Earlier this year, Dodge announced that it planned to offer a variant of the Dart that would return 41 mpg on the highway; that model, called the Dart Aero, finally is here. To mark the occasion, Dodge has put a $20,090 price tag on its compact fuel-economy special. That price places the fuel-sipping Dodge among the least-expensive high-mpg compact models in the segment; only Ford’s $19,885 Focus SFE costs less.
As for the Dart’s other primary competition—Chevrolet’s Cruze Eco and Mazda’s 3 Skyactiv, as well as Volkswagen’s diesel Golf and Jetta TDI models—they all cost more. Besides offering 40-plus-mpg goodness for less than nearly all of its competition, the Aero also manages to out-40-mpg two cars showcased in our recent fuel-economy feature test. It beats both the Focus SFE and Mazda 3 Skyactiv, but loses out to the hyper-efficient, 42-mpg Volkswagen Golf TDI and the Cruze Eco.
The Aero utilizes the Dart’s mid-level 1.4-liter turbocharged Multiair four-cylinder engine, low-rolling-resistance tires, active grille shutters, aerodynamic underbody panels, and lightweight aluminum components to achieve its lofty EPA highway rating of 41 mpg with the six-speed manual and 40 with the available dual-clutch automatic. (We’ve tested the Dart with the 1.4-liter turbo and the stick and driven the dual-clutch version.) Those numbers represent improvements of 2 and 3 mpg, respectively, over the regular Dart turbo. Both transmissions are good for 28 mpg in the city; that’s 1 mpg better than the non-Aero Dart’s city efficiency.
Dodge has already begun producing the Dart Aero, so the wallet-friendly fuel-miser should be hitting dealerships soon.
Text Source: Car & Driver