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2013 Dodge Dart Engines: Fun and Efficient

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author photo by Nick Chambers March 2012
  • Three new engines and three new transmissions
  • Should deliver mid- to high-30 mpg combined
  • Plenty of horsepower and torque

While it's not really a splashy car, or even close to the best performing of all Chrysler vehicles, the 2013 Dart is one of the most significant vehicles from Dodge in many years. Some have compared it to the Dodge Neon, and, indeed, if the Neon hadn't been discontinued in 2005 it's easy to imagine that it would have transformed into the 2013 Dart over a series of incremental design changes in the last seven years.

However, the 2013 Dart is much more than just a reinvention of the Neon, it is a strong (although slightly late) contender in the suddenly hot compact car market meant to give Chrysler an edge in an arena it had largely abandoned. The Dart has a well-designed interior full of innovative displays and technology, that, when coupled with Dodge's prediction it will return mid- to high-30 mpg in combined city and highway driving, delivers the makings of a solid competitor.

Even so, efficiency and good interior design are only the basis for success. Given that Dodge has historically been known as an American performance brand, it should come as no surprise that the 2013 Dart also has the makings for some serious fun. With three new four-cylinder engines and three transmissions to choose from, it has the most diverse powertrain lineup in the compact class.

Standard on the Dart SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited models, the 2.0-liter "Tigershark" engine can produce 160 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. In a car the size of the Dart, those numbers are sure to deliver more than enough fun for most drivers. The next step up in the engine lineup is the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, which promises to be the most efficient of the bunch, yet deliver the same horsepower as the standard engine while increasing torque to 184 lb-ft; that extra torque will be noticed when passing at speed. The third and largest engine option, the 2.4 liter TigerShark MultiAir engine with 184 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque, rounds out the bunch and should provide the fastest acceleration from a standing start.

Complimentary to this trio of engines is a trio of transmissions including a six-speed manual, a new dual dry clutch six-speed automatic, and a new six-speed automatic. The six-speed manual is borrowed from FIAT and will be standard on all three engines. The dual dry clutch is designed for optimum efficiency, and as such will only be available in combination with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo. The six-speed automatic transmission will be available in combination with all engines and Dodge says it will provide "almost imperceptible" gear changes.

What it means to you: Although it's small and promises to be a penny-pinching fuel miser, that doesn't mean the 2013 Dodge Dart will be deficient in the fun department.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Dodge Dart Engines: Fun and Efficient - Autotrader