Hitting the Bull’s Eye – Review of the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye Compact Sports Sedan

by Michael Sheehan on March 8, 2013

in Auto, General, Opinion, Review, Video

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When I test drove the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye, I turned a few heads. In fact, in a parking lot, I answered a bunch of questions about this new vehicle from Dodge. While compact in size, it was roomy in performance. This isn’t the first time the Dart has spun its wheels around the block. It first graced the roads between 1960 until 1976. And now, in 2013, Dodge is re-introducing the brand.

The 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye

The 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye

2013 presents the Dodge Dart as a compact sedan. It seats 5 comfortably, has plenty of cargo space, and has a very peppy engine. Speaking about engines, there are 3 engines (both manual and automatic) available in the Dart:

  • Chrysler 2.0 liter I4 Tigershark – 160 Horsepower
  • Fiat 1.4 liter I4 Turbo MultiAir – 160 Horsepower
  • Chrysler 2.4 liter I4 Tigershark MultiAir 2 – 184 Horsepower

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I test drove the smallest engine of the group, the 1.4 liter. Believe it or not, it was a pretty good performer. The way the engine was tuned and timed really made you remember that you are in a sports sedan. Even the automatic, the one that I test drove, felt like a manual. The red lines went high before automatically shifting to the next gear. My only complaint about the engine (and probably the only real complaint that I had) was that it was a bit laggy in the first few gears. You would push the accelerator, and then wait a few seconds for the engine (turbo) to respond. If Dodge could tighten up the response time when you stomp on the pedal, the Dart would truly be stellar.

You do have a choice between a 6-speed PowerTech automatic transmission (with the Tigershark engine) or the Dual Dry Clutch Transmission, also an automatic. Manuals are also available. I used the DDCT version and moved back and forth between manually shifting the automatic, or letting the car do it. Both were quite fun.

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Once you got driving though, the steering response was quick, the cornering tight and the comfort solid. Before I go into more features, take a few minutes to watch my video review below (also available directly on YouTube).

While a smaller car, the Dart has some big styling, especially with the edgy and aggressive front grill and low slung windshield.

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And if people are chasing you, they get to see the glistening of the dual tailpipes and extended brake light bar.

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There was a clear theme of red on many of the exterior accents. Also, many of the gauges broadcasted red highlights – a nice styling touch.

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The 8.4 inch center touchscreen provides numerous controls for various aspects of the Dart. (And note the red on the bottom menu bar!)

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The navigation system was very easy to use. Be sure to see it’s “simplicity” in the video above. Essentially Dodge licensed the navigation from Garmin, which I believe is a smart thing to do. Garmin has been manufacturing GPS units and fine-tuning their interfaces for decades which means that the interface within the Dart is very straight forward. You can even use easy voice commands to set up your destinations and routes.

Another nifty little feature is the cargo seat stowaway spot on the passenger-side front seat. Most people don’t know about this handy compartment so it could be a great place to stash other items that don’t fit in the glove box. I only wish that there was one on the driver’s side as well! Just fold the seat forward to access.

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One feature that I didn’t test out but probably should have since technology is near and dear to my heart is the Uconnect Web. This feature essentially creates a WiFi hotspot from your car allowing you to connect other devices to the hotspot up to 150 feet away. Pretty neat if you are heading out on the road and have passengers with WiFi-only devices. Can you imagine your kids being nice and quiet in the back seat while they play on their various Internet-connected devices? Heaven!

The entertainment system has a pretty standard mix of choices. The one that I always prefer is the XM satellite option. However, you can connect a variety of devices to play your audio or music through the 6-speaker system. Interestingly, the CD slot is nowhere near the touchscreen, but instead mounted within the center flip-up storage compartment.

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Usually when you think about a sportier car, you think that the gas mileage will suffer due to enhanced performance. Believe it or not, this is not the case with the Dodge Rallye. Because of the smaller engine and the lighter weight of the car itself, the Dodge Rallye has an estimated 27 city and 39 highway which makes it a gas-sipping sports car. I averaged about 28.7 (mainly city and traffic driving as well as me being a bit heavy on the accelerator).

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If you want to see some more pictures of the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye, head over to this Flickr set. Or you can see all of the same pictures in this video montage below (also available directly on YouTube).

The Dodge Dart Rallye has a starting MSRP of $18,995 which makes it a pretty reasonable smaller sized, sporty sedan. If you can afford to bump up to the 2.0 liter engine (with 180 hp) definitely go down that path. As it stands, the 1.4L definitely has some pep to it. It’s fun to drive, handles well, and is pretty quick off of the line, once you get over the brief turbo lag.

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I believe that Dodge did the right thing re-introducing the Dart to the market. It’s affordable and very stylized to make some heads turn, and you definitely can’t go wrong with the gas mileage. I look forward to testing some future versions, hopefully with a bit beefier engine (I know, the gas mileage will drop but still it will be worth the wait).

Disclosure Text: Apart from the 7-day loan of the Dodge Dart, I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.

HTD says: Dodge pretty much hits the bulls-eye with their re-introduction of the 2013 Dodge Dart!

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