When you're leaving on an eight-hour drive across two states using a 2014 Dodge Dart GT, you wouldn't normally announce to your Twitter followers that you're taking phone calls for the day. But I had phone features to test.
I synced my iPhone 5s to the car with Bluetooth and tapped out my Twitter message. After a few minutes, the calls started coming. On the big, 8.4-inch touchscreen, I could see the caller's number and decide whether to take the call.
In a few cases, multiple calls came in at once. It was easy to choose which one to take, and the most recent call appears at the top of the screen. I talked to a start-up about its new home-entertainment gadget, then put that person on hold to chat with a colleague about upcoming work.
Unfortunately for me, I also heard from a few followers who had some complaints about some of my recent articles. One called just to say I'd made a minor typo in a recent article. Um, thanks?
Surprisingly, for such a small car with a little too much road noise for my ears, every call sounded clear as a bell. No one complained about how I sounded, either. Apparently Dodge has done a good job with microphone placement. The noise-cancellation features also worked like a charm.
For making calls, the touchscreen proved responsive as well. I could call up the dialing pad and punch in numbers--each finger press worked perfectly.
The display also showed me a phonebook with my Google and iPhone contacts. It was easy to scroll through the list, and I could mark contacts as Favorites for easier calling--just hit the Favorites button in the phonebook and tap their name.
It's nothing new to connect a phone to a car via Bluetooth, but phone-calling features are still evolving. In the Dodge Dart GT, I spent several hours making and receiving about a dozen phone calls, from complete strangers and colleagues, with minimal trouble or distraction, thanks to the easy-to-use touchscreen interface. Nice for a car with an MSRP of $20,995.