• The 1.4-liter MultiAir engine will be the Dart's most efficient powerplant
  • Fuel economy could hit 39 mpg, or 41 mpg with an available Aero package
  • Those numbers make the Dart one of the most efficient economy cars available

Although the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency has yet to release fuel economy figures for the upcoming 2013 Dodge Dart, Chrysler says its latest compact sedan is poised to put up some tremendous numbers. According to the automaker, the sedan could reach 41 miles per gallon, placing it among the most fuel efficient non-hybrids on the market.

While Dodge says the Dart is capable of 27 miles per gallon in city driving and 39 miles per gallon on the highway with its available 1.4-liter turbocharged "MultiAir" engine and standard manual transmission, the automaker promises an optional Aero package will push the sedan as high as 41 miles per gallon in highway driving.

That figure would make the Dart one of the most fuel efficient compact cars on the market, topping the Hyundai Elantra's 40 mpg highway number, the Honda Civic's 39 mpg in highway driving and the Ford Focus's highway figure of 38 miles per gallon. It falls short of only the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, which achieves up to 42 miles per gallon on the highway - though the Dart comes close despite offering 22 more horsepower and nearly 40 more pound-feet of torque.

Unfortunately for car shoppers interested in a highly efficient new Dart, Chrysler has not yet announced what the Aero package costs - or what it includes. Our bet is that the option group will add several hundred dollars to the Dart's base price and involve a host of aerodynamic add-ons designed to streamline the sedan and reduce friction. Such revisions would be in addition to the Dart's already impressive group of standard "aero" items that range from an active grille shutter system that closes the sedan's grille at higher speeds to slick underbody panels and air dams located ahead of all four tires.

According to Chrysler, the Dart will be available this summer, while the fuel-saving Aero package will go on sale in the fall. While the base-level Dart will start at $16,790 with destination, mid-level Rallye and Limited variants - which include the fuel efficient new MultiAir engine - will be available from $19,790 with shipping.

What it means to you: Dodge's new Dart sedan will be a fuel economy champ when it arrives in dealers this summer.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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