2013 Dodge Dart GT Video Review

The all-new Dodge Dart and I got off to somewhat of an inauspicious start last summer when I tested a Limited model with the optional turbo and standard stickshift; far from a winning combination.  But this time around I’ve got the racier GT model, a late addition to the Dart lineup powered by the biggest Tigershark engine.

Initially destined to be the Dart R/T, a high performance model which the company is said to be still considering, Dodge threw everyone a curveball and delivered this GT model instead – identical in every way to the planned R/T model except with a lower price, wearing a base MSRP of $20,995.

This Alfa Romeo in disguise restores life to Chrysler Group’s dormant compact sedan offering and the 2013 GT is slotted as the top dog in a 5 trim lineup which starts at a sub-$17,000 SE model.

But contrary to the mismatched 1.4-liter turbo and 6-speed manual which made driving the Dart Limited a chore, this GT model runs with the normally breathing 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with nearly 25 more horses.  Rated at 184 horsepower and 174 pound feet of torque, this mill may lose some low-end to the turbo but without the lag present it feels much livelier and plays substantially better with the 6-speed auto.  And this isn’t the dual clutch transmission that’s optional with the turbo, instead it’s a traditional automatic with the preferred north-south AutoStick manual shifting.  And though MPG numbers drop precipitously with this GT powertrain, you can feed it regular gas while the turbo prefers premium.  Still, it’s rated at 21mpg city/30mpg highway and my weekly average was right at the EPA’s combined estimate.

Now this is the Dart to have.  With its unique frequency damping shocks, more power, quicker steering and an excellent PowerTech transmission, the GT is a much more satisfying and athletic drive.  And the more aggressive Conti rubber really aids in the handling.

Though the ride quality becomes decidedly more firm and at times will rattle you around, the GT heightens its connection to the driver, bites harder when pushed and brakes with authority.  It’s a pleasure to drive and the MultiAir engine and sport-minded transmission combine to make a unique, let’s go soundtrack which permeates the otherwise quiet cabin.  The GT won’t blow you away with its power delivery from a standstill but its reaction times in the midranges are enough to push you back in the seat.

Similar to the Limited model, the GT also offers up an impressive interior design with rich quality, high tech and thoughtful touches.  It looks expensive and when optioned like this one comes with a wide array of amenities such as remote start with heated seats and steering wheel, the best infotainment unit in the biz with the 8.4” UConnect system which is info packed and works intuitively, auto high beams, rain sensing wipers and blind spot monitor with cross path detection.  For all you see here, the $25,620 as tested price is extremely reasonable and for that you also get the great GT looks including the LED racetrack tail lamps.  It just goes to show how a single trim level can take on a completely distinctive flavor from the rest of the nameplate.

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