The Dodge Dart earns the best gas mileage ratings of the Chrysler group, but among small cars, they're still not quite the most efficient.
For the base 2.0-liter Dart, the gas mileage figures include a combined rating of 29 mpg, with 36 mpg highway for the six-speed manual model.
Fuel efficiency rises to a combined 32 mpg for the 1.4-liter turbo model with the six-speed manual (27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway). In a relatively energetic road test, our 1.4-liter test car delivered 26.2 mpg.
Dodge notes that it uses seven different underbody panels to smooth airflow under the car, along with fitting active grille shutters to some models to block airflow through the engine compartment when cooling demands are low. All these items reduce aerodynamic drag.
As for the Dart Aero, it provides better city and highway mileage through lower weight and better aerodynamics. The Dart Aero is lighter than the standard 1.4-liter model with six-speed manual, with forged aluminum suspension components replacing some steel parts, and it has some small aerodynamic aids along with low-rolling resistance tires. Fuel economy is as high as 41 mpg highway.
The Chevrolet Cruze Eco, a special model that compares head-to-head with the Dart Aero, gets 33 mpg combined, made up of 28 mpg city and a stunning 42 mpg highway for its six-speed manual version. Comparing the greenest models, Dodge says simply, "Ours is more fun to drive."