2013 Dodge Dart Aero: 41 mpg for $20,090

2013_Dodge_DartThe new Dodge Dart is a promising first collaboration for Chrysler and Fiat, but it doesn’t achieve the magic 40 mpg (highway) that every compact car is expected to, falling just short of that goal with 39 mpg highway. Now, Dodge has rectified that with the 2013 Dart Aero, which achieves 41 mpg highway with a manual transmission, and 40 mpg with an automatic.

The Dart Aero is a fuel economy special like the Ford Focus SFE and Chevrolet Cruze Eco. Like its Detroit rivals, the Dart uses aerodynamic tricks like grille shutters and underbody panels to reduce drag, as well as low-rolling resistance tires. All of that is needed for one to two mpg.

Under the hood is the 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four found in other Darts and the Fiat 500 Abarth. In the Aero, it produces the same 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque it does in non-Aero Darts.

Now that the Dart has joined the 40 mpg club, it will have to fend off competition from the Ford and Chevy fuel economy specials, as well as the Honda Civic HF. The Mazda 3 and Hyundai Elantra also return 40 mpg, without any add-ons. Nissan is claiming 40 mpg for its redesigned 2013 Sentra (with the optional FE+ package), but that car hasn’t completed EPA testing.

In highway mileage, it’s nearly a dead heat, with the manual transmission Crzue boasting 42 mpg, the Dart and Civic at 41, and the rest of the packing at an even 40 mpg.

In city driving, there is a pretty steep drop-off in mileage. The Dart comes in last place here, with 27 mpg city. The rest of the pack achieves 28 or 29 mpg.

The Dodge does have some advantages outside the realm of fuel economy. At $20,090 with destination, the Dart is only undercut by the $17,740 Elantra and the $20,020 Mazda.

For that price, Dart buyers get more than most competitors. The Dart is tied with the Focus SFE for most horsepower in the 40 mpg compact car class. It also gets niceties like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto headlights, and “racetrack” LED taillights from the upscale Dart Limited. As with other Darts, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, 7-inch reconfigurable TFT gauge cluster, and wireless charging mat are optional.

For compact cars, 40 mpg highway is becoming more of a standard than a selling point. The Dart Aero’s modifications meet that standard, but it’s hard to pick a clear fuel economy winner when the numbers are this close. The Aero’s strongest selling point will probably be the fact that it’s a Dart: it puts good fuel economy in an attractive package.

Cars

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.
Cars

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.
Cars

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.
Cars

Meet the born-again Ford Bronco that will soothe your ’90s nostalgia

Ford has confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in a few short years. While it's still very much a work in progress, this is what we expect from the Blue Oval's born-again off-roader.
Cars

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Cars

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Cars

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.
Cars

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.
Cars

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.
Cars

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?
Cars

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.
Cars

Honda will squeeze another model into its SUV lineup at the Los Angeles show

Honda will introduce a new SUV with a familiar nameplate at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show. It envisioned the 2019 Passport as a five-seater alternative to the eight-seater Pilot. The two models will share a platform and many tech features.