Darts’ back end maintains a family look and similar to the Chrysler 200
Dodge’s 2015 Dart has been a model that goes back many years. It’s almost synonymous with the brand and has transitioned from a senior citizens sedan to an eye-catching compact sedan with a racy front end and all the high-tech wizardry today’s car buyers desire.
Offered in SE, SXT, Aero, GT and Limited, that was tested. The base SE comes standard with a 2.0L, 160-hp four-cylinder and 6-speed manual transmission. The Aero gets a turbocharged 1.4L, 160-hp four-cylinder and 6-speed manual trans, but both can be optioned with a 6-speed automatic. For the SXT, GT and Limited, Dodge equips them with a more potent 2.4L, four-cylinder that produces 184-hp and 171 lb/ft of torque. As the others, a 6-speed manual trans is standard while a 6-speed automatic is optional except on the Limited where it’s standard. The latter receives EPA mileage ratings of 23 city, 35-highway mpg. So powered, the Dart Limited exhibited spirited acceleration from a standing stop and during highway passing maneuvers. This despite its 3,260-pound curb weight.
Now here’s the ironic part. Chrysler’s hot selling and slightly larger and heavier 200 sedan has essentially the same engine and carries EPA mileage estimates of 23 city, 36-highway mpg. The difference, is that the 200 uses a new 9-speed automatic transmission versus the Dart’s 6-speed auto.
Slide into the Dart Limited’s attractive two-tone leather front seats and you’re treated to torso-hugging lateral support. The sumptuously padded seats have perforated top and bottom portions, but neither of which touch major body parts. The bottom section sits between the knees and top sits against what would be the neck area. The idea of perforated leather is to allow the seats to breathe to alleviate perspiration. And to cool quicker in summer and heat quicker in winter. The entire seat backs and bottom should have received this treatment. As is, it’s of questionable design.
The back seat can accommodate two adults however legroom is marginal. And the back doors could open wider to make ingress/egress is bit easier.
One item that is especially impressive is the 8.4-inch display for rearview camera, GPS nav and Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system with voice control. It’s one of the easiest on the market to use with straightforward menus and is large enough for easy, quick viewing.
Back in the trunk, there’s 13.1 cubic feet of space or enough for one large roll-a-long luggage. Flip the 60/40 seatbacks and two golf bags can be accommodated. Under the cargo floor is a space saving spare, which adds $395 to the sticker price.
Dart rides quietly and smoothly on 17-inch Yokohama tires. Handling is responsive and the steering is nicely weighted making the sedan easy to park. If you’d want sportier handling, the GT version would likely pacify you.
Dart is among the select compact sedans that are still reasonably priced. Starting with a base of $23,795, this includes a long list of standard amenities and safety items including a sunroof, heated front seats, back-up camera, 8.4-inch touchscreen, electronic roll mitigation and more. The Technology Package ($1,095) added rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, rain sensitive wipers, high-intensity headlamps, automatic high beam control, floor mats and more. Along with a delivery of $995, the nicely equipped Dart carried a bottom line of $26,280. A reasonable price for this much content
Additionally, government crash tests gave it a full five stars in three categories and the Institute for Highway Safety awarded it its top “Good” rating in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side impact and roof strength tests. These niceties add to Chrysler’s generous 5-year, 100K powertrain warranty.