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Got My Dart This Week

8028 Views 31 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  saltydog
And I am absolutely thrilled with it! I love it!

Full album here (didn't want to embed all the images separately):

Quick rundown:
Limited in Blue Streak
Black premium cloth interior
1.4L Turbo with 6 speed manual
Power express sunroof
Technology group
Alpine 9-speaker stereo

I plan to write a more robust review after I log some miles and after my vacation this weekend, but here are some quick first impressions:

After having a little time to deep dive into the EVIC and Uconnect systems, I am insanely impressed. I was a little worried about the performance of both, especially with the digital speedo, but those concerns were wiped away immediately.

Even with just 50 miles on the engine, I was already getting 38-40 mpg on the highway at 73mph.

The fit and finish is really top notch. I had 3 people with me look everything nook and cranny over with a fine tooth comb and we couldn't find any manufacturing defects or blemishes or anything. The car preps did miss some of the protective plastic on the inside and left a razor blade (blade up) on the driver's seat. Luckily I noticed it before it did any damage to my seat or my leg.

I'm still getting used to the clutch and transmission in general. I think I would have liked to see 1st and 2nd gears a little closer in ratio. It's resulted in a couple of herky jerky shifts, but I'll adjust.

More to come!

I'll be happy to answer any questions or get you specific pictures of things you want to see.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

· Registered
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you normally drive a manual transmission, or have you recently been driving only an automatic?
I had been driving a Jetta 1.8t with a manual transmission up until I sold it a month or so ago. It had a close ratio 6-speed. I could basically start off in 2nd with no throttle but cruised at almost 3000 rpms in 6th.

Have you experienced the "schizophrenic" engine behavior that some have reported - lack of power on launch, requiring heavy throttle, then the turbo causing it to leap forward when it kicks in?
I think bipolar is a better word. It's pretty anemic under 2500 rpms when the turbo reaches full spool. Then she really takes off. I've been keeping a pretty light foot on the gas while it breaks itself in, so I haven't taken it remotely close to redline yet. But you can certainly tell when it hits that magic mark.

I wonder if this is a Multiair configuration issue, forcing it to be more fuel efficient at lower RPMs and more powerful above 2500, or if its just begging me to put on a cold air intake once their available. Or both.

· Registered
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm debating weather cold air intake is worth the money. I'm leaning towards no. Does a cold air intake even do anything once the turbo kicks in? Won't the boost just get limited by the PCM?
I had a K&N cold air kit on my old Jetta and it didn't seem to necessarily provide a massive increase in PSI, rather it seemed to spool up faster and more freely, especially at cruising speeds. (I'm no expert though, maybe someone with more experience can chime in.)

Plus I got a deal on it. Mopar's kits for some other vehicles are close to $400.

· Registered
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I'm seriously considering a 1.4T equipped Dart myself. I'd need to do an extended test drive to see if I really like the transmission feel or not though, I did a brief test drive a couple months ago and it was ok, but I think I'm used to the grabby, stiff, tight feelings I've built all my previous manual cars to. The shifter movement and clutch uptake feel smooth, but kinda vague and rubbery.

If/when a short shifter is made I'll want to see how that feels. I would like to put a couple modest upgrades, intake/exhaust/tune and hope to get a bit over 200hp with the 1.4T Dart, while keeping the 40mpg freeway cruising capability. Probably a 2-year lease, long enough to tide me over for the 8-speed Hemi cars to start rolling out... =]

So now that you've had it a bit longer, what's your impression of the transmission feel, and power delivery, if any different from your first impressions?
I can't say that my impressions have changed that much, even after logging 1400+ miles in the car already. I knew going into the purchase that this car was not designed for 0-60 times, rather for gas mileage. Although getting close to 200hp would be nice. :)

Anyone who's driven a manual knows that there is a certain feel that comes with each vehicle and, inherently, you will need some time to adjust to a new vehicle. After that your takeoffs become a little smoother and shifts are executed better. I think it may have taken me a little longer to adjust to the Dart than I had expected.

I'll elaborate more in a full review I've been working on.
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