The Dodge Dart offers a lot of choice, technology and convenience to compact sedan shoppers. With a wide range of equipment and engines, as well as style and sporty appeal, it aims to appeal to the heart of the compact market -- with an extra sense of emotion.
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2016 Dodge Dart Overview
What's New for 2016
The Dart gets some new wheels and colors, while a Sport Appearance Hood is an option on GT and SXT models. Last year's Blacktop Package is now an option on GTs, as well as the SXT.
Choosing Your Dodge Dart
The Dart comes only as a four-door sedan, but with a healthy selection of engines and trims.
- Base SE models come with a 2-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower.
- SXT, GT and Limited models get a more robust 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower.
- The efficiency-minded Aero gets a 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower and the promise of up to 41 mpg, thanks to various design and tuning tweaks.
All but the Limited are available with a manual transmission, while there's also a six-speed automatic for all but the Aero, which uses a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Generous incentives mitigate some of the pricier trim levels on the Dart. SXT and GT are good bets with the 2.4-liter engine in place of the overwhelmed 2.0 and lumpy turbo.
2016 Dodge Dart Review
Compact sedans are being ignored by more buyers as they migrate toward small crossovers and hatchbacks. That didn’t stop Dodge from releasing the Dart sedan and bringing style back to the segment, along with a low starting price and array of available features.
Pricing and Equipment
With a base MSRP of just $16,995, the Dodge Dart delivers plenty of value for the money. Its list of standard features include:
- Halogen projector headlights
- LED taillights
- A soft-touch instrument panel
- Keyless entry
- A four-speaker audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3 capability
Buyers who need more premium features can rest assured that Dodge has them covered with the Aero, SXT, GT and Limited trims. The range-topping Limited model actually borders on luxurious, thanks to its Nappa leather seats, six-speaker audio system, and other high-end features. On top of these premium features, the Limited trim is pretty affordable at $23,795.
The Dart looks sporty, and performs like it looks with either of its two optional engines.
- Peppy 1.4-liter turbocharged four-pot delivers good acceleration.
- Range-topping 2.4-liter engine is the perfect balance of predictable power and fuel economy.
- Handling is good for its class.
The standard 2-liter engine is not an impressive unit -- we notice this particularly when merging on the highway.
- Low torque rating of the base engine kills acceleration.
- Heavy throttle requirement can lower real-world fuel economy.
We find the cabin surprisingly spacious for such a small car, and its fit and finish is more premium than one may expect in this class.
- Soft-touch materials make the Dart feel more upscale.
- Comfy front and rear seats are great for road trips.
- Less-than-sporty seating position.
- Air conditioning is not a standard feature.
- We notice a lot of road noise making its way into the cabin.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
While fuel economy isn’t outstanding across the rest of the Dart lineup, the Aero trim level’s 41 mpg highway is great for the class.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Jumping in an SE on a hot summer day, we looked immediately for the air conditioning controls. And kept looking. To our surprise, there wasn’t one. That's when we discovered the SE didn't come with air conditioning as standard equipment -- this is something we wouldn't expect in a 2016 model.
The Bottom Line
The Dart is a great car for buyers on a strict budget. You can load it up with every available feature and still end up well under $30,000. Sure, you’ll have to deal with some road noise, but every other inch of the Dart will feel almost like a luxury car with all of the option boxes you've ticked.