Recently I was invited to test drive the new Dodge Dart for 7 days. I usually don’t review cars – and come from a Chevy family – but decided to take advantage of the opportunity to drive from NYC to my little big brothers’ graduation in Atlanta. Within weeks of receiving an invitation to test drive the car, it was delivered with compensation for my time and travel expenses. So, how was the drive?
The Dodge Dart reminds me of a cute, yet stripped down version of a Dodge Charger, especially when you glimpse the tail lights. Since I received my review unit at night, I immediately noticed the interior and exterior lighting around the door handles and side mirrors. This is a nice touch that makes finding things you dropped near the car easier. The side mirrors feature blind-spot monitoring that flashes a small yellow light when an object is sensed near one of your blind spots.
With a roomy cabin and plush leather seats, my trip to Atlanta was enjoyable for all of my body parts except my butt. Despite the comfort of the leather seating, driving for 13-14 hours took a toll on my lower back and butt.
Look Mom, No Keys!
I’ve never been in love with a key fob before, but I definitely fell in love with the Dodge Dart’s keyless entry fob and push to start ignition. You don’t need a key to do anything with this car. As long as you have the key fob in, your pocket, a lot can get accomplished with only your hands. You can also remote start the Dart and pop the trunk using the fob. Placing your hand over the door handle unlocks the doors and pressing a button on the door handle locks them again.Sometimes the lock button required multiple presses before working.
Overall, the keyless entry features were an unexpected, but luxury touch.
The Uconnect entertainment console in the Dodge Dart is standard. It includes an 8.4-inch display with access to Sirius FM Radio, Garmin navigation, auxiliary, usb and SD card audio options, iPod controls, voice-activated bluetooth, fuel pricing, weather and sports updates. You can also control temperatures for the passenger and driver seat and set seat-heating levels. The process of pairing your phone with Uconnect via bluetooth is seamless and easy. Once they’re paired, you can answer calls and text messages or stream music via bluetooth.
Music is the only media you can experience through Uconnect and support for the iPhone/iPod is far superior to support for Android devices. For Android devices, I’d recommend using the bluetooth option while charging the phone through the USB port to save battery life.
Behind the steering wheel sits a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display that shows turn-by-turn navigation directions, digital and analog gauges, audio or phone information, and temperature readouts. There are also some controls on the steering wheel to do minor actions like change the volume, music, or radio station without your hands leaving the wheel.
My family had only positive comments about how music sounds in the Dart. It packs an amazing surround sound system by Alpine. The bass has no problem dropping low and booming without distorting the music even at maximum volume – which is very loud. With the windows down and the sunroof open, I frequently threw mini-listening sessions of new music that my friends and I wanted to share with each other.
The ride in the Dodge Dart is generally smooth and quiet, unless you have music playing from its system. In the city, it picks up speed easily and makes impressively tight turns. On the highway, the ride is smooth, but takes a second to get up to speed. Within 15 hours of driving to Atlanta, I filled-up the gas tank 4-5 times when the meter lowered to half a tank of gas. This all costed me less than $100. Definitely a winning price in the gas department considering how far I travelled.
All in all, this was a great trip made possible by Dodge. The 2013 Dodge Dart will please your average driver with its luxury style and features at an affordable price tag starting at $15,995 for the base model. I test drove the Dodge Dart limited, which will run you around $20,000. For an amazing sound system, great gas mileage and keyless driving options, I think the Dodge Dart is worth every penny.