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2014 Dodge Dart ups its game with a new engine

Back for another try, the updated Dart tries harder to hit the target

Published: January 21, 2014 01:30 PM

It was more than an eye-catching color that led us to buy this new model. The big news is that the 2014 Dodge Dart gets a much needed powertrain transplant, with a 184-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine hooked up to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Other changes include interior revisions to improve seat comfort and simplified model and options offerings.

We bought a mainstream SXT version with the Rallye Appearance Package, which includes (among other things) a "touring suspension," dual exhaust, and 17-inch wheels. We also added the 8.4-Inch Uconnect Touch Screen Group, and the automatic transmission. With a few others odds and ends, the final price came to $22,025.

Our initial impressions are that the powertrain revisions make for a notably nicer car. It’s considerably smoother than the 1.4-liter turbo with the twin-clutch transmission we previously tested, and it is much more responsive than the also-available 2.0-liter engine.

We’re hoping that the overall package improves the Dart, since our tests of the 1.4-liter turbo and 2.0-liter models were somewhat disappointing.

Meanwhile, we know which variation we’d drive to next year’s Orange Bowl or what would fit in best in Orange County, Calif. But we’ll need a few weeks of testing to see how it ranks against its freshened competition, including the Honda Civic, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla.

—Mike Quincy

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