Video Review: 2013 Dodge DartReady to Rallye? Not quite

2013 dodge dart review lede

I really wanted to like the Dodge Dart. The exterior styling is wonderful, and the interior cabin space is great. I love the very comfortable yet supportive cloth seats, and the center stack is filled out perfectly thanks to the large touchscreen system. When outside and inside work so nicely together, you’d expect a winning result. It’s clear, however, that this is not always the case because there’s another very important part of the good-car equation.

The engine and transmission.

On this particular 2013 Dodge Dart, the 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder turbo sits paired with a dual-clutch six-speed gearbox. This is the same engine found under the bodywork of the Fiat 500 Abarth. I found the engine entertaining during my time with the Fiat, but I can’t say the same for the Dart. It doesn’t work here, and the transmission does not feel like a dual clutch unit.

It’s frustrating… I truly wanted to love the new Dart, but that’s not the case.

[youtube width=”720″ height=”405″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKrk7m0dSYs[/youtube]

19 Comments

    1. No, but I've heard complaints about the manual gearbox as well. It's apparently a bit sloppy.
      I really want to try the Tigershark motor which makes 184 horsepower, and see if that transforms the car at all.

      1. Sounds nicer, quite well balanced, feels much lighter (but the Matrix does feel quite heavy so that's not hard). It was an auto, but it was one of the few autos I've driven that I actually didn't mind and could probably live with. I'm still more drawn to a good hatchback but I liked it.

    1. haha, they came with the shoes… but they happen to match a few of my t-shirts, so I rather enjoy them.

  1. I like big 4 cyl, like 2.4 or 2.5, hopefully the dart would be better w a larger 4 and a true manual trans. I really want to like this car as much as I like what Sergio has done.. I want Sergio to win damnit.!

  2. I have a Dart with the same power train (1.4, DDCT) and I wouldn't change a thing. Great engine, technologically advanced transmission, no complaints. Shows how reviews can be so… well, opinionated.

    1. In the Neon's defense, it was actually one of the quickest cars in its class when it was introduced.

      1. No, it was a good car for that segment – cheap and mostly reliable. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    2. I quite liked the Neon when it came out. Then they all got leprosy and their skin started sloughing off.

  3. It's interesting to see how much the auto industry has changed. Not so long ago the idea of a Dodge with a Fiat motor and a platform from Alfa Romeo would have made people flee the showroom.

  4. I test drove a 1.4T manual Dart a few months back. Impressions. As you said above, the manual helps, but the shifter sucks and the clutch engagement is odd. The shifter is long and rubbery and imprecise. The clutch has a very high and rather sudden engagement point. Makes it very hard to launch smoothly. I loved the engine in the Abarth I test drove, but it's flat overmatched in this car, just too much weight for the poor little thing. I didn't like the handling at all. Too much body roll for my taste. It feels like a really good chassis looking for some more sway bar and a little less ride height. Basically I feel it's a really good start waiting for an SRT model to make it great. My primary complaints are a lack of power (in relation to the mass) and overly soft suspension tuning, both of which an SRT should address.

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