2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

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2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

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2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

Compact sedans are a little bit like mudwrestling – it’s tough to pick a winner, and even the champion isn’t really clean. This isthe 2018 Dodge Dart, a car that gets dirtier than them all. Now it’s fair tosay that the Dart is not necessarily the car that Dodge needed it to be, but thequestion is is it the car that you want it to be.

  • Dart is not necessarily
  • topsof the range in the Dart
  • turbo four bumpsthe mileage

There’s only one way tofind out. Up front is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder married to a semi-lucid6-speed automatic transmission. If you’re curious about power, and you’reprobably not, the 2.4-liter four makes 184 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. That’s good enough for a 0 to 60 run in just a little over 8 seconds, whichis not the quickest in its class, but it’s not painfully slow either. It’ll get upand go – it’ll make a lot of noise when you do it, though.

2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

The 2.4-liter four is topsof the range in the Dart, which also includes a 2-liter four in the base model and a 1.4-liter turbo in its Eco model.Both of those engines have less power andstruggle a little to get the big car moving, but at least the turbo four bumpsthe mileage into the 40-miles-per-gallon range, which is a big help in the segment.

The 2.4-liter four is my pick in the class, and it’s worth the $2,400 step up frombase to get it, and that price includes other features such as an upgraded radioand interior. The 2.4-liter four and 6-speed automatic combine for 35miles per gallon on the highway, which isn’t as frugal as the new Honda Civicor the Hyundai Elantra. In the city the Dart manages only 23 miles per gallon instop-and-go traffic, and that’s only on a good day.

The Dart comes equipped with standardcommon safety features such as airbags, stability control, and a backup camera onmost models, but can add blind-spot monitoring, cross-path detection, andparking sonar on Limited and GT models for $1,095 extra. Most Darts above the basemodel come with some form of Dodge’s UConnect system and sport an 8.4-inchtouchscreen.

The Limited trim comes with navigation as standard, which is optionalon the other trims, such as the Aero and GT. The base model makes do with aradio and 4 speakers, including an audio input jack if you’re wondering. There’snot much to write home to the folks about when it comes to powertrain.

2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

It’snot necessarily the fastest in its class. Its 23 miles per gallon city and 35 milesper gallon highway is respectable, but it’s not, you know it’s not world-beating. Considering that the Dart doesn’t have any tricks in the powertrain bag, itneeds something else. It’s its size. Now bigger isn’t always better, and if it were, we’d bedriving around in city buses by now, but the Dart is massive. It’s just big. It’sbasically a midsize car for compact money, which is a good value – if you’re into that sort of thing.

The Dart’s 97.2 cubic feet of passengerspace is tops in its class – more than the Civic and Chevrolet Cruze. The Dart’s 13.1 cubic feet of cargo room is around the middle – smaller than some inits class most likely because of a bigger passenger compartment. Thisparticular Dart is an SXT, which is not all that far from base. It has cloth seats,navigation, front-wheel drive, and comes in at $23,245, which is pretty modest,but poor lonely journalists like me need to buy cars, too.

2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review

The Dart does its best toavoid penalty-box detail by spending its money in places like infotainment – a7-inch TFT display when equipped – and NVH improvements. Actually one of thebiggest benefits to the Dart is the fact that it’s super quiet inside. I mean it’sunbelievable – it’s like coffin quiet in here, which is really good – it helps out a lot.

Makes for kind of easy commutes and you know, you can crank up the tunes – that’s just fine. All told this is about $23,000, which isa little high for its class, and it’s pretty modestly equipped. There’s othersto look at like the Ford, Mazda, Volkswagen even with the Golf and the Jetta. Now ifyou believe what you read, and I never believe what I read, but this should bethe last year for the Dart for this look.

Next year there should be some badlyneeded upgrades to the exterior, maybe some interior, but the powertrain’s probably going to stay the same. If you’re shopping in the compact class, this is definitely worth alook, but the Dart has a little bit of mud in its eye.

2018 Dodge Dart Test Drive Review