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2016 Dodge Dart Rallye Blacktop Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


REVIEWED MODEL: 2016 Dodge Dart Rallye Blacktop
ENGINE: 2.4-liter I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with AutoStick
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 184 hp @ 6,250 rpm/174 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 106.4 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 183.9 x 72.0 x 57.7 in.
TIRES: P225/45R17
CARGO: 13.4 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 23 mpg city/35 mpg highway/22.7 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 14.2 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,215 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze
STICKER: $24,905 (includes $995 delivery, $4,120 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Dodge Dart is a very solid compact car. It is quiet with decent ride quality. It has a few quirks, but they aren’t important enough tom worry about.

The Dodge Dart is most definitely a compact car, even if it is at the upper end of the designation. For example, according to the EPA, compacts range from 100 to 109.9 cubic feet in total interior volume. The Dart checks in at 106.8 cubic feet. So even though Dodge only claims compactness, the EPA on the price sticker compares it to other mid-size cars. In fairness to all though, the Dart is a compact, even though a guy who parked next to me one day called it a sports car.

Even though it is a compact, I was impressed by the comfortable, quiet ride the Dart delivered. On some roads, tire noise does intrude into the cabin, but on the right roads, the Dart is almost silent. The Dart doesn’t offer a soft ride, but it isn’t too hard-sprung either. The front suspension is the fairly common McPherson strut affair, while the rear is a multi-link affair.

The 2.4-liter Tigershark delivers a decent amount of power at 184 horsepower. We never had any problems on the range of roads I travel normally. It transmits this power to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission that you can shift manually by working the console-mounted shift lever.

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Front seats are comfortable with some side support. The Rally trim gives you black and red seat upholstery. Leg room in the rear is tight, and the center hump isn’t too tall. Also, I bumped my head getting into the rear seating area, and I’m not that tall. There’s plenty of head room inside, though. There is a fold-down arm rest in the rear with a pair of cupholders. Inside the arm rest is a flat console that would be good for holding phones, etc.There are four assist handles to help in entry and exit. All four doors have room for water bottles.

I feel the Dodge has a good trunk for the size of the car. The inside remote trunk release is well hidden on the dash by the driver’s left knee. In addition, the rear seat backs fold to increase cargo capacity.

The instrument panel is sometimes hard to read with “different” markings at the 5 mph positions. However, the information panel between the speedometer and tachometer can be configured to be a digital speedometer to make monitoring speed easier.

The sound system delivered good audio. The 8.4-inch touchscreen center screen offers clear information if you’re listening to XM. Additionally, the heater and air conditioner are good. Figuring out how to work the controls requires some thought at first,.

The driver holds a comfortable wheel that has cruise control switches as well as switches to configure the information panel. Audio volume is behind the right spoke, while you can change the station with buttons behind the left spoke of the wheel.

Interior storage consists of a large cubby ahead of the shifter at the base of the center stack, and a deep center console/arm rest. With all the manuals inside, the glove box has room for gloves.

Overall, the Dodge Dart is a comfortable compact car for driving and riding. Fuel economy is good. Even though its numbers approach mid-size numbers, don’t expect to be in a mid-size. It’s still a compact.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate