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2015 Dodge Dart Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Dodge Dart was new.


Performance: 7.1

While the automotive press agrees that the 2015 Dodge Dart offers athletic handling and a comfortable ride, some are let down by the lackluster passing power provided by its base engine.

  • "Unlike most compact cars, the Dodge Dart feels like it was built by people who love to drive, demonstrating ride and handling characteristics that are more befitting of a sport sedan." -- AutoTrader 
  • "… the Dart lacks an overall refinement that its main rivals possess and stumbles in areas that are of importance to many buyers in this segment. First of all, its powertrain lineup misses the mark." -- Edmunds 
  • "The 2015 Dodge Dart offers up a solid chassis and nicely sorted European-inspired suspension to deliver a confident and well-controlled ride, regardless of what model of this compact sedan you choose." -- Kelley Blue Book 

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Dodge Dart comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 160 horsepower. A turbocharged 1.4-liter four cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower are available. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. The base Dart gets an EPA-estimated 25/36 mpg city/highway, which is low for a compact car. Models with the turbocharged engine get up to 27/37 mpg, while the Dart Aero gets the best estimates in the lineup with 28/41 mpg city/highway.

Some reviewers write that the base Dart has decent power, while others note that it revs smoothly, but doesn’t accelerate quickly enough for passing and merging on the highway. Some prefer the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, which feels responsive and offers more low-end power. Critics note that models with the 2.4-liter engine aren’t as quick as competitors like the Honda Civic Si, but they also note that this engine offers much better acceleration for highway passing and merging.  

  • "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." -- Edmunds 
  • "At best, power from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the SE is adequate, but the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine from the Aero is a bit more lively, thanks to better low-end torque, and gets better fuel economy. The 2.4-liter engine available on SXT, GT and Limited models helps move things along better, but it's still no match for cars like the Volkswagen Jetta GLI or Honda Civic Si." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The 2.0-liter engine revs smoothly throughout its range and moves the Dart smartly whether equipped with the six-speed manual or the six-speed automatic transmission. Power, not surprisingly, tapers off at higher speeds, and at 60 mph there's little left for a last-minute pass around slower-moving traffic. You have to plan your move with care." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "The 1.4-liter turbo MultiAir is surprisingly responsive and happy to rev. The whole car feels light on its feet; the controls are easy and as a package they work in complete harmony." -- Road and Track (2013)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers report that the 2015 Dart is unusually nimble for a compact car, with confidence-inspiring handling that some critics compare with the well-liked Mazda3’s agility. Some test drivers say that the Dart rides firmly, but never feels uncomfortable, while others comment that a comfortable ride makes it an excellent car for longer trips. The Dart also earns praise for its well-weighted steering, though some say that it could provide more road feel.

  • "The ride is never harsh, but it tends toward Euro-firm, and the Dart tackles corners with verve, reminding us of the nimble Mazda3." -- AutoTrader 
  • "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." -- Edmunds 
  • "… the Dodge Dart handles well, and when it comes to taking corners this Dodge is near the top of its compact class." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The Focus provides a better sense of what's happening at the tires than the Dart, whose steering has limited feel and less immediate turn-in. On the highway, the Dart settles nicely and tracks confidently without asking you to make constant steering corrections." -- Cars.com (2013)

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