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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
available features and the numerous "personalization" options are the Dart's greatest strengths
A Garmin-based navigation system...with its simplistic graphics, limited display and cryptic menus, is not my favorite.
New York Times
Even the normally detestable touchscreen multimedia interface works well, owing to the screen's ample size, uncluttered format and intuitive screen flow.
while the Dart is solidly competitive across all categories, its marketing argument comes down to this: the most gadgets in its class
Wall Street Journal
It's a competitor to MyFord Touch, which is available in the Focus, but I prefer the Uconnect system's simpler controls and quick-to-respond interface.
According to its maker, the 2013 Dodge Dart can be specified in more than 100,000 different combinations of trim levels and options, giving buyers the opportunity to choose exactly which features they want in their car. Dealers will order a range of standard equipment levels, of course, but Dodge is proud that it has "unbundled" its most popular options so buyers can mix and match at will--and it says it can deliver a specially ordered car in 30 to 45 days.
The base-level Dart SE starts at $15,995 (an additional mandatory $795 delivery fee is added to all prices). It features 16-inch wheels and tires and power windows, but forgoes air conditioning. It also has manual windows and door locks, cloth seats, and an AM/FM radio with four speakers.
Next up is the SXT trim level, which Dodge expects to be the highest-volume model, at $17,995. It adds premium cloth trim and door panel trim, a center console, keyless entry, a six-speaker AM/FM radio, air conditioning, and 17-inch alloy wheels and tires. Options include a nine-speaker premium audio system, the 1.4-liter turbo engine, a sunroof, a rather nice dark-grey "denim" interior fabric, and the latest Uconnect infotainment system with the 8.4-inch center touchscreen display.
Above that is the Dart Rallye model, starting at $18,995, with a unique front fascia, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, fog lamps, premium cloth seats, and steering-wheel audio controls.
The Dart Limited is the luxury model, which adds to the Rallye specification a chrome grille, contrast interior stitching, a power six-way driver's seat, a 7-inch Thin Film Transistor instrument cluster, extra gauges, active grille shutters, and an array of standard and optional features that include 17-inch polished aluminum wheels, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, Nappa leather (the first time it's been used in a compact, Dodge says), heated front seats and steering wheel, and cross-path collision detection. The Limited model starts at $19,995.
The top of the range, which will lag the rest of the Dart lineup by a few months, is the high-performance Dart R/T. Its selling point is the 184-hp 2.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine, and it too has unique front fascia styling. It starts at $22,495.
As for standalone options, Dodge is charging $595 for the 8.4-inch touchscreen display--it doesn't have to be bundled into a higher trim level if the buyer just wants the screen--and $395 for polished alloy wheels. A range of more than a dozen exterior paints and interior trim colors can be specified at no extra charge, with black interiors available on all models and some colors and textures limited to certain models. Some colors work better than others; we think bright red liners for the hard-plastic door pockets would get tiresome pretty quickly.
While heated seats and steering wheel are available, Dodge bundles heated power door mirrors in with the air conditioning, meaning that as yet, there's no "winter package" combining the most useful options for those in cold climates. Dodge suggested, though, that if it sees demand at its dealers for such a package, it might well offer one in the future.
There's also the Dart Aero model, which hasn't been priced yet. It will arrive in the third quarter of the year, and is essentially an SXT model with additional fuel economy features--including low-rolling resistance tires, some mild aerodynamic enhancements, and lighter-weight suspension components.
The 2013 Dodge Dart comes in a plethora of trim levels, with several class-exclusive features and lots of personalization options.