a very good on-center feel. I felt well connected to the car when passing slow city traffic or on the highway at high-speeds.
Part of the fun-to-drive dynamics is the excellent fully independent suspension that further gave me a feeling of being connected to the car, and more importantly connected to the road surface. Up front is a proven MacPherson strut setup with coil springs over gas-charged shocks and a solid stabilizer bar. The rear features a multi-link setup with coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a link-type stabilizer bar. The front and rear shocks are high-performance Frequency Response Damping. Stabile at very high-speeds on the highway and feeling like I was sliding against a wall at high-speed in steep curving roads, the suspension is top-notch-most other compact sedans feature a cheaper or light-duty control-blade or torsion beam rear suspension. The Dart GT gives a smooth, quiet ride that takes out the bumps on purely paved roads.
Standard electronic stability control and traction control ensures no torque steer and the ability to control the car when taking it to its limit of adhesion on a curving road. Also part of the fun-to-drive atmosphere of the Dart GT is that it is very rigid-68% made of high-strength steel-hot stamped, high-strength and ultra-high-strength-resulting in an architecture that is lightweight, modern and solid.
Quickly slowing the Dart GT down from speed are four-wheel, power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are big 12 inch vented discs with 10.4 inch solid discs in the rear. Each disc is clamped with large, single-piston calipers. Standard ABS and BA help to keep me in control of my direction when braking hard on wet or slick pavement. These steel disc brakes are the largest in the segment.
While the mechanicals under the skin are on par with the best-selling compact sedans in the segment, the interior really takes the all-new Dodge Dart to another high level of comfort, innovations, high-technology and safety. Open the doors of the GT and the interior looks like a compact German luxury sedan. Soft leather, chrome, aluminum trim, soft-to-the-touch quality materials, red stitching and black piano veneer instantly say sport and luxury’. The cockpit features the instrument panel and cluster canted toward me for easy reach of all of the dials, switches and buttons. The 3-spoke tilt/telescopic/leather-wrapped steering wheel features buttons for the cruise control, audio system and a reconfigurable instrument cluster, a segment first.
Packaged in the footprint of a compact sedan, the 2013 Dodge Dart features the interior spaciousness of a mid-size sedan, and it boasts best-in-class hip and shoulder room. The premium Nappa leather sport front bucket seats are comfortable and very supportive with 8-way power-adjustments/power lumbar adjustments for me and manual settings for my passenger with a height-adjustment lever. The high-tech centerpiece of the Dart Limited is the class-exclusive floating island bezel which houses the segment-exclusive 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LED customizable gauge cluster display with light pipe surround that also houses the class exclusive Uconnect Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen Media Center/Navigation System-the largest touchscreen in its class. Thoughtful storage options throughout fit today’s technology. The glove box easily conceals a stowed iPad, the center console features auxiliary jacks to plug in a wide variety of electronic devices and slides fore/aft. Thoughtful inventive storage solutions such as a flip-up passenger storage seat bottom, center console side pockets, storage slots in each door, are perfect for storing mobile phones, receipts or pens and paper. Lighting in all the right places provides me and my passenger a warm, comfortable cockpit. The optional ‘racetrack’ lighting surround the floating island bezel. Ambient lighting for the door handles, map pockets, foot wells, glove box, storage bin and illuminated cupholders is both useful and provides a warm atmosphere inside the car. The rear seats feature a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders, storage bin and forward folding 60/40 split bench seat for additional trunk space.
Standard equipment not mentioned above include grab handles above each door, dual map lights, flip-down sunglass holder, dual lighted vanity mirrors, power windows with express up/down in front, power door locks, AM-FM-CD-Sirius satellite radio with 6-speakers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry with push button engine start/stop, ParkSense Rear Park Assist with rearview camera, auto headlights, heated front seats, one-touch sunroof, Rain-Sensing wipers/washers, heated steering wheel, remote start, dual-zone electronic climate system, universal garage door opener, remote fuel filler door, remote trunk release, automatic high beam headlight control, and front/rear floor mats. The all-new Dodge Dart GT is a true sporty luxury compact sedan on the inside.
Safety is important and the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart Limited once again leads the segment with standard equipment only found on high-priced luxury sedans. Start with 10-airbags-dual-staage adaptive venting front driver/passenger airbags, front-seat mounted pelvic and thorax airbags, rear-seat mount pelvic airbags, front driver/passenger knee airbags, all-row side-curtain airbags, active front head restraints, unsurpassed in the compact sedan class, Blind Spot Metering, rear cross path detection, electronic roll mitigation, 5-3-point seat belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, Hill Start Assist, Enhanced Accident Response System, LATCH system for child seats, rear door child locking doors, Rainy Brake Support uses the ESC pump to occasionally push brake pads lightly against brake rotors in rainy conditions in order to keep rotors dry and assure maximum braking performance, safety cage body structure with 60% of the body made of high-strength steel, tire pressure monitoring system, trailer-sway control, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart GT leaps over the competition in every respect but Dodge needs to bring in customers to test drive and look over the all-new Dart to increase sales. It will be a tough job as the competition is so fierce.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: $20,995.00-base/$23,275.00 loaded
- Engine: 2.4 liter MultiAir 2 Tigershark 4-cylinder 184 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm / 174lb.ft. of torque @ 4,800 rpm
- EPA fuel economy: 24mpg/city, 34mpg/highway-I averaged 27.5mpg city/highway
- Turning circle: 36.5ft.
- Wheelbase: 106.4 inches
- Total length: 183.9 inches
- Total height: 57.7 inches
- Total width: 72 inches
- Track: f/r-61.7/61.6 inches
- Coefficient of drag: 0.285
- Fuel tank: 15.8 gallons
- Curb weight: 3,245 pounds
- Headroom: f/r-38.6/37 inches
- Legroom: f/r-42.2/35.2 inches
- Cargo volume: 13.1 cu.ft.
- 0-60 mph: 8.3 seconds
|2013 Dodge Dart Limited Review & Test Drive||
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart enters into the mix of Dodge vehicles to thrill consumers with a technologically advanced compact sedan. Though the Dart name is reintroduced in compact form filling the a void the Neon once occupied almost 8 years ago, Dodge manages to bring a new style to the brand offering many features once reserved for luxury vehicles wrapped up in stylish, economical and versatile package.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart slots just below the Avenger sedan but really appeals to a wide range of consumers due to its long list of standard and available equipment. Such equipment ads a newfound value on compact sedans and the Dart uses it to the best of its abilities.
For its first year, the new 2013 Dodge Dart takes many of its styling cues from the rest of the Dodge line up of cars. Many traits found in the new design language of the larger Charger are nicely trickled into the exterior design traits. The rear LED tail lights are an impressive yet unique part of the Darts character. The front end’s miniaturized version of the typical Dodge ‘cross’ grill has a profound statement of where the Dart belongs in its ranking among other Dodge vehicles. Overall the new Dart is a good looking compact exuding a classy look yet sporty enough to catch the eye of enthusiasts, especially in its sporty Rallye or GT trim levels.
My new 2013 Dodge Dart Limited test vehicle comes equipped with the new 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder TigerShark engine producing 160 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 148 pounds-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission in my test vehicle, though you can opt for a 6-speed manual transmission.
A 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque 1.4-liter 4-cylinder Multi-Air Turbocharged engine is available on all trims except the GT and exceptionally fuel efficient Aero trim. The MultiAir 1.4-liter is standard for the Aero trim, touting an impressive 41 mpg on the highway. The extra bit of torque is a benefit for the 1.4-liter turbo over my test vehicle’s naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine. When configured with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, the automatic transmission option is a 6-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) with an AutoStick for a manual shift mode.
In my 2013 Dart Limited’s configuration, acceleration is a bit sluggish making it to 60 mph in about 10 seconds. Though around town my Dart Limited tester proved to move along with the flow of traffic with ease. The only times the power deficiency was noticed is when attempting to over-take vehicles on the highway or just starting from a dead stop. The 6-speed automatic transmission adapts well to most driving conditions where it will hold lower gears longer when it detects sporty driving characteristics as to limit hunting or repeated downshifts when an extra bit of pulling power is needed.
The handling and ride quality is good considering the engine could use another 20 or more horsepower on a chassis that seems up to the extra duty. The Dart Limited’s suspension is tuned well for everyday driving but quickly demonstrates a good amount of body roll entering into turns at fast speeds. Powering out of turns is also a bit of a downer as the engine barley has enough torque to break the front wheels loose. With the limited amount of forward momentum from the new 2.0-iter TigerShark engine, it manages to muster out a respectable 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. These figures are slightly improved when equipped with the manual transmission getting as much as 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.
The interior of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart Limited visually looks like it is in a class above most compact vehicles. Although, the feel of a quality fit and finish is slightly displaced and misleading as many of the bulky edges of the dashboard meeting trim pieces protrudes to the point that it looks out of place. Much of the way the interior feels, with the exception of the leather seats, large 8.4-inch LCD touch screen and dashboard LCD screen cluster instrumentation, is a bit ordinary. Where the new Dart Limited really makes up for the interior’s physical perception of quality is in its class-leading gadgetry.
Having a total of 6 different trim levels, SE, SXT, Rallye, Aero, Limited and GT, the new Dart has a versatile selection of feature sets, powertrains and optional equipment. The levels of customization, not only from the standpoint of the multiple trim levels, makes the new Dart a very desirable compact sedan for all types of consumers. Speaking of customization, my new 2013 Dodge Dart Limited test vehicle was equipped with many standard premium luxury features such as its touted Unconnect system with a high-resolution 8.4-inch touch LCD screen, the same unit found in other Dodge vehicles like the new Charger. Feature sets and menus are easy to navigate through the new system as well as the Garmin-powered GPS navigation system. There are several configurable options within the navigation system to combine ease of usability and the functionality demanded in a well-adapted mapping system.
Continuing the spectrum of features and options found on my new Dart Limited tester, it came equipped with an optional Premium Group package including dual-zone auto temp controls, Limited leather seats (heated front), heated steering wheel, remote start, and a universal garage door opener. An optional Technology Group package added keyless enter-n-go push button start, rear parking sensors, blind spot and rear cross path detection, rain sensing wipers and automatic high beam headlights. A rear backup camera came as standard equipment on the Dart Limited trim.
Probably one of the more intriguing parts of the new Dodge Dart Limited is its configurable 7-inch color LCD cluster display. The new display has many configurable options, controlled through steering wheel buttons, to place information in your desired location and even choose between a virtual analog speedometer or a digital read out. Additionally, the screen display’s pertinent vehicle information, such as the tire pressures, fuel computer, vehicle temps and vehicle settings are easily accessed on the LCD screen. The fuel gauge and rpm gauge are fixed items to the right and left of the configurable color cluster LCD screen. The over-all visualization of the new instrument cluster is excellent with the one exception of the brightness being a bit on the low side on sunny days. The LCD screen tends to get washed out a bit with sunlight.
The all-new 2013 Dart has placed Dodge in an optimal position to really exude the vehicle’s standard and optional technological aspects ahead of its competition. Opting for the GT trim with the higher output 184-hoursepower 2.4-liter TigerShark engine is surely the way to go for enthusiasts, as my Dart Limited’s athleticism was not its strong suit. As the average consumer seeking a value-oriented compact sedan would have it, there are several other trim levels, including my Dart Limited, to choose from. With a starting price of just $15,995 for the base-level Dart SX trim, Dodge has reintroduced head-on competitiveness in the compact segment. My 2013 Dodge Dart Limited has an as-tested price of $24,965 including a $795 destination charge.
Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base Dart SX $15,995 / Dart Limited As-Tested $24,965
- Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder TigerShark 160 hp @ 6,400 rpm / 148 lb.ft. of torque @ 4,600 rpm
- Wheelbase: 106.4 inches
- Total length: 183.9 inches
- Total width: 72 inches
- Total height: 57.7 inches
- Track: f/r-61.7/61.6 inches
- Curb weight: 3,186 pounds
- Fuel tank: 15.8 gallons
- Headroom: f/r-38.6/37 inches
- Legroom: f/r-42.2/35.2 inches
- Cargo volume: 13.1 cu.ft.
- EPA mileage: 24 mpg/city, 34 mpg/highway (automatic transmission)
- 0-60 mph: 10.2 seconds
|Limited Edition Mopar ’13 Dart To Roll Out at Chicago Auto Show||
Mopar, known as Chrysler’s parts and accessories division, has been in the good business of providing a wide array of products for Chrysler vehicles including Dodge and Jeep. Recently Mopar has stepped up to the plate to work closely with Chrysler engineers to put the enthusiastic consumer literally in the driver’s seat for a complete ‘performance’ package on new vehicles. The latest vehicle to receive such treatment is the limited edition Mopar ’13 Dart.
The Mopar ’13 is not your ordinary Dodge Dart with some visual appeal; it is much more with extra horsepower to boot. The upcoming Chicago Auto Show will host the Debut of the Mopar ’13 Dart featuring many upgrades.
The Mopar ’13 Dart, limited to 500 units, features on the outside a gloss black finish, Mopar blue stripes, Mopar ground effects and 18-inch gloss black wheels shod in 225/40R18 performance tires. On the inside, the Mopar ’13 Dart gets leather seats – a blue one for the driver and black for passengers, blue accent stitching, sport pedals, black/black chrome trim and other Mopar accessories. In the performance department, the Mopar ’13 Dart receives the same MultiAir 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine found in the Fiat Abarth 500 mated to a manual transmission.
With only 500 units made available, the Mopar ’13 Dart one basically be one of a kind. Chrysler is even throwing in a wireless smartphone charging base and personalized owner kit including a personalized plat with vehicle specs and unique ID number for the limited edition build.
After its debut at the Chicago Auto Show next week, expect the Mopar ’13 Dart to start production this spring at the Belvidere, IL plant. If this is any indication as to what we may see in a Dodge Dart SRT, we say bring it on! – Maybe throw in a bigger turbocharged engine and we have a deal, don’t you think?
Chrysler Group LLC Introduces New Mopar ’13 Dodge Dart
– Select Mopar parts and accessories outfit new Mopar ’13 Dart
– Performance upgrades include lowered sport suspension, revised steering calibration, sport-
tuned exhaust, ground-effects kit, and premium brake kit with slotted rotors
– Custom leather Mopar driver’s seat
– Industry-first wireless charging for smartphones
– 500 numbered units to be built at company’s assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill.
– Limited-edition vehicle to be displayed at Chicago Auto Show
Auburn Hills, Mich., February 1, 2013 –Chrysler Group LLC today introduced the limited-edition Mopar ’13 Dart, marking the fourth special-edition Mopar-badged vehicle created since the company partnered with Fiat S.p.A in 2009. The car will be shown at next week’s Chicago Auto Show.
Building on the success of the Mopar ’10 Challenger, Mopar ’11 Charger and the Mopar ’12 300, the limited-edition Mopar ’13 Dart will be built and customized with Mopar performance parts and accessories. Production for a limited run of 500 units will begin this spring at the company’s assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill.
“Our new Mopar ’13 Dart will turn heads and stand out from the crowd,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “For this special, limited- edition vehicle, we specifically kept the driver in mind as we added select Mopar parts and accessories.”
Inspired by the tuner scene, the Mopar ’13 Dart is designed for driving enthusiasts. Powered by a 1.4- liter MultiAir® intercooled turbo engine with a manual transmission, the Mopar ’13 sports a gloss-black finish with a pair of car-length Mopar Blue stripes, which mirror each of the three previous Mopar- themed models.
For enhanced handling, upgrades include a performance steering-gear calibration, a 7 millimeter- lowered suspension and low-profile 40 aspect performance tires (225/40R18). From the racing scene, Mopar added a premium brake kit with slotted rotors. Engine breathing is enhanced with a performance-tuned exhaust and to further optimize aerodynamics and increase downforce, the custom Dart features Mopar’s ground-effects kit, which includes a front-chin spoiler, one-piece deck-lid spoiler, as well as a unique and aggressively styled rear diffuser.
Unique exterior elements include a Mopar badge in the crosshair grille and gloss-black 18-inch wheels with a Mopar logo on the wheel center caps. The vehicle’s unique interior, featuring a serialized plate, gives the driver a custom Mopar Blue leather seat with black accents. To keep the emphasis on the driver, the driver seat is Mopar Blue while all other seats are black with blue accent stitching. The centerpiece of the interior is a floating island bezel that is accented with Mopar Blue paint and lighting. The interior is further enhanced with rich details, including Mopar Blue accent thread, as well as light- black chrome and gloss-black elements.
Along with a Mopar serialized badge on the dash, the special-edition Mopar ’13 includes industry-first wireless charging for smartphones, a blue-stitched leather-wrapped steering wheel with an identically garnished shifter knob, a bright sport-pedal kit, premium Mopar carpet floor mats, door-sill guards and an 8.4-inch navigation screen.
The limited-edition Mopar ’13 Dart will be delivered to each customer with a personalized owner kit. Assembled in a custom-made black case, contents include a personalized plate with vehicle specifications, the date of manufacture and the unique identification number (of 500) of the vehicle. Along with a Mopar ’13 brochure and other memorabilia, the kit will include a limited-edition sketch of the vehicle signed by Mark Trostle, Chrysler Group Chief Designer for the Mopar Brand.
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
• Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
• Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user- guide format and first to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
• Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
• Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
• Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with a new interactive vehicle tracking
device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set
• 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race
• Brand-specific customer care telephone lines: first to offer Sunday service hours for customers
• WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf
personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
About the Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. With the creation of the Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A partnership, Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Combined with Fiat S.p.A, Mopar’s global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 130 countries. Mopar is the source for all genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group and Fiat SpA brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat SpA vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.
More than 75 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for antifreeze product in 1937. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle-car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “special parts” for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use. The brand has expanded to include technical service and customer support.
|Dodge Implements Crowdsourced Funding For Its Dart: Video||
This is either a stroke of genius or the downfall of Western civilization: Dodge has just announced a plan to allow crowdsourced purchases of its Dart compact sedan though funding website Kickstarter.
If you’re familiar with bridal gift registries and how they work, you know the basic concept. Here, someone says “I want a Dodge Dart for my birthday,” then Kickstarter sends out gift requests to the sender’s contact list. If you have enough friends, you can probably fund the car in its entirety; if you don’t, we assume the money donated will go towards lowering the purchase price of the car.
For Dodge, this is pure marketing genius. Even if no one takes advantage of the scheme, it gives the automaker something to talk about, while drawing attention to its slow-selling Dart.
On the other hand, it pretty much torpedoes the idea of working hard for what you want. Saving money towards a goal is hard, but asking friends and family to give you money for that same goal is a lot easier. Plus, when someone else is buying you a car, you have plenty of disposable cash for beer, pizza and live music, which is way more important than putting money aside to buy a car.
Is it genius, or just one more indication that our values have completely fallen in the toilet? You decide.
|2013 Dodge Dart Ad Shows How To Design An All-New Car: Video||
Think coming up with new cars is easy? Think again, especially when your company is headed by the notoriously-opinionated Sergio Marchionne, and especially when the car is as financially significant as the new Dodge Dart. Designing cars, the video tells us, takes countless hours of meetings, a calendar full of sleepless nights and enough coffee to float an aircraft carrier.
Get it right, and the end result is likely to be a home run product. We’re pretty confident in saying that about the 2013 Dodge Dart (despite the fact that we’ve yet to drive one), since it offers up reasonable performance, impressive fuel economy and an almost unbelievable starting price. The fact that it’s got a state of the art infotainment system and comes wrapped in sexy sheet metal won’t hurt sales one bit, either.
Given the commercials we’ve seen from other automakers lately, this spot (which will debut on national TV during tonight’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game) is truly a breath of fresh air, and we tip our caps to Chrysler for making us smile. Now, if they’d only put a Dart in our hands to evaluate, maybe we can tell you if the car is as good as the commercial, too.
|Travis Pastrana Shakes Down The Dodge Dart Rally Car: Video||
Very shortly, you’ll be able to walk into a Dodge dealer and put money down on a new Dodge Dart compact sedan. While the Dart you can buy promises to be much better engineered and built than the Dodge Caliber it replaces, it’s still no match for the Dart that Travis Pastrana will be driving in the 2012 Global RallyCross season.
Pastrana’s Dart gets 600 horsepower and all-wheel-drive, while the Dart you can buy gets a fraction of that and sends its power to the front wheels only. We seriously doubt that the Mopar parts catalog has what you need to build a Dart with 600 hp sent to all four wheels, and we’re pretty sure that Pastrana’s ride isn’t street-legal in any of the 50 states. It does look plenty entertaining, though, and we’d welcome the chance to spend a day behind the wheel, playing in the dirt.
The Global RallyCross season kicks off in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 26, and Pastrana can expect serious competition this year. Dave Mirra is back, again driving for Subaru, while Tanner Foust and Marcus Grönholm will be driving the proven Ford Fiesta. Rhys Millen will compete in the series this year, driving an all-new Hyundai Veloster. If you want to check out the schedule of events or learn more about the Global RallyCross Series, head on over to the GRC webpage.
|Upcoming Dodge Dart Could Get 40 MPG||
Chrysler put out a press release a few days back that focused on Fiat earning another five percent of Chrysler, for meeting the last of three goals assigned by the Obama administration during the 2009 bailout. Downplayed within the release was the fact that the new Dodge Dart has achieved an “unadjusted” combined mileage rating of 40 mpg. If the Dart actually hit 40 mpg in combined fuel economy, the car wouldn’t be evolutionary, it would be revolutionary; as with everything else in business and politics these days, the math used in getting those numbers is somewhat fuzzy.
First, we’re no experts on the EPA’s test cycle, and how it’s used to calculate fuel economy. Those who know more than we do about this stuff say that the actual fuel economy numbers that will appear on the Dart’s window sticker are likely to be some 20 percent less. Twenty percent isn’t exactly a rounding error, although a combined fuel economy of 32 mpg is still impressive.
That said, don’t take the numbers on a window sticker as gospel. The new Chrysler 300 SRT8, for example, gets an EPA estimated 14 mpg around town and an estimated 23 mpg on the highway. Look closer and you’ll see that the “expected” range of city mpg varies from 11 to 17 mpg (a spread of nearly 55 percent) and the “expected” highway fuel economy can be anywhere from 19 to 27 mpg. (a spread of just over 42 percent).
It’s not even that simple, since flogging the SRT8 hard on a track day will yield mileage in the single digits, while a professional hypermiler could probably get 30 mpg out of the car under the right conditions. There’s a reason that the phrase, “your mileage may vary” has become part of our vocabulary.
We’re not meaning to downplay the new Dodge Dart, which may prove to be the most important car the automaker has ever built. We can’t wait to see it up close and personal, or better yet, get behind the wheel. Until then, we know enough not to believe everything we read in a press release (or on a window sticker).
|The 2013 Dodge Dart Doesn’t Look Like An Entry Level Compact||
In the original gospel according to domestic automakers, one rule was clear above all others: entry level compact cars were built to a price point, with little emphasis on content or quality. By way of example I give you the previous Ford Focus, the Chevy Aveo and perhaps the worst offender of all, the Dodge Caliber. The Caliber wasn’t just bad, it set new standards for how truly awful an automobile can be when MBAs and accountants are left to make all the decisions.
Something began to change in the industry a few years back. There was the all-new Ford Fiesta, and the all-new Chevy Cruze, both of which seemed like they should cost more money for the content provided. Dodge was the only one left out in the cold, forced to sell the aging and unloved Caliber until a new compact could be designed with partner Fiat. Based on what we’ve seen to date of the upcoming Dodge Dart, it was exactly the right move on Chrysler’s part.
Take a look at these interior shots and you’ll see what we mean. The Dart certainly doesn’t look like an entry-level compact, since most don’t come with available touchscreen infotainment systems and center-cluster navigation displays. We haven’t seen the Dart’s interior up close yet, but we suspect that we’re going to like it. We also believe that Chrysler knows how important the Dart is: get it right, and it has the potential of setting sales records and attracting new customers. Get it wrong, and you’re destined to bat cleanup behind the Cruze, Focus, Jetta, Corolla, Elantra and Civic.
Aside from the Ford Focus ST, we can’t think of a compact car more eagerly anticipated than the upcoming Dodge Dart. We’ll bring you full details as soon as it debuts at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.
|New Compact Dodge To Be Called Dart||
It’s official: Dodge will call its heavily anticipated small car the Dart, reviving a name familiar to those of us who grew up in the 60s, 70s or 80s. Based on a Fiat platform (which Dodge insists is injected with Alfa Romeo DNA), the Dart will be available with three engine choices (for now), and it will be built in America at Chrysler’s plant in Belvedere, IL.
The base engine will likely be a new 16-valve, 2.0-liter four that Dodge is calling Tigershark. Next up is the most fuel-efficient offering, a 1.4-liter MultiAir intercooled turbo four, followed by a 2.4-liter MultiAir engine that we presume is normally aspirated. Dodge says that three transmission options will be offered, but details are lacking. We assume one will be a six-speed manual, while the other two are likely automatics using a minimum of six speeds. Noticeably absent is an SRT variant of the Dart, but it’s safe to assume that one is already (well) under development.
The Dart is Chrysler’s first all-new compact model since the Dodge Caliber, which we’d all like to forget about. The new Dart is certainly more stylish than Chrysler compacts of the past, and it will certainly be more rewarding to drive as well. Dodge will debut the Dart at January’s Detroit Auto Show, so look for additional details (and images) as we get closer to the show dates.