In this edition of Ask Nathan:
- What’s the deal with the Dodge Dart?
- Is the Mazda 5 Minivan finished?
- Dogie car: Fiesta vs Yaris?
Today’s first question comes from a viewer who wants to know about future, sportier versions of the Dodge Dart.
I know you like the Dodge Dart. I think it looks pretty good and I’ve been thinking about testing one. I don’t know if there will be a hotter version like a SRT even though they were supposed to build one. Is there a chance that they will build a fast one before its discontinued?
A: Thanks for the email! I think the Dodge Dart has a while to go before its replaced. As for a hotter version? Yes, there have been many statements and releases about a beefier Dodge Dart from FCA. The most recent rumor (from Allpar) states the possibility of a Dodge Dart GLH that makes up to 300 hp.
The GLH names comes from the old days when Carol Shelby hopped-up Chrysler products in the 1980s. It stands for “Goes like Heck” or “Goes like Hell” either way, it comes from burly turbocharged 4-cylinder products from the past.
Unfortunately, in some cases, even promised FCA products have been delayed or scrapped. Despite the ability to build a 300+ horsepower, all-wheel drive Dodge Dart and teasing us with a production date, sources say it’s not happening. I hope I’m wrong.
This bitter pill would be tempered by a sporty Dodge Dart GT, but it’s not as sporty as it should be. The Dodge Dart GT is still a great package, but it should be the equivalent of a Civic Si, or maybe a Focus ST. At the very least, it should be faster than other Dart models.
Hopefully, we’ll see another attempt at making a vehicle that’s as fast as it looks in the near future. In the meantime, I recommend looking at the 1.4 turbo Dodge Dart with the manual transmission. It’s a fun ride!
I hope they build the SRT Dodge Dart, I truly do.
This next question comes from a fan who wants a sporty minivan like the Mazda5. She better hurry before they’re gone.
Q: Dear Nathan,
I love watching TFL and thank you for making fun reviews. I love seeing all of the different things you cover, even though I am not much of a car person. I still like to see what you’re up to and enjoy experiencing your adventures. You’re great!
Unfortunately, I am a mom of two great kids with a broken Ford Windstar. Everybody tells me it was a miracle it lasted this long. I hated it, but it was pretty reliable up until last month. The transmission died and it’s silly to go through the expense to replace it when other items are falling apart.
Here’s my question. Aside from the Mazda 5, which is no longer being built, what other options should I explore for a family of three. Both my kids are in booster seats and we have a small dog. Is there anything out there that’s inexpensive, fun and frugal that’s not a cross over or an oversized minivan?
Thanks Nathan, you’re the best!
Yes, the Mazda 5 is going away. They are still selling them and I highly recommend the vehicle. In fact: I owned a 2006 Mazda 5 and it was an ideal vehicle for a small family. It drives like a hatchback, not a minivan as it is based on the Mazda 3’s platform. It’s amazingly utilitarian and it can hold up to 6 passengers. They even have a manual option, which is what I had. You can get a well optioned Mazda 5 for under $25,000. They will be gone after this year, so you may have some wiggle room at the dealership.
You other options? The Honda Fit is one of the best vehicles in its class and the most utilitarian vehicle in its price bracket. The seating setup, with its multiple configurations, makes the Honda Fit extremely flexible. It’s fun to drive and very frugal. One with a satisfying amount of features can be had for under $20,000.
I hope this helps!
This last email comes from a dog lover who wants an opinion on the Ford Fiesta vs the Toyota Yaris.
Q: Hello. I have narrowed my choices to the base model Ford Fiesta hatchback and the Toyota Yaris 5 door. Both vehicles look cool and should be great for a bachelor who ownes three dogs. I don’t know which one is a better car to live with and which one is more fun.
I know you mention fun all the time and base your ratings on that criteria often.
Which one would you buy?
A: Thanks for the email!
The Ford Fiesta is the better driver’s car out of the two; however, it is not the car I would recommend out of the two. Sure, it’s more modern and a hoot to drive, but the Toyota Yaris is a great little car. The comfort, room and utility are better than the Ford’s. The revised interior and exterior are impressive too.
Sure, I like to recommend fun cars, but in this case, both vehicles get a “Buy it” from me.
The only drawback to the Toyota Yaris is the continued use of older components like the 4-speed automatic transmission. Sure, it still works fine, but the Fiesta offers a six-speed which is more frugal and sportier. Still, in terms of good, usable space for your pooches, the Toyota Yaris is a good choice.
With all that said, I think the Toyota Yaris is a better bet.
One day, I will drive the 3-cylinder EcoBoost and; perhaps, change my mind.
Speaking of the Ford Fiesta, here’s one I would own right now!
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.
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|Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.|