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Truth be told, that already happened with the Dodge Dart, which we reported on during the Detroit International Auto Show last month. That said, it’s still significant that the company is going to launch something new in that segment, considering they haven’t really appealed to the compact market. That is, unless you call a PT Cruiser appealing, which we flatly refuse to do.
The 100 will borrow underpinnings from Fiat, just like the Dart, though this one will be a five-door instead of a sedan that looks a lot more like the Alpha Romeo Giulietta (pictured above).
Speaking of looks, the car spied by Road & Track has some interesting touches we didn’t see when the first concept debuted at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. For example, we can see that the rear door handles are hidden, not something common to American cars. It also looks as if the head and tail lights will sport LEDs.
We don’t have details, but the fact that there will be a Dodge and Chrysler version of essentially the same car will position the company nicely to offer product differentiation. The Chrysler will likely be more comfort-oriented, leaving the Dart open as a sportier version for younger consumers.
[Source: Road & Track]
At least that’s what the badge might get you to think. Fiat now owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, up from their initial 20 percent holding in 2009. That increased ownership is the result of Fiat fulfilling the final piece of an operating agreement with Chrysler— to produce a vehicle with at least 40 average miles-per-gallon. The 2013 Dodge Dart makes its official debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and represents that fulfillment.
It was 1960 when the Dart shot onto the American car scene, and boy did it make a bang. Back then people thought of it as a compact, despite the available big block V8. You could choose between a singe- or double-barrel carburetor and single or dual exhaust too. Jump forward to 2012 and we’re eagerly awaiting what could be one of the most intriguing compacts to come on the scene, despite having no resemblance to its namesake.
The new, aerodynamically-minded, Dodge comes with an Alpha Romeo spirit rethought for the North American market. That means an inline 1.4-liter turbocharged Fiat MultiAir engine capable of 168 horsepower and 180 ft-lbs of torque while maintaining an average 40 mpg.
Consumers will also be able to choose from larger displacement 2.0 and 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder using a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. There will also be a 9-speed automatic somewhere in the future.
Though there aren’t many more details available we do know the car will feature 4-wheel independent suspension. It’s not the Dart that came around in 1960, but the latest Fiat-Chrysler lovechild is still following in the fresh spirit that made the first generation popular 52 years ago.
GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart
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