2013 Dodge Dart: Opinion on the Car's Handling
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.
Though I can see both viewpoints, overall I came away from my drive a little underwhelmed. On the positive side, the Dart felt stable once I had turned into to a corner and the (otherwise softly tuned) suspension had set. Grip is modest, but there's certainly hope for an eventual Dart with stickier tires (the forthcoming GT).
However, I've also driven a couple other long-term test cars recently on the same road, specifically the (now departed) Mazda 3 and Subaru Impreza. I recall both cars being superior to the Dart in terms of handling. Mostly, the Dart just drives bigger and heavier than I thought it would. It shows up on the spec sheet (it is longer, wider and heavier), but it also has to do with the car's steering, which requires more effort compared to the Mazda's but doesn't make any notable payoffs in terms of communication with the road.
Overall, I'd say the Dart handles adequately for the segment it competes in. But it's more of a mid-pack player than a handling standout.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,810 miles