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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Detroit 2012: The Return Of The Dart

    For the longest time, we've been hearing about a new car that would be replacing the dreadful Dodge Caliber. Today, Dodge revealed the replacement.

    Meet the 2013 Dodge Dart, which will make it's debut next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Previously, the car was known as the Hornet till Dodge announced last month the name wouldn't be used.

    The Dart will be the first Chrysler vehicle using a Fiat vehicle architecture; the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in this case. The Giulietta's platform has been widened and lengthened for the Dart. Dodge says high-strength steel and independent suspension will make the car more fun to drive than its predecessors.

    Styling of the Dart borrows a lot from the full-size Charger, with the front end having Dodge's trademark crosshair grill and headlights that are angled up over the car’s front fenders. Around back, a full bank of LED taillights and dual exhausts help make the car a Dodge.

    Three engines will be available; a 2.0L inline-four “Tigershark”, a turbocharged 1.4L MultiAir inline-four, and a 2.4L“Tigershark” inline-four. Three transmissions will be available; most likely an six-speed automatic plus a choice of five- and six-speed manuals.

    The Dodge Dart will be built at Chrysler's Assembly n Belvidere, Illinois, which currently assembles the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot.

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Dodge Hits the Mark With the All-new 2013 Dodge Dart Compact Car

    Dodge Dart Blends Alfa Romeo DNA and Dodge’s Passion for Performance, Resulting in a Groundbreaking Car with the Ultimate Blend of Power, Fuel Economy, Handling and Style

    • The Dodge brand is back in the U.S. compact sedan segment – in a big way – as the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart will make its world debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., on Jan. 9, 2012
    • Built on a world-class architecture, Dodge Dart offers three technologically advanced, fuel-efficient and powerful engines, including the 1.4L MultiAir® Turbo
    • Dodge delivers exceptional craftsmanship with class-leading technology and style

    Auburn Hills, Mich. , Dec 6, 2011 - Dodge redefines performance in the compact car segment with an all-new, state-of-the-art four-door sedan delivering class-leading aerodynamics – the 2013 Dodge Dart.

    With Alfa Romeo DNA and Dodge’s passion for performance at its core, the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart is a thoroughly modern vehicle that’s fuel-efficient, beautifully designed and crafted, agile and brings fun back to driving in the segment.

    Similar to the Dodge Dart of the late 1960s, the 2013 Dart offers a special blend of style, performance and innovation. The Dodge brand leveraged its nearly 100-year history of passion for building high-quality, innovative vehicles that stand apart in performance and style, as well as from its partner Fiat’s global compact car expertise, to develop the all-new Dodge Dart.


    The all-new Dart is the first Chrysler Group vehicle based upon a Fiat architecture – adapted from the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The Giulietta is renowned for satisfying the most demanding customers in terms of road-holding, agility and safety, with exceptional driving dynamics. The Dart leverages all of these attributes within a lengthened and widened platform delivering segment-leading levels of interior roominess.

    The all-new Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) architecture underpinning the Dart is a state-of-the-art architecture with an industry-leading 68 percent of the body composed of high-strength steel, resulting in a very strong and rigid structure. Combined with responsive steering, four-wheel independent suspension, and available 18-inch wheels, the Dart brings fun back to driving in the compact car segment.


    The all-new 2013 Dart marks the Dodge brand’s re-entry into the compact sedan segment, hitting the bulls-eye with a modern, unmistakable Dodge design that builds upon its performance heritage while evoking emotion, efficiency and fluidity of movement.

    Eye-catching exterior proportions are set off from every angle by dynamic lines and curves, along with advanced technology, to deliver class-leading aerodynamic performance. The personality-packed front view is instantly recognizable as an all-new Dodge with its tailored split-crosshair grille, projector headlamps and fog lamps and accentuated fenders. Signature Dodge full-width LED ‘racetrack’ tail lamps and class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust – both inspired by Dodge Charger – accentuate the athletic and muscular stance of this dynamic and passionate new design.


    The 2013 Dodge Dart will be powered by three fuel-efficient, powerful, state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines that add to Dart’s fun-to-drive quotient.

    Drivers can select from a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter engine, a 16-valve 1.4-liter MultiAir Intercooled Turbo engine, and a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.4-liter MultiAir four cylinder engine. These three engines, combined with three transmission choices, combine to redefine performance by providing the most diverse powertrain lineup in its class.

    MultiAir technology delivers optimum combustion at any speed under all driving conditions by allowing direct and dynamic control of air intake and combustion. The result is up to a 15 percent increase in low engine rpm torque, a 7.5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and a 10 percent reduction in C02 emissions.


    The all-new Dodge Dart will be made in America at Chrysler Group’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Ill. The Company is in the process of investing $600 million dollars to support the production of future products, including the 2013 Dodge Dart. The investment includes the construction of a 638,000-square-foot body shop, as well as the installation of new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment. Work on the expansion began in the summer of 2010 and will be completed this year.

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    The teaser photos look good; I like the full width tail lamps and I am glad to see someone put some bold styling into a compact car. So many small cars are boring looking. Not sure about the name, but since alliteration is hot right now with domestic cars, Dodge Dart fits the mold.

    Chrysler/Fiat build quality I am not sold on however.

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    The base of the A-pillar is obscured on the Allpar pics, but if it's like the Guilietta on which it's based, it should have a normal A-pillar instead of the wierd window within the pillar treatment so many compacts and subcompacts have...

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    This will be the first Chrysler/Fiat car you'd be able to judge the build quality on..... so... you've seen and felt the car in person already? Can you give us your findings on it?

    I mean on previous cars. Fiat and Alfa over the years were never known for reliability, they were known for the opposite. And Chrysler cars pre-bankruptcy were rubbish, case in point the Sebring. And to go from the Caliber, the worst car in the class, to no car in the class, to then jump to the head of the class is a tall order. So that is why I am skeptical.

    I do really like the rear tail light design and I usually don't like Dodge/Chrysler design. So I think this car may win over some new fans which is what Chrysler/Dodge need. I'd say the Focus and Elantra are the best looking compacts now, this car looks promising from the teasers, I'd look forward to the final version to see if it supplants those 2.

    Edited by smk4565
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    I like the sound of industry leading 68% high strength steel body, and offering 3 engines. Too many new cars are overweight and have limited engine choices, or at lease limited engines at launch. I hope they launch with all 3 engines and not just the weak engine, and make you wait a year to get the better engine.

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    Good looking from the teaser shots. I thought Dodge was getting rid of the crosshairs grill? I quite like the current design of it across the lineup. The Dart name has a musty feel about it.

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    It looks great so far and much sportier than the Cruze sedan. I cant wait to see a coupe version of this. The interior is going to be the make or break deal on this car. Let's hope Dodge doesn't dumb it down just because its a compact.

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    It will have an optional 9-speed transmission. It is going to be like the S-class!!!!

    LoL...just a 6spd. I do wonder if Chrysler is working on an 8 speed for their FWD models..they already have one for the good stuff..

    No, Marchionne said the 2013 model will have an optional ZF 9-speed. It's going to be the S-class and the Dart leading the way, haha.

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    Dynaflow CVT?

    I drove 1st & 2nd year Caliber I liked the first one the reprogramming felt wrong on year 2 but I like them because I know how it works (from snowmobiles) and whats going on ie staying in the power band.

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    My only experience so far has been in a Sentra and it was positive.

    Current Altima, and previous and current Maxima here. I liked it better in the Maximas, probably more so because the engine itself didn't allow me to focus on the transmission. The Altima was an I4, and I really wasn't enamored with how the CVT worked with it, for one reason or another.

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    I've been a vocal critic of CVTs based on my previous experience with them in Saturn and Datsun, but when I test drove the 2012 version of Chrysler's in the Patriot, I was pleasantly surprised. Not bad atall.

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    Love the name. No, really--I do. I'm old enough to remember when the Dart was darned near full-sized (1960-ish). Then it became a compact related to the Valiant...but I digress.

    I hope the new Dart ain't too 'spensive.

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    VERY sharp *ouch*. In the vid, I see chrome door handles on the R/T, in the photos, it has body color. I like the sport trim/chrome handle look, as it's not done anywhere else.

    The Limited wheels remind me of Cruze Eco wheels, but it seems they have fewer spokes for easier cleaning.

    Overall, based on the gallery and video, I'd say this is the best looking compact sedan on the market. Hopefully it will be trouble-free for lots of miles.

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