2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye: DDCT Transmission Is Substandard
January 21, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart is equipped with the optional automated manual transmission. Chrysler calls it DDCT (Dual Dry Clutch Transmission). It is the sole gearbox available with the 1.4-liter turbo engine other than the row-it-yourself manual. And it is...how do you say...not good.
It's down to its molasses-slow (albeit very smooth) shifts and an easily-confused calibration. Go ahead, DDCT, complete that gear change. Aaaany time you're ready. It's not quite Smart ForTwo bad, but it's bad. If you floor the gas, you're waiting a good couple of one-thousands until it finally realizes "oh, you wanted to go?" and goes on safari to hunt down a suitable cog. And it gets tripped up easily in conditions that involve slowing down and then briskly speeding back up.
Taking matters into your own hands by slotting the lever into manual mode doesn't solve it, either. Too slow to respond to commanded shifts, and then you still have those belabored gear-change speeds.
It is unfortunate that the gearbox tends to overshadow the things the Dart does well. I am fairly certain you'll be hearing many DDCT-related gripes in the ensuing months.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor