2014 Dart GT
Patrick Rall's picture

The 2014 Dodge Dart GT Brings Big Luxury Technology to a Sporty, Powerful Package

I recently had time to spend a week driving the 2014 Dodge Dart GT and while I was impressed by many aspects of the sporty, high tech compact sedan – I learned very quickly why the 2.4L TigerShark engine has become the common engine across many 2015 trimlines.

While the modern Dodge Dart sedan was introduced with an obvious focus on fuel economy with a side of technology, the new Dart GT package focuses more on performance with a double side of technology – making for one impressively loaded compact sedan that is fun to drive, very comfortable and still fairly fuel efficient when driven reasonably.

At one point, driving an affordable and efficient compact Dodge sedan meant that you had to sacrifice on power and amenities – but the 2014 Dodge Dart GT proves that is no longer the case. The Dart GT also makes it very clear why more models get the 2.4L TigerShark engine as started for 2015.

My 2014 Dodge Dart GT test car carried a base price of $20,995 and when you add in the $1,250 for the automatic transmission, $495 for the advanced navigation system and the $995 destination fee, you get a price as tested of $23,735.

dart gt rear low

The Exterior
There really aren’t all that many differences in the exterior design across the various 2014 Dodge Dart trimlines, but the Dart GT does have some features that give it a little sportier look than the other models.

Up front, the Dodge Dart GT gets a gloss black treatment to the grille, the grille surround, the headlights, the body trim between the headlights and the grille, the middle portion of the front fascia and around the projection fog lights. Like all new Dart sedans, the GT model has a naturally aggressive, almost angry look just from its basic design, but the blacked out front end really bolsters that sporty theme of the package.

dart gt front

Along the sides, the 2014 Dodge Dart GT wears package specific 18 inch wheels wrapped in performance tires and out back, the subtle chrome GT badge is joined by a blacked lower fascia that wraps around the dual bright polished exhaust tips. The back end also has the beautiful racetrack taillight design that I absolutely love.

The GT package doesn’t bring a long list of exterior features that differentiate it from the rest of the Dodge Dart lineup, but it has enough unique features to give this compact sedan the sporty look and feel that is becoming so popular in this segment.

dart gt side

The Interior
While the Dodge Dart GT is designed to be a performance model of sorts, it is also a top of the line model with the most features within the model line. This includes gadgets like projection lights and the racetrack taillight on the outside, but the inside is where the GT really shines – even when it is sitting still.

dart gt front deats

When you open the driver’s door of the 2014 Dart GT, you are greeted by a driver’s seat that is wrapped in soft black leather with a red accents on the bolsters and in the stitching. The black from the seats extends through the entire cabin, from the carpet to the dash to the door panels to the headliner with more red stitching on the center console and more red trim on the front door grab handles and around the large gloss black information panel on the dash. The front seats look great, but they also feel great with just enough mix of support and cushion for your back and bottom while the cabin of the Dart provides tons of space in every direction. The same is true of the front passenger seat and while the rear seats offer a little less leg room and knee room than the front seats, there is still a remarkable amount of space for everyone seated in the new Dart. As is generally the case, the rear middle seat is fairly unpleasant, but that is true of every compact sedan and most cars sold in America. It is great for a small kid, but that is about it. The rest of the seating positions are great for adults so this car would comfortably work for a family with three small kids, it will also work for a group of four adults running to Vegas for the weekend.

dart gt rear seats

The star of the show for the interior of the 2014 Dodge Dart GT is the dashboard, which has a gorgeous gloss black panel trimmed in bright red and within this panel is both the 8.4 inch infotainment screen and the 7 inch reconfigurable driver information center that sits between the analog tachometer and the gear selector. The 8.4” infotainment screen does everything that you would expect, including the radio, the media system, the climate control (including the heated seats), the navigation software, the hands free phone system and the interior settings while the 7 inch display in the gauge cluster allows the driver to pick where he or she wants various things like the digital speedometer, fuel economy figures, outside temperature, vehicle direction, navigation updates and much more. This is a very similar setup to what Chrysler uses in their far more expensive models including the Dodge Charger SRT 392 that costs over $40k – but the Dart offers these gadgets for under $24k. This infotainment system is among the best in the industry and with its super smooth functionality and the ease with which you can use all of those features, I love the high tech features of the 2014 Dart GT.

dart gt dash

The Dart GT has a sporty looking cabin, but it is still also very comfortable and very well appointed with the most impressive gauge cluster in the segment and an infotainment system that is one of the most impressive in the entire industry. Combine that impressive level of technology with the sprawling spaciousness of the Dart and you have a compact sedan that more impressive and more comfortable than the competition. This is a sport package, but it has an interior that could just as easily fit into a compact luxury sedan…all for under $24k.

The Drive
When the Chrysler Group introduced the modern Dodge Dart compact sedan, it was available in a collection of different trimlines and almost every trimline came with the buyer’s choice of the 2.0L TigerShark engine or the Fiat 1.4L MultiAir Turbo engine. The SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited all came with those two engine options while the Aero package came only with the 1.4L turbo and the Dart GT came only with the 2.4L TigerShark engine. Chrysler made this decision to put the most fuel efficient engines in the highest volume sellers in order to best showcase the fuel mileage capabilities, but one of the key complaints with the non-GT 2014 Dart sedans was that they didn’t have enough power.

dart gt front low

The Dart GT solves that power problem, with the 2.4L 4-cylinder producing 184 horsepower and 174lb-ft of torque. The GT package comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission that, honestly, I would prefer, but the 6-speed automatic in my test car is a solid transmission with paddle shift control that bolsters the sporty feel of this compact sedan. Even with the automatic transmission, the acceleration from a stop and when cruising is noticeably better than those models with the smaller engines. Throttle response is better than it is with the Dart Turbo models and while the GT packs a little less torque, the added horsepower makes for an overall better drive.

The 2014 Dodge Dart GT is the most powerful option in the lineup and with a sport tuned suspension mated to 18 inch all season performance tires, the GT package is also the best handling of the 2014 Dart lineup. This suspension setup is stiffer and noticeably so, but that slight reduction in ride smoothness relative to other Dart models is negligible in comparison to the improved in handling feel. Mind you, there is still room for improvement (you know, like an SRT4 model) with far more aggressive tuning that would yield far greater handling and a far more aggressive stance, but with a far stiffer ride. For those folks who want a gentle mix of ride quality and sport suspension stiffness, the GT package hits that nail squarely on the head. Whether you are zipping around curvy secluded roads or soaring along a gradually twisting highway, the Dart GT handles as well as any non-high performance model in the compact sedan segment. When you add in the power of the 2.4L engine, the Dart GT is very easily the best driver’s car in the Dodge compact lineup.

dart gt rear road

Best of all, while the 2.4L engine in the Dart GT isn’t as fuel friendly as the 1.4L turbo, the quickest and most powerful modern Dart is still respectably efficient. My Dart GT window sticker predicted figures of 22 around town, 31 on the highway and 26 combined. I was able to achieve slightly better average numbers per tank with a 60/40 mix of highway/city driving during my time in the car, averaging just under 27mpg. More importantly, I was able to hit that 31mpg number on the highway while comfortably keeping up with Michigan’s 70mph highway traffic.

The Final Word
At this point, I have driven every trimline of the new Dodge Dart, with every engine option and every transmission option – and the 2014 Dodge Dart GT has impressed me the most. While I would pick the manual transmission over the automatic, the self-shifting model is still a ton of fun to drive for a compact sedan and it clearly offers the biggest performance push in the Dart lineup. The GT package also offers a sportier handling feel and impressive fuel economy while also offering a subtle yet unique exterior look and a fully loaded interior.

dart gt high

The Dart GT doesn’t get as good of fuel economy as the less powerful models, but it is the best in every other category in power, handling and interior amenities not just within the Dodge brand – but within the entire compact sedan segment. Between the solid power, the improved handling, the loaded up interior and the stunning interior spaciousness – the Dodge Dart GT is the most exciting option in the compact sedan segment today. The 2015 Dodge Dart will continue on with many of the same features across the available trimlines, but new for 2015, the 2.4L TigerShark engine is standard in the SXT, GT and Limited while the base model SE gets the 2.0L and the Aero still gets the super-efficient 1.4L Turbo.

If you want a roomy compact sedan with tons of high tech goodies inside and out, you want the new Dodge Dart and if performance is a concern – the Dart GT is the car for you.

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Comments

No mention of performance numbers huh? Who in their right mind cares about fuel economy when purchasing a sports car? The Dart is a complete failure, even Dodge fanboys will admit it.
You are calling this a sports car?? That is like saying a Civic is a sports car. 0-60 performance numbers (and the like) are irrelevant if you are considering a Dart. Start comparing apples to apples, and when you do, you will see the Dart is a winner.
Really? So if in the same category as a Civic, It is slower than, and handles worse than an SI. Gets terrible gas mileage compared to an EX (30cty 39hwy)... Where is it a winner? Should we compare gas mileage and handling on all other apples, or are you done sticking up for a turd?
I look at these cars as a means of economical transportation. Period. I do not care if one car is faster than another. I do not care of one handles better than another. The only way one can determine if one is significantly better than the other in any of these areas is to take them on a road course. Day to day driving is what 99% of people do, unless you are a ricer and absolutely must display your manliness and race everything you see. I have driven both cars. The Civic is boring. The fact that the Dart even has a modicum of driving enjoyment makes it a better choice FOR ME. The comfort and features in that thing blow everything else away. I own two hemis and compared to those pigs ALL cars in this category get decent fuel economy.
I always just have a hard time agreeing with these articles because no matter who writes them, they tend to be biased. I daily drive a Subaru WRX, which of course anything gets better fuel economy than. I just think with all the technology out there that Dodge could have picked a better choice for the power plant. I mean, Ford has the new Ecoboost motor putting out 310hp and still getting 28mpg. I was really excited for the Dart, and I just feel like they dropped the ball on the motor.
I bought a 2014 Dart GT and have no complaints. It's been reliable and fun to drive. I also appreciate it's UAW built in IL. I can't wait to see the SRT version.