The 2015 Dodge Dart’s new touchscreen uses Android smartphone compatibility for Bluetooth phones and streaming music, as well as USB connectivity to play music from the Bluetooth device. The CD player is not available on all models and is now a stand-alone feature on certain trims or models. Interestingly the 2.4-liter engine is now found with Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) standard in the 14 California Air Resources Board (CARB) states.
The car with its eye-catching sheet metal and much roomy cabin, the 2015 Dodge Dart makes a strong first impression. However, when you get to know the sedan and it becomes glaring it is short of its rivals in some fundamental areas. Whatever the case, the choice of this good looking Dodge will depend on your personal preferences.
In many directions, the Dart is a rewarding choice. Its metal sheet is very striking, and its cabin is both accommodating and very attractive. The present Uconnect touchscreen infotainment interface adds the slick and modern look, and crowns it all with its user friendly design and expansive functionality. Non-GT trims of the Dart boast impressive handling, and the sedan’s safety scores are beyond reproach.
However, the Dart does not have an overall refinement that its main competitors have and fumbles in some areas of importance to many buyers in this class. To start with of all, its powertrain lineup misses the point. The base engine is sluggish and unremarkable. However there is good fuel economy with the Aero trim’s turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, but its unrefined automated manual transmission makes smooth driving abit difficult. Meanwhile, the 184-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder that’s standard on most trims provides satisfying acceleration, but fuel economy isn’t worth it. Another demerit has to do with seat comfort, as the Dart’s front seats are obstructed by placement and lines that will likely make them an uncomfortable to the passengers
Body Styles, Trim Levels, features
The 2015 Dodge Dart comes as a five-passenger compact sedan coming in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Aero, GT and the Limited versions.
The base SE comes not fully equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, power windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery, a folding rear seat, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack. The Convenience Group(optional) complements the underbody aerodynamic enhancements, active grille shutters, body-color door handles, power mirrors and locks, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a USB port.
The SXT has many of the Convenience Group options as standard;the USB port, active grille shutters and underbody enhancements are not inclusive, and then hasa 16-inch aluminum wheels, automatic headlights, upgraded cloth upholstery and interior trim, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a sliding front armrest, a rear seat armrest with cup holder and a six-speaker sound system.
The SXT is eligible for many options packages. The Uconnect Touchscreen Group includes an upgraded instrument panel, an 8.4inch touch screen infotainment interface, satellite radio, a rearview camera and a USB/iPod interface. The Sun/Sound Group gives the same equipment as the Touchscreen Group along with a sunroof and a nine-speaker Alpine sound system. The Cold Weather Group has the power heated mirrors, heated front seats and remote engine start (on Darts with the automatic transmission). The Rallye and California Appearance category are different only in badging, and add 17-inch black aluminum wheels, active grille shutters, underbody dynamic enhancements, a sportier tune for the suspension,a special exterior and interior design elements, dual exhaust tips, fog lamps and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Blacktop package gives an 18-inch black aluminum wheels, fog lamps, side mirrors with unique black trim and Yokohama tires.
The fuel economy called Aero has all the SXT’s standard equipment (excluding the auxiliary audio jack, CD player, rear seat armrest and 60/40-split rear seat), and gives low rolling resistance tires (16-inch), active grille shutters, under body aerodynamic enhancements and the Technology Group.
The Dart GT has the SXT’s equipment, along with the Technology Group, Cold Weather Group and the Aero’s aerodynamic enhancement components. It also gets 18-inch wheels, fog lamps, double exhaust tips, keyless ignition plus entry, an even sportier suspension indices than you get with the Rallye package, different exterior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat (having a four-way power lumbar adjustment), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a soft-touch instrument panel and ambient interior lighting. A version of the Sun/Sound Group with just the sunroof and Alpine audio system is quite optional on the GT brand.
The Dart Limited edition has all the GT’s equipment (minus the dual exhaust tips) but has the 17-inch wheels and the Rallye package’s suspension tune. It also comes with remote ignition, a sunroof, a navigation system (optional on all other trims apart from the SE), real-time traffic, perforated leather upholstery and chrome exterior trim. The Alpine stereo is a stand-alone feature.
However both the Limited and GT can be equipped with the Technology Group, which has xenon headlights, automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and a rear cross-traffic alert system.
All trims are come with a Mopar Interior package that owns a cargo net, all-weather floor mats, a cargo tray plus a unique door sill guards. Available Mopar Exterior packages give special body cladding.
Three types of engines are available for the 2015 Dodge Dart. The base SE model is available with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that gives 160 hp and 148 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional. In a performance test, a manual equipped Dart with this engine sped from zero to 60 mph in 9.9 seconds, a slow time for a compact sedan in this price class. An automatic equipped car would be even slower. The EPA gives the manual version at 29mpg combined 25 city/36 highway while the automatic rates 27 mpg combined 24 city/34 highways.
Available standard on the Aero is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that sends out 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, but a six-speed automated manual is optional. In a test, a Dart with the turbo engine and manual transmission flew from 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, which is quite average for its class. The automated manual transmission increased just 0.2 second to that time. EPA-estimated fuel economy is kept at 32 combined 28/41 with the conventional manual and 32 combined 28/40 with the automated manual.
Coming standard on the SXT, GT and Limited is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that sends out 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is also standard on the SXT and GT, while a six-speed automatic transmission comes optional on these trims and standard on the Limited. in a certain test, a Dart GT with the automatic counterpart also did the 0-60 sprint in 8.4 seconds. EPA estimates for the SXT and Limited are not impressive for the small car segment, but, at 27 mpg combined 23 city/35 highway with the automatic the manual is the same. Ratings for the Dart GT are actually 27combined 23/33 for the manual and 26 combined 22/31 for the automatic version.
Every 2015 Dodge Dart comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. A rearview camera is available on most trims. The optional Technology package on the GT and Limited includes rear parking sensors, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.
In government crash testing, the Dart won the highest possible rating of five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars for total frontal-impact protection and same five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Dart a GOOD score in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset impact test, the Dart won an “Acceptable” score ( this is second highest on a scale of four). Its seat and head restraint design was rated “Good” too for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
In a test, a Dart Limited came to a halt from 60 mph in 118 feet, putting it among the best in the class. A Dart GT gave the same feat in an impressively short 116 feet. A Dart Aero made with low rolling resistance tires, took 134 feet, which is actually 10 feet longer than average.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Dodge Dart gives a good first impression, with padded surfaces, dash stitching and available flares of colorful trim. Build quality isn’t exactly up to that of the segment leaders, though. We highly recommend springing for the available 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment interface, which you can get with or without a navigation system. It features straightforward menus, large on-screen buttons and an accompanying knob that makes whipping through iPod menus a breeze. Processing times are quick, too, and if you need to enter a destination on the move, the voice control works surprisingly well. In Darts without this interface, the standard stereo head unit clumsily plugs into the same spot, reinforcing the notion that you missed out on something better.
There’s good space for occupants up front, but the Dart’s front seats are oddly shaped and feel as if they’re mounted too high. As a result, longer-legged drivers may find they can’t lower the seat-bottom cushion enough for optimum comfort. In addition, the steering wheel has a limited range of tilt adjustment, so you may find you can’t position that low enough either.
Meanwhile, the backseat offers plenty of legroom for adults, though 6-footers may run short on headroom. Trunk capacity is 13.1 cubic feet, an average number in this class. Although the trunk holds a decent amount of gear, the hinges on its lid are unusually weak, making it all too easy to close the trunk accidentally when loading bulky or heavy items.
The 2015 Dodge Dart has responsive handling and well-weighted steering, and overall, it goes around turns with confidence. Almost all trim levels also offer a comfortable ride, making it a good candidate for road trips. The exception to all this is the Dart GT. It handles more crisply than other Darts, but the degradation in ride quality — the GT gets pretty jiggly over rough pavement — isn’t worth the incremental handling improvement in our opinion.
None of the Dart’s three available engines are standouts. The Dart’s base 2.0-liter engine doesn’t really have enough guts for a car this size. Acceleration is passable with the manual transmission, but the optional six-speed automatic slows the car down significantly. The Aero model’s turbocharged 1.4-liter engine achieves better fuel economy and provides punchier performance, but it gets noisy during hard acceleration. In addition, the automated manual transmission that most buyers choose is slow to respond to gas pedal inputs and often feels like it’s in the wrong gear. The best pick is the 2.4-liter engine. You don’t get optimal fuel economy with it, but it nevertheless feels considerably more lively in real-world driving situations, with highway merging and passing maneuvers being significantly easier.