June 19, 2013
With hands full of whatever, there's nothing better than being able to conveniently open your car's trunk when you're on the approach.
June 14, 2013
Uh, now that can't be good. That's what I said to myself when I opened the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye's front passenger door the other day and part of the handle flew off onto the ground.
Now I'm no genius, trust me, but I don't think that's supposed to happen.
I will admit it was a bit more of an "aggressive opening" on my part than usual, as I was in a hurry. But still, this kind of thing shouldn't happen in a brand new, fully modern car.
June 13, 2013
Today Chrysler issued a recall notice for nearly 15,000 2013 Dodge Dart sedans equipped with the 1.4-liter engine and dual-clutch transmission.
Yep, that's the spec for our long-term Dart.
June 12, 2013
You can tow any car behind a motorhome if you bring a trailer. But motorhome aficionados rightly consider trailers to be a pain in the butt because they represent extra towed weight and a storage problem. They'd much rather tow the car on its on wheels with a simple tow bar in so-called four-down or "dingy" fashion.
Easy is the watchword here. Motorhome touring is supposed to be fun. A dinghy vehicle can be quickly unhooked and driven around on side trips while the motorhome sits parked with its awnings unfurled and its sliders popped out in full relaxation mode.
Of course there are mechanical implications for the car involved.
What does this mean for the 2013 Dodge Dart? Can you tow one of these with a motorhome?
June 11, 2013
I met a friend of mine the other night at the movies. Afterwards, as we were walking back to our cars in the parking garage, my friend, who isn't what you would call a "real car person" (whatever the definition of that is anyway), asked me what car I had tonight.
"Dodge Dart," I said.
"Oh, cool!" she said. "Can I see it?"
June 7, 2013
As you can see from this warning sticker, Dodge doesn't recommend putting more than 825 pounds of total weight in the Dart. Seems reasonable until you start doing the math.
June 6, 2013
The crack was staring me in the face when I climbed behind the wheel of our 2013 Dodge Dart to drive home. After mouthing a wordless medium-potency swear I dabbed a fingerprint onto the end to track how much it would grow during my outbound commute, if any.
But I couldn't see the impact point from the driver's seat, so I climbed out and looked things over.
Oddly, I found no impact point, not even under the edge of the molding when I peeled it back.
June 5, 2013
The compact car segment is one that's now chock full of good picks. In addition to the segment fave Honda Civic you have well-regarded choices such as the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda 3.
As such, if you're a brand new player trying to get in the game it's not easy. The year-to-date sales numbers (through April) for compacts have the Dodge Dart at the back of the pack. Here's the low-down...
June 3, 2013
We've put just over 10,000 miles on our 2013 Dodge Dart, and at this point we're starting to get alarmed about its fuel economy.
Compared to an EPA combined rating of 31 mpg, our average stands at 27.7 mph. That's 3.3 mpg shy of the rating, which represents an 11-percent miss.
May 31, 2013
Judging by the adjustments I make to the steering wheel whenever I get in a long-term car, I prefer to have my wheel a bit lower than my colleagues. When I went to drop the wheel in our Dart, I discovered it lacked the range of adjustment that I prefer.
May 30, 2013
I'm loving our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart right now. I just spent the better part of a week living in the Dart and I'm hesitant to give up the keys.
May 29, 2013
That's a five-and-half-foot tall box filled with brand new brake lines from Right Stuff Detailing for a 1969 Chevy Camaro project my father and I have begun.
May 28, 2013
Seems several cars in the long-term fleet are coming up for service. This time it was our 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye, which is rapidly approaching the 10,000-mile mark.
May 27, 2013
Our long-term Dodge Dart has a USB port and aux jack hidden away in the center console armrest bin (there's also a power outlet in there). Like most of these in-the-bin situations, the Dart has a handy cutout that allows you to keep your smart phone or mp3 player within reach, but still close the door on the bin and not pinch your cord.
May 24, 2013
Ever since I first laid eyes on it, I've liked the Dodge Dart's basic shape. It's smooth and flowing, and unlike cars like the Hyundai Elantra and some other cars I could name, the sides aren't mucked up by an abundance of creases.
But it's the Rallye trim level that really does it for me. The keys are black headlight housings instead of chrome, the relatively small amount of black paint that bridges the gap between those headlights and the grille, and the black-colored bumper segment between the grille and the lower air intake. The body-colored grille crosshairs on a black background helps, too.
May 23, 2013
We were headed to Corona Del Mar to drop off our daughter for a beach party. After that my wife and I planned to head over to Ruby's Shake Shack on Pacific Coast Highway for a chili dog, a side order of ocean view and a milkshake chaser.
At our first stop the odometer showed nothing but nines when Sarah hopped out with her towel and beach chair.
May 22, 2013
All hail the backup camera, the parking aid of the century! Our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye has one, and mostly that's a very good thing.
But the image at night suffers from bad resolution. Those who remember analog TV sets fed by rooftop antenna might call it "snowy." The guide lines are not peppered with any snow, so the issue is with the camera, not the display.
May 21, 2013
As a visibility hog, I am made crazy by this decade's trend of less and less visibility in cars. Sure, I appreciate a good rear-view camera when an SUV's heiny is huge, but when your average family sedan or hatchback often requires one, it makes me frown. So I was pleasantly surprised when I looked up to the rearview mirror in our 2013 Dodge Dart and noticed I could see the entire back window in the reflection. The whole thing. And that's not a tiny slit of a rear window, like in the Camaro we had a while back.
May 16, 2013
When I hop in a car and adjust everything, I tend to prefer the steering wheel down a bit, where it feels more natural for someone like me with a shorter build. Although I appreciate that the Dart has both tilt and telescopic adjustments for the wheel, it just doesn't tilt down enough.
May 14, 2013
As is often becoming the case these days, our 2013 Dodge Dart features an optional engine that's actually smaller in displacement than the base setup. With the help of a turbocharger, this 1.4-liter engine manages to deliver 40 extra pound-feet of torque over the 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Horsepower remains equal between the two engines.
May 13, 2013
We twisted the key on our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye and were greeted in the instrument panel by a number of messages, but one was accompanied by a tone, "Bing."
May 10, 2013
In a purpose-built hangar adjacent to John Wayne Airport, in Orange County California lies Lyon Air Museum. Named for General William Lyon, USAF (Ret.), "The Lyon Air Museum exhibit is comprised of authentic aircraft, rare vehicles and related memorabilia, with emphasis on the defining event of the 20th century — World War II."
Click through to see a smattering of the collection, whose centerpiece is a famous B-17 Flying Fortress. Besides all the aircraft, all the cars, transports, and motorcycles are in running condition. Worth the trip and the modest price of admission.
May 9, 2013
It requires a small amount of advanced planning (or forgetfulness) to take advantage of our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye's auto-start functionality. Simply leaving the HVAC controls where they were prior to shutting the car off allows the climate to resume at that prior setting.
May 2, 2013
We threw a few thousand miles at our 2013 Dodge Dart in April. Were in-house records broken? Did the overall average increase or decrease? Click on through before you fall out of your chair.
May 1, 2013
When I saw the Alpine badges in the Dart, I remembered having a conversation more than 10 years ago with Alpine's marketing vice-president. I asked why the company didn't brand the audio systems it provided (through its parent company, Alps Electronics) to automakers like Honda. I argued that the Civic, or at least Civic Si buyers, would pay extra to own that sound and that logo on their head units.
April 29, 2013
The ambient temp gauge only registered 79 degrees, and yet me n' The Kid never got comfortable.
April 26, 2013
A quick trip to Whole Foods resulted in one small shopping bag holding three 1-liter bottles and a few apples. I needed to make another stop on my way home, and figured the refrigerated liquids would be better off hiding in the trunk.
April 23, 2013
It was a bright, clear morning near the beach, and as I slid open our 2013 Dodge Dart's sunroof, I was reminded of a conversation I had years ago with a friend.
April 18, 2013
If you were paying attention, you'll remember that a couple of months ago, Dodge launched its unique Dodge Dart Registry. Created to promote the Dart, the site allows participants to raise money toward the purchase of a new Dart.
This approach was certainly an innovative one on the part of Dodge, and now that innovativeness has been recognized. The Shorty Industry Awards honors the best brands, agencies and professionals in social media. The Dodge Dart Registry has won Dodge an award for best social media campaign in the automobile industry.
Some additional information, from the Shorty Awards website:
April 17, 2013
The other day I had to drive one of our editors down to Gardena, about 20 miles south of our Santa Monica headquarters. Problem was that this was during morning rush-hour. As I groaned at the sight of the black-and-red snake of death that loomed on Google Maps, I plugged in Edmunds' address into our 2013 Dodge Dart's navigation just to see how it works in this car. Having consulted Google Maps on my iPhone beforehand I kind of had an idea of what was the least congested way to go and was prepared to ignore the nav and have her reroute and adapt to my change of direction.
April 15, 2013
Confession: I'm very picky about how people drive. Basically, hands at 9 and 3, always pass on the left and always look ahead. Amazingly there's a bunch of people who don't know any of this. Cough::Angelenos::cough. Well, last weekend I was passenger to one such person. He drives with both wrists at the 12 o'clock position and also sticks to the speed limit (driving 70 mph in a 70-mph zone, but I tried not to be too mad at that since he probably was just worried about fuel economy). ANYway, you're probably wondering what this has to do with our 2013 Dodge Dart.
April 12, 2013
I've been dealing with the arduous task of getting my Jeep Cherokee to pass a California smog test. It's been throwing codes for a while now, specifically blaming the first bank of catalytic converters for inefficiency. The Cherokee has a lame design that uses dual exhaust manifolds with a pre-cat attached to each. These then feed into a third cat. This design also uses four oxygen sensors. Sweet.
The search for California-approved, direct-fit replacement pre-cats led me to the OEM piece, worth a cool $1,700. An aftermarket Magnaflow piece was exceedingly more reasonable, but didn't line up correctly with the Cherokee's manifold design, and required a trip to FedEx for the return. Appropriately enough, it was one Chrysler vehicle helping another.
April 11, 2013
In a previous update I wrote about how our 2013 Dodge Dart successfully took on my family's large collection of stuff for a four-day, 700-mile road trip. For this installment I've got a report on how well the Dart drove.
April 10, 2013
"This is what we're taking?"
This was my wife upon seeing the Dodge Dart in our driveway. We were about to start packing for a four-day trip to visit her parents for Easter. "Yep. It's a Dodge Dart," I replied.
Somewhat disdainfully, my wife's eyes glanced over the car's lines some more. "It's kind of small. You're sure it's going to hold all our stuff?"
"It'll fit," I said confidently, while secretly wondering whether it actually would.
And thus began a 700-mile road trip test of our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart.
April 9, 2013
In an earlier post, Editor James Riswick noted how unnecessarily complicated the air-conditioner controls of our 2013 Dodge Dart are. But I'd like to point out how the temperature controls themselves are lacking in a crucial detail: degrees. Looking at this screen how can you tell how warm or cold you are making it with that slider? I mean, is this a thing now?
April 8, 2013
We typically aim for 20,000 miles on our one-year tests of long-term cars. We started our test of the 2013 Dodge Dart back in January, and we just passed 5,000 miles, so we seem to be on track.
April 4, 2013
If you've been following news of the Dodge Dart (you have, haven't you?) then you might know that when Dodge debuted the car to automotive journalists, it said a sporty R/T model would be coming in the fall of 2012. The R/T, however, proved to be MIA.
At the beginning of this year though, Dodge announced a GT trim would be coming, and it listed pretty much the same equipment as the promised R/T: a 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine, a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, a sport-tuned suspension and special interior and exterior trim.
Now, it's said the GT will be out in the "second quarter of 2013," which would be soon. And if I were thinking about buying a Dart, I'd wait until I could test-drive the GT.
April 3, 2013
We've generally written nice things about the 2013 Dodge Dart's handling capabilities. In our road test, for instance, we observed that the Dart "is surprisingly satisfying to thread through a smooth canyon road if you're just trying to make brisk work of it and not set a time-to-distance record." But I've also seen some feedback elsewhere claiming that the Dodge is a little more ho-hum. Curious to find out for myself, I drove our long-term Dart on a local, curvy road.
April 2, 2013
We added close to 2,000 miles to our 2013 Dodge Dart during March. The miles were added both from commuting around Los Angeles and from some long-distance highway driving around California. The result for the month of March was an average of 28 mpg.
March 28, 2013
I do happen to like the exterior styling of Dodge's new Dart. OK, it doesn't exactly have the presence of a Challenger SRT8, but there are some distinctive elements that help it stand out in a parking lot, such as the crosshair grille and the optional LED surround taillights. And overall it looks respectably sporty, as a Dodge should.
March 27, 2013
Rearview cameras are getting better and better, and our 2013 Dodge Dart's system is a good example of how far they've come on non-luxury vehicles.
March 26, 2013
How spacious is the cabin of our 2014 Dodge Dart?