Dodge fell a little short on fuel economy when it introduced the 2013 Dart – its efficient and powerful 1.4-liter turbo-four only achieved 39 mpg on the highway, falling short of the 40-mpg Holy Grail of the compact sedan segment. However, the automaker has now introduced the new 2013 Dart Aero, which is EPA rated at 40-41 mpg.
The Dart Aero uses a bunch of the same tricks as its competition to help improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. Dodge implements things like active grille shutters, underbody aero panels, and low profile and low-rolling resistance tires. Combine those enhancements with the Dart’s 1.4-liter turbo-four, and the sedan will achieve 41 mpg on the highway with a six-speed manual or 40 mpg with the six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Pricing starts at just $20,090 including destination.
Dodge is not the first to offer a high-mileage package – Ford, Chevrolet, and Honda all offer similar enhancement packages for their compact sedans. Hyundai and Mazda’s sedans also achieve 40 mpg but without the aid of an added package. Stacked up against its competition, the Dart ties the Focus for the most power – they’re both rated at 160 hp – but trails every other competitor in city mpg by one or two mpg. Priced at $20,090, the Dart Aero sits directly in the middle of the pack; the Mazda and Hyundai are cheaper, while the Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet are more expensive (although it’s a matter of tens of dollars between the Dodge and Ford).
However, you get more with the Dart – the Aero model comes standard with a number of niceties otherwise only found on the top-spec Limited model including full-width “racetrack” LED taillights, auto headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and projector-beam headlights; optional are Dodge’s massive 8.4-inch touchscreen and a seven-inch reconfigurable TFT gauge cluster.
|Price (incl. dest.)||Engine/Trans.||HP||MPG|
|Dodge Dart Aero||$20,090||1.6L turbo I-4/6MT||160||27/41|
|Chevrolet Cruze Eco||$20,475||1.8L I-4/6MT||138||28/42|
|Ford Focus SFE||$20,185||2.0L I-4/6AT||160||28/40|
|Honda Civic HF||$20,395||1.8L I-4/5AT||140||29/41|
|Hyundai Elantra||$17,470||1.8L I-4/6MT||148||29/40|
|Mazda 3i||$20,020||2.0L I-4/6AT||155||28/40|