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2013 Dodge Dart Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Why/why not? by dave

Here-I-am

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Introduction

Darts are a bargain now, as used cars. You can really get them very cheaply, and yet if you avoid the Fiat engines (or at least the 2013-14 Fiat engines), they should be very nice cars. The 2.0/2.4 cars seem to have less rattle complaints, and far fewer problems. The Aero, with the stiffest suspension (including steel wheels), is probably the least reliable by far, due to the constant jiggling; the 2.0 and 2.4 with their smoother ride present fewer vibration-based problems, and bypass all the quality problems of Fiat engines. They also don't require premium gas as the 1.4 does! In short, avoid the Fiat 1.4 cars, as fun as they are when they work. The Chrysler-engined cars may not be the most efficient, but they provide the great handling, good space and ergonomics, and nice design that makes the Dart worth buying... especially at these crazy-depreciated prices.

Reviewed: 2013 Dodge Dart

4dr Sedan turbocharged 160hp 1.4L I4 6-speed manual FWD

Why the 2013 Dodge Dart?

Powertrain performance

Powertrain is a definite mixed bag. Fuel economy ranges from around 27 (city driving, a/c on all the time) to 42 mpg (highway driving, light a/c), but is generally around 28-30 mixed with mildly aggressive driving (a/c wallops the mileage). Once the turbo kicks in it is very responsive. In second gears, no power below 2,000 rpm; in higher gears, need higher rpms to get any acceleration. Uneven acceleration, inconsistent launches. Fun when the turbo is working well; sometimes scary when you need power ?now?and I tend to act as though it has a poorly tuned carburetor and may bog on launch. A fun car to drive despite the balky clutch, sometimes sticky linkage, and unpredictable power curve.

Ride smoothness

Handling is surprisingly good given the economy-type tires, but ride suffers greatly from steel wheels and the Aero?s reduced suspension travel. You scrape on everything and feel every bump.

Quietness

Surprisingly quiet car.

Front seat support & comfort

Seats are comfortable for long periods even in the base Aero. Various models have different headrest designs, some better and worse. Nice ergonomics, generally.

Cargo capacity

Amazingly large trunk for this size car; easily swallows up fencing bags in either direction.

Why Not the 2013 Dodge Dart?

Materials & workmanship

I have no trust in the durability and reliability of this car. The stereo is starting to act oddly, the bluetooth module has already been replaced, there is a clunk coming from the suspension already, and there are rattles from any part of the car where two materials join ?all four doors, all parts of the dashboard, the roof, you name it, it rattles. Also, the passenger side window whistles ?seems they gave Aero thinner windows but the same window frames.

Other Features of the 2013 Dodge Dart

Dealer practices

Dodge dealers tend to be stuck in the 1970s, making all appointments for the same time, small poorly outfitted waiting rooms, etc., etc. There are excellent dealers, though, ... just not as many as if you bought [insert name of other brand here].

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Response from Member1018

3:11 pm October 6, 2017

The 1.4 Liter Motor which some think needs premium does not, and will run just fine on 87 Octane, as I have run mine for the past 4 going on 5 years. The motor requires 5W40 weight full synthetic, NOT 5W30. I keep a quart in the truck to keep it topped off. Usually will be down around 1/2 quart every 1500-1700 miles. Oil change intervals will vary, but it will signal you when it is time, somewhere between 6000-8000 miles is when the oil light comes on in mine. I have the Limited Edition version of the 2013 Dart, while I admit I don't drive far with it approaching 30,000 miles, it has had its moments. No rattles that I can tell, the transmission was a sore point, but with a recent update to the transmission computer the car has been well behaved and responds very well overall. I did have a Blue Tooth Module fail in the car, but it was under full warranty and was replaced at no cost. The original Kuhmo tires were problematic. If buying a used one and it still has it's original Kuhmo's do chuck them. I am running Toyo Celsius Tires which are rock solid and are a Hybrid All Year "All-Condition" meaning they can be run in winter and give excellent traction. These tires give me the same gas mileage as the Kuhmo's. (They are Deep Mountain Snow Rated, so no tire chains.) Note: I live in Georgia and they do very well on ice. During the winter, if you get ice/snow and the temperatures fall below freezing, the fuel filler door can freeze shut and the automatic release will not open the door if pressed. Open the trunk, and reach for the manual release in the right side of the trunk; while pulling on the door and it will open. When considering the car: Ensure ALL recalls are carried out. The lack of response and performance was tied to the transmission control module and transmission programming. The 1.4 Liter runs fine on 87 unleaded. High Octane is NOT needed unless you drive up and down Pike's Peak everyday. Get rid of original Kuhmo's if the car still has them. The tires have a history of losing air over a period of less than 2-3 weeks. Car will perform better with nicer tires. Look for the Limited's which carried the 1.4's. Better interior, and electronic guages. I have had no engine related issues with the car.

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Response from Here-I-am

12:02 pm October 8, 2017

First, I did try regular unleaded. It's great if I want the engine to cough and stutter and hesitate even more. So I will sometimes do 89 octane, but the recommendation remains premium.

Oil is very definitely synthetic, according to Chrysler. I guess I could try playing games, but I don't live in Georgia.

All recalls have been carried out. You're rather insulting when you blame me because the car is poorly engineered. I haven't had problems with air leaking from the tires.

I said in the review that the non-Aero cars were probably more reliable.

Congrats on having no rattles.

Overall, I stand by my opinion that the 2013 Aero is an unreliable piece of crap that's usually fun to drive. I know they made changes for the 2014s and that the SXTs, Limiteds, etc won't have all the same problems, because they have more forgiving suspensions and wheels, but I was reviewing the 2013 Aero. If you read what I wrote, you will probably find that I already know the Limited is better. But I also keep reading about people replacing engines and clutches on the Fiat engines in the Limited, so I think that the engine is still one to avoid.

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Response from LectroFuel

9:21 pm October 8, 2017

@Here-I-am Nice write-up! lol I've read sooo many bad things about the Dart. Engine, turbo, transmission, tires, battery failures. The list goes on and on... It's typical Fiat Chrysler reliability :( Engine failures are mainly the 1.4T from what I've heard. I'd sell it once the warranty expires.

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