Compact car; Built in
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $8,000 – $17,900*


2014 Dodge Dart


2014 Dodge Dart


2014 Dodge Dart


2014 Dodge Dart

Pros:
  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy
Cons:
  • Acceleration (2.0/automatic)

Dart’s uplevel Limited has some options that you don’t often find in this class, such as rear cross-traffic alert and a heated steering wheel. Further, these extras don’t add a tremendous amount to the bottom line. These high-end items and the numerous “personalization” options are the Dart’s greatest strengths, as room and driving dynamics are nothing special compared to its rivals. No matter which Dart best suits your fancy, we would recommend sticking with the standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The extra cost 1.4-liter turbo motor’s inconsistent throttle response and uncooperative transmissions more than offset any potential fuel-economy savings.

Overview

“Dart” was an old name resurrected for a very modern new car. Last used by Dodge in the 1970s, it was applied to a front-wheel-drive compact sedan that replaced the slow-selling Caliber 4-door hatchback in Dodge showrooms. Dart was significant not only because it gave Dodge a new and stronger entry in the compact-car segment, but also because it was the first vehicle to be developed jointly between Dodge and its new corporate parent, Fiat. In fact, the Dart’s platform was based on one that underpins the Italian-built Alfa-Romeo Giulietta sold in Europe (Alfa is another division of Fiat). Some powertrain components also came from the Fiat parts bin.

As a compact sedan, Dart competed against other “established” names such as the Honda Civic Sedan, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, and Toyota Corolla, along with relative newcomers Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Versa.

One way Dodge tried to make the Dart stand out was by offering a host of features–many of them unique or rare in the compact class — along with a vast assortment of both exterior and interior color and trim choices. Although many of its parts were derived from foreign cars, the Dart was built in the U.S.

The standard powertrain was a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic. Optional in all but the SE was a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that offered more torque and better projected fuel economy; it was mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automated manual that behaved much like an automatic.

Standard on the GT was a 184-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.

Standard on the Aero was the same 1.4-liter turbo engine offered elsewhere. Similarly, it will pair with either the manual or automated-manual transmission.

Besides the expected safety features, Dart also offered rear side airbags, front knee airbags, rearview camera, blind-spot alert, and cross-path detection.

Yearly Updates

2013 Dart
Little was changed for Dart’s second year in 2014.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

The standard powertrain in the SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited was a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic. Optional in all but the SE was a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that offered more torque and better projected fuel economy; it was mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automated manual that behaved much like an automatic.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 148
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
25/36
24/34
28
Turbocharged ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.4/83
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 184
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
27/39
27/37
30
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 184
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 171
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
23/33
22/31

Road Test

The 2.0-liter engine with the automatic transmission is very casual off the line and doesn’t build speed all that quickly. Darts so equipped can get out of their own way just fine, but you do need to plan ahead for any highway passing and merging maneuvers. The automatic works quickly enough, which helps. No 2.0-liter/manual models have been made available for testing.

The 1.4-liter turbo is similarly sluggish off the line, but it comes alive past 2,500 rpm to deliver pretty peppy acceleration. The manual requires frequent driver intervention to maintain peak power, which can be irritating when commuting in stop-and-go traffic. The automated manual, on the other hand, can get easily confused if you vary your throttle inputs. Slow response and a generally clunky feel sap the fun out of driving.

All things considered, we’d stick with the 2.0-liter engine.

In Consumer Guide testing, our extended-use Dart Limited with the 2.0-liter engine and automatic transmission averaged 28.1 mpg over 6,671 miles. Another 2.0-liter automatic Dart averaged 28.4 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving. A manual-transmission 1.4 (not an Aero) got 27.2 with more city driving than highway use while an automated-manual version got an even 30.0 with a bit more highway use. Aero models require buyers to purchase the 1.4-liter engine. When paired with a manual transmission, our Aero test example averaged an excellent 37.3 mpg with slightly more highway driving than city use. 2.0-liter Darts use regular-grade gasoline. The 1.4 turbo can use regular as well, but Dodge recommends premium for best performance.

Ride is decent enough overall. Dart doesn’t quite have the ingot-solid body structure of a Cruze or Focus. Large lateral bumps cause significant reverberations through the cabin.

Dart isn’t as sporty as it looks. Most of the problem is that this car is on the heavy side in terms of curb weight. As such, it’s not what you’d call agile, but it’s still plenty capable. There’s not much body lean in fast turns, and the steering feels direct and precise.

Dart is one of the quieter compacts in terms of wind and road noise. Neither the 2.0- nor 1.4-liter engines will win any prizes for the sounds they make. The 2.0 gets the edge for refinement and silence while cruising. The 1.4 has a rawer sound, a nod to the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth no doubt. Note that the Dart Aero has less sound insulation than other models, which is designed to be a weight-saving measure. The difference in everyday driving between it and other 1.4-liter models is barely noticeable. Whether you find the turbo engine exhilarating or tiring will depend on your personal tastes. We think it airs toward the latter; try before you buy.

Dart is available with a few different dashboard styles, depending upon which model you select. On lower-line trims, the gauges and audio controls are conventional and plain to see/use. Upper-level Darts have a more visually interesting, albeit somewhat busy, instrument cluster with a center display users can configure in a multitude of ways. Some versions include a large, 8.4-inch touchscreen that operates audio, some climate, and (if equipped) navigation functions. It works well enough for the most part, though the climate integration is a bit sloppy as you have to “bounce” back and forth between the touchscreen and physical knobs and buttons for some adjustments. We’re not huge fans of the Garmin-based navigation system. It’s easy enough to program, but we couldn’t find a way to disable the map screen’s annoying auto zoom feature.

Dodge claims to give customers 14 interior color and trim options and has obviously tried to infuse interiors with some pizzazz — at least in the upper trim levels. The primarily black interiors of our test cars had some red accents (some of which are illuminated), yet still came off as a bit solemn, partly because the thick roof pillars and low windows impart a slightly claustrophobic feel. However, two-tone color combinations are available that lighten things up a bit. There are plenty of padded surfaces with the Limited adding soft door tops on which to rest your elbow.

Plenty of room for 6-footers up front, provided you don’t order the optional sunroof. Thankfully, this is a stand alone option. Thick roof pillars hinder visibility. Blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert systems are available on the Limited and are welcome conveniences.

Six-footers will likely be short of headroom in the back seat — and probably legroom, too, if the front seats are pushed far back. Easy ingress and egress through largish door openings.

The trunk is wide at the back, but absolute volume is only class-competitive, and sickle-shaped lid hinges dip into the load area. The rear seat back folds (split folding on all but the base SE), but the headrests have to be removed if a front seat is even halfway back, and the opening revealed is oddly shaped and not very large. Furthermore, the folded seat backs don’t lie flat, and they rest about 3 inches above the level of the cargo floor, which makes loading large boxes difficult. Some models also have a trunk pass-through. Interior storage is quite good with several small storage bins and a deep console box. The glovebox is very deep; it will hold large objects, but smaller items that might roll to the back will be virtually impossible to retrieve.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 Dart Limited 2.0 automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 8
80%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 54

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.4 183.9 72.0 57.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.1 15.8 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 37.0 42.2 35.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2013 Dart 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Cold-starting problems
Description: Engine may be difficult to start and restart in temperatures below 32 degrees F. (2013)

Recall History

2013 Dart
Description: Front-seat-mounted airbags may have been installed improperly and
2013 Dart with 1.4-liter engine and automated-manual transmission
Description: Engine may may stall when temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
2013 Dart
Description: Vehicle may have incorrect rear brake calipers, which could result in an inoperable parking brake.
2013-14 Dart with 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter engine
Description: Engine oil may enter the brake power booster which could result in a loss of brake assist.
2013-14 Dart
Description: Transmission control module could fail and transmission could unexpectedly shift into neutral.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.