• Interactive First Drive: 2013 Dodge Dart


    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    May 2, 2012

    If you have been wondering why there has been a lack of news here on Cheers & Gears for the past couple of days, I can explain why.

    Right now I'm in Austin and just finished up driving the new Dodge Dart. I will have a first drive report sometime next week, but I wanted to give some quick impressions about it.

    Compared to the Caliber, the Dart is a drastic 180 turn. The Dart's overall look has a lot of Italian influence with smooth surfaces and sexy curves. But the Dart is still a Dodge and lets you know about it. The front carries Dodge's crosshair grill. Step around the back and the back light bar from the Challenger and Charger makes an appearance.

    As for the Dart's interior, its a massive step forward with flowing lines, soft touch materials, and technologies like an optional 8-inch touchscreen. One downside is lack of legroom for back seat passengers.

    Three powertrains are available for the Dart: a 2.0L Tigershark four-cylinder, a 1.4T four-cylinder, and a 2.4L Tigershark four. At the Dart event, only the 2.0L and 1.4T were available to drive. The 2.4L four will be out later this year with the R/T.

    The 2.0L Tigershark produces 160 HP and 148 lb-ft of torque and can go through either a six-speed manual or automatic. During the drive, I found 2.0L and automatic to be a fine companion as power came smoothly, even though you had to climb above 3,000 RPMs to find it. Dodge says the Dart gets fuel economy of 25 MPG city and 36 MPG highway. During the time I had behind the wheel, I averaged about 29 MPG.

    As the 1.4T, I didn't get the chance to drive it due to the models equipped came as six-speed manuals and I can't drive a manual. A dual-clutch transmission is due out later this year and hopefully I will get the chance to check it out.

    As for the drive, the Dart is a sweetheart. The Dart's suspension tip toes the lines of sport and comfort. One moment, the Dart provides excellent handling around the twisty roads of Texas. The next, the Dart is providing a smooth and quiet ride. Steering is heavy and direct, something that is very appricated.

    I will have more thoughts on the Dart later next week. If you guys have any questions, I will do my best to answer them.

    0




    User Feedback


    step one: press in both brake and clutch.

    step two: turn ignition key until engine fires.

    step three: make sure you are in the correct gear.

    step four: whilst keeping your right heel on the brake, feed in the throttle with your right toes and slowly feed out the clutch pedal with your left foot.as you're doing that, release grip on the brake with left heel and slowly transfer entire left foot to gas pedal....

    step five: you've done it too fast, and that violent lurching was the clutch slipping and the engine coughing until it's passed out, and the car is once again off. start over from step one.

    seriously, though, it sounds like a sweet heart. I'm hearing some good things about it. Edmonds IL did a review of the Rallye and they were rather impressed by it.

    Edited by Turbojett
    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Here's a question: When are we giving you lessons on how to drive a manual?

    Whenever we decide to stock up clutches

    PICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :AH-HA:

    They're coming..

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    step one: press in both brake and clutch.

    step two: turn ignition key until engine fires.

    step three: make sure you are in the correct gear.

    step four: whilst keeping your right heel on the brake, feed in the throttle with your right toes and slowly feed out the clutch pedal with your left foot.as you're doing that, release grip on the brake with left heel and slowly transfer entire left foot to gas pedal....

    step five: you've done it too fast, and that violent lurching was the clutch slipping and the engine coughing until it's passed out, and the car is once again off. start over from step one.

    seriously, though, it sounds like a sweet heart. I'm hearing some good things about it. Edmonds IL did a review of the Rallye and they were rather impressed by it.

    Wow you must have learned old school with the heel on the brake while appling gas.

    In a level parking lot, release the brake and apply gas and slowly release the clutch so it slips and you get forward motion. Practice going in and out of gears as you $h! from 1st to 2nd to 3rd and back down. Get a feel for how the clutch grabs. The transition needed to get moving without killing the engine.

    Trust me, it is not that hard nor will you burn out the clutch learning to drive a manual.

    This is where I feel we need to increase the level of Drivers ed an ALL students MUST learn to drive a manual tranny.

    Mud, I like the review, looking forward to pics and hearing more about the car.

    Trust me, driving a manual is not hard, it is just time behind the wheel getting a feel for the transition of shifting. My 98 Dodge Dakota has 250K miles, survived 2 kids and a wife learning to drive and my original clutch finally went out at 157k miles. So I know you can learn with out burn! ;)

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I burnt out the clutch in my Mustang GT at about 60k miles...must have been too much hooning around that i did as a teenager when it was new. Never had problems w/ the one in my M3 or the non-performance manual cars & SUV I've had.

    About the Dart...listened to the latest Autoblog podcast yesterday, they had a very positive review of it... so what is the on-sale date?

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    step one: press in both brake and clutch.

    step two: turn ignition key until engine fires.

    step three: make sure you are in the correct gear.

    step four: whilst keeping your right heel on the brake, feed in the throttle with your right toes and slowly feed out the clutch pedal with your left foot.as you're doing that, release grip on the brake with left heel and slowly transfer entire left foot to gas pedal....

    step five: you've done it too fast, and that violent lurching was the clutch slipping and the engine coughing until it's passed out, and the car is once again off. start over from step one.

    seriously, though, it sounds like a sweet heart. I'm hearing some good things about it. Edmonds IL did a review of the Rallye and they were rather impressed by it.

    Wow you must have learned old school with the heel on the brake while appling gas.

    In a level parking lot, release the brake and apply gas and slowly release the clutch so it slips and you get forward motion...

    I live in California though. Level ground is a luxury, especially the farther you get inland (though it's still not as bad as, say the Bay Area; SF's roads kinda scare me lol). So heel-toeing (or having feet quicker than gravity) is an invaluable skill for me. If you do live in a more level place, you won't have to worry so much about that, and you can get away with ignoring the brake without worry of rolling back or forward.

    Edited by Turbojett
    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    dart looks nice in silver.....didn't expect that......

    why do cars with such large wheelbase lack rear leg room (also see cruze)

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    dart looks nice in silver.....didn't expect that......

    why do cars with such large wheelbase lack rear leg room (also see cruze)

    Not sure I would say lacks rear leg room as much as in this class they are trying to fit everyone including us tall guys (6'6") and so I have noticed the driver seats seem to go back farther than you get in bigger auto's. I think this gives the impression of smaller rear leg room.Course as a compact sedan, this does have limitation on rear leg room and over all interior room.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    About the Dart...listened to the latest Autoblog podcast yesterday, they had a very positive review of it... so what is the on-sale date?

    Next month.. R/T and the 2.4L will follow along sometime in the third quarter

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    why do cars with such large wheelbase lack rear leg room (also see cruze)

    While I haven't checked out the Cruze's rear leg room issue, it seems to me that the room under the seats has disappeared, where one would normally park their toes. In some cars, the room under the seat is so narrow, you can only fit one foot... in others, there is a big cross brace across the car. Also, it seems to me that the seat back is pushed forward, I suppose to help the ever-shrinking trunk room numbers.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    While I haven't checked out the Cruze's rear leg room issue, it seems to me that the room under the seats has disappeared, where one would normally park their toes. In some cars, the room under the seat is so narrow, you can only fit one foot... in others, there is a big cross brace across the car. Also, it seems to me that the seat back is pushed forward, I suppose to help the ever-shrinking trunk room numbers.

    My Impala's back seat legroom is largely hampered by this since you can't get your feet under the seats if you are wearing shoes. I have found even compacts (Verano) that don't suffer from this issue. I finally got around to driving one recently and also tested out the back seat. Got both feet all the way under no problem, although I have small feet for a man (American Size 9 shoe size). Nonetheless, small feet or not they don't fit under the seat in a W-Body Impala.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor