2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye: Needs More Motor
September 17, 2013
Southern California is in the middle of a heat wave. It's been 95 to 100 degrees here every day for more than a week. It's uncomfortable both for humans and for small boosted engines burdened with the weight of a compact sedan. It's this three-week period every year when we rediscover one of the primary downsides of small turbocharged powerplants.
Of course, the 2013 Dodge Dart is no rocket ship to begin with and, in fairness, it doesn't need to be. It's a compact sedan and speed isn't really a requirement for compact sedans. But the Dart is downright difficult in this weather. Below about 3,000 rpm, where it starts to make meaningful power, it's a slug. The reduction in off-the-line speed in this heat is substantial enough that I found myself second guessing gaps in traffic when pulling out of a driveway from a stop. It's not fun. Many of the Dart's competitors, those with larger displacement normally aspirated engines, don't suffer the same heat-induced reduction in performance.
Its transmission does it no favors, either. A manual transmission paired with this engine would allow better use of the slow-to-build power delivery and therefore better compensation for the weather. As is, however, I guess I'll just watch those gaps.
Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor