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Jumped into the car this morning, started her up, and headed onto the highway when I realized that I forgot to mention the one thing that is bothering me about the interior of the Dart. The speedometer and gauges in general are difficult to read as they have jammed in an odd font and some fancy design instead of just clean, easy-to-read white numbers on a black background.
But then I quickly remembered what I like about the Dart on the road. Billed by some as a sporty model, the Dart does have some sporting characteristics. The six-speed shifter is fun to throw from gear to gear and the 1.4L engine has a great sound to it. The engine reminds me very much of the turbo boxer engines in modern Subarus.
But a 1.4L engine is a very small engine, as a result there is a lot of turbo lag and if one tries to get any forward motion out of the car under 2,500 rpm you can pretty much forget about it. Keep the revs on boil and the Dart certainly is fun to thrash about in and the handling complements the engine well with responsive brakes and solid feel to the steering.
Out on the highway the Dart does a great job of soaking up the imperfections and wind and road noise are subdued. I felt I was a little harsh on the Santa Fe I had last week as I had just stepped out of a Lexus ES the week before. But after jumping in the Dart I realize that I was correct, the Dart is quieter than the Santa Fe and the ride is certainly more forgiving, a great compromise of sport and compliance.
The backup camera is also a treat, certainly making reversing a cinch as the screen is gigantic—but this is a compact car, so it’s not required as visibility is good all around.