Lonely Buttons - 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye: Lonely Buttons

November 25, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye

The trunk release button is one of the Dart's mysteries. What designer decided to hang it out there by itself in the middle of the lower dash panel? The fuel door release, also floating by itself, this time on the driver-side door panel above the door pocket, is a similar mystery.

Whether this is just an Italian or Dodge design quirk, or a real case of slap-dashing interfaces, it's a small reminder that the Dart isn't yet ready to hang with the Civic, Focus or Forte. It's competent and at least gives Dodge a presence in the segment, ideally something to mark time until an American design team can re-imagine it from the ground up. But with inferior materials quality and fit-and-finish, and that wheezy drivetrain, the Dart is limited to competing on price, incentive and loyalty given other choices for compacts.

Bonus points for trimming the buttons with a chrome ring, however.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor


Comments

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    you beat nukedetroit to the punch. I think a lot of issues have to do with the amount of care/time/effort they put into the first year model. What makes you think an American design team wasn't already involved in converting this Italian car into an American car the first go around?

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    The Dart was certainly designed with the help of an American team. That headlight switch in the photo - it was loose on the two early models I test-drove last year. Not a great introduction to the Dart's quality.

  • hank39 hank39 Posts:

    Seems like they could've grouped the hood release and trunk release in the same vicinity (i.e. down by the hood release lever).

  • robert4380 robert4380 Posts:

    Maybe it's down there so that when you're flying down the highway and go to turn on your headlights you don't accidentally open the trunk and ditch your luggage by mistake. If the button is all the way down there by itself then you have to make more of an effort to get to it.

  • bc1960 bc1960 Posts:

    Mazda puts the trunk release button on its sedans in a similar location--it's not desirable to hit it by accident.

  • moparfool_ moparfool_ Posts:

    The Dodge Challenger has its trunk release button in the same general location as the Dart - under the headlight switch. It has no chrome ring around it, but the button is in an indentation that guides my finger in to it. The trunk lid will not release if the car is in gear. The button location makes it is easy to open the trunk when standing outside the car; either reach in to it if the window is open or open the door slightly to get at the button. I sure wish there was a trunk key lock. If there is a circuit failure or the battery, which is located in the trunk, fails, the only way to open the trunk is crawl in from the backseat and pull the release cable. A lot of vehicles don't have keyed trunk or passenger door entry anymore - this is a lousy way to save 50 cents of manufacturing cost.

  • boff_ boff_ Posts:

    I wish the trunk release was in a more obscure position in my Mustang. It is next the shifter right beside the 4-way flasher switch. Don't ask me how many times I've popped the trunk instead of turning on the hazards. I might explode.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I've had cars where the trunk release is grouped with the hood release and I would frequently hit one when I wanted the other. It looks weird in this position, but at least you wouldn't have the problem of accidentally hitting it while going for something else.

  • adamb1 adamb1 Posts:

    It's a security issue with an electric button. Set it high on the dash board and one can easily get a coat hanger in and push the button gaining access to the trunk. Put it here, harder to do.

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