Dodge’s Euro-inspired compact was all new for 2013. Most versions of the 2015 Dodge Dart come with the torquey and flexible 2.4-liter MultiAir 2 Tigershark 4-cylinder, which is a good match for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based chassis. A multilink rear suspension, precise steering and stiff structure transmit good driving dynamics. The Charger-like styling gives the Dart a sporty attitude. Up-to-date technology includes an available 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment touchscreen and 10 standard airbags.
What We Like
Balanced performance of the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder; refined driving dynamics; quiet cabin; sporty styling; comfortable front seats; clutch pedal linearity; Uconnect infotainment
What We Don’t
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
All Dodge Dart models are configured with front-wheel drive. There are three available engines.
The entry-level SE comes standard with a Tigershark 2.0-liter dual-overhead-camshaft 16-valve 4-cylinder producing 160 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded gas. So equipped, the Dart receives an adjusted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 25 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed manual transmission, and 24 mpg city/33 mpg hwy with the optional 6-speed automatic.
The Dart Aero is equipped with a MultiAir 1.4-liter single-overhead-camshaft (SOHC) 16-valve 4-cylinder turbo. At 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, the 1.4 turbo makes healthy power for its size, but its throttle response is sluggish, below 2500-3000 revolutions per minute. If driven conservatively, the 1.4-turbo is fuel efficient. Aero models have an adjusted EPA estimated rating of 28 mpg city/39 mpg hwy with the standard 6-speed manual transmission and 28 mpg city/39 mpg hwy with the optional 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. Premium fuel is recommended for best efficiency and power, but not required.
Dart SXT, Limited and GT models come standard with a MultiAir 2 Tigershark 2.4-liter SOHC 4-cylinder engine. It produces a satisfying 184 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque and runs on regular unleaded gasoline. On SXT and Limited models, the 2.4-liter has an adjusted EPA rating of 22 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the 6-speed manual gearbox and 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the optional 6-speed automatic on everything else. With the more aggressively geared GT model, EPA estimates are 23 mpg city/33 mpg hwy for the 6-speed manual and 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy for the 6-speed automatic.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Dodge Dart comes in SE, SXT, Aero, Limited and GT trims.
Typical SE equipment includes the 160-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, black side mirrors and door handles, 16-in steel wheels with hubcaps, cloth seats with mesh inserts, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo. SE models are also equipped with power windows, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, USB and auxiliary audio input jacks, a folding rear seat, a remote trunk lid and fuel-filler door releases, 10 airbags and anti-lock brakes, as well as traction and stability control.
Moving up to the SXT adds the 2.4-liter engine, air conditioning, auto headlamps, a split fold-down rear seat with trunk pass-through, LED racetrack tail lamps, remote keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, an upgraded 6-speaker Uconnect stereo with steering-wheel controls, Bluetooth with voice command, console with sliding armrest, overhead console, body-color mirrors and door handles, 16-in alloy wheels and power locks and mirrors.
The economy-oriented Aero starts with SXT-level trim but substitutes the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine and gains an aero kit, active grille shutters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a backup camera, a reconfigurable 7-in TFT instrument cluster and an 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system with SiriusXM radio and USB and iPod ports.
The well-equipped Limited gets the 2.4-liter engine and 6-speed automatic and adds chrome mirrors and door handles, a power sunroof, heated mirrors, fog lamps, pushbutton start, dual-zone auto air conditioning, the big 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen, Garmin navigation, SiriusXM radio and Travel Link, LED interior lighting, an overhead console, keyless enter and go, a power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, a sliding center armrest, leather seats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a garage-door opener, touring suspension and 17-in alloy wheels.
Upgrading to the sporty GT adds sport suspension, performance steering, performance gearing, 18-in alloy wheels, a blackout grille, dual exhaust, Keyless Enter ‘n Go, heated perforated-leather front seats, remote start and all of the Limited trim upgrades.
A 9-speaker surround-sound Alpine stereo, HID headlamps, rear park assist, Smart Beam headlamps, rain-sensor wipers and blind-spot and rear cross-path detection are also available as options.
Unless you are talking about high-performance Hemi-powered Chargers or Challengers, the resale value of Dodge cars has lagged behind those by GM, Ford and some Asian brands. The Dart had a slow sales start in 2013, and even though an improved model mix with more 2.4-liter models starting in 2014 was a better match to the car’s European-inspired chassis, the compact sedan never met Fiat Chrysler’s expectations, and production of the Dart ceased after 2016. As a result, used examples can be purchased quite reasonably and can be a good value.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2015 Dart:
On models with the premium instrument cluster and base tire pressure monitor, the warning lamp may fail to illuminate when tire pressure drops below recommended levels, increasing the risk of a crash.
On 2.0-liter/manual-transmission models, backup software may be missing from the powertrain module, increasing the risk of a crash.
On some Darts with automatic transmission, a failure of the transmission control module may shift the car into neutral unexpectedly, causing a loss of motive power and increasing the risk of a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and, if not, they will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2015 Dart a 5-star overall rating, with five stars for both front- and side-impact performance, and a 4-star rollover rating.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2015 Dart an Acceptable rating for the small-overlap front-impact test, and Good scores for moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof-strength, head-restraint and seat tests. It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
The Chrysler Group covered the 2015 Dart with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, along with 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain and roadside-assistance coverage as well as 5-year/unlimited miles corrosion perforation warranties.
Dodge certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or younger. Every CPO Dart undergoes a 125-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 3-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty plus a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the car’s original date of sale. Also included are a Carfax report, 24-hour roadside assistance, rental car allowance and a 3-month trial of SiriusXM radio.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Toyota Corolla — All new in 2014, the more stylish Corolla adds a new Premium trim for 2015 with navigation, a moonroof and premium audio. Top fuel-economy honors go to the LE Eco model with an EPA-rated up to 40 mpg hwy with a 140-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. The driving experience, however, remains plain vanilla. Transmission choices include a continuously variable automatic, a 6-speed manual or a conventional 4-speed automatic.
2015 Ford Focus — Revised for 2015 with a facelifted exterior and updated but confining cabin, the fun-to-drive Focus is available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback. Engine choices include a 123-hp 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder or 160-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, both available with a manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The sensational Focus ST model sports a manually shifted 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder but suffers from torque steer.
Fiat Chrysler has stopped making new Darts, but we still like the 2015 model’s sporty looks, comfortable interior and Alfa Romeo-inspired driving dynamics, especially when teamed with the peppy and flexible 2.4-liter MultiAir 2 Tigershark 4-cylinder and either the excellent 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic in SXT, Limited or GT models. The base SE’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder doesn’t have the performance to exercise the Dart’s excellent chassis, and the Aero model’s peaky 1.4-liter turbo lacks low-end response in stop-and-go driving. Look for a low-mileage or certified pre-owned Dart, if possible. Always check with the dealer to make sure the car you are considering has had any applicable safety recall items resolved.