Audio Impressions - 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye: Audio Impressions

October 10, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye

When I see a branded stereo system in any car, I expect the sound quality to be decent, at the very least. Our Alpine audio system in the long-term Dart set us back $495, but I really don't think it was worth it.

It operates just fine, finding my iPhone without any issues, though it does seem to index my library for a few minutes every time I plug it in. This keeps me from browsing from the list or shuffling.

No, my issue is with the sound quality itself. Whether it's the speakers or system is irrelevant. It sounds muddy on both ends of the spectrum. Highs are pretty much nonexistent with the equalizer flat. As the picture above shows, I have to crank it way up to hear any detail. Down low, the bass just falls apart in a flatulent buzz.

In a big orchestral piece, where highs and lows push systems to their limits, the Dart's Alpine system is a huge disappointment. It's not much better with tracks that are more bass or treble specific, either.

My verdict: Skip the Alpine upgrade and maybe try buying better speakers instead

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 14,754 miles


  • nukedetroit nukedetroit Posts:

    Needs some editing. "...the Dart's [ENTIRETY] is a huge disappointment..." "Maybe people should skip the [DART] and maybe try buying [A BETTER VEHICLE... LITERALLY, ANYTHING ELSE SOLD IN AMERICA] instead."

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    This pretty much sums up my experience with 95% of branded in-car systems. Luckily, I'm aware that a car is a horrible listening environment, and can live with something that's half decent. I also listen to music at a pretty low volume, which helps too. When it comes to truly enjoying music though, it should be in person, or laying comfortably on the couch, at home, in a listening environment that is actually worth investing in. You can also take a nap if it looks like you're just enjoying the music with eyes closed, which I don't recommend doing while driving...

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    I realize that "audiophiles" cringe when they hear this, but I've always enjoyed the sound that Bose systems provided. I didn't know Alpine was really even still in the audio game...

  • should swing by a Dodge dealer and see if they'll let you just listen to the base system in a car. It would be interesting to hear what the difference is. --- If the week area is the speakers the base system might be so week it can't do much with better speakers. --- Also might be fun to try some aftermarket speakers in the one you have. Nothing too extreme, just some $40 dash speakers and $70 speakers in each door. See what around $200 would do to the sound. --- and do the install yourself

  • cx7lover cx7lover Posts:

    Chrysler's stock systems have a signature - distorted bass, no detail and no crankability. The BOSE system in my 2014 Madza6 is pretty decent for the money and for the fact that it takes up zero extra space anywhere (not even the trunk or under a seat)

  • ainge3 ainge3 Posts:

    I own a Toyota Highlander with the top of the line JBL audio system. The Alpine system in the Dart is superior. Those who don't hear the astounding quality of the Alpine system in the Dart do not have an ear for music.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    How f-n hard or expensive can it be to put a decent audio system in a car? Remember when you could easily swap in a $200 aftermarket unit and get decent sound quality even with the 4 stock speakers already in the car?

  • nukedetroit nukedetroit Posts:

    To answer your question with another question, emajor, how f-n hard or expensive would it have been for Fiasler to engineer and build a car that wasn't such an absolute piece of [non-permissible content removed] in the first place?

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    The only music you should ever need while driving is the song of a well-tuned engine and exhaust.

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