The Good The 2013 Dodge Dart's Italian underpinnings mean a multilink rear suspension and disc brakes all around. At 8.4 inches, the touch screen is huge, while the Garmin navigation software gives excellent guidance.
The Bad The 1.4-liter engine option comes with a lot of turbo lag. The Garmin software theme clashes with that of the stereo and phone screens in the car.
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.
Dodge Dart is back, more economical than ever
The new Dodge Dart embodies the essence of dartiness more than any of the original models, which last saw production in 1976. Underneath its curves, the body forms a wedge shape, with the grille at the sharp end. And the 2013 Dart is nimble, benefiting from excellent underpinnings.
Among compact cars, the Dart may have the best bones in the business. It borrows its platform from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a premium car in the European market. As such, it gets disc brakes all around and a multilink rear suspension, where some automakers go for the cheaper option of drum brakes and a torsion bar suspension in back.
But with a car optioned like the one I tested, you will have to work to exploit that nimble handling. Between engines, transmissions, and trim levels, Dodge offers a lot of choice, perhaps too much. CNET's Rallye trim car was upgraded from a 2-liter four-cylinder to the Fiat-designed turbocharged 1.4-liter Multiair engine, a $1,300 option. The six-speed manual transmission was swapped out for an $1,100 dual clutch automated manual.
Dodge, Chrysler recall 69,000 AWD sedans for loose driveshaft bolts
You... probably don't want the front driveshaft disconnecting at speed.
Fiat Chrysler plans to kill off Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart...for now
The cars' respective plants will be retooled as the company projects a permanent growth in demand for higher-profit-margin trucks and crossovers.