2013 Dodge Dart SE 2.0L 4 cylinder from North America
Automotive excrement in a colorful candy shell
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.
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
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.