2013 Dodge Dart Track SXT Rallye Test on Edmunds.com

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Track Test

Performance Testing the Turbocharged Dart


Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Recent pushes to increase fuel economy by all automakers have created some odd circumstances. Case in point: our new 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye. It has the optional turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and yet it doesn't deliver any more horsepower than the standard engine. What it does deliver is 36 extra pound-feet of torque and improved fuel mileage.

Furthering this fuel economy gain is our Dart's six-speed dual-dry-clutch automated manual transmission. While less efficient than the standard six-speed manual, the dual-clutch setup is good for an EPA estimated 27 mpg city/37 highway and 31 mpg combined.

Fuel economy is all well and good, but we wanted to know what that extra torque would do when pushed to the limit, so we took our Long-Term 2013 Dodge Dart to the track to find out.

Vehicle: 2013 Dodge Dart Track SXT Rallye
Odometer: 1,442
Date: 1/15/2013
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $25,385

Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed dual-dry-clutch automated manual
Engine Type: Turbocharged, port-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,368/83
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 160 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 184 @ 2,500-4,000
Brake Type (front): 12-by-1.1-inch ventilated cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.4-by-0.4-inch solid cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 225/45R17 (91H) M+S
Tire Size (rear): 225/45R17 (91H) M+S
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,300

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 3.4 (3.7 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 5.5 (5.8 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 8.6 (9.0 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.2 (8.5 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 12.7 (13.2 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.3 @ 86.1 (16.6 @ 85.4 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 117

Slalom (mph): 63.9 (63.1 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.83 (0.83 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 43.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 71.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 60.8

RPM @ 70: 2,500

Acceleration: Pretty laggardly off the line. Not sure if it was more turbo lag or a hesitant dual-clutch transmission. Was able to power-brake to 2,500 rpm, which netted about 0.3 second. The slow upshifts come at 6,000 rpm. There's lag with each shift until the tach gets to 4,400. Manual shifting is via console lever (push forward for downshifts, correct!). Does not hold gears to limiter, but does blip throttle on downshifts.

Braking: Firm and consistent pedal. Significant brake odor by completion of tests. Pulled significantly to the right with every stop. Very little nosedive. First stop was the shortest at 117 feet. Sixth and final stop was longest at 119 feet.

Skid pad: Decent steering effort, although there isn't a ton of actual feel. What's cool is that the Dart responds well to throttle changes, although it's difficult to say fully to what extent because the ESC system spends a lot of time grabbing the brakes.

Slalom: The Dart gets around the cones reasonably well considering the soft suspension and large amount of body roll. It went slightly quicker with TC off. I didn't feel any less ESC intervention, but maybe the fact that it allowed it to spin the tires with TC off at slalom exit helped.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.



  • ed124c ed124c Posts:

    1300 dollars for an 8.6 0-60? No thanks. I imagine it would get down to about 8 with the stick, making it more in line with other compacts with their STANDARD engines.

  • nismo2z nismo2z Posts:

    Sounds like a junk car by this report. Tranny doesn't allow you to get to redline, shifts itself, can't go straight while braking, the brakes smell like a Honda's, rolls a lot, doesn't have good steering feel, lethargic off the line, etc. One plus: It's braking distances were consistent!

  • nismo2z nismo2z Posts:

    Sounds like a junk car by this report. Tranny doesn't allow you to get to redline, shifts itself, can't go straight while braking, the brakes smell like a Honda's, rolls a lot, doesn't have good steering feel, lethargic off the line, etc. One plus: It's braking distances were consistent!

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Looks like the Chevy Cruze LTZ test...both 3200-3300 lb. both have 1.4 liter turbocharged fours, both have pretty lackadaisical acceleration and still need premium fuel for best results. Sounds like a fairly loaded Focus would be a better deal - better handling and braking, a better dual-clutch (although still not great) automanual, and better engine performance. And because that better performance comes with the base engine, you get to spend your $1,300 on other options instead of paying that for an engine upgrade.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Sorry, but "push forward to downshift" is not correct for a street car. There are several reasons for this. 1. Intuition in Western society equates forward with positive. 2. With the PRNDL setup, lower gears are accessed by pulling the shift lever to the rear. Using a similar system for a manumatic gate reduces confusion. 3. In applications that use a throttle lever instead of a pedal (aircraft, lawn equipment) pushing the lever forward equates to higher speed, much like upshifting equates to higher speed. 4. The Dart is not a race car, nor does it utilize a sequential manual transmission. Pretending it does is just foolish.

  • corollamike corollamike Posts:

    Would like to know why Edmunds believe any of us who would lay down $25k+ for a car would treat it in such a manner. Have you considered a real-world test? Good heavens, how is it to back into a parking space at the Save-Mart? Can it get out of its own way on a lonely road stuck behind a slow truck when a short space of passing lane becomes available? Can you convincingly hide that a-bit-oversize fuzzy toy you haply found for your daughter on the way home from work while picking up a quart of milk and a loaf of bread? You people went to "J-School", did you not? Expand your horizons, why don't you? You've rid yourselves (and us) of Inside Line, so, do us a favor, and speak to the rest of us who will NEVER abuse our cars at a test track.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    No, please abuse the cars! Yes, take them to Save-Mart and try to fit a Chimenea in the trunk or back seat, or even a nursing chair. But by all means, abuse these cars. If they are junk for spirited driving, then fine - remind us of their good points.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Oy, and the problem with putting the enthusiasts together with the appliance buyers finally rears its ugly head. The LT test is a thorough, comprehensive test of the vehicle, mostly of day-to-day livability, which no worries, we'll get plenty of, but also performance numbers. You want to know how well it will pass on the road? These numbers and the comments supporting them will give you a very good indication. If you actually read the rest of the LT test you'd realize they actually ARE speaking to you.

  • rdtigereys rdtigereys Posts:

    A pretty thorough test of the Dart's performance but I have one nagging question about the 1.4L turbo & turbos in general. Recommended fuel for these engines is usually premium. Which are you using? Is there any measurable difference running the different fuel as far as performance? Fuel economy? Assuming your using regular fuel, can you safely use it all the time? Void a warranty? Are knock sensors working overtime because of using the low octane gas? Are the sensors @ risk of premature failure from using regular fuel continually? Inquiring minds want to know. We're talking a big difference in cost for one fill up & over the life of the car.

  • kburg kburg Posts:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Engine_Manufacturing_Alliance#Tigershark Where are the 2.0 and 2.4 engines, and what are their comparative performance numbers?

  • maxx18 maxx18 Posts:

    I really wanted to like this car when I first saw it. It seemed to have all the right elements of a great car. Yet, it seems to fall short in every meaningful way (not just performance.) It seems like they may need to go back to the drawing board on the transmission software, ESC and suspension tuning.

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