November 25, 2013
The trunk release button is one of the Dart's mysteries. What designer decided to hang it out there by itself in the middle of the lower dash panel? The fuel door release, also floating by itself, this time on the driver-side door panel above the door pocket, is a similar mystery.
November 19, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart has a great navigation system. However, our staff has delivered mixed reviews on the optional Alpine audio system (I think it sounds pretty good, though) and the complicated controls for the air-conditioning.
The design of the controls is irrelevant when you can't see them at all, though.
November 7, 2013
Good thing there is a digital speedo option in our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart, because I have trouble reading the regular dial.
October 29, 2013
For several reasons, our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye was my support vehicle during my recent house move. Actually, it was part of a fleet of vehicles that included a 17-foot U-Haul truck, MkVI Volkswagen GTI and a two-decades-old Toyota pickup.
Obviously, a small sedan would never be anyone's first choice for moving, but over the course of a very long weekend, the Dart provided reasonable utility.
October 25, 2013
I've put about 1,000 miles on our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye in October. One thing I've really come to appreciate about it is the excellent visibility from the driver seat.
October 23, 2013
One small detail in our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye that I really like is this notch in the center console container. It provides a pass-through for USB or auxiliary cords hooked into the ports in the console box.
October 1, 2013
It's possible I'm the only person on Earth who cares about my elevation. But I love it when I find this little nugget in a car's navigation system. The Dart has it.
September 24, 2013
Push forward to downshift, pull back to upshift. Did Dodge get it right?
September 19, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye and I have a history. A history of me breaking things on it, that is. First it was the outer door handle coming off in my hand, then the center armrest bin latch fell off.
But I'm trying to put those behind me because, I like driving this thing.
September 18, 2013
It's possible the Dart's strongest interior trait is its many small-items storage bins. Here's a tour starting with the center console (above).
September 16, 2013
Despite the fact that they've got racing stripes down their center which are both visible and obvious to one's backside, the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye's seats are pretty good.
September 12, 2013
Among the multiple display options (exterior temperature, trip odometer, range, etc.) on the 2013 Dodge Dart's configurable instrument cluster display is tire pressure. It's not a breakthrough, certainly, but it's also not common in the compact segment.
September 11, 2013
You'll be glad to know that our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart is following in the footsteps of generations of Grand Caravans before it by retaining Cheerio crumbs in its seats. Sure, the minivans probably hoarded them in seat rails, but the Dart keeps them right there in the secret storage bin beneath your passenger's butt.
September 10, 2013
I hadn't driven our 2013 Dodge Dart before this week. And other than a few comments about its transmission, I had no prior impressions. Here's my first observation. At 70 the engine is cranking at about 2,600 rpm in sixth gear, which is enough to be noticeable — disturbing, even — in the cockpit.
September 6, 2013
I can't fully explain why, but I find the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye's speedometer tough to read quickly sometimes. And when it comes to staying close to the legal limit, an easy-to-read speedometer is nice to have.
I think the problem is that I get confused as to whether the white or red hash marks are indicating "0" or "5" of the current mph, if I'm just glancing over.
August 26, 2013
I haven't yet decided how I feel about driving our long-term 2013 Dodge Dart. But on the way home last night, I realized just how much I like our Dart SXT Rallye's interior lighting: a lot.
August 5, 2013
The 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye's center armrest opener latch (or the cover for it, anyway) came off in my hand as I tried to access the center bin.
Apparently, I open things too aggressively for the new Dart. Or maybe it's that I have insanely strong hands.
July 9, 2013
This thick-rimmed steering wheel doesn't seem out of place in Dodge's Charger, for example, but it feels incongruous in the 2013 Dart. While the rest of the interior feels sportishly compact, this chunky pipe wheel feels like it belongs at the front end of at least 300 horsepower. Even then you might not like it, depending on your preference.
June 25, 2013
If you're tall like me you know that side window visor coverage is no small matter. Visors that fall short leave a huge gap for those that scoot the seat all the way back, and a lot of cars and trucks fall into this category.
Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 is one of them, but the 2013 Dodge Dart has it covered.
May 31, 2013
Judging by the adjustments I make to the steering wheel whenever I get in a long-term car, I prefer to have my wheel a bit lower than my colleagues. When I went to drop the wheel in our Dart, I discovered it lacked the range of adjustment that I prefer.
May 27, 2013
Our long-term Dodge Dart has a USB port and aux jack hidden away in the center console armrest bin (there's also a power outlet in there). Like most of these in-the-bin situations, the Dart has a handy cutout that allows you to keep your smart phone or mp3 player within reach, but still close the door on the bin and not pinch your cord.
May 21, 2013
As a visibility hog, I am made crazy by this decade's trend of less and less visibility in cars. Sure, I appreciate a good rear-view camera when an SUV's heiny is huge, but when your average family sedan or hatchback often requires one, it makes me frown. So I was pleasantly surprised when I looked up to the rearview mirror in our 2013 Dodge Dart and noticed I could see the entire back window in the reflection. The whole thing. And that's not a tiny slit of a rear window, like in the Camaro we had a while back.
May 13, 2013
We twisted the key on our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye and were greeted in the instrument panel by a number of messages, but one was accompanied by a tone, "Bing."
May 9, 2013
It requires a small amount of advanced planning (or forgetfulness) to take advantage of our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye's auto-start functionality. Simply leaving the HVAC controls where they were prior to shutting the car off allows the climate to resume at that prior setting.
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.
April 9, 2013
In an earlier post, Editor James Riswick noted how unnecessarily complicated the air-conditioner controls of our 2013 Dodge Dart are. But I'd like to point out how the temperature controls themselves are lacking in a crucial detail: degrees. Looking at this screen how can you tell how warm or cold you are making it with that slider? I mean, is this a thing now?
March 26, 2013
How spacious is the cabin of our 2014 Dodge Dart?
March 21, 2013
Sometimes it's the simple things that stand out. And with our 2012 Dodge Dart, I noticed immediately the convenience of the deep storage cubby at the bottom of the center stack.
Any space that can hold my ridiculously over-sized sunglass case gets my vote.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 4,000+ miles
March 20, 2013
Here's a nice feature on our long-term Dodge Dart's audio system. You can type the radio station number that you want directly into this keypad. The same feature is also in our Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
March 19, 2013
But I have a new gripe. The rough fabric pulls my hair. Oh horrors, I know. But it's really annoying. My head does not rest against the seat back while I'm driving but somehow it attracts a few strands of my hair and holds onto them. Ouch.
Here's a look at the fabric without my head in the way.
March 18, 2013
Let me start by saying that I love how easy it is to use the 2013 Dodge Dart's touch screen. Unlike some another car in our fleet, the Dart's icons are large, easy to read, and make good use of the available real estate on the screen.
My problem, however, is with the media player's insistence on alphabetizing the songs within an album when I hook up my iPod/iPhone. I understand why this happens when I want to play all songs from a particular artist, but that's not what I'm doing. I want to play an album, in the order the artist and producer decided. Imagine an opera, for instance, being played out of order. It doesn't make sense.
March 14, 2013
It's one of those design ideas in a car that doesn't seem to have a purpose, until it does. Each time I drive our 2013 Dodge Dart SXT I find another use for the clever storage seat: Orchid transport without tipping over.
March 6, 2013
Sitting in the driver seat of our 2013 Dodge Dart is like spooning with an inflatable ninja turtle. The entire seating area is divided into many separate sections, and they are all puffy. Even after driving it for an entire weekend, I never got used to it. I still feel like the seat is constantly trying to push me out. There's also a channel running down the length of the seat back and the cushion, which would be great if I had a spiny back (and backside).
February 25, 2013
Since I was couch-ridden with back spasms, it was up to my friend Chris to load up the Dart come check-out time at our Lake Arrowhead cabin this past weekend. After the second load, he came back inside holding his cut and bleeding hand. Was he the victim of a bear? An enraged raccoon? Nope, Dodge Dart attack.
February 12, 2013
A few days ago, I noticed that little tab sticking out of the front passenger seat and wondered what it's intended to do. So I tugged on it and found an odd little storage compartment. The owner's manual says nothing of its intended use, just that "some models may be equipped with storage under the front passenger seat cushion. Pull upward on the seat tether to open the storage compartment."
I found a use for it.
February 5, 2013
There are plenty of ideas that look good on paper, but then fail to deliver much in the flesh. The Dart's underseat storage bin might be one of those ideas.
I say "might" because I have yet to find a use for the hidden compartment under the front passenger seat compartment. That doesn't mean it's useless, but I'm struggling to figure out what it's good for.
February 1, 2013
With their spongy feel and basic trim, the seats in our Dart don't look, or feel, like much at first. In fact, fellow editor James Riswick doesn't think much of them all.
Oddly enough, although I'm about as tall as James, I don't find the seat in the Dart uncomfortable at all. And this is after driving the Dart for consecutive days that had me in and out of the car on and off for hundreds of miles.
The cloth-covered seats are definitely not what you would call firmly contoured. Sure, there are noticeable side bolsters, but they're not the kind you lean on through corners. No, this is more of what I would call a "universal" seat, one that trades precise support for general comfort. It's a tricky line to walk, but these manually adjustable seats do a good job of providing support without needing to be in the "perfect" position. I might change my mind after a longer trip in the Dart, but so far I don't mind these seats at all.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 2,161 miles
January 30, 2013
Enough about the transmission already, let's talk about the Dart's trunk shall we? What could be more exciting than the trunk of a compact sedan?
In this case, there's plenty to talk about. For one, the Dart's rear seats fold down, so when you have to carry something awkward home it's not a problem at all. These boxes for new blinds were just under five-feet long and they fit easily. They might have even fit horizontally in the trunk, but I had a storage rack box already taking up space there.
The seats themselves are easy to fold. There's no latch, just a cloth loop on each side that you pull to get them down. The headrests do rub the front seats, though, so it might require a trip up front to make enough room.
Getting things in and out of the trunk is fairly easy given the wide opening and modest liftover. If there's one thing to pan it's the hinges. They arc down into the cargo space, but I did notice that they hug the sides of the space close enough that you're not likely to put anything in their path anyway. Overall, it's a nice setup for a small sedan, one that will rarely leave you needing additional room unless you're taking home something really big, in which case you might as well just borrow a bigger vehicle anyway.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 2,181 miles
January 25, 2013
When I drove the Dodge Dart on its national press launch last year, the vehicle in question featured the dual-zone automated climate control that features physical buttons with the read-out included within the large master screen. The system worked and although I suppose the separate display in the Ford Focus is superior, I was OK with it.
Our long-term Dart has manual controls paired to that same large screen, and I'm not OK with them.
January 24, 2013
I just can't get comfortable in our new long-term Dodge Dart. The first problem is the driving position. Our car's six-way manual, height-adjustable driver seat is mounted too high, or rather, it does not go low enough. I cannot push the seat down far enough, which would not only grant my long legs sufficient room, but also extricate my noggin from its current location of 2 cm from the roof.
However, even if the seat could in fact go down more, the steering wheel's positioning would remain an issue. Actually, it would be worse since even when I'm perched atop Mount Dart, the wheel doesn't tilt low enough.
Then there's the seat itself.