Months in Fleet: 15 monthsCurrent Mileage: 40,007Average Fuel Economy: 29 mpg Average Range: 465 milesService: $625Normal Wear: $0Repair: $0Damage and Destruction: $1087
As we say goodbye to our bright orange long-term Dodge Dart test car, which completed its 40,000-mile test in our hands in an on-schedule 15 months, there’s no better way to sum up the experience than to point out that the car no longer exists. Sure, Dodge still sells the Dart, but you can no longer buy a car spec’d identically to ours. And that is a very good thing.
You see, Dodge axed the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that powered our 2013 Rallye model from every Dart save the Aero fuel-economy special. Great, we say, since nearly every comment in the long-term Dart’s logbook spat fury at the Fiat-sourced MultiAir turbo four, which produces what feels like half a pound-foot of torque from idle to just above 3000 rpm, almost single-handedly ruining the Dart’s otherwise acceptable driving experience.
Technically, the engine makes 184 lb-ft of twist at 2500 rpm, but we never felt it. One staffer minced few words when it came to the powertrain, emphatically describing it as “awful.” Most on staff were in consensus over the ideal launch technique for the Dart: Mat the throttle, side-step the mushy, uncommunicative clutch, and hope the turbo kicks in. Most were of equal mind, too, that this technique is hardly acceptable in town, around your mother-in-law, or near cops. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by ALEXANDER STOKLOSA