Dodge put up a teaser website some time ago to give a tantalizing look at the new Dodge Dart, a compact sedan. The car, based partially on an Alfa Romeo, was recently unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show.
It is the east and Giulietta is the sun
As part of Fiat acquiring the bulk of Chrysler, some architecture is being shared between brands. Among the first blending of Fiat and Chrysler brands that is coming to fruition is the new 2013 Dodge Dart. The car recently debuted at the Detroit Auto Show, according to USA Today.
The new Dart is far from the muscle car it is named for, as it is based on the compact Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The new Dart, jokingly called a “hAlf-a-Romeo” by AutoBlog, shares some of its structure with the Italian compact, but it is no mere re-badging. The Dodge is longer, wider and far meaner-looking than the Giulietta and is also, unlike the Giulietta, going to be sold in the United States.
Lean and mean
The Dart, beefed up by Dodge’s engineers, has several inches in length and width over the Giulietta, according to ABC. There are three available four-cylinder engines, two of which are naturally-aspirated, according to AutoBlog. The non-turbo motors are the 2.0 and 2.4-liter Tigershark engines, which produce 160 and 184 horsepower, respectively. A 160 horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir engine will also be available.
It will also have three six-speed transmissions available, as a manual and automatic are available on the 2.0 and 2.4-liter versions. A six-speed dual clutch transmission will come with the turbo-charged model.
The car has a svelte interior, an 8.4-inch touchscreen center console and the LED tail lights from the Charger. The front gets the “crosshair” grille. According to USA Today, underbody panels run the length of the car to improve aerodynamics and block road noise. Front grille shutters close at high speeds, reducing drag.
Easy on the eyes and wallet
The Dart is intended to be fun to drive. The outgoing car that the Dart is replacing, the Dodge Caliber, wasn’t a real hit, selling only 35,000 units, according to ABC. By contrast, 240,000 Toyota Corolla units were sold in 2011. Chrysler clearly wants to make its new entry in the compact segment to be a driver’s car that is easy on the eyes.
It will also be easy on the wallet. The base model starts at $15,995, which is very competitive against its rivals from Ford and Chevrolet. The base Ford Focus starts at $16,500 and the Chevrolet Cruze starts at $16,720. The Toyota Corolla, a segment leader, is only $95 less than the Dodge.
Mileage estimates aren’t available yet. However, the Dart is estimated to get close to 40 miles per gallon highway. According to the New York Times, production begins this summer, so it will be hitting dealerships by fall.
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