2013 Dodge Dart SE 2.0L 4 cylinder from North America

Summary:

Automotive excrement in a colorful candy shell

Faults:

Catastrophic engine failure due to cylinder head failure at 5,002 miles.

Computer failure due to old software.

Transmission shifting problems.

UConnect software crashes/reboots.

Bubbles in the el-cheapo tire sidewalls at under 2,000 miles.

Sun visors that snap off with very little pressure.

General Comments:

In the early 1980s, Chrysler was on the brink of bankruptcy due to churning out absolute junk cars. They promised a compact 4 cylinder car that would revolutionize motoring with advanced engineering, premium styling, great safety, and fuel economy.

The K-car was born... and it was terrible. Unreliable, janky, and a bit of a laughing stock.

In the early 1990s, Chrysler was on the brink of bankruptcy again due to churning out absolute junk cars (like the aforementioned K-cars). They promised a compact 4 cylinder car that would revolutionize motoring with advanced engineering, premium styling, great safety, and fuel economy.

The Neon was born... and it was terrible. Unreliable, janky, and a bit of a laughing stock.

Fast forward to 2013. Chrysler was recovering from a bankruptcy that was a result of churning out absolute junk cars (like the aforementioned Neons). They promised a compact 4 cylinder car that would revolutionize motoring with advanced engineering, premium styling, great safety, and fuel economy.

This car is called the Dodge Dart.

And it's every bit as gawdawful as the K-cars and Neons of yore.

You want to give Chrysler a chance to deliver. But they disappoint time after time.

My 2013 started out with squeaks and rattles in the interior that I hadn't seen in ten-year-old cars of yore, within the first 100 miles. The dealer couldn't fix it.

Then, the radio stopped playing and the Uconnect Bluetooth system stopped working. It required a reset and swap.

Then, the dashboard lights started flickering and changing intensity while driving at night. Dealer couldn't fix.

The transmission started shifting roughly and continues to act odd, despite reprogramming of the software.

The coup de grace is that the engine blew at 5,002 miles, despite proper maintenance. The dealer says it's "because of a cylinder head problem." Even making a simple 2.0L engine with a reliable cylinder head is beyond Chrysler's abilities in 2014.

The best part is that the repair has taken the better part of a month, and still isn't complete. The engine is overheating with the replacement cylinder head, so the dealer has very kindly ordered a replacement crate engine, which "may take another month" to arrive. The vehicle has been in the shop for 25 days already, and I have no confidence in its safety and reliability anymore.

Everything about this car is a compromise. The fuel release cable, shown in the manual as an easy-to-access thing, was cheapened and requires you to rip up the carpet in the trunk in order to get access to it.

The tires are no-name units from a company called Kumho (that's really, truly the manufacturer's name!) They have horrendous winter and rain traction, the treads wear quickly, and one of mine got a bubble in the sidewall by 2,000 miles.

Acres of cheap easily-scratched plastic swathe the interior, while much of the vaunted "advanced technology" including the Uconnect system, automatic dimming lights, and streaming Bluetooth radio are prone to bugs and outright failure, requiring a dealer trip.

Thank the universe for the state Lemon Law, which will allow me to get the heck out of this laughable excuse of an automobile.

A quick Google search shows myriad consumer feedback about all these problems, discussions on Dodge Dart forums about getting a manufacturer buy-back, discussions on catastrophic engine failures and transmission problems, etc., etc., etc. Even the new 2.4L engine in the higher-end model in 2014 seems to be suffering from endless problems.

Don't make my mistake. Chrysler is still incapable of building small cars that are worth buying. They failed in the K-car era, they failed in the Neon era, and this Dart is another unreliable flash-and-trash dud of an automobile. Steer clear and spend the extra $1,500 to get a car that won't collapse into garbage inside of 24 months.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st September, 2014

22nd Sep 2014, 20:49

Getting a car right... out of the gate isn't easy. Most newly designed car/trucks/SUVs take a few years to get it right. So give them a few years to get the bugs out... and in some cases some cars start out great... but fade away in 4 or 5 years... especially in reliability.

Most cars are newly designed every 4 to 6 years, so it's best to buy them in the 2nd or 3rd year of the new design... but only after a lot of research on how they hold up.

2013 Dodge Dart SE 2.0 from North America

Summary:

Terrible car

Faults:

Nothing yet.

General Comments:

Gas mileage is terrible. Routinely get 19 MPG or less on a 4 cylinder 2.0 liter engine.

Transmission shifting is rough, the handling is awful, and the power is non-existent.

The interior is neither great nor terrible. The gauges are a bit difficult to read at times, given the styling and color arrangement.

I would personally gladly take a Neon, PT Cruiser or K-Car over this car any day of the week. Dodge should be ashamed of this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th November, 2013

17th Nov 2013, 11:43

Is this car a rental? As I doubt you would have bought it if it is as bad as you say, since much of this would have been apparent in the test drive.

Also, it seems the other reviewers have had the opposite experience to yours.

21st Sep 2014, 20:37

I own the SE 2.0L version, and it has been horrendous from start to finish. It's been in the shop for over 23 days due to a blown engine at just 5,002 miles -- a cylinder head failure that the dealer tells me is "common in the Northeast."

In 2014, NO car should lose an engine at 5,002 miles.

The transmission is rough and requires constant adjustments, the electronics are complete junk requiring constant resets and dealer updates, the Kumho tires are garbage, and interior appointments like the sun visors are made of flimsy plastic that breaks easily.

This car has cured me of ever owning another Chrysler product -- it's my fifth Chrysler car and they've been going downhill for years now. Chrysler should be ashamed of themselves for producing this rolling pile of prettily-styled garbage.

23rd Sep 2014, 16:40

An engine may blow at 50K miles if the truck is exposed to extreme conditions. Did you leave it outside on all the really cold nights? It needs to be winterized, or this type of thing can happen.

24th Sep 2014, 14:36

You obviously have a low opinion of Chrysler, so that begs the question - Why did you buy the Dart?

24th Sep 2014, 17:52

My garage-parked car had the engine blow not at 50K miles, but at 5K miles. As in five thousand. As in "still new".

It's a common problem with Chrysler 2.0 Tigersharks, according to my dealer at least. He tells me new cylinder head replacements are a frequent issue.

In the case of my 2.0, the replacement cylinder head wasn't enough -- the car is still overheating, they want to put a new crate engine in it, and after 29 days in the shop, they have literally no idea when that's happening.

Clearly, getting my car running is not a priority for the automaker and the dealer. If having a reliable car (or a car that is quickly serviced in the event of severe failure) is important to you, it's best to avoid the Dart.

Consumers seem to understand this innately, as Dart sales have been terrible.