Let’s be honest: Useful as the Dodge Caliber that thing, did not quite fit in the C segment, as well as the brave little Neon that preceded it. But now the Caliber is dead, and the Chrysler Group has a big ol ‘Italian parties to work from in order to create its new generation of cars, the first of which is this, the 2013 Dodge Dart am. Not only is this a new entry into highly competitive segment, is the first bit of fruit from the Chrysler-Fiat partnership, and from the looks of things, is going well.
Compared to Juliet, the Dart is a four-inch-longer wheelbase and a track a little ‘contradictory.
Those of you paying attention will know that the dart is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, although we recommend the design team to give the appearance of Chrysler Dodge sedan that is anything but Italian. We had a chance to control a load-up Duel R / T in person – the design that you see in these photos – and it’s absolutely beautiful. Compared to the Giulietta, the Dart is a four-inch-longer wheelbase and a track a little ‘contradictory, and we like the aggressive, planted stance. The nose down and slope upward to the waist line very reminiscent of the neon past, especially the SRT4, and while we have not had a chance to see a base model with body-colored grille and wheels smaller, we think the design work well across the range of models. Dart 2013 will be available in SE, SXT, Rally, Limited and R / T trim. And for those of you who like the wrap-around LED tail lamps complete with charger, you’ll be happy to see them here in Duel, as well.
Three engines will be available when the Duel launches later this year. The basic engine is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four producing 160 horsepower and 148 Tigershark pound-feet of torque. Next is an available 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four with 184 hp and 171 lb Tiger Shark-ft, and on top of the range is a 1.4-liter turbo four with 160 hp and 184 lb-ft MultiAir. A six-speed manual is available with all three engines, a six-speed automatic is optional on the 2.0 and 2.4-liter mill and a six-speed dual-clutch box can be had for the 1.4-liter turbo. Fiat / Chrysler Sergio Marchionne has said that a nine-speed automatic is in preparation, but that will not come down until sometime in 2013. As for fuel economy, Chrysler has been a guide to boast 40 miles per gallon rating, but this is CAFE, EPA and the final number should be somewhere in the mid 30s. Stuff respectable. And considering that the Duel uses a slightly modified version of the Giulietta European suspension setup with a new electronic steering rack, power everything, hopefully, be grounded with the correct posture.
nine speed automatic is in preparation, but that will not come down until sometime in 2013.
There is a great new addition to the sting, too, with Chrysler “second generation” of the interior. We have already seen great improvements in the cabin of the last harvest of 2011 and 2012 models, and after spending time in a limited pre-production Darts, we came away without complaints fit and finish, comfort and overall quality. We have shown the interior of the Dart, complete with things like an illuminated panel around the instrument, UConnect 8.4 inch touchscreen interface, and reconfigurable seven inches across the cluster size. The reason red / black seen here is quite cold, but we’re really big fans of the gray interior with “citrus peel”, accent lighting. If you have a chance, definitely check it out.