The Dodge Dart is not a bad car. It’s just not quite as good as some other offerings in a very crowded segment. Now that Dodge is phasing out Dart, the fire sale has begun and you can pick up a nice compact with crazy discounts and insane financing offers.
A Dodge Dart GT packs 184 horsepower, comes with all kinds of goodies like leather seats, a “sport-tuned” suspension, some cool black wheels and is even available with a manual transmission! Dodge originally set an MSRP at around $22,000. If you want leather and sunroof you would have to step up to a Limited at $24,000. Those prices aren’t bad when you consider a Mazda 3 sedan with the larger motor would start at around $26,000. With prices that close, most folks would probably spend the extra cash for the Mazda.
Now that the Dart may be in its last days, Dodge and the dealerships are levying ridiculous discounts to move units off the lot. At these prices, the argument for the import becomes a bit harder for the budget minded shopper.
On GT and Limited models Dodge is offering $4250 in combined cash for 2015 inventory and $4500 in combined cash for 2016s. In addition to those rebates, Dodge is offering up to 7 years interest-free financing on select 2016 models.
A quick search on Autotrader.com reveals that dealers across the country are slashing prices on Darts even further.
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You could buy a decent used car with few miles on it for $13,000-$14,000, or you get a brand new car with a full warranty and most likely a better financing rate for the same money.
Of course, these super cheap Darts do not come without any caveats. First, many of these $10,000 discounts are “rebate stacked.” Meaning, that the dealership is combining discounts and incentives that that not all buyers would qualify for. It’s imperative that you shop smart and get all the numbers you qualify for in writing before pulling the trigger on something like this. Some dealers are going to use these cars as a means to grab desperate car buyers. The dealer will utilize the low price as a teaser, then roll in bogus extras and mark up interest rates to pad profits.
Second, taking a 74-month loan on a soon-to-be discontinued car could be a dangerous financial move without a substantial down payment. Given Dodge’s situation and the current prices, you can expect Dart residual values to drop rapidly in the next few years. Often these cars are picked up by folks that are “credit challenged” and these long terms increase the risk of being upside-down on your loan.
If you need a nice commuter car on the cheap, now could be a good time to consider a Dart. Just be sure you weigh out all your options.