The 2013 Dodge Dart SXT

2013 Dodge Dart SXT test drive: bringing fun back to affordable driving

There was a point in time where buying an inexpensive American compact sedan meant that you were buying a cheap car but with the progressive incline in quality for the crowded C segment class – the 2013 Dodge Dart should become the standard to which other compact sedans will be based.

My time spent in the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT took place in and around Austin Texas during a drive event where we had a chance to experience a spread of the new Dart sedans. Since the day that the Dart debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, we have talked plenty about the aggressive interior and the massive number of options available in the Dart that were reserved for far more expensive cars but today we are all about the drive.

During the event, I was lucky enough to log a couple hundred miles behind the wheel of the Redline Red 2013 Dodge Dart SXT shown in the images on the right, which was powered by the 1.4L MultiAir turbo 4 and the 6-speed manual transmission pairing that made its US debut in the Fiat 500 Abarth. This motor packs 160 horsepower and 184lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful sedans in the class. Only the Ford Focus comes close to the Dart with the same 160hp but the Dart has a massive advantage in torque over the Focus, the Elantra, the Cruze and the Corolla – an advantage that is evident from the first time that you feel the turbo spool up.


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I was very impressed with the 1.4 turbo. It's civilized in traffic driving and has plenty of oomph when you need it. The one thing I wished it would have done better is the shifting. I'm used to Alfa Romeos and Fiats, and their gear boxes are usually a little quicker. I'm sure the next iteration will remedy this. Another thing I think the car will ace is taking over the compact and even mid-size segment market. It's small enough to be a compact and roomy enough inside to appeal to the mid-size sedan market. Lastly, Reid Bigland said they were now up to 41mpg. I felt with different tires, say low roll resistance ones, they could achieve 42mpg. All in all, it's a great car all in all.