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MPG: 25 City / 36 Hwy
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2013 Dodge Dart Review

Most automotive journalists like the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart for its crisp handling, customizable interior and roomy cabin, but say some rivals are better performers.

The Dodge Dart’s three available engines come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and an automatic transmission is optional with any of the engines. Test drivers are divided on the base 2.0-liter engine’s performance, with some saying it isn’t very fast from a stop, and most others saying it will be fine for shoppers who don’t need a fast sedan. The next step up is a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that the majority of critics say gives the 2013 Dart stronger takeoffs. At up to 27/39 mpg city/highway, it is the most fuel-efficient engine choice. A larger, 240-horsepower engine is also available on the Dart R/T, but test drivers haven’t tested that model yet. So far, test drivers aren’t all that impressed with the Dart’s power, but most praise its steering for being accurate and responsive. The Dart has 10 airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, which is a lot for the class. It also has stellar safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which combine to give the Dart an above-average safety score.

The 2013 Dodge Dart impresses reviewers with its spacious cabin, soft-touch plastics and large glovebox. The Dart’s cabin is also highly customizable, with 14 different interior color and trim combinations, according to Dodge. The Dart comes standard with a stereo and an auxiliary input jack, which isn’t much, but its list of optional interior features is good for the class, and includes tech items such as navigation, a USB port, Bluetooth and a touch-screen infotainment system called UConnect Touch. Overall, most reviewers think Uconnect Touch is easy to use, but say it takes a little practice to master, just like most infotainment systems.

  • "If you are in the market for a compact car, you certainly need to take a look at the 2013 Dodge Dart, as it takes a back seat to no one in the segment." -- AutoWeek
  • "In fact, among open-minded shoppers, we'd bet that it'll be hard to justify a Corolla or Civic or Elantra after driving a Dart." -- USA Today
  • "The 2013 Dart is an athletic, refined and highly customizable sedan that gives Dodge some much-needed respect in the compact-car market. The brand set its sights on the class leaders, and it hit the bull's-eye." -- Cars.com
  • "Overall, the Dart is a fairly solid offering. We would stay away from the base engine, but that is true of most of the cars in this class." -- Motor Trend
  • "In fact, available features and the numerous ‘personalization’ options are the Dart's greatest strengths, as room and driving dynamics are nothing special compared to its rivals." -- Consumer Guide

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Other Cars to Consider

The Mazda3’s base engine isn’t as powerful as the Dart’s, but reviewers rave about its performance, calling the Mazda3 one of the most fun-to-drive cars in its category. While the Mazda3’s list of optional interior tech features is comparable to the Dart’s, reviewers think it’s wise to avoid the Mazda3's navigation system, which has a small screen and is hard to use. Also, the Mazda3 sedan has less cargo space than the Dart, but the Mazda3 hatchback offers a lot more room for luggage.

For a small car with an exterior that is likely to attract more attention than the Dart’s, check out the Hyundai Veloster. While the Veloster’s base engine isn’t as powerful and reviewers don’t think its handling is very engaging, the base Veloster’s fuel economy ratings are higher than the base Dart’s. The Veloster also comes standard with more interior tech, such as a touch screen, Bluetooth and a USB port. All of these features are optional on the Dart.

Compare the Dart, Mazda3 and Veloster »

Details: 2013 Dodge Dart

The 2013 Dodge Dart is an all-new sedan that seats five and comes with one of three four-cylinder engines. The SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T trims come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, though there are two six-speed automatics available. Interior technology, such as an infotainment system and navigation, are available on the SXT trim and higher.

See the full 2013 Dodge Dart specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/20/14

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