2013 dodge dart grey.jpgIf you have built a 2013 Dodge Dart on the Dodge.com website
    you may have noticed that if you add the optional 1.4L MultiAir Turbo motor you
    cannot select an automatic transmission. 
    That is due to the fact that the traditional fluid-driven automatic
    transmission that is offered with the entry level 2.0L Tigershark engine will
    not be offered with the 1.4L Fiat motor but this small, powerful motor will
    instead be fitted with a new 6-speed dry dual clutch transmission (DDCT).  That new high tech transmission is not listed
    in the 2013 Dart configurator because it will not be available until later this
    year but we had a chance to drive the new Dart with the DDCT recently at the
    Chrysler Chelsea Proving Grounds.

    The first dual clutch automatic transmission was intended to
    arrive in the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Avenger but Chrysler scrapped those
    plans when early testing combined with fiercely negative critics of other automaker’s
    dual clutch transmissions led Chrysler management to go back to the drawing
    board.  In short, automakers like Ford
    Motor Company were being heavily criticized for the function of their dual
    clutch automatics so rather than face the same negative feedback – Chrysler shelved
    the plans for the DDCT in the midsized sedans.

    The goal for the engineers behind the 2013 Dodge Dart’s dry
    dual clutch transmission was to design a unit that essentially shifted as
    smoothly and as ‘regularly’ as a traditional fluid driven automatic
    transmission.  Older dual clutch systems
    are frowned upon because they can react more like a slipping transmission or,
    as I once heard it described as “riding with someone learning how to drive a
    stickshift”.  However, in spending a few
    miles behind the wheel of a 1.4L turbocharged Dart sedan with the new 6-Speed
    DDCT, I can attest that this self-shifting transmission is far less likely to
    face the criticisms of other duel clutch units on the market.

    I fully believe that if you put an average compact sedan
    buyer in a 2013 Dodge Dart fitted with the new DDCT and simply told them that
    it was a 6-speed automatic transmission, they wouldn’t have any questions
    regarding the automatic transmission.  In
    fine dual clutch technology fashion, the shifts were quick and crisp but under
    non-performance driving situations, the shifts were still fairly smooth – much like
    you would expect from a traditional fluid driven automatic.

    Also, unlike other automakers’ dual clutch automatic transmissions, the 2013 Dodge Dart Turbo with the new DDCT allows the driver to control the shifts via a manual shift mode on the console-mounted shifter.  This allowed me to control the gear selection on the road course for the best possible acceleration in and out of the turns as well as adding a level of fun-to-drive factor to this new automatic transmission.

    The 1.4L turbocharged engine in the 2013 Dodge Dart is an
    awesome engine, packing great power and even greater fuel economy but right
    now, Dart buyers can only opt for the 6-speed manual transmission.  However, when the dry dual clutch 6-speed
    automatic transmission arrives later this year – those who cannot or do not
    want to deal with the clutch pedal will have a smooth yet sporty dual clutch transmission
    that should offer great fuel economy without the downfalls of other companies’
    DCT options.