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New U.S. auto sedans fall short: consumer reports

(Reuters) - The 2013 Dodge Dart is "underpowered," according to testers for Consumer Reports magazine, which also said it was "underwhelmed" by the performance of two American luxury cars, General Motors Co's 2013 Cadillac XTS and Ford Motor Co's 2013 Lincoln MKS.

The magazine, which annually tests and rates hundreds of new and used cars and trucks, said it recommended a fourth model, Toyota Motor Corp's <7203.T> redesigned Lexus ES sedan, although testers said the 2013 model "took a step back in ride and interior refinement from the previous ES."

The 2013 Dart sedan, which competes with such cars as the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Focus, is the first jointly developed model from Fiat SpA and its U.S. affiliate Chrysler.

Consumer Reports lauded the Dart's "solid feel, handling and ride," but said the compact sedan "can't yet measure up to the best in class."

The magazine ranked the Cadillac higher than the Lincoln, but said neither car scored well enough to earn its recommendation.

It singled out Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system as "convoluted and frustrating," while faulting the Lincoln's "cramped driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited visibility."

The reviews will be in the magazine's January issue.

(Reporting By Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)