2013 Dodge Dart Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Reviewers prefer the Dart’s 1.4-liter turbocharged engine over the base 2.0-liter engine, especially when the 1.4-liter engine is paired with the manual transmission. Reviewers are most impressed with the Dart after taking it on twisty roads, calling its handling accurate and responsive.
- "The car has surprising power. Performance is good and passing is easy for anybody willing to rev the engine and shift the smooth six-speed fast and frequently." -- Detroit Free Press
- "Regardless of engine, the Dart sails down freeways with quiet aplomb." -- Los Angeles Times
- "The new Dart is certainly mellower than that beast, but after spending an afternoon in the Dart, it's clear Dodge has a driver's car in this segment once again." -- Popular Mechanics
- "A day spent driving the Dart on the winding roads of Northern California revealed a car with taut reflexes and a willingness to attack corners." -- Cars.com
Acceleration and Power
The 2013 Dodge Dart offers three inline four-cylinder engines and three six-speed transmissions. All engines have a standard six-speed manual, and two six-speed automatics are available, depending on which engine you get. The SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited models come standard with a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. These trims are available with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that makes 160 horsepower and an additional 36 pound-feet of torque compared with the base engine. The 1.4-liter is the only engine that can be paired with the optional automated manual transmission. R/T models have a standard 2.4-liter engine that makes 184 horsepower. The base Dart averages 25/36 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, but opting for the 1.4-liter engine brings a slight boost in fuel economy.
Reviewers haven’t tested the R/T model yet, but most prefer the optional 1.4-liter engine over the base engine because it produces more torque. A few reviewers find that the 2.0-liter engine isn’t fast from a stop and lacks power for passing maneuvers. Auto critics who drove models with the manual transmission are divided on its performance. Some say that the shifts between gears are too vague and long, while one thinks both the clutch and the shifter are smooth. Few reviewers prefer the automatic over the manual, but say it also shifts smoothly.
- "The six-speed automatic was a smooth shifter. ..." -- Left Lane News
- "The base engine is adequate in hauling around the 3,186-pound 2013 Dart (the automatic adds 56 pounds), but the lack of torque is noticeable when trying to make a quick start and when trying to make a two-lane pass." -- AutoWeek
- "The engine suffers a bit of turbo lag (delay in power delivery) when you stab the throttle at virtually any speed, but feels stronger than the 2.0 once power builds. The shifter and clutch are smooth and easy to use." -- Consumer Guide (1.4-liter engine)
- "The manual shifter has longish throws, and shift feel is a little vague." -- Cars.com
Handling and Braking
Very few reviewers complain about the 2013 Dart’s braking abilities, but one reviewer says the brakes are somewhat grabby, though they still stop the Dart well. Most test drivers focus on the Dart’s handling, and have very few complaints. Several say that although the Dart is heavy for an affordable small car, it drives well in nearly any environment. Reviewers are impressed with the Dart’s accurate steering and say it instills driver confidence and offers good feedback on wet roads. One of reviewers’ only complaints is that the Dart’s ride is bumpy over rough surfaces, but that’s common for small cars.
- "A long wheelbase, well-tuned suspension and nicely-sorted electric power steering combine to make the Dart as comfortable and controlled cruising down a highway as it is taking on serpentine back roads." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Even on the rain-soaked twisty back roads of northern California, the handsome Dart was well composed." -- Popular Mechanics
- "Dart is heavy for a compact, and that doesn't help its agility. However, handling is perfectly competent with well-controlled lean in fast turns, and steering feel is surprisingly direct." -- Consumer Guide
- "Nor was there appreciable understeer - a tendency to plow ahead, rather than turn - when cornering." -- The New York Times
- "The car negotiated fast curves well, but the ride got bumpy on rough pavement." -- Detroit Free Press
- "Brakes are a little grabby, but worked well enough to halt the Dart from 60 in a short 126-feet." -- Motor Week