Car Review: 2013 Dodge Dart GT

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After test driving a 2013 Dodge Dart GT, we were reintroduced to an all-new Dart that is a thoroughly modern vehicle that’s beautifully designed and crafted and is loaded with state-of-the-art technology. The 2013 Dodge Dart compact car is redefined performance with an agile, fun-to-drive experience, compliments of its Alfa Romeo roots and confidence not normally found in a car in this price range.

EXTERIOR

The Dodge brand dug deep into its rich nearly 100-year history to name its all-new compact car, the 2013 Dodge Dart, and is again drawing on the storied history for the newest Dodge Dart model. The aggressive design is eye-catching and smooth as silk, from the projector fog lamps to the 18-inch aluminum wheels. The header orange cleat coat paint screamed attitude on the road and garnered compliments from folks of all walks of life. Looks matter, and the Dart GT delivers with cues like unique performance front fascia with black accents and hyper black grille, black projector headlamp bezels, body-color door handles, class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust with bright exhaust tips and class-exclusive racetrack LED tail lamps.

INTERIOR

Our 2013 Dodge Dart GT was loaded with premium standard features including perforated heated Nappa Leather seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen and 7-inch TFT. The GT model adds standard features like unique premium Nappa perforated leather seats in black with ruby red stitching or two-tone black/ruby red, class-exclusive heated steering wheel (which was welcomed in colder Midwest weather), heated front seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, remote start (with automatic transmission), universal garage door opener, ParkView rear backup camera, and a class-exclusive 7-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) reconfigurable instrument cluster display.

Other features include premium door trim panel with soft-touch upper surfaces, leather steering wheel with audio controls and speed control, accent stitching on the instrument panel, power 10-way driver seat including power lumbar support, driver and front passenger seatback pockets, overhead console with sunglass holder, front passenger in-seat storage, illuminated front cup holders, illuminated vanity mirrors, temperature and compass gauge, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in console, speed-sensitive power locks, power windows with express one-touch up/down front windows, ambient LED interior lighting and automatic headlamps. Clearly one of the sportiest cabins in the compact segment with style you’d expect in expensive sports cars.

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Bullz-Eye hits New York City with Dodge

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I traveled to New York City courtesy of Dodge to check out and drive some of their 2011 models, including the 2011 Dodge Avenger. This was my first opportunity to test drive this vehicle, and I had a red Dodge Avenger Heat V6 for the drive (see the photos above). It was a rainy spring day, but I was able to push the Avenger on some country roads outside of the city along with hitting the city streets as well. The V6 made this car fun to drive, and Dodge made a number of changes to this vehicle for the 2011 model year to improve the handling. The wet roads weren't a problem and I loved the way it handled tight corners. The result was a vehicle that matched the aggressive styling, and I think this car will be a big hit for guys looking for a sporty sedan. Check back for our full review of the Avenger in our Car Channel.

Dodge also had some Chargers for us as well. I drove the V8 R/T in the past and was very impressed with the vehicle, so I took the opportunity to drive the 2011 Charger Rally Plus with a V6 engine (see the silver Charger in the photos above). While it doesn't have the power of the V8, this V6 Charger performed very well and had plenty of power. You can save some money and get better mileage with the V6, so for many guys this might be the better option. I recommend you drive both of them and you can choose based on your own preferences, but I came away impressed with both the V8 and V6 versions of the Charger. This car handles beautifully for a full-sized sedan and it has the most aggressive styling in its class in my opinion.

On Thursday night the group hit the BroBible Alpha Experience on Manhattan's West Side. The event showcased products and brands targeting the male demo, and Dodge was one of the signature sponsors along with other brands like Microsoft, Xbox, The Art of Shaving, Under Armour, Blackbeard Rum and more. The event produced a great crowd and was capped off with a concert by The Knocks on Skylight West's rooftop. It was nice to be back in New York with a great party crowd. Fortunately the weather cooperated!

The Dodge exhibit featured an incredible Charger R/T with a black exterior and red interior. Jenn Sterger stopped to check out the vehicle and Fred Deperez, Head of Marketing for Dodge, gave her all the info on the vehicle (see the photos above). Dodge also had a slick Challenger on hand as well.

It was a great way to cap off the trip.

Photo Credit for pics 1-7: Sunny Norton (see more on BroBible's Facebook page)

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, We are disclosing that our time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for our participation in the Dodge Ride & Drive. Although we have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain our own.

  

Bullz-Eye sits down with Dodge Marketing Boss

I recently joined a roundtable with Fred DePerez who is Head of Dodge Marketing at the North American International Auto Show. Dodge has some exciting products and we had a chance to check them out up close and we were impressed!

  

Driving with Dodge in San Francisco

I was invited by Chrysler to join other bloggers in San Francisco for the opportunity to drive some of the new Dodge vehicles. As you can see from the photos above, we had a beautiful day in the city by the bay, and I had a great time with this impressive new lineup.

The Dodge Charger is the flagship vehicle for the Dodge brand, and the Charger has been completely redesigned from the ground up for the 2011 model year. The iconic feel of the vehicle remains, but you can see the new, sleeker design in the first photo above and in the other Charger photos. It offers a sport sedan that I think will have huge appeal for guys looking for performance, aggressive styling and value. The car was a joy to drive through the winding roads in the Bay area, as the new suspension lived up to the promise. For a car that starts at $25,995, buyers will get tremendous value.

The real treat of the day was the 2011 Dodge Challenger. I had the opportunity to drive one of the Inaugural Edition versions of the 2011 Challenger SRT8 392. This car is beautiful as you can see from the slideshow above, with the white paint and the blue racing stripes, and it’s the ultimate American muscle car. Frankly, I can’t remember a car I enjoyed driving more than this one. The car is a torque monster – the 392 Hemi is rated at 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. I drove the automatic version, and this car is a beast! When you hit the gas at any speed, this car does exactly what you want it to do as it respond with a muscular roar. It handles beautifully as well, and any car enthusiast will fall in love with this 2011 Challenger.

While the Challenger and Charger stole the show, I was equally impressed with the other vehicles in the Dodge lineup. Dodge brought back the Durango, and this full-size SUV should be a real hit. The 2011 Durango has all the luxuries customers are becoming accustomed to in the crossover segment, but this SUV is the real deal as it still leads its class in towing capacity. Meanwhile, the handling is much better than previous versions of the vehicle, so you don’t feel like you’re driving a big truck.

In the crossover segment, the 2011 Journey should do very well in this exploding segment. Many in our group were impressed with how this car drove, and Dodge added some nice features including optional third-row seating that folds up or down depending on your needs. It’s a nice feature for families with young children.

In all the vehicles, Dodge has placed a new emphasis on the interiors and it shows. The goal for the brand is to over-deliver and provide real value for the cost of a vehicle, and you’re finally seeing Dodge live up to that promise. I loved the interior in each of the vehicles, and I think customers will feel the same way once they test drive these cars.

After San Francisco we joined the Chrysler team as they unveiled their new vehicles at the LA Auto Show where we had the opportunity to join in on a round-table discussion with Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles. Ralph is a true car enthusiast and you can see the passion he has for the new lineup.

Check back as we’ll be publishing full reviews of each of these cars, but I would recommend that you take the time to drive them. Each of the Dodge cars combines muscular styling with an impressive driver experience, and I suspect many drivers will be pleasantly surprised as they rediscover this brand.

  

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: Bullz-Eye Attends the Daytona Coke Zero 400

There are those who, when approached with the opportunity to venture forth to Daytona Beach, FL, and attend not one but two NASCAR races, would do a dance of joy…one which would, quite possibly, resemble the Boot Scootin’ Boogie. (Does anyone even still do that anymore? I apologize: my country music references are highly dated.) My reaction to this kind offer, however, was to acknowledge its inherent coolness in principle, then take a step back and allow someone else to take advantage of the opportunity. Yes, my inner child was jumping up and down at the thought of a free trip to Florida, but my inner journalist immediately reminded me of the score:

“Not only do you not know jack about NASCAR, but you have no real interest in any kind of sports. Surely someone…anyone…would be better suited to tackle this trip than you.”

My inner journalist may not get to come out and play very often, but when he’s right, he’s right. Despite the accuracy of his premise, however, the reality of the situation was that there was no one else to tackle the trip: everyone else’s schedule for the 4th of July weekend was already booked up. As such, all eyes turned to the guy who’d made the mistake of casually saying, “I guess I can do it if no one else is available.”

Whoops. Guess I’m going to Daytona.

Day 1:

As I have never, ever taken a trip for Bullz-Eye that hasn’t involved some sort of flight delay, it doesn’t really come as any surprise that the trip from Norfolk to Daytona finds me stuck in Charlotte for longer than I’m supposed to be. I didn’t even bother to try and find out what the problem was. I just shrugged, sat down and plugged in the laptop, and kept myself occupied until my flight finally did get around to taking off. I did have one brief panic attack when I called the hotel in Daytona to make sure that my delay wouldn’t complicate the rest of the day’s plans, only to learn that there was no reservation listed under my name, but it all worked out in the end. (Turns out everything was booked under the blanket name of “Dodge.”) Once I successfully manage to fly Charlotte to Daytona, I take a taxi to the hotel, check into my room, and gaze longingly at the beach outside my window, never realizing that the weekend will work out such that I will never get to take advantage of it. Still, it sure looked nice…

Once I arrive, I meet my “handlers” for the weekend, Philip and Chuck, who work with Dodge through their employers, New Media Strategies. They’re great guys, but they’re very much car guys…not, as Seinfeld once said, that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s simply that I’m not a car guy. Oh, right, I don’t think I mentioned that before, did I? Yeah, there’s another really good reason why I wasn’t necessarily the best person for this trip. And, yet, in a sense, I’m the perfect person, since I’m able to provide an outsider’s view of the whole experience…or, at least, that’s the angle I’m planning to take. (I say that like there’s any other angle I can take.) I let Philip and Chuck know of my deficiency of knowledge in this weekend’s events. They assure me that they’ll fill me in if I need any additional education to fully appreciate the goings-on. For this, I am grateful.

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