Your intrepid Autobytel correspondent recently ventured to Chrysler’s proving ground in the wilds of Chelsea, Michigan, and he brings back good news about the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye: At least when configured with its available turbocharged I4 engine with MultiAir technology, the Dart Rallye is a very sharp choice in the compact sedan segment.
What that Fiat-developed MultiAir system does is to enable the engine’s intake valves to optimize airflow for improved power and fuel efficiency; as a result, engineers were able to squeeze 160 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque from just 1.4 liters of displacement—although, of course, turbocharging helps as well. That’s the same number of horses available in the Dart’s standard 2.0-liter I4 engine, but with an additional 36 lb.-ft. of twist, and it’s available from 2,500 rpm. Just as important—even with gas prices coming down—is the fact that the MultiAir powerplant helps the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye deliver EPA ratings of 27 mpg city/39 mpg highway/32 mpg combined with a six-speed manual transmission or 27 mpg city/37 mpg highway/21 mpg combined with a new dual-clutch six-speed automatic.
Those numbers add up to some serious advantages on paper, and the car's actual on-the-road performance—albeit with a very small sample size—more than lived up to its hype.