2013 Dodge Dart: 700-Mile Family Road Trip, Part Two
April 11, 2013
In a previous update I wrote about how our 2013 Dodge Dart successfully took on my family's large collection of stuff for a four-day, 700-mile road trip. For this installment I've got a report on how well the Dart drove.
As a highway cruiser, the Dart is respectable. Its best quality is by far its ride quality. As we noted previously, it feels substantial behind the wheel as the suspension and tires strike a good balance between compliance and control. In that sense the Dart is comfortable and soaks up bumps, but it also feels like it's at the ready should you need to make any emergency maneuvers.
Overall, I was OK with the seat comfort for my driving time, which was 4 to 5 hours each way. Wind and road noise were low, though I found myself noticing engine noise more than I would expect. While its power output is fine, our Dart's turbocharged 1.4-liter engine just doesn't sound very refined.
Fuel economy was underwhelming as well, or at least in comparison to the car's EPA estimates. For the trip, I averaged 30.8 mpg. Considering that my trip was mostly highway miles, I would have hoped for something closer to the car's 37 mpg highway estimate.
On the upside, the large touchscreen is great, providing crisp navigation maps and large, legible fonts for the audio information. I also liked the sound quality of the Alpine stereo and useful amount of interior storage.
Overall the Dart was a mixed bag. Its roomy interior came in handy for sure, and I appreciated the ride quality. For long road trips, those are very important qualities in my opinion. But the issues of refinement and fuel economy also kept me from truly liking the car as much as I wanted to.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,462 miles