With 60 standard and available safety features, the latest line-up to the Dodge line fills a void in their compact car category. Dodge’s Dart is in the compact category but is pretty closed to being a five passenger midsized. A recently tested Dart Rallye was equipped with a 1.4 L I4 Intercooled Turbo with MultiAir engine and a six speed dual dry clutch automatic transmission. The line also includes two other engine choices such as a 2.4 L Tigershark and 2.0L 16-valve Tigershark.
The Dart is also available with six models from which to choose; SE, SXT, Rallye, Aero, Limited, and the GT. On the exterior the front view of the model features a sleek sports car hood which molds euro-styled headlamps and a skinny chromatic grill with lower black honeycomb venting. The side of the vehicle has a sedan’ish’ feel while the back side of the vehicle looks similarly to that of a sport-infused neon, (except wider). From the rear of the vehicle the view is much hotter for the Dart includes a mini sized but just as cool version of the Dodge Charger’s uni-tailight.
All-in-all the new Dart is doing pretty well in its first year on the market because it not only has some eye-catching attributes on the outside but is filled with fun, sport and an astounding amount of safety features inside. With Uconnect, navigation, voice recognition, Blue tooth, traffic alerts, XM, jacks, USB, Universal garage door opener, Homelink, and a 7” touch screen infotainment system (8.4” is screen is optional), the Dart is state-of-the-art and perfect for those who insist on all the latest in connectivity and convenience features. Above the screen the Dart has a ‘mini’ hood to help alleviate glare, however the hood does needs to extend out a little bit more to be more effective.
Safety was also on the minds of Dodge engineers for they included 10 standard airbags which is way above the average of the six to eight airbags that most (including) SUVs provide. The tested model also included blind spot monitoring, smart beam headlamps, a rear park assist system with ultrasonic sensors, brake assist, LATCH, stability and traction control, hill start assist, electronic roll mitigation, rain sensitive wipers, and a rear back-up camera.
On the road the Dart Rallye was very easy to steer, extremely responsive when braking, and easy on the wallet when it came to providing 31 city mpg/37 hwy mpg. Although it was equipped with turbo, it did take a moment for the high performance feature to kick in – but when it did the Dart, well, darted.. it even sounded a little like a muscle car. The engine also became even louder when the air conditioner was on. One performance factor that might need to be re-visited by engineers though is the gear shift. The shift control did not always feel like it was (solidly) in gear and felt a little loose (and on occasion was accidently but lightly bumped) causing the Dart (a little too easily) to move the shifter into another gear.
Also on the inside the Dart Rallye the seats were comfortable, but not as cushy as many other of Dodge’s vehicle’s seats. I used to drive a Daytona and a Dakota and their seats were as plush as a Cadillac’s. However, there are a few neat attributes to the Dart’s heated front seating – the cushion can be moved up to provide for additional storage. One passenger even joked that both the DEA and border patrol would probably not like the Dart because of its super secret storage feature. Although the secret compartment is a great idea and use of space, passengers noted that the glove box juts out a little too far and at times interferes with leg space. Those in the back however noted that they had a good amount of leg room and room in between fellow occupants.
The trunk of the Dart Rallye is 13.1 cubic square feet and provided plenty of room for an average sized family to accommodate plenty of groceries or anything else they care to legally store.
Base Dart Rallye starts at $18,000 dollars
Tested vehicle’s cost after optional packages $24,390
My prediction: This new car deserves to win every safety award on the planet.
For additional reviews by this author please visit; www.FemaleAutomotiveNetwork.com or www.AutoGoddess.com