It was painful for me, but I had to trade in my 2011 Dodge Charger R/T AWD for something with better mpg's and a lower monthly payment. I knew the Dart's just came out, and I liked the idea of staying with a Dodge. After some research online I knew I had to have the Ralleye trim. The exterior looks on the Ralleye trim are what sets it apart from the limited. I opted for the $1300 1.4l turbo motor and another $1100 for the auto transmission. I'm glad I did because this turbo is FUN to drive! Obviously my Charger had more power, but this Dart is a fun and stylish alternative to a Honda Civic, or Toyota Corolla, etc. The seats are nice and bolstered too, which I really like, very sporty.
The Dodge Dart is a highly underrated new car. I own an SXT 1.4 Turbo manual six speed. At 7,000 miles it has had NO glitches. The power, which most reviewers seem to complain about, is awesome considering it's mileage averages. Yes, it's heavy. That's why it's comfortable on highways and longer trips - UNLIKE some of the lightweight competition which brag about better zero to 60 times. What are we? Kids on a playground at recess? Third grade? Actually, a lot of people DO drive like they are in third grade, so I guess it makes sense. Compared to literal HORROR STORIES like those told by Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ owners - my Dart is a DREAM COME TRUE . Come on people.
I've read lots of reviews and can't understand why the 2.0 liter never gets covered much. I like this engine. It's reasonably powerful, consistent and very smooth. The 6 speed manual is great and worth the learning curve if you've never driven a standard before plus you'll go farher on a tank. It will also require less maintenance. I plan to keep this car for awhile and appreciate that I won't have the hassle of having to eventually get a timing belt replaced. Some reviewers complain about the seats not being comfortable. I consider myself of average build and find the support and comfort great with really good lower back support. They also look good. Highly recommended!
I have the lowest end car available that I picked up at a great price in January 2013. The design work on the car looks great inside and out. The interior is nicer than you would expect from a base model. The dashboard was designed for the nicer electronic touch-screen interface, which my car does not have, but the manual system looks nice and functions well. It has a roomy interior with adequate cargo, although smaller than expected. The car has a sporty feel while driving (especially with a 6 speed manual), but it does not reach advertised mpg, and can be somewhat difficult to shift smoothly at first. It cruises smoothly on the freeway and handles well better than similar sedans.
After 22,000 miles I have had zero maintenance or quality issues, only oil changes (which are $60 due to synthetic oil requirement). Plenty of power with a nice throaty exhaust note and a 33 mpg overall average. Forty mpg is routine at 65 mph. The magazine writers who whine about turbo lag with this engine are describing gear/rpm/speed situations no sane driver would use, such as 1500 rpm/4th gear/30 mph. Use 3rd gear at that speed (2000 rpm) and enjoy snappy response. This car is a nice combination of comfort, economy, power and sporty handling.
1.4-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine ($1,300); Premium Group ($895 -- includes leather seats, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control); UConnect multimedia system ($495); 17-by-7.5-Inch Aluminum Wheels ($395)
Turbocharged, port-injected inline-4, gasoline
SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing and lift
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
160 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
184 @ 2,500-4,000
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
Decent sauce from this little turbo-4, although noticed a mild midrange dip in power on the way up. But it freely revs past redline to its 6,500-rpm limiter. Best run came with a 4,000-rpm drop-clutch launch with decent front wheelspin. Had to shift into 3rd gear before 60 mph. Six-speed manual has longish throws, but the gates are easy to find and the linkage has a light action.
Short pedal travel but slightly spongy feel. Very little nosedive, although the front end usually pulled slightly to the right. Pedal stayed consistent. First stop was shortest at 118 feet. Longest stops were the third and sixth (out of 6) at 122 feet.
Skid pad: The Dart responds nicely to changes in throttle, making it pretty easy to keep the car right on the skid pad circle. The tires grip well. Slalom: The Dart turns in very easily and intuitively, even though the steering is a bit lighter in effort than preferred and doesn't possess a lot of feel. Tall seating position gives the impression of a high center of gravity. This seems like a competent chassis. If Dodge stiffened up the suspension and made the ESC fully defeatable, it could run some good numbers. Right now it's mostly held back by throttle and brake intervention, even when ESC is "off."