Consumer Reports Finds Dodge Dart Is Promising Small Sedan But Has
Room For Improvement
Cadillac XTS and Lincoln MKS Fall Short of Expectations in Luxury
YONKERS, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
-- The Dodge
Dart, the first all-new model to emerge from the Fiat-Chrysler
alliance, earned praise from Consumer Reports for its solid feel,
handling and ride, and upscale options. But ultimately it didn't score
high enough to be recommended in a very competitive small sedan
Consumer Reports testers found that the Dodge Dart has a relatively
quiet cabin, its handling is fairly nimble, and the ride is taut yet
compliant. However, where the Dart stalls out is its powertrains. The
standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder feels underpowered, while the
optional 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is raspy and has
drivability issues when mated with the optional dual-clutch automated
manual transmission. Tested were the 2.0-liter SXT ($20,680) and
1.4-liter Rallye ($24,490) trims neither of which scored high enough
to be recommended.
"The Dart is the first decent compact car from Dodge in
decades," said Jake Fisher, Director, Consumer Reports Auto Test
Center. "It has some solid positives. But overall it can't yet
measure up to the best in class."
Consumer Reports also tested two big, opulent American luxury sedans
in its January issue: the Cadillac XTS and the Lincoln MKS. While the
XTS ($57,200) scored much higher overall than the MKS ($50,070) in the
head-to-head matchup both cars underwhelmed in a class dominated by
German, Japanese, and Korean models. Consumer Reports engineers found
the Cadillac to be wonderfully luxurious, with a very spacious and
well-appointed cabin. But it's hampered by its CUE infotainment
system, which testers found to be convoluted and frustrating.
The Lincoln MKS offers plenty of features and has a quiet cabin with
excellent fit and finish. But the car is hampered by its cramped
driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited
visibility. With an overall road-test score of 60, the MKS is the
lowest-Rated luxury sedan in class, lagging far behind
previously-tested standouts like the Audi A6 and Infiniti M37.
The full report and road test results are available at
ConsumerReports.org on November 20th and in the January issue of
Consumer Reports on newsstands November 29 th. Updated daily,
ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews,
product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check
out CR's ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.
The Chevrolet Spark was also tested in the Consumer Reports January
issue. The four-door subcompact gets excellent fuel economy of 34 mpg
overall and 42 on the highway. CR's engineers found that it has a
surprisingly useable rear seat, a comprehensive assortment of
features, and is affordably priced at $15,420. However, its sluggish
acceleration, stiff and jittery ride and very noisy cabin dropped its
overall score to a meager 34. This is one of the lowest scoring cars
tested by CR in recent years and is too low to recommend.
Rounding out the latest test group was the Lexus ES. Consumer Reports
engineers gave it high marks for its comfy, quiet interior, impressive
hybrid and V6 drivetrains, and excellent fuel economy, especially in
hybrid form. However this redesign took a step back in ride and
interior refinement from the previous ES. Although its handling didn't
impress and its controls were newly complicated, both tested trims
the ES350 (43,702) and the hybrid ES330h ($44,017) scored high
enough overall to be recommended and rank among CR's higher-Rated
Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing
organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and
survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and
services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8
million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.
Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food
and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in
Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.
Consumer Reports has B-Roll available upon request of the Dodge Dart,
Cadillac XTS, Lincoln MKS, Chevy Spark, and Lexus ES.