The Dodge Dart – the much anticipated compact contender from Chrysler, was officially revealed today at the North American International Auto Show. Flaunting fuel efficiency, class leading technology, and modern engineering; the Dart should easily win over Dodge’s disenfranchised Neon fans; and help everyone forget that the Caliber ever happened.
The 2013 Dart will be available with three different engine options; a 16 valve 2.0L tigershark 4 cylinder (estimated at 160 horsepower,) a 16 valve 2.4L Tigershark Multiair 2 four cylinder (estimated at 184 horsepower,) and the 1.4L Mulitair Intercooled Turbo 4 cylinder (producing an estimated 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque.) All three engines will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission (thank goodness!) The 2.0L, and 2.4L engines will also be available with an optional 6 speed auto; the 1.4L gets exclusive access to an optional 6 speed DDCT transmission.
The fully disclosed exterior styling is reminiscent of the, gone but not forgotten, Neon; yet adds current day Dodge flare. The cross hair grille, rear fascia integrated duel exhaust tips, and Charger style LED rear tail lamps make this little cruiser 100% Dodge. The interior of the Dart seems fit for a higher end vehicle; offering a customizable 7 inch gauge cluster, a huge 8.4 inch touch screen UConnect vehicle information center, quality soft touch materials, and unique light pipe integration.
The Dart will be available in five trim levels; (SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T) none of which are the anticipated SRT, or my hope for a throwback GTS model. The new compact contender has a CAFE rating of 40MPG, but true sticker numbers are not out as of yet.
Dodge’s dusting off of the Dart nameplate was a wise choice for this vehicle. In the same way that the current day Challenger embodies true American muscle (something that seems to have been forgotten by the other American auto makers,) the current day Dart is on track to give American buyers a fun to drive, yet affordable, entry level vehicle; (something that the original Dart also did quite well.)