2013 Dodge Dart: Up Close


It's not a Neon. It's not a Caliber either. Dodge's new Dart abandons the oversized crosshairs across Dodge's lineup to good effect. Viewed from all angles, it could beat the Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus for best-looking small car. The nose looks sharp with the R/T’s black bumper treatment, and the Rallye and Limited — both scattered about the auto show — maintain a similar presence. The continuous band of taillights suggests the Charger, and the show cars' bumpers have clean tailpipe integration. Nice, and not the norm among small cars.

More 2012 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

You pay a small price for it in visibility, but it’s one a lot of shoppers will accept. The thick C-pillars inhibit a lot of over-the-shoulder sightlines, with useless rear-quarter portholes; for a commuter car, the side mirrors are too small. Storage options abound inside, with a clever well under the passenger-seat cushion to stash something. The glove box, meanwhile, is deep enough to go spelunking.


Like Ford does in the Focus, Dodge swaps in some harder door plastics on lower trim levels, but the R/T — with a stitched hood over the dash and padding at all elbow points — impresses. Dodge’s 8.4-inch center screen dominates the dash, with lightning-fast menu response. (Ford, take notes.) More innovative is the available center gauge display, which engulfs a lot of real estate behind the wheel. It can simulate a digital or analog speedometer, among a lot of other screens. It’s impressive to see a small car offer this.


Whether cloth or leather, the bolstered front seats suffer a little from the Fiat 500 effect. The cushions are too short for leggier adults, and the aggressive bolsters won’t suit some. Backseat room impresses, ramming home the Dart’s 97.2 cubic feet of cabin volume (a Focus has about 91). The rear seat cushions could still be longer but legroom is adult-friendly, and the smallish center hump preserves foot room.


At 13.1 cubic feet, cargo room is unexceptional. But Dodge will offer a 60/40-split folding backseat with a center pass-through — again, beyond the norm.



For people that like somewhat masculine styling this easily trumps the elantra in styling. The elantra is perfect for a single woman but not for me. This is much more aggressive looking.


...designed by a 15 years old kid?

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App