The spunky 2014 Dodge Dart has consistently surprised us with its remarkable value and well-equipped interior. Combining European underpinnings with American attitude, the Dart is a fresh new face on the compact-car scene. It's not perfect, but we're glad Dodge took some risks and came up with a small car that's genuinely worth driving. If you're shopping for an economical sedan, we have five reasons why the Dart merits a closer look.
The Dart was new in 2013, so changes to the 2014 model are few. If one of your complaints about the Dart has to do with the 2.0-liter engine, there's good news. For 2014, the Dart's 2.4-liter engine -- offered last year only in the GT model -- is now standard on the Dart SXT and Dart Limited. The Dart Limited also adds more standard features, accompanied by a $3,000 price jump.
Quiet, Supple Ride
The Dart is based on an Alfa Romeo platform, and the good folks at Alfa must know a thing or two about ride comfort, because this is one smooth operator by economy-car standards. We love how smoothly and quietly this Dodge cruises, even at highway speeds. You don't expect that from a car in this class, but the Dart really delivers.
Our staff was unanimous on this point: The Dart's interior is a nice place to spend time. Materials are above-average, and although there are cheap bits here and there, the dashboard generally looks like it came from a more expensive car. We also like the red trim around the gauges and controls and the optional colored door inserts. Again, this isn't typical econo-car stuff; the Dart keeps giving you a little more than you expect.
One of the Dart's biggest selling points is its beautiful uConnect 8.4-inch touchscreen. It is optional, but it's also one of the best in the business. Basically, Dodge imitated the iPad with this system, and the results speak for themselves. If you're into the latest technology, you're not going to find a more satisfying infotainment system in this segment. In fact, it's one of the best at any price.
Our Dart test car was the sporty Rallye model, and it lived up to that billing during its stay. The aggressive exterior styling set the Rallye apart from other lookalike compacts in the mall parking lot, and the rowdy exhaust note added entertainment value for most of our editors. The Dart can hold its own on a winding road, too, thanks in part to those European roots.
One thing we really like about the Dodge Dart is that it's the only compact sedan that looks distinctly like an American car. From the sneering front-end treatment to the full-width taillights and dual exhaust out back, the Dart looks like a pint-sized muscle car. If the full-size Charger just seems like too much car, the Dart is a viable substitute, providing a similar in-your-face attitude in a tidier package.
The 2014 Dodge Dart is easily Dodge's best compact car yet, as the exterior look, interior features and driving dynamics combine to make it feel special. If you already like its styling, we bet you'll love the view from behind the wheel.