1.4-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine ($1,300); Premium Group ($895 -- includes leather seats, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control); UConnect multimedia system ($495); 17-by-7.5-Inch Aluminum Wheels ($395)
Turbocharged, port-injected inline-4, gasoline
SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing and lift
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
160 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
184 @ 2,500-4,000
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
Decent sauce from this little turbo-4, although noticed a mild midrange dip in power on the way up. But it freely revs past redline to its 6,500-rpm limiter. Best run came with a 4,000-rpm drop-clutch launch with decent front wheelspin. Had to shift into 3rd gear before 60 mph. Six-speed manual has longish throws, but the gates are easy to find and the linkage has a light action.
Short pedal travel but slightly spongy feel. Very little nosedive, although the front end usually pulled slightly to the right. Pedal stayed consistent. First stop was shortest at 118 feet. Longest stops were the third and sixth (out of 6) at 122 feet.
Skid pad: The Dart responds nicely to changes in throttle, making it pretty easy to keep the car right on the skid pad circle. The tires grip well. Slalom: The Dart turns in very easily and intuitively, even though the steering is a bit lighter in effort than preferred and doesn't possess a lot of feel. Tall seating position gives the impression of a high center of gravity. This seems like a competent chassis. If Dodge stiffened up the suspension and made the ESC fully defeatable, it could run some good numbers. Right now it's mostly held back by throttle and brake intervention, even when ESC is "off."