2013 Dodge Dart

Limited versions get the UConnect touch screen, a 7-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster, 10-way power driver’s seat, automatic headlights, and active grille shutters standard. Nappa leather, a heated steering wheel, navigation, and rear cross-path detection are available as options. (It’s worth noting that the richly appointed Limited costs nearly $2000 less than the top-shelf Ford Focus Titanim.) Finally, the Dart R/T brings 18-inch aluminum wheels, sport suspension, Nappa leather seats (heated in front), heated steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. Keyless entry and push-button start, HID headlights, and an upgraded sound system also are available. The R/T sounds good on paper, but its price draws mighty close to that of Volkswagen’s (three-door) GTI hatchback, the benchmark compact sporty car. Fuel-economy figures haven’t been released yet, but we suspect they will be out soon—all versions of the Dart save for the R/T go on sale in June. The R/T is expected to land on dealership lots this fall.

By Alexander Stoklosa