The 2013 Dodge Dart – The Poison Dart that Killed the Caliber
For those who actually like the Dodge Caliber, you can say rest in peace after its short five-year run, soon to be replaced by the 2013 Dodge Dart. For me, it is more like good riddance to the funny-looking car that to me resembled a hippopotamus. The only thing it had going for it was the fact the glove compartment was a cooler, and that is about it. I will admit I did own a Caliber, only because I bought a Dodge Stratus with a junk 2.7-liter motor that seized a couple months after I bought it. The dealer took it as a trade-in sight unseen and the Caliber was the cheapest car on the lot. If it not for the fact that rental cars were too damn expensive, I never would have willingly bought it. For those too young to remember the Dodge Dart of the 1970s, the 2013 Dodge Dart looks nothing like it, this is kind of a toss-up as to whether this is good or bad.
It is rumored it will have more standard options and exterior and interior colors than the competition in an attempt to appeal to more of the population.The compact 2013 Dodge Dart was designed to compete with models such as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and the like.
It is also going to be available in four trim levels up front that include an SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited. There is expected to be two additional models due toward the end of the model year, a performance R/T and an Eco version. Now let us get to what these supposedly fully loaded not-so-retro 2013 Dodge Dart is so “well-equipped” with. The SE base version comes standard with an am/fm/cd/mp3 player with a digital media connection, power windows and tilt wheel, but no air conditioning. Who makes a car these days that does not have air conditioning? Well, I guess the power windows make up for it, you will not have to get heat stroke rolling the windows down after it sits in the sun all day and the inside temperature is 145 degrees. Perhaps they should make leather seating standard too so you can stick to the seats like Velcro on a hot day too. Somehow this sounds like the same designers that thought up the “no automatic transmission, but you have a cooler in the glove box” Caliber, were given their crayons and construction paper back.
They kind of look alike, or is it just me?
The 2013 Dodge Dart SXT adds air conditioning (way to go!) and power locks. You have to add an option package to get an upgraded stereo with SD card slot and USB port, a touchscreen navigation system, sunroof and satellite radio. You would think they would just add all that, it is an SXT after all, whatever that stands for. If you want to spend more money for nothing, the Rallye is more “sporty” and you get cruise control and some stickers. (This makes it go faster I have heard.) Now if you really want to go all out you can get the 2013 Dodge Dart Limited, which is the “luxury” version. I have never equated luxury with a compact car, but apparently, times are changing. The Limited gives you heated mirrors, all the options the lower trim levels have and if you want to add an option package to what is already supposed to be the “luxury” version, you can add leather seats, heated steering wheel and cross-path detection. I am still not impressed, but I am sure some people will be. So far, the 2013 Dodge Dart is not making it to the top of the list of cars I would want to buy, and aside from offering me one free, I do not think it will either. There will be two engines available, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. They both produce the same 160hp, so I suppose the only difference is size versus turbo, and probably price, of course.
As you are probably as disillusioned as I am about the Dart, or the reincarnation of the Neon, so it seems, I will save the banter on the R/T and the Eco version until they make their appearance. The more I read on the Dart, the more it sounds like they saw a pile of leftover Neon parts and decided to recycle them. Nevertheless, in this day and age of being “green” and environmentally friendly, I guess it is a good idea on their part to recycle all those old parts instead of making more to add to the pile in five years when the not-so-retro Dodge Dart takes a nosedive like the ill-fated Caliber.