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Automated System
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Allpar was able to briefly test a Dodge Dart GT around the track and on a handling course. The suspension remains soft when it comes to cushioning bumps and bad road surfaces, but firm when it comes to handling curves. Raised pavement strips, bad potholes, concrete surfaces, and other problems that normally cause noise and jittering within the cabin were handled with aplomb by the Dart GT. Yet, when we took it out, the car felt confident and sure, handling sharp turns at high speeds without fuss or squealing tires.

Taking curves at the same speeds, Dart GT felt much lighter and better balanced than even the high-end Grand Cherokee SRT8; while the Dart’s actual road-holding is probably not quite as good as the high-performance SUV, the Grand Cherokee felt heavier, while Dart seemed to take the turns in stride.  As with all Darts (and the Grand Cherokee), the..

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Dammit, I was hoping there was a more noticeable pep in this engine. Sounds like the handling is great. As Strat pointed out though, it gets worse gas mileage than the 1.4L.... whats the advantage of the 2.4L?
 

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Stratuscaster said:
Which begs the question..."what am I really getting when I opt for a Dart GT over one of the other Dart models?" :huh:
Basically what we've known for a while now: Better suspension and 24 HP. It just seems like a wasted effort honestly, especially with an entire year of delays. If it had ~210HP, or even just 200, it'd seem a lot more viable to me. I'll wait for reviews with measured times and data to make final judgement though.
 

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AutoTechnician said:
Basically what we've known for a while now: Mildly firmer suspension and 24 HP. It just seems like a wasted effort honestly, especially with a years worth of delays. If it had ~210HP, or even just 200, it'd seem a lot more viable to me. I'll wait for reviews with measured times and data to make final judgement though.
I was thinking the same thing! Add 17HP and knock off 2MPG and go after the Civic Si.
 

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Which begs the question..."what am I really getting when I opt for a Dart GT over one of the other Dart models?"
The base 2.0 runs out of steam pretty quickly. It feels fast, IMHO, but it isn't! Slowest engine of the bunch. Perfectly adequate for 90% of buyers, though. Really. How many people really need to do 0-60 runs that fast? How many people buy powerful cars and never tip the accelerator past the first 10 degrees?

So compared to 2.0, the 2.4 gives a good deal more acceleration, at the cost of gas mileage, and adds cornering ability.

Compared with the 1.4, the 2.4 might not add much "real performance," but for city driving, it's a world apart. No synthetic oil requirement, no premium gas, no turbo nonsense, faster reactions.

I think the automatic really takes away a lot of the 2.4's advantage. The 1.4’s DDCT is more efficient and faster to downshift and really helps. Even so, the 2.4 is faster to react that the 1.4 which does very little until it's downshifted.

With a manual transmission, the 2.4 will be a much bigger deal versus the 1.4.

When it comes right down to it, if I had to do little to no stop and go driving, I'd probably get the 1.4 for the gas mileage. If I had to do little to no highway driving, I'd probably do the 2.0 for the thousand bucks up front and the gas mileage versus 2.4. But I do a pretty good mix and I'd think about the 2.4.

The 500L really does look like a much better choices for the average person, if it can come up to the same quality. No idea what gas mileage is yet. Oddly gas mileage ratings aren't up yet even though they are selling the 500L. Wonder how that works?

Update: 500L is 25/33, manual transmission, and 24/33 with the automatic. Not phenomenal, but it explains why it feels quicker than the Dart with the same powertrain -- gearing is probably more aggressive, given that Dart's up 38-40 highway with the same powertrain and weight.
 

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I await performance numbers so we can compare results rather than "feel".

No offense, Dave, but "feel" is somewhat subjective. That's not a knock against your write-up, but side-by-side performance results would be nice.
 

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Vaguely badass...
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Agreed - it may reveal more than the ButtDyno(TM) can tell us.

But it makes me wonder about revising the 1.4L Turbo and DDCT and then pairing it up with the GT's suspension...
 

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With these numbers, I would feel comfortable saying a V6 could do this well. Now that would be fun!
 

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No offense, Dave, but "feel" is somewhat subjective.
What offense? I wrote exactly that. I know feel is subjective. I didn't remember to take along my OBDII based measurement kit. I'm not sure Chrysler would appreciate my doing that anyway ;) and there wasn't really a good spot to do it.
 

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The most important changes for us are in the suspension, we are having new settings, new components, the car is better isolated and we are having a much better fit and finish.
Some changes and improvements were made at the plant, and speaking about the benefits we are having from the new engine I can tell you almst the same of what we had in the previous post, but I will add this, the car feels and is much more powerful at highway speeds, you have the power you love to have at higher speeds, it's another car, just drive it, and if you ever drove one of the first ones produced you'll know what I'm talking about.
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Mr.Source said:
The most important changes for us are in the suspension, we are having new settings, new components, the car is better isolated and we are having a much better fit and finish.
Some changes and improvements were made at the plant, and speaking about the benefits we are having from the new engine I can tell you almst the same of what we had in the previous post, but I will add this, the car feels and is much more powerful at highway speeds, you have the power you love to have at higher speeds, it's another car, just drive it, and if you ever drove one of the first ones produced you'll know what I'm talking about.
I had the chance to drive one of those first ones produced, I also spotted a fit and finish flaw in that vehicle.

Based on your comments, I look forward to driving a GT to compare.

dakrt99 said:
What ever happened to the Dart GTS? That should be the GT.
Why couldn't there be a GT and a GTS?
 

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More responsive and sportier suspension. Better torque curve and throttle response.

9-spd when Kokomo gets up and running at full speed.
 

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Dr. Z said:
Or a GT and a (historically inaccurate) R/T.

I'd really like to see Ralph bring R/T back, and I don't mean as a slight improvement over Luxo trim.
That, I can agree with. Too many times the purposeful marking of a performance option has been done as a graphics marking only, get back to the roots. They worked once, should easily work again.
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Stratuscaster said:
The current Dart GTS Tribute was, as I recall, more or less a "rolling Mopar Accessories advertisment exercise."
Yes, using the former R/T, now GT, as its base. If you recall correctly, Mopar claimed performance parts that would lend to over 200HP. But like the R/T, none of those parts have shown up.

Mike
 

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Mike V. said:
Yes, using the former R/T, now GT, as its base. If you recall correctly, Mopar claimed performance parts that would lend to over 200HP. But like the R/T, none of those parts have shown up.
Nor would I expect them to, until the issues with the GT itself were sorted out first.
 
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