Dodge Dart with a Strong Italian DNA Debuts in Detroit

The 2012 Detroit Motor Show was the place chosen by Dodge to unveil a car from which they expect a lot, the new Dodge Dart compact sedan. Over the past years, the C segment hasn’t been pretty comfortable for the American brand, which couldn’t make the Caliber a success (the model’s production was completely shut down last month) on the home market, let alone the highly competitive European market.

However, this time Dodge splits the risks with the Italians from Alfa Romeo, because the Dart is based on the Giulietta’s platform. In other words, we can talk about the Dodge Dart as the sedan version of the Italian compact car, because the Dart also takes almost the entire technology arsenal from the Giulietta.

But don’t get the impression that the Dart is just a redesigned Giulietta, because the Fiat group created a special premiere for the American compact, a new nine speed automatic transmission which will be available as an option starting with 2013 and which will help the Dart achieve an average fuel economy of 5.8 liters per 100 km (40.5 mpg).

On the exterior, the new Dodge Dart follows a sporty approach for all versions, including the entry level version, the SE and the better SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T versions. The front part is a pleasant surprise, especially thanks to the “angry” shape of the headlamps and the sporty front hood. At the rear, Dodge Challenger fans will be excited to see the LED taillights, which resemble the muscle car’s. The subtle rear spoiler and the double exhaust leave the impression of a sporty sedan, Dodge Neon SRT4 style.

Under the bonnet, the Dart will be offered with a generous choice of engines, including the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter Tigershark units that deliver 160 and 184 hp, both available with a six speed manual transmission as standard and an automatic one as an option. But perhaps the most interesting option is the 160 hp MultiAir engine from Fiat that produces 135 Nm of torque, a double-clutch six speed automatic transmission being available as an option for this engine only. And considering the suspension system “borrowed” from Giulietta, I’m expecting a road behavior very close to what the Italian hatchback is offering.

Another important step forward for Dodge is the interior, the American carmaker promising an important upgrade in materials’ quality. Of course, since it’s 2012, the Dart features a lot of gadgets, including the touchscreen display of the Uconnect system, plus a customizable display replacing the traditional instrument panel.

The official press release doesn’t mention anything about the Dart’s pricing, but what we are told is that the car will make its market debut in June 2012.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *