A look at the top fuel economy compact sedans

Official: 2013 Dodge Dart Aero offers 41mpg

While there were skeptics out there who questioned whether the Chrysler Group would be able to offer a version of their new compact Dodge Dart that yields better than 40 miles per gallon – official information on the government fuel economy website reveals that both the manual and automatic versions of the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero offer at least 40 miles per gallon.

The Chrysler Group hasn’t offered any details on the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero but the Mopar diehards at Allpar.com noticed that the new high fuel economy trimline of the new Dart was listed on the FuelEconomy.gov website. This vehicle is available only with the turbocharged 1.4L MultiAir 4-cylinder Fiat engine mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or the new 6-speed dual clutch automatic with the manual models offering 41 miles per gallon on the highway while the mileage drops only 1 tick to 40mpg for the automatic models. On top of offering better than 40mpg with either transmission, the Dart Aero offers 28 miles per gallon around town and a combined figure of 32 miles per gallon regardless of the transmission choice.

In addition to being the most fuel efficient engine in the 2013 Dodge Dart lineup, the turbocharged 1.4L MultiAir engine is also the most powerful in terms of torque output with 184lb-ft while also offering 160 horsepower. This means that not only will the Dart Aero be incredibly fuel efficient for a car of its size but it will also offer the same driving excitement as the other turbocharged models across the lineup – a feature that is hard to find with the super-efficient trimlines that generally sacrifice all in the name of better mpg.

It will be interesting to learn what modifications have been made to the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero as this 40+mpg drivetrain is similar to the one found in other models with lesser fuel economy measures. For instance, non-Aero Dart sedans fitted with the 1.4L turbo motor and the 6-speed manual transmission offer 39mpg on the highway, 27 around town and the same 32mpg as the Aero models while those non-Aero models equipped with the turbo motor and the dual clutch transmission see the combined figure drop to 31mpg while highway figures drop to 37mpg.

Compared to other fuel economy models in the segment, the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero puts the sporty new compact sedan right among the top of the class. The 2013 Ford Focus SFE is available only with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, yielding 28mpg around town, 33 combined and 40 on the highway – all of which make the dual clutch Dart Aero side by side with the super-efficient Ford. The Chevy Cruze Eco offers both a manual and automatic transmission with the manual models offering slightly better fuel economy than the Dodge Aero with 42mpg on the highway, 28 in town and 33 combined while Cruze Eco automatic models see numbers drop to 26 in the city, 39 on the highway and 31 combined. The Hyundai Elantra Blue offers 34mpg in the city, 40mpg on the highway and 34 combined.

While the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero might not be the top dog in terms of fuel economy, the fact that it offers 40 miles per gallon on the highway with either transmission helps the new sporty compact sedan go head to head with some of the biggest names in the segment and in the American auto industry. Also, the fact that the Aero uses the turbocharged 1.4L Fiat engine should allow the Dart Aero to offer as much fun to drive factory as it does fuel economy. While further details will arrive closer to the Dart Aero sedans arriving in dealerships, the new 40+ mpg Dart should be the most engaging high fuel economy trimline of a compact sedan in the US market.