2013 Dodge Dart: 700-Mile Family Road Trip, Part One
April 10, 2013
"This is what we're taking?"
This was my wife upon seeing the Dodge Dart in our driveway. We were about to start packing for a four-day trip to visit her parents for Easter. "Yep. It's a Dodge Dart," I replied.
Somewhat disdainfully, my wife's eyes glanced over the car's lines some more. "It's kind of small. You're sure it's going to hold all our stuff?"
"It'll fit," I said confidently, while secretly wondering whether it actually would.
And thus began a 700-mile road trip test of our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart.
With two small children and a wife who doesn't understand the term "pack lightly," it's always a challenge preparing for road trips. No doubt something like Dodge's Journey or Durango would make things easier. But the Dart has a reputation of being roomier than the typical small sedan, so I figured this would be a good test.
The first order of business was fitting as much of our gear as possible into the trunk. At 13.1 cubic feet, the Dart's trunk is merely average for this class of car. I did manage to fit in a decent amount of luggage, including a large suitcase, two small suitcases, two duffel bags, a computer laptop bag, a portable crib, and a garment bag. But it took some mad Tetris skills to make it happen.
Unfortunately, I had neglected to read James' "Beware of Trunk Spikes" warning and consequently got a nice scrape on my hand when moving some stuff around at the top of the trunk area.
Even with the trunk full, I still had to put a variety of items in the back seat. (And no, I'm not just talking about our kids.) Here the Dart's slightly bigger than normal size came in handy, as I was able to utilize the middle seat area as well as the floor while still leaving the front seats in their preferred positions. Installing a front-facing child safety seat and a booster seat were also no problem.
In the end, we were able to fit everything we wanted. It was cozy, yes, but also showed once again that you don't absolutely need a big crossover SUV for such things.
In my next update I'll cover how the Dart drove.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,462 miles