We were surprised when a neighbor came running over to look at the bright orange (actually called Heather Orange) when we stopped to pick up our mail from the neighborhood postal boxes. She drives a Toyota Avalon and the Dart didn?t seem like her kind of car.
“Is that the new Dart?? she asked excitedly.
Last year when the Dodge Dart was introduced, it was the first Dart since the original name was retired in 1976. The 2013 Dart was entirely new car from the ground up, so it?s essentially unchanged for 2014.
?The Dodge Dart was a dream to design,? said Joe Dehner, Head of Dodge Design ? Chrysler Group LLC. ?The Alfa Romeo-based architecture allowed us to design an exterior with great proportions that say ?fun-to-drive? when you look at it. Add in the Charger-inspired ?racetrack? tail lamps, a new, sleek crosshair grille and piano black accents, and it all adds up to a performance-inspired design with just the right amount of attitude.?
Under the hood, the Dart is pure Dodge, however, with three engine choices. The 2014 Dodge Dart engine lineup includes a 160-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder Tigershark, a 160-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder MultiAir? and a 184-hp 2.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all three engines and the six-speed automatic is an option on the two larger naturally aspirated engines. There?s a manually shifting dual dry clutch transmission available as an option on the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine.
The Dodge Dart pricing ranges from $17,490, including the destination charge, for the SE up to $23,990 for the Limited. Fully loaded, the Limited price tops out at $27,319 when equipped with all the available options. The SXT with Rallye Appearance Package, which we tested, had a base price of $19,490. The Customer Preferred Package with 8.4-inch Uconnect navigation, Rallye Appearance Package, six-speed automatic transmission, SiriusXM satellite radio and Uconnect services (traffic and travel aids) brought the bottom line price to $22,520.
We give 2014 Dodge Dart gets high marks for its fresh styling, European manners and frugal engines. A little more horsepower and torque would be a nice addition, though. But overall, we think it?s a good car at a good price.