Can the new Dart give Dodge a sexy Italian accent? CNET On Cars, Episode 5

Meet the hottest Italian from Michigan since Madonna, explore the transmission that has no gears, and learn the secrets of why so many cars tend to look the same.

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Seldom have I received so much e-mail asking me to check out a new car than I have for the new Dodge Dart . So here it is, in this episode, a very promising car with one big flaw in the configuration the company sent us. Stay on it, Dodge, you're that close to having a winner here.

I thought I'd seen every oddball stat about driving until the State Farm team shot me one about hybrid drivers having far lower injury rates in accidents. We look into it this week in the Smarter Driver segment.

I get about 100 cars sent my way each year, and a lot of them don't look that much different from the others. You might think auto designers are running out of ideas, but that's far from the case. Great stylists from Ford's J. Mays to Jag's Ian Callum and even maverick Henrik Fisker all tell me the same tale of woe: you can't consider putting a line on a car until you digest the tens of thousands of pages of vehicle regulations that affect where every part of a car goes. Our Top 5 this week lays out the five major realities that hem designers in.

We shot this episode in Marin County, Calif., at the newest outpost of Bay Area car connoisseur Walter Dawydiak. He brought his Spyker C8 up from San Francisco for the shoot, which gave me the opportunity to examine what may be the most baroque and unusual interior in the bespoke car world!

Next episode we step things up a bit as we go on the road in CNET's first Lamborghini, a Gallargo Superleggera. It's the lightest incarnation of the best-selling Lambo ever, and I think you'll enjoy our little tour of its lightning technology and visceral manners on the road. I know I did!

Keep that e-mail coming. A number of you have asked about the RSS feed for the show, and that's up at the top of this post. Subscribe away! As always, shoot me your thoughts on the show. I'm listening.

Read the full CNET Review

2013 Dodge Dart

The Bottom Line: Dodge gives the 2013 Dart an excellent cabin tech suite, impressive for a compact car, but uneven acceleration makes the 1.4-liter engine upgrade a questionable choice. / Read full review

About the author

Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!

 

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