Drive Type: RWD
Columbia Station, Ohio, United States
The Dodge Dart, Cadillac XTS and Lincoln MKS all failed to earn a "Recommended" rating from Consumer Reports. When it came to the compact Dart, the organization's testers thought the vehicle offered a quiet cabin, solid-feeling chassis and nimble suspension, but the new model ultimately fell short of the coveted rating due to powertrain issues. The institute's reviewers found the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to be underpowered and noted "drivability issues" when the available turbocharged 1.4-liter four was paired with the optional dual-clutch transmission (some of our editors disliked it paired with the six-speed manual). CR also dinged the latter powerplant for sounding "raspy." For what it's worth, we think the forced-induction engine offers an excellent and playful exhaust note, but that's just us.
As for the XTS, CR lauded the car for its luxurious cabin, but the vehicle's experience was dulled by its finicky CUE infotainment interface. Overall, the big Cadillac scored much higher than its cross-town rival from Lincoln. While testers found the American luxury sedan to offer a quiet ride and quality fit and finish, they felt the MKS delivered a "cramped driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited visibility." Ouch. At the end of the day, both cars fell short of rivals from Japan, Germany and Korea. Check out the full press release below with more details, along with CR's musings on the Chevrolet Spark and Lexus ES.
Chrysler has announced that it is recalling over 25,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs from several markets over concerns about brake feel under hard braking. The affected models are from the 2012 and 2013 model years, although the actual dates of production aren't available. 18,700 are in the US, while 825 are in Canada, 530 are in Mexico and a further 5,200 outside of North America.
According to a statement, Chrysler was informed of the issue by a component supplier for the Ready Alert Braking system, which primes the brakes in anticipation of an emergency stop. A component in the system was restricting the flow of brake fluid too much.
As Chrysler is quick to point out, the way the brakes functioned was in compliance with regulations and there are no reported cases of drivers losing braking power. Instead, the issue rests with what Chrysler calls a pedal feel that "was not consistent with customer expectations." So it would seem Chrysler is being proactive and fixing a problem not because there's a legal issue at work, but simply because it doesn't feel the way the manufacturer wants it to. Well done.
No, this isn't quite the Dart SRT4 we've been waiting for - and still believe is coming - but as part of its 2013 Detroit Auto Show lineup, Dodge will be showing off the slightly sportier Dart GT seen here.
Building on the already well-equipped Limited model, the GT adds performance enhancements including a more powerful engine, 18-inch aluminum wheels, sport suspension calibration, unique front fascia and dual exhaust. Inside, you'll find perforated Nappa leather seats, a heated steering wheel and front seats, dual-zone climate control, remote start (if you spec the automatic transmission), Chrysler's 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, a seven-inch TFT display in the gauge cluster, and a whole lot more. Optional goodies include hyper black aluminum wheels, a technology group (pushbutton start, keyless go, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitoring and smart-beam headlamps), power sunroof, Sirius radio, Garmin navigation, Alpine premium sound and high-intensity discharge headlamps.
Powering the Dart GT is Chrysler's 2.4-liter MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. That grunt is sent to the front wheels via a standard six-speed manual transmission, but a six-speed automatic 'box is optional.