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2013 Dodge Dart Aero: High-Mileage Version Of New Compact Coming Soon

 
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2013 Dodge Dart test drive, Austin, Texas, April 2012

The eagerly-awaited new 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan will start arriving at dealerships in June. But the first volley of Darts won't include every model.

The model with the highest gas mileage will be known as the Dart Aero, and it should go on sale sometime between July and September.

At a Dart drive event two weeks ago, the company revealed a handful of details about the Dart Aero--though not full details on its projected EPA fuel-efficiency ratings.

READ MORE: 2013 Dodge Dart -- Full Review

It will feature the smallest of the car's three engine options, a 1.4-liter turbo four, along with additional modifications that Dodge says will boost its mileage to at least 41 mpg on the EPA highway cycle.

The Dart Aero package will be offered on the base Dart SE trim level (which starts at $15,995 plus a mandatory $795 delivery fee).

It will include:

  • 160-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Lighter-weight forged aluminum suspension components (replacing steel parts)
  • Electric grille shutters that close to smooth frontal air flow when engine cooling isn't needed
  • Aerodynamic aids including fender lips
  • Low-rolling-resistance tires

Dodge development engineers said that, off the record, they hoped the Dart Aero would achieve a 34-mpg combined EPA rating.

2013 Dodge Dart launch at Detroit Auto Show, Jan 2012

2013 Dodge Dart launch at Detroit Auto Show, Jan 2012

Enlarge Photo

Fuel efficiency for the standard (non-Aero) 1.4-liter turbo model with the six-speed manual is 32 mpg combined (27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway).

We didn't get close to that figure in our test drive, though, logging just 26.2 mpg in that same model over a relatively energetic 50-mile route.

READ MORE: 2013 Dodge Dart -- Full Review

The Dart Aero will compete directly with the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, the optional high-mileage version of the Cruze compact sedan.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

Enlarge Photo

The Cruze Eco too weighs less than the standard model (via lightweight wheels), includes electric grille shutters, and uses a 1.4-liter turbo with six-speed manual gearbox. The EPA rates it at 33 mpg combined (28 mpg city, 42 mpg highway).

Ford too offers a special package, known as SFE, on its Focus compacts that get that model to the magic 40-mpg highway figure.

Hyundai, on the other hand, proudly touts that all its 2012 Elantra compact models achieve 40 mpg highway--no special-order packages required.

It's worth noting that most Dart models are expected to be ordered with automatic transmissions. Dodge so far has been notably silent on fuel-economy ratings for any of its automatic models.

We'll bring you the full details on EPA ratings for the 2013 Dodge Dart compact as soon as we have them.

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Comments (6)
  1. John: did Chrysler not give you the car's coefficient of drag? Seems a bit of an oversight not to publish that figure in an article concerned with aerodynamics. (Sort of like forgetting to report on range in an article about an EV.)
     
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  2. @Darin: Chrysler didn't give the Cd for the Aero version, because they're still tweaking some of the refinements to the little aero add-ons. The Cd of the standard Dart that they quoted was 0.285.
     
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  3. Thanks, John.

    With automakers "competing" more and more on their Cd figures, and with consumers beginning to understand the enormous importance of low drag design for improved efficiency, it would be great if that stat found its way into more articles where appropriate. Cheers.
     
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  4. @Darin: Thanks. Actually, I've been told by several auto aerodynamics people that the Cd figures quoted by automakers are NOT necessarily comparable. There are a lot of asterisks that don't properly get noted.

    For instance, tires turn out to be very important, and the only Prius liftback to hit the much-touted 0.25 figure is the base model with 15-inch wheels.

    And several engineers tell me that they can't duplicate other makers' quoted figures when they put competitors' cars in their own wind tunnels. So I'm somewhat leery of quoting drag coefficients without a fair bit of context around them.

    For what it's worth ...
     
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  5. Good points. I've read similar things - GM even revised UP the Cd figure for its iconic low-drag electric EV1 years after the fact (and also questioned Toyota's 0.25 figure for the Prius). Results even vary slightly between test facilities.

    However with the very significant impact of aero on "green car" design, the figures are still worth reporting (even with asterisks!), in my opinion.

    All the best.
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  6. Right, the wheels and the wheel openings can contribute 20-30% of the overall drag. The stock Prius wheels are considerably better drag than the optional ones.

    This is actually something that I hope more people learn about. As mentioned, it would great to have auto makers "competing" to have a lower drag coefficient, and for things like smooth flat wheels be a factory option.

    Neil
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