As expected, the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero that offers an incredible 41 miles per gallon on the highway is powered by the 1.4L MultiAir turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder Fiat engine. This engine sends 160 horsepower and 184lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission, making the Dart Aero by far the most powerful of the “high fuel economy model” compact sedans. This is the same drivetrain featured in many of the other 2013 Dart models so how did Dodge get 41mpg out of this package?
In addition to the powerful turbocharged drivetrain and the 6-speed manual transmission tuned to optimize both performance and efficiency, the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero includes lightweight aluminum chassis components, an active grille shutters, an underbody aerodynamics package, low rolling resistance tires and a lower overall stance. These features all work together to allow the Dodge Dart Aero with the manual transmission to achieve 41mpg on the highway, 28mpg around town and a combined figure of 32mpg. Swapping to the 6-speed dual dry clutch automatic transmission (DDCT) only impacts fuel economy a bit as the self-shifting Dart Aero still hits 40mpg on the highway along with the same 28 and 32 around town and combined.
"The all-new Dodge Dart is a groundbreaking vehicle, offering features and benefits never before offered in a compact car," said Reid Bigland, President CEO - Dodge Brand. "The new Dart Aero builds on these attributes by combining a remarkable 41mpg with interior room of a mid-size car and class-leading technology, style and safety, for only $19,295."
In addition to the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero packing the powerful and efficient 1.4L turbocharged engine and a slew of modifications to help improve fuel economy, the Aero package includes a long list of standard features including (but not limited to) 10 air bags, four wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic stability control, cruise control, air conditioning, automatic projection headlights, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio system controls and that stunning LED “racetrack” tail light setup. Those Dart Aero buyers who want a little more luxury out of their super efficient Dodge compact sedan can add the class exclusive 8.4” touchscreen infotainment center and the unique 7” TFT customizable gauge cluster.
Dodge Dart Aero versus the competition
41 miles per gallon on the highway makes the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero one of the top three most efficient non-hybrid cars in the American compact sedan class with only the manually-shifted 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco (42mpg) being better than the Dart. However, when you compared the automatic versions of the Dart Aero and the Cruze Eco – the Dart has the advantage in every category. It should also be noted that the Cruze Eco (regardless of the transmission choice) offers only 138 horsepower and 148lb-ft of torque so while the Cruze might have a slight advantage in fuel economy when equipped with the manual transmission; the Dart Aero is still far more powerful. Sure, not everyone who is after great fuel economy cares about how much power their new car has but if you can have more power with almost no drop in efficiency – why not have more power? The Dart Aero starting price of $19,295 also makes this new model less expensive than the Cruze Eco that starts at $19,680 (neither price includes the $795 destination fee).
The 2012 Honda Civic HF offers the same 41mpg as the Dart Aero but the Civic HF is available only with an automatic transmission. The Civic HF packs 140 horsepower and 128lb-ft of torque while costing $19,605 – so like the Cruze Eco the Civic HF is less powerful and more expensive than the Dart Aero.
Whether it is equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission or the 6-speed dual dry clutch transmission, the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero offers fuel economy that puts it among the leaders in the class. More impressively, the Dart Aero offers these impressive fuel economy measures without compromising power so those who want a super efficient compact sedan that is also fun to drive – the Dart Aero is the total package. Finally, with a price below those models that offer comparable fuel economy, the new Dart Aero is one of the best bargains in the class.
The 2013 Dodge Dart Aero is expected to arrive in showrooms before the end of the year along with the new Dodge Dart R/T. These two models will join the current lineup of the SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited models with the high performance Dart SRT expected to arrive early next year.