2013 Dodge Dart Officially Revealed: 2012 Detroit Auto Show

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2013 Dodge Dart Officially Revealed: 2012 Detroit Auto Show
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Replacing the now almost invisible Caliber, the 2013 Dart is the car Dodge hopes will reinvigorate its presence in the compact segment. At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, Dodge Brand CEO Reid Bigland unveiled the highly anticipated Dart to a captive audience.

According to Bigland, compact cars currently represent 15 percent of the total US vehicle market and 25 percent in Canada, so a new compact gives Dodge a chance to really compete in a major volume segment.

Given the increasing synergies between Fiat and the Chrysler group, it’s not surprising that the Dart embodies DNA from both. Essentially, it’s based on a modified version of the same architecture used to underpin the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in Europe, though the car has been lengthened and widened to suit North American tastes.

Styling is unmistakably Dodge, in fact the overall look and greenhouse could almost indicate an updated Neon, albeit one that adopts Charger styling cues, notably the “angry” headlight treatment and full width LED illumination out back. Active grille shutters and underbody fairings are also incorporated, in an effort to minimize aerodynamic drag.

Like the last generation Neon, the Dart will only be offered as a four-door sedan, though will be available in no fewer than five trim levels, SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T.

Engine choices comprise a 2.0-liter normally aspirated “Tigershark” four, rated at 160 horsepower and 145 lb-ft, plus a version of Fiat’s 1.4-liter turbocharged and intercooled Multi-Air four-cylinder, which although rated at the same 160 hp, cranks out significantly more torque: 184 lb-ft. Down the road, a larger displacement 2.4-liter “Tigershark” motor, rated at 184 hp is expected to become available. Transmission choices comprise a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic and also a six-speed dry Dual-Clutch automatic, though the latter will only be available with the Multi-Air 1.4 motor.

Given its Alfa Romeo DNA, the Dart promises to be fun to drive, with good chassis dynamics and responsive steering, aided by aspects such as specially tuned MacPherson struts up front, designed to minimize camber loss and a fully independent rear setup. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, are standard on all Darts.

According to Bigland, a major part of the Dart’s appeal lies with the  interior, which has been conceived  to maximize volume (it reportedly rivals some mid-size cars for space), while the use of upscale materials (including soft touch surfaces), should certainly address some long standing stigmas about low grade cabins on Chrysler built small cars.

A high level of interior equipment (such as an available heated steering wheel, plus Chrysler’s U-Connect media center with 8.4-inch touch screen and voice activatation and no fewer than 14 different trim color options), also provide the 2013 Dart with more trump cards than the old Caliber.

Although pricing has yet to be officially announced, Bigland says the Dart will feature a starting MSRP of around $16,000, which should position it well in the segment, especially against cars like the Chevy Cruze (current MSRP of $16,720), Honda Civic ($15,805) and Hyundai Elantra ($16,445).

Production of the 2013 Dart is scheduled to begin at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant in the second quarter of this year, with cars showing up in dealers soon afterwards. In perhaps a homage to the original 1963-76 Dart compact, which morphed into a junior muscle car/youthmobile; Chrysler’s Mopar division will offer some 150 customization options for the new one.

GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart

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Discuss this story at DartForums.com and see AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show coverage here.

See AutoGuide’s First Look Video of the new Dodge Dart below:

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  • Brian

    Do you really think it’ll get 40mpg? Which motor is the one to get 40mpg? Thats a steep claim from Dodge.

    There is a ton of info on this forum for those who have more info.
    http://www.dartforums.com/forum/

  • Brian

    Is the Dart really going to get 40mpg? Which engine?

  • Chuck

    Why did you call it the Dart? This is not a making of the old Dart new again. Did the thinkers of this car even see or know the history of the original Dart? Such a shame. They missed the mark on the Chargers style too. I wanted a retro Dart but you gave us grandma’s sedan. Change the name. Challenger was a proper retro for Dodge. Chevy Camaro worked, mustang continues to evolve.

    Dodge! You have Mopar and you made the Dart a Dud! What the heck?

  • Ahmed Ginnah

    All Dodges will be using the tried and tested technology in Formula 1 engines, made and perfected by F1 engine guru Paolo Martinella, which made Michael Schumacher famous for his 8 Ferrari F1 Championships. ALL Multiair engines have around 15% more torque and around 20% more economy than its equivalent counterpart. Google Multiair and see for yourself. It is always that Fiat/Alfa Romeo lead the way in performance and technology. About 15 years ago similar questions were raised when Fiat/Alfa Romeo launched their Alfa 145 2.0 16v, Twinspark. It was the Golf III GTi then, the king of the Hot hatches. It had 87kw and the Alfa 145, 110kw, with 187Nm of torque, and with much better fuel economy than the Golf. Then it the TWINSPARK (2 spark plugs per cylinder)F1 technology and now the MULTIAIR F1 technology. To put matters into prospectus, the Toyota RunX 20 Valve has 180Nm of Torque and the VERY LATEST 2012 Toyota FT86 Sportscar, 205Nm of torque. I drive an Alfa 145, I know.

  • Matt

    Do they think using an old name and putting it on a car will make it a seller? At least the challenger represented the heritage well. Are auto makers that challenged?

  • Colum Wood

    Maybe they’re just suckers for some good alliteration

  • Jake

    Chuck. Sorry you feel that the Dart should be be something other then grandmas sedan. I am a MOPAR junky and loved the DART & Duster and other A bodies of the vintage, But the fact is they were mostly grandma cars back in the day. Save for a few special muscle car editions…

  • Brett

    I dont know if I would have gone with calling it a dart… Wait yea I wouldn’t have. Atleast it looks like they finally came out with a nice practical car though. About time cause the caliber was a funky looking thing.

  • Dan

    why cant they make a 2 door car anymore? This would be a beautiful two door car to replace my aging Neon, which is a 2 door also. Even the Charger, which was originally a two door, is remade into a modern 4 door sedan. Come on Chrysler, you killed off Plymouth, which made the best cars in your lineup, and now you force moore doors on us!

  • Colum Wood

    Maybe a two door is still in the works. It would certainly fit the Dodge brand. Kia, Hyundai and Honda all have Coupes.

  • Dan

    This is a joke the original Dodge Dart with the 340 magnum was bad ass this car looks like a cheap Volkswagon! really Dodge this won’t sell as good as the Neon did and it’s a piece of junk, wake up!.

  • Adam

    I think it’s a nice car and the fact that Dodge is trying to bring it back. I’m a big fan of the older Darts and I’m becoming a fan of this Dart too. I will not buy this the first year it comes out because a couple years later they will work out the problums and will make a good/better car in 2014. js

  • Anthony Padilla

    I own a 1967 Dodge Dart and I don’t feel as a Mopar Guy that this represents the muscle car industry. If you said it would be called the Dodge Colt then it would be something I could agree on. Just my opinion.

  • Aaron

    What a shame.Looks like a prius with a dodge emblem on it.Should have used a name like shadow,omni,dynasty or one of the other pieces of junk cranked out in the 80`s.The dart should have had a hemi in it.
    Hope you don`t shame the demon or duster name, or the other muscle cars of my youth.

  • russ

    consumers are reporting only 25-34 mpg with the fiat. how will this larger car reach near reported 40mpg??

  • brandon

    will there be a concept duster ?

  • Woo

    this will be a flop. Dodge made a big mistake on the concept, it should be retro to the duster model (1974ish) with a hemi.

  • Lelandjh

    If this is a compact then that must be a garden gnome behind the wheel. Why didn’t they just call this what it really is … a Neon (yawn).

  • anonymous

    no resemblance to the old Dart, just like the Charger…and both 4 doors…just sad. If its going to be called a Dart then make it look like one, same goes for the Charger. Love my Mopars but when they do things like this, not so much…hope they dont sell a damn one.

  • Dfkdo

    What the hell is this?? a Dodge neon?