Test Driving the 2013 Dodge Dart

The 2013 Dodge Dart, Image: Chrysler

I remember the original Dodge Dart from back when I was in high school. My boyfriend’s brother drove one and it was burgundy with a white leather interior. It was a hand-me-down that his parents had finished with and it avoided trade-in only because he happened to get his license at just the right time. It was a pretty cool car, but it was already ten years old by the time he got it and it died quietly while we were all in college.

That was the last I saw of the Dart and, since the model was discontinued back in 1976, I never expected to ride in one again. Fast forward to 2013 and Dodge has revived the Dart with a whole new look and attitude. This is most definitely not the car our parents drove.

I am by no means a car expert. I can change a flat and rotate the tires and I even know how to change the oil which I might or might not do correctly in a pinch. But, I love cars. If I ever won the lottery I would have the same house and the same life, but I’d build a giant garage somewhere and fill it with pretty cars. Also, fast cars. Fast and pretty.

So for me, buying a car and falling in love with it are more about how it looks, feels and drives than about the technology under the hood. I want to know it has an engine, that it runs the way it’s supposed to, and that it’s safe for me and my family. Beyond that, it’s a completely intuitive experience. I know what I like when I see it, not when I read a brochure.

2013 Dodge Dart Interior, Image: Chrysler

One look and you know this is a completely different car than the original. The boxiness is gone, replaced with lots of curves and a sportiness that gives this compact sedan some nice curb appeal. It’s got that Dodge split cross-hair grille and full-width tail lamps reminiscent of the Charger. There are a ridiculous number of trim levels so it can look mild mannered or in your face. I drove one with Citrus Peel accents, or for the rest of us, Blindingly Bright Yellow. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d told me it glowed in the dark. I loved it.

I test drove the Dodge Dart on the roads of Austin, Texas as part of the #DodgeDartDrive event and it was a ridiuclous amount of fun. It was basically an all expense paid trip from Chrysler just to put me behind the wheel of a car. Don’t tell them this, but I’d have driven this car with or without the paid trip.

2013 Dodge Dart, Image: Chrysler

They gave us a planned route to follow so we’d get to experience the car on different roads. There were highways, back roads, unfinished roads and one little road that I was sure would lead to nowhere but the edge of a cliff. Happily, it took me back to the city of Austin at the end of the day. All in all, this was a really fun car to drive. I drive a Charger at home so I’m used to a car that moves. This didn’t have quite the same kick, but then we had the base model. I saw guys driving the snazzier ones and those things really took off.

I liked that it was small without making me feel squished. The front seats were comfortable and there is enough room in the back for kids to easily fit in along with their assorted backpacks and gadgets. One of my favorite things was all the storage. The trunk was stroller-friendly and the glove box was so deep I could put my arm straight in all they way up to my armpit. Yes, this was my technical test of glove box storage capacity.

2013 Dodge Dart, Storage, Image: Chrysler

There was also a flip-up seat in the front with an extra storage compartment. This was just incredibly cool and, as both a mom who has lots of stuff and a geek who has gadgets that each have a different cord, I know this would come in handy. I also liked that, especially in the higher trim levels, this is a sexy little ride. I am not a minivan person. I don’t want a mom car. This car, fits that bill perfectly.

Thanks again to Chrysler for providing a fantastic trip to Austin to check out the new 2013 Dodge Dart, and if you’re in the market for a sexy, compact car with lots of storage and some serious curb appeal, get thee to your local Dodge dealer! Retail prices, depending on model, run from $15,995 to $19,995.

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