Dodge Dart is a blend of U.S., Italian style 

Mary Welch | February 7, 2013

My first true love was the Dodge Dart (Paul McCartney and Bobby Sherman were just crushes). I remember it well. It was sporty, seemed perfect for a young person; it had something no other car at that time had – even if I wasn’t quite sure what it was – but whatever it was, the Dart had it. And, it was purple.
When my 16th birthday came along, my mother gave me a set of wheels. Unfortunately, it was only two wheels, but at least the bike was purple. Small comfort.

So my love affair with the Dodge Dart was not to be – until now. Years (decades) later, I have hooked up with the Dodge Dart, and my first love doesn’t disappoint. The Dart still looks sharp. Clean lives merge with a curvaceous silhouette. The trademark split crosshair grille gives it a low, wide stance. It still has it.

The 2013 Dodge Dart is the first car built on Fiat’s Group and is a nice showcase for the company’s new alliance with Alfa Romeo. There is so much to love about the Dart. It has personality, roominess, style, functionality and a hipness rarely found in compact car. Its style reeks of Italian flair – subtle and dramatic at the same time. For instance, we love the whole driver-centric displays with large red trim and lights that bring great style and readability. There is a white trim that outlines the drink holders, which at night is a real treat.

Another nice touch is that there is recessed light in the door pockets so you can actually see what you are reaching for at night. The Uconnect® Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen Media Center is the largest touchscreen in its class and the most reader-friendly screen we have seen. Truly, a child could use it. The bursts of color throughout the car separate it from others in compact cars and adds to its overall appeal.

The Dart comes in 12 exterior colors (alas, no purple) and 14 interior color and trim options, along with six wheel options, three engine options and three transmissions. The Dart is powered by three fuel-efficient, four-cylinder engines that give you a combined 27 city/highway miles per hour. In addition, drivers can select from a new 160 horsepower Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter engine, a 160 horsepower 16-valve 1.4-liter

MultiAir® Intercooled Turbo engine and a new 184 horsepower Tigershark 16-valve 2.4- liter MultiAir 2 four-cylinder engine. These three engines, combined with three transmission choices — six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or six-speed dual dry clutch (DDCT) transmission — really give you the power you want. It also gives you the power to truly build-your-own vehicle.

Our car’s interior was black with bold cream blocks with the red accents. The interior was roomy and the seats were comfortable. The cushion on the passenger seat flips up, adding secret storage as well as ease of cleaning, again, a nice touch. The glove box is big enough to fit an iPad while the center console features auxiliary jacks to plug in a wide variety of electronic devices. What more do you want?
It’s a fun car to drive. It hugs the road but isn’t overloaded with power to overwhelm. Also satisfying are the car’s 60-plus safety features, including a high-strength steel content in the body of 68 percent, one of the highest in the industry. Other features include 10 airbags, a reactive head-restraint system, available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross path detection, and four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic roll mitigation and ParkSense® rear park assist.

This made-in-America car features the best of American and Italian engine and style. It’s an incredible value for a car with a base price of $19,995 and with annual fuel costs of $1,950, it is perfect for those wanting, style, a fun drive without breaking the bank. First loves can still be the best.