Whether taking the GT for a drive in the city or on the open road, it does have some solid legs to stand on…

The 2014 Dodge Dart
The 2014 Dodge Dart
The 2014 Dodge Dart
The 2014 Dodge Dart

The Dodge Dart has held its own in a sporty compact segment where competition is fierce.

Perhaps it is because of its value, the various engine choices or that it has some pretty cool features (like available under-the-front-seat-cushion storage) and a fresh style – inside and out – the Dart seems to be a hit.

Two years in, Chrysler has loaded it up with an engine full of gusto, unique styling cues and added a couple of letters on the back and now we have the Dodge Dart GT.

What sets it apart from its siblings are a stretched-down grille and LED headlights. You’ll find the rear clad with the ‘Racetrack’ LED lights that run the full length of the trunk.

Then there’s a set of 18-inch wheels come standard on this vehicle along with a 2.4L, MultiAir, 4-cylinder Tigershark engine, matched with a 6-speed manual transmission, that brings to the pavement 184 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque.

Of all the characteristics I like about this trim of Dart, I think its transmission is the weakest link. In previous reviews of other Dart models – like the 1.4L, Turbocharged version with 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque – the gear throws are, in my opinion, too long to really give it that edge and sporty vibe that it needs to compete with vehicles like the VW GTI, Honda Civic Si or even the Ford Focus ST. The gear throws are long and the clutch has little weight to it, taking away the performance aspect of the GT that it should have.

On the flip side, the light clutch works favourably in the urban environment. This setup makes being stuck in traffic bearable.

Getting back to the gearbox, I really wanted to like the Dart more. I really did. So I concocted scenarios in my mind to figure out a way to not be so sad about its lack of panache.

I think I found one. Buyers of the GT will like what they get for the value.

After all, it has a starting MSRP of $21,995. That’s thousands less than the aforementioned competitors.

And some buyers of vehicles who want that extra kick don’t necessarily need all the sports sedan-like characteristics. They want power but in a comfortable and affordable package.

Furthermore, they enjoy added touches like a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, GT specific sport leather seats, a Parkview rear backup camera and more.

The interior has a pleasant look to it and it’s very agreeable to drive.

On the highway, special attention from designers and engineers were paid to make sure you drive in a quiet cabin.

Minimal road noise entered the GT’s cabin, allowing my passengers and I to enjoy the musical stylings of various bands being listened to on the Alpine premium stereo system with nine speakers (an additional $1,295 for this sun and sound package.) The sun portion of the package adds a power express open/close sunroof to the mix.

After I switched into this mindset, I found I was able to alleviate my frustrations of what the GT didn’t have, but what it did have.

Additionally, a feature that I love about the Dart – and all other Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler products – is the Uconnect media interface. The GT comes standard with the 8.4-inch touchscreen and is a dream to work with. Large icons, easy prompts and a no-fuss approach to pairing your handheld device to the Bluetooth system all come standard.

Whether taking the GT for a drive in the city or on the open road, it does have some solid legs to stand on.

Visit www.dodge.ca for more information

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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