Needs More Motor - 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye: Needs More Motor

September 17, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye

Southern California is in the middle of a heat wave. It's been 95 to 100 degrees here every day for more than a week. It's uncomfortable both for humans and for small boosted engines burdened with the weight of a compact sedan. It's this three-week period every year when we rediscover one of the primary downsides of small turbocharged powerplants.

Of course, the 2013 Dodge Dart is no rocket ship to begin with and, in fairness, it doesn't need to be. It's a compact sedan and speed isn't really a requirement for compact sedans. But the Dart is downright difficult in this weather. Below about 3,000 rpm, where it starts to make meaningful power, it's a slug. The reduction in off-the-line speed in this heat is substantial enough that I found myself second guessing gaps in traffic when pulling out of a driveway from a stop. It's not fun. Many of the Dart's competitors, those with larger displacement normally aspirated engines, don't suffer the same heat-induced reduction in performance.

Its transmission does it no favors, either. A manual transmission paired with this engine would allow better use of the slow-to-build power delivery and therefore better compensation for the weather. As is, however, I guess I'll just watch those gaps.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor


  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    The 2.0 has much more driveability in traffic, but it still underwhelms. I've read that the 2.4 is somewhat better than the 2.0, but it's tough on gas. The Fiatsler 1.4 and 1.4T is a dud in every application.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    It must be tough going from the SLS or from the CTS-V sport test drive back to a car like the Dart. I'm surprised the editors don't crash more often. With turbo engines gaining ground on more cars there might be a good reason to avoid the weaker ones in hot climates.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Yes, this is a known weakness, and your fuel economy updates reveal, you folks persist in running this car on 87 octane all summer long. Why ignore an easily- and cheaply-available remedy for the issue? You only have that crap 91 octane out there, but that would be plenty to wake this car up.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @fordson1: That horse is long dead... And even if it weren't, why are you suggesting that they employ an easy, cheap, and effective solution over say, getting the car with a completely different motor or continuing to stress themselves out by trying to ma

  • dby2012 dby2012 Posts:

    1) Like already stated, they are running lower octane gas which could hurt performance 2) There is a recent software update for the DDCT that is available that some owners are saying dramatically changes the transmission and reduces lag- but if they keep insisting on using 87 octane gas who knows how much of an impact this will have. 3) The 2.4 should solve most of not all the issues- it can run optimally on 87 octane gas, has more power and should get better gas mileage then what Edmunds is getting using 87 with the 1.4. 4) For 2014 the 2.4 will be standard on the SXT, Limited and of course the GT. Some have reported that on the 2014 documentation they have seen the mpg will be 35 hwy for the 2.4 and 6 speed auto for the SXT and Limited 5) I will just post what is coming and get it over with for unionbuster to save him time today- get rid of the turd! lmao

  • cynic783 cynic783 Posts:

    turbo fail. high curb weight fail. nice DI 2.4 would have NO problem

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    @fordson1: 91 octane will not save this car. Yes, Edmunds isn't optimizing matters by running the recommended fuel - and they speed - but the 1.4T is a dog no matter what it's drinking. @dby2012: The GT is rated by Dodge at 23/33 mpg.

  • dby2012 dby2012 Posts:

    Those who have seen the 2014 Dart press materials noted that it says the 2.4 will be 1 mpg over the current 2.0 hwy mpg rating, so it could get 35 with the auto and 36 with the stick. It is suspected that axel ratios were changed for 2014 and explain why the 2.4 is now standard on the SXT and Limited models. I assume the 14 GT will remain the same as 2013 since it is tuned for more sport. This is just speculation so far but it would explain what already has been confirmed that the 2.4 will be the standard engine for most models.

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    Add a big azz inter-cooler & nitrous. Merging problem solved.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    @dby2012: I don't know where you're getting your information, but the Dodge web site shows the 2.4 as available only on the GT trim. The 2.0 is standard on everything else but the Aero. The Hyundai Sonata 2.4 puts out more power and actually gets 35 mp

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    as somone who drives small cars all the time (fiat and fit) i question what sort of gaps you are trying to zip into but i also dont live in a busy city. but i checked the darts acceleration numbers and it can't be that bad!

  • dby2012 dby2012 Posts:

    gslippy: The 2.4 will be standard on more models in 2014. Reports from some peopl who have seen early press materials for the 2014 Dart at their dealerships where they work report that it states the 2.4 in the Limited and SXT will get 1 mpg over the 2.0 hwy rating, which would put it at 35/36. No one knows for sure as the official 2014 EPA numbers have not been reported.

  • @gslippy: What you are looking at on the Dodge website is information about 2013 models. dby2012 is referring to the upcoming 2014 configurations. And the 2.4 should be fine in the Dart. I just drove a rental Avenger with the much-maligned, non-Tigers

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    The 2.4 in the Avenger is a dog. A tired, old, anemic three-legged dog. It needs an update, which, it sounds like is going to happen for 2014? Maybe they'll create an SRT-4 Dart too?

  • The update is already here, in the current Dart GT: The "Tigershark" engine is a reworking of the 2.4 World Engine, to add MulitAir & other tweaks to supposedly improve NVH. I repeat that the old 2.4 I drove felt no worse than a similar-displacement engine in any similarly-priced car. Which I realize may be damning it with faint praise, but again, the engine did not make me want to kill myself -- which is contrary to what I've read about that engine in the press.

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