The Chrysler group has decided to follow its adage of everything old is new again as they re-brand their newest compact car as the Dodge Dart. Dodge is still riding the high of the successful re-launching of the Charger and Challenger name plates, which like the Dart name plate was used in the 60’s and 70’s during Dodges muscle car hay day.
2013 Dodge Dart - Front Design
The name of car is not the only recycled item found on the Dart as the new car is based off of the European-markets Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback. The Dart should not be consider a re-branded twin of the Giulietta as Chrysler engineers have widened and lengthened the cars shared platform to better suit the North American market. Fortunately the Giulietta’s independent four-wheel suspension and responsive steering rack have been maintained in the Dart giving it that sporty European ride and handling. This will be a welcome addition when compared to the outgoing Caliper’s soft (fat cat) North American set up which made the feel like it was going to tip onto its side if you took a highway on-ramp too quickly.
The other features that will carry over from the Alfa Giulietta to the Dodge Dart can be found under the hood. As the 2013 Dart will be powered by 3 different engines that includes the turbocharged version of the 1.4-liter four-cylinder Multiair engine found in the Fiat 500 Abarth. It will also employee chrsylers 2.0-liter inline-four engine, as well as an all new 2.4-liter inline-four. No facts of figures have been released for the trio so we are not sure if there will be any change in their output however we would love to take the Fiat 500 Abarth’s 1.4 out to put its 160 hp and 170 lb-ft torque to the test. We could also see the Fiat 500’s naturally aspirated 1.4-liter Multiair inline 4 being used as a high mile eco car and wonder if Fiat’s twin cylinder turbo with its 85 hp will make it over to our side of the Atlantic.
There will also be three check boxes on the Darts order form in the transmission category as a pair of European sourced 6 speed transmissions will be available, one being a Manual and the other being an Automatic. The dart will also be the first of the Chrysler group’s vehicles to offer their newly developed dual-clutch automated 6-speed manual gear box. We have also read some rumors that for the cars release in 2013 a new 9-speed transmission built by the ZF Group will be available. ZF has gone on record to say that the 9-speed transmission will increase the Dart’s fuel efficiency by an additional 10 to 16 percent over the current 6-speed options.
In the styling department the 2013 Dodge Dart is drawing heavily on its retro styled big brother the charger an features a full-width bank of LED taillights as well as dual exhaust tips out back. Up front that car will feature the recently restyled dodge crosshairs grille which was introduced last year on the entire brand line up. The headlights draw inspiration from the European Giulietta and we love little attention to details like the word dodge carved into the reflector covers similar to that found on the Ford Fiesta and Focus. We haven’t seen and images of the interior however we have been promised by dodge that the “Plastic Fantastic, Tupperware” styling of the past has been ditched and only rich textures and high quality plastics will surround the driver and their occupants.
2013 Dodge Dart - Rear Design
Described as a “Groundbreaking Car with the Ultimate Blend of Power, Fuel Economy, Handling and Style” the Dodge Dart is a compact sedan which will premiere at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS) in January and will go into production shortly after, with car arriving by the end of the summer of 2012.
So far it appears that Dodge is on-track with the new 2013 Dart however the true test will be to see how well it stacks up in the ultra competitive compact car segment. As it will be asked to compete against such segment heavy weights as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford focus, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, and Honda Civic to name a few.
2013 Dodge Dart - Headlight and Grille
Stay tuned to Car Rolodex for more Dodge Dart updates we edge closer to its official reveal next month at the Detroit Auto Show or the North American International Auto Show as they like to call it now.