What Is It?

The 2014 Dodge Dart Blacktop starts life as a Dart SXT, but it gets a handful of cosmetic enhancements that give it a real edge. Outside, the Blacktop boasts exclusive 18-inch gloss black wheels with matching exterior mirror housings, as well as a blacked-out grille, dark-tinted headlights, fog lights, dual exhaust tips and LED taillights. Inside, there's a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a black-and-red color scheme with red accent stitching, red accent stripes on the front seats and red door-panel inserts. If that sounds a little too red for your taste, Light Tungsten secondary trim is offered as a substitute. 

Like other Dart SXTs, the Blacktop is also eligible for some alluring options, including a sunroof, premium Alpine audio, the 8.4-in uConnect interface, a navigation system and a Cold Weather package.

How Much?

Remarkably, the Blacktop package adds just $295 to the Dart SXT's bottom line, though the Rallye Appearance package ($495) is also required. That means you should be able to find a Dart Blacktop for as little as $20,280 including destination; however, the additional equipment mentioned above can inflate that number. 

When Can You Get It?

First quarter of 2014 

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

The 184-horsepower, sport-tuned Dart SXT already adds a welcome dose of American attitude to this traditionally staid segment, as well as an impressive 35 miles per gallon on the highway. But the 2014 Dodge Dart Blacktop takes it to the next level. Folks typically think of economy cars as low-budget appliances, but the Dart Blacktop shows that a small sedan can also be a genuinely desirable car, even if you qualify for a more expensive model. Suppose you're looking at the Charger, for example, but you're turned off by its burly dimensions. The Dart Blacktop is stylish, feature-rich and quick enough to be entertaining -- an excellent substitute, in other words, for larger, less efficient vehicles. 

Other Cars to Consider 

Ford Fiesta ST -- It's not a direct Dart competitor, we know, but the subcompact Fiesta ST isn't much more expensive than the Dart Blacktop, and it delivers a thrilling drive with its frisky turbocharged engine. 

Mitsubishi Lancer GT -- Equipped with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine just like the Dart Blacktop, the sport-oriented Lancer GT compares pretty well feature for feature, though the Dart has a nicer interior and superior fuel economy. 

Used Honda Civic Si -- The current-generation Civic Si also uses a 2.4-liter engine, and it's more powerful than the Dart's motor. A nice, low-mileage used Civic Si should be available for the Dart Blacktop's price or less, but keep in mind that the Dart has a more upscale interior with better technology.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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