2013 Dodge Dart: Fun to Drive
May 30, 2013
I'm loving our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart right now. I just spent the better part of a week living in the Dart and I'm hesitant to give up the keys.
This front-wheel drive sedan is fun to drive. And it likes to be driven hard. Although I do wish it had paddle shifters on its steering wheel, the Dart Rallye hangs in there nicely and really comes alive when its driver starts driving.
Nothing outside the law mind you, I'm talking about redlining a few gears, trail braking into a few turns and manually shifting the Dart's six-speed Dual Dry Clutch automatic transmission. You know, driving.
Turns out the Dart is engineered for such shenanigans. It likes it when you put that coffee down, stop talking on the cell phone and drive like your Skip Barber instructor taught you to drive.
It's no racecar, but the Dart is more than entertaining. And its performance levels are impressively high when you ask it to accelerate, stop and turn with exuberance.
I really like the way its brakes are easy to modulate, and its ABS system doesn't kick in prematurely. It also turns in very well, and its body motions, especially its body roll are very well controlled. Its Electronic Stability Control is also very well-tuned. Like the Dart's ABS system, the ESC is there when you need it but it doesn't come on constantly when you don't.
You know, there have been rumors of an SRT version of the Dart, a true high-performance iteration of the small sedan from the team responsible for the Viper and the Dodge Challenger SRT8. Now that would be something I'd like to drive.
If Ralph Gilles and his gang get it right, I think the Mazdaspeed3 and Ford Focus ST would have some real competition.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 10,358