If you’re in the market for a compact sedan with a low running costs and a highway gas mileage over 40 mpg, you’ll know there are an increasingly large number of non-hybrid cars to choose from.
Now, it’s time to add the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero to that list.
Promised earlier this year, the Dart Aero is the latest Dodge Dart to be rolled out by Chrysler, and features a 1.4-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and the choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.
The high gas-mileage Dart will follow the standard 2013 Dodge Dart Automatic onto dealer lots in the next few months.
Fitted with lighter-weight forged aluminum suspension components instead of the standard steel parts found on other Dodge Darts, the Dart Aero also features electric grille shutters, which close to smooth frontal air flow when the engine cooling is not required, and special, low-rolling resistance tires.
The net result is a car that squeezes an additional 2 miles per gallon highway and 1mpg city over the standard 1.4-liter turbocharged, six-speed manual Dodge Dart.
Swap the manual transmission for a six-speed automatic, and the Dart Aero posts a 40 mpg highway and 28 mpg city rating.
2013 Dodge Dart test drive, Austin, Texas, April 2012
2013 Dodge Dart test drive, Austin, Texas, April 2012Enlarge Photo
Sadly however, while Dart developmental engineers had told us off the record they predicted the Dart Aero would achieve a combined gas mileage rating of 34 mpg, the EPA only awarded 32 mpg combined to both manual and automatic variants.
Chrysler hasn’t detailed final specification or pricing for the Dodge Aero yet, but previously told us that it would be offered as an option on the $15,995 (plus $795 mandatory delivery fee) base Dart SE.
On paper, the fuel-sipping Dodge Dart Aero certainly seems to offer competitive gas mileage in a segment already full of 40+ mpg cars like the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, 2013 Ford Focus SFE and 2012 Hyundai Elantra.
But will the eco version of Chrysler’s first foray into compact cars since it ceased production of the Dodge Neon in 2005 have what it takes to win the gas mileage wars?
Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below.