Unnecessarily Complicated A/C Controls - 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart: Unnecessarily Complicated A/C Controls

January 25, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart

When I drove the Dodge Dart on its national press launch last year, the vehicle in question featured the dual-zone automated climate control that features physical buttons with the read-out included within the large master screen. The system worked and although I suppose the separate display in the Ford Focus is superior, I was OK with it.

Our long-term Dart has manual controls paired to that same large screen, and I'm not OK with them.

Dodge simply removed three buttons (auto, passenger cold/hot) from the automatic system to create the manual one and called it a day. When you want to increase the A/C or heat you must repeatedly press either the cold or hot buttons, which is more annoying and less convenient than simply turning a knob. To know your current hot/cold setting, there is a tiny icon in the upper left portion of the large screen (indicated by arrow), which gets bigger when you press the hot/cold button.

To increase fan speed, turn the fan knob, which brings up an icon into the middle of the large screen (pictured). It then disappears, which means you only know what your fan speed is when you're changing it. If you want to change air flow direction, you have to press the climate button on the screen and then the Mode Man icon you desire.

Needless to say, this is an unnecessarily complicated solution to manual climate controls. However, you will note that I said our Dart has the manual controls paired to the large central screen. There is in fact a third option. Should you get a base Dart with the more conventional audio head unit (which looks like a Crown Victoria-inspired afterthought), the manual climate controls are of a more basic and more sensible three-knob design. They would almost certainly work better and Dodge should seriously consider making these the standard manual A/C control interface.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,916 miles


  • dby2011 dby2011 Posts:

    You totally missed the obvious. The fan speed is represented by the segments surrounding the climate icon on the middle bottom of the screen. It's always there on my Dart when the fan is on. You don't need to turn the fan on to see what speed it is at. When you press the climate icon you also can adjust the temp on the screen using a slider. Maybe someone who can do a fair unbiased review should continue with the long term test. Do you have some issue with Chrysler or something? Or is some other company paying you to hate the car?

  • brankobox brankobox Posts:

    What a shameful post. Dart Rallye. http://i49.tinypic.com/14wd9l.jpg You can clearly see what dby2011 was talking about.

  • preed4962 preed4962 Posts:

    I think you need to look at the screen again... the circular image around the icon of the person indicates fan speed, as well as current mode (floor, bi-lev, dash, etc.).... Just drove one today...

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests

Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411