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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Jun 26 2012, 5:51 PM

Dubious news about a Dodge Dart hatchback is surfacing after an Italian forum posted patent drawings depicting what could be a hatchback version of the brand’s high mpg poster boy. Then again, maybe not.

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 |  Jun 14 2012, 10:14 PM

Travis Pastrana is campaigning a Dodge Dart rally car in Global RallyCross this year, and back in April we got a sneak preview on the world’s only Dodge Dart rally car.

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 |  Jun 14 2012, 3:30 PM

People who like the Dodge Dart but haven’t noticed their neighbors driving the Caliber might have to migrate a little to find a dealer with the new compact in stock.

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 |  May 28 2012, 7:47 AM

The original minivan will officially be retired in 2014, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has revealed. That same year Jeep will also axe the Compass crossover while a high-performance version of the new Dart compact will be launched in the coming years.

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 |  May 02 2012, 5:02 PM

Hot off its huge first quarter where sales jumped 33 percent, Chrysler will have four of its North American plants skip the normal two week summer shutdown this year.

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 |  May 01 2012, 9:15 AM

Counterintuitive as it may be to think that demand for manual transmissions may be increasingly in demand among U.S. consumers, sales numbers are showing just that.

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 |  Apr 20 2012, 2:45 PM

 

Fuel economy numbers are more important now than ever before, as gas prices continue to rise in North America.

Recently Dodge came under criticism for announcing its upcoming Dart compact will get 40 mpg combined.

An impressively high number, even a class-leading car like the Hyundai Elantra, which gets 40 mpg highway, only achieves an average of 33 mpg. While the exact fuel economy figures have yet to be released and a 40 mpg highway rating is still in sight, when the Dart (above) goes on sale later this year it most certainly will not get 40 mpg average; not in real world driving and not even on the window sticker.

Dodge wasn’t wrong. They’re not even entirely to blame. If fact, they were just using a different testing method to get their fuel economy numbers. Or to put it more accurately, they weren’t even doing the testing. So why would a different testing method be used? It’s a long and complex story, but the gist of it is that according to a government mandate, in order for Fiat to take control of Chrysler it needed achieve three goals, the final one being building a 40 mpg car on American soil. Being government related, that number is a CAFE number, not an EPA number. What’s the difference? Read on.

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 |  Feb 24 2012, 8:40 AM

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Dodge is ramping up its marketing for the upcoming Dart model that will be made available in the second quarter of this year. The newly-launched website has now received a vehicle car configurator where users can customize their Dart even though pricing has yet to be finalized.

The Dart will be available in five trim models: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited, and R/T. Base models will be powered by a 2.0L, 160-hp four-cylinder engine, while the R/T will sport a 2.4L, 184-hp powerplant. Mid level SXT, Rallye and Limited trims will also be available with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder with either a manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The configurator does give estimated final prices with the SE starting at $17,200 while the SXT is $19,000, Rallye comes in at $20,500 and the Limited is priced at $21,500. As expected, the R/T is the most expensive model with an estimated MSRP of $24,000.

A plethora of color choices are available for the Dart: Citrus Peel, Header Orange, Laguna Blue, Redline, Winter Chill, Blue Streak, Maximum Steel Metallic, True Blue, Bright White, Pitch Black, Bright Silver Metallic, and Tungsten Metallic.

Dodge does warn potential customers on their website with the following message: ”The features and prices for the final 2013 Dodge Dart will become available when the vehicle goes on sale in Q2 of 2012. The information on this site may change frequently, so don’t be surprised if things look different next time you visit.”

Until it does go on sale, visit the car configurator here and discuss more on the 2013 Dart at the Dodge Dart Forums.

GALLERY: Dodge Dart Color Choices

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 9:09 PM

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Of all the special edition vehicles Mopar has on display today at the Chicago Auto Show, the Dodge Dart is probably the most attractive.

It’s also the most radically different looking of the four vehicles we had a chance to see today thanks to the sweeping carbon fiber hood with an aggressive-looking hood scoop that looks down towards a black grille. Those colors work well against the car’s red paint, especially with the 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels which set this special dart aflight.

Mopar also graced the car with a better air intake and exhaust and retuned engine computer to make an extra 30 horsepower, bringing this version up to 210 total.

Inside, the car gets similar treatment as the exterior. A matching color scheme and piano black trim set the Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute well apart from the stock model — if you’re into the racer boy look.

Click through our gallery and tells us your thoughts in the comments section below.

GALLERY: Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute

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 |  Feb 06 2012, 7:15 PM

It was only a matter of time until Fiat‘s small car DNA seeped into Chrysler‘s veins and morphed a small car capable of competing with the Ford Focus and Honda Civic, the Chrysler 100.

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]

 |  Jan 31 2012, 2:17 PM

Mopar has treated us to some automotive delights this morning by releasing Chrysler vehicles decked out with Mopar parts in celebration of the aftermarket parts companies 75th anniversary. The Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute is a race inspired package that takes the already sporty looking Dart to a new level of performance.

The exterior of the Dart GTS 210 has gained several matte black trim pieces including a lower chin spoiler, side sills, rear spoiler and rear-diffuser panel. A carbon fiber hood complete with large air scoop takes some weight off the Dart and makes it look good. The Dart GTS 210 will run on 18-inch, 10 spoke forged alloy titanium-colored wheels which look fantastic against the ruby red paint.

The interior of the Dart GTS 210 will carry on the black and red theme with red Katzkin leather seats accented by black stitching. Piano black trim is used on the shifter bezel, cup holder bezel and dash vents bezel. To top it all off the Dodge Dart GTS 210 gets a suede clad instrument panel with red accent stitching.

For performance, Mopar has added an improved air flow intake, a low back pressure exhaust system and finer tuned fuel/air mix in the cylinder to pull 210 horsepower out of the regular 180 horsepower engine.

The Mopar Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute will be on display at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

GALLERY: Mopar Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute

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Discuss this story at DartForum.com

 |  Jan 19 2012, 12:30 PM

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Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik recently confirmed that they’ll be supplying Chrysler with the six-speed automatic transmission that will be found in the new Dodge Dart.

The announcement gets our attention since Chrysler and Hyundai recently split from the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) which also involved Japanese automaker, Mitsubishi. As a result from GEMA, the Dart uses similar 2.0L and 2.4L  engines that Hyundai also uses. Those two powerplants are the ones that Dodge will outfit with the six-speed automatic transmission.

It appears that Chrysler needed to source a six-speed automatic transmission quickly – mostly for fuel economy figures – and went with Hyundai’s transmission since it easily mated to their two engines. Unfortunately Chrysler won’t confirm the purchase agreement and Hyundai won’t reveal any specifics other than the fact that they are supplying a six-speed automatic transmission.

Discuss this story at Dartforums.com

GALLERY: Dodge Dart

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[Source: Car and Driver]

 |  Jan 12 2012, 6:45 PM

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The Dodge Dart is being billed as Chrysler-Fiat‘s foray into the increased efficiency market that is growing quickly in the U.S. Now, Dodge customers who are already planning on buying one when they become available in 2013 have a little more to look forward to.

Mopar is offering a list of accessories and a few performance parts to spiff up the little sedan, though nothing in the go-faster department. So far, we’re aware of the following: a brake upgrade including new calipers, rotors and pads and an 18-inch wheel upgrade are the only available mechanical improvements.

Beyond that, you can opt for a hood scoop, carbon fiber grille insert, a matte black chin spoiler, oodles of chrome pieces, rocker panel extensions and much much more. In fact, there are 150 total accessories. That should be enough to make sure that your Dart will be different than any other on the road, if you want to spend the money to make it that way.

Aside from that, Dart owners can take advantage of options like a smart phone app to do everything from remote start to checking tire pressure. Remote 3G wifi will also make it a potential mobile hotspot and wireless charging for cell phones and mp3 players adds some tech flair. All of these goodies will be available from the get go when the car launches.

If it wasn’t abundantly clear before, it is now: the Dart is aimed squarely at a young, plugged in and constantly connected crowd of consumers.

GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart

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

Discuss this story at Dartforums.com

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 |  Jan 12 2012, 2:30 PM

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The fuel wars are heating up as automakers search for new ways to squeeze more mileage out of their cars. While some might take this chance to preach doom and gloom for future cars, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t ready to call the Road Warrior just yet.

Some companies are turning to electric vehicles, others to extended-range hybrids. Yet another school of thought is turning to diesel engines to meet mounting expectations for fuel consumption. In the face of what seems like a trembling industry, unsure of what the next revolution will be, Marchionne stands strong.

“I believe in our industry’s ability to find solutions. Even with traditional combustion engines, we have only skimmed the surface of the ability to squeeze out higher fuel efficiency levels, allowing us to extract much more power out of smaller displacements,” Marchionne said during an appearance at the Automotive News World Congress.

For the time being, he is determined that diesel engines will remain reserved for larger cars, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above), which Chrysler will begin assembling in Detroit early next year. Diesel engines, despite their shrinking stigma, are still a minority consideration in the overall U.S. market. We really like some of the small car diesel variants to pop up recently. For example, Mazda will offer a diesel version of their Mazda6 sedan in 2013, as will Chevrolet with the Cruze.

Despite that, Marchionne is hanging onto the gasoline engine and hoping cars like their recently unveiled Dodge Dart will tackle the small car market and capture young consumer imaginations. Critics of his stubborn resolve might want to hold their opinions for now, considering the about face Marchionne championed since 2009, taking Chrysler from near-ruin to respectable territory.

“Fiat and Chrysler come from two different pasts, but they have something very strong in common,” said Marchionne. “Both have been to hell and back.”

GALLERY: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel

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[Source: The Detroit Bureau]

 |  Jan 11 2012, 10:49 AM

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The compact car category continues to grow and is increasingly becoming the most important and highest volume segment in America. For years Chrysler hasn’t had a competitive offering, something it is looking to change with the all-new Dodge Dart.

Sharing its underpinnings with an Alfa Romeo it’s the direct result of the tie-up between Chrysler and Fiat, with all the benefits that can have.Included in the list of rather European specs listed for the Dart are a fully-independent rear suspension and an optional turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder mated to a dual-clutch transmission.

Unveiled this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, see AutoGuide’s first look video of the 2013 Dodge Dart below.

GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart

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 |  Jan 07 2012, 1:30 PM

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One of the debuts everyone has been anxiously awaiting for has been leaked, with the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart hitting the interwebs ahead of its official 2012 Detroit Auto Show debut.

The first Chrysler product to be based on a Fiat architecture, the 2013 Dodge Dart looks sporty, contemporary and honestly, very refreshing to see. Essentially a replacement from the now defunct Caliber, the Dart looks to be in an entirely different league than what it’s replacing. The vehicle itself is based on the Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta platform and once it hits American soil it’ll be available with three different four-cylinder engines.

A 2.0L  packs 160-hp while a 2.4L will have 184-hp. A 1.4L turbocharged powerplant that is also seen in the Abarth 500 will feature 160-hp. The front-wheel-drive compact will feature Fiat Group’s six-speed, dual-clutch transmission with a six-speed manual option but ultimately will get an all-new nine-speed transmission that is currently being developed by the ZF Group.

AutoGuide.com will be on hand at the official debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, so stay tuned as we’ll have more photos and details on this new stunner from Dodge.

Check out the video of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart below and see our complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show Coverage here.

GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart

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 |  Jan 07 2012, 10:00 AM

The statistics for the new Dodge Dart seemed a little to good to be true, because that is exactly what they are. One of the stipulations in the Fiat takeover was that Chrysler needed to develop a car with at least 40 mpg before the Italian automaker could lock down more shares in the American company.

The numbers posted for the Dart are not completely made up, however, they are the EPA’s CAFE numbers. What this means is that the EPA tests the car and gives it a Corporate Average Fuel Economy, (CAFE) rating, not a real world rating.

NHTSA breaks down the classifications on there website, “Three different sets of fuel economy values- NHTSA’s CAFE values, EPA’s unadjusted dynamometer values, and EPA’s adjusted on-road values exist. NHTSA’s CAFE values are used to determine manufacturers’ compliance with the applicable average fuel economy standards and to develop its annual report, the Automotive Fuel Economy Program Annual Update. The EPA’s unadjusted dynamometer values are calculated from the emissions generated during the testing using a carbon balance equation. EPA knows the amount of carbon in the fuel, so by measuring the carbon compounds expelled in the exhaust they can calculate the fuel economy. EPA’s adjusted on-road values are those values listed in the Fuel Economy Guide and on new vehicle labels, adjusted to account for the in-use shortfall of EPA dynamometer test values.”

What that all means is that the first numbers to come out are the CAFE numbers, which are influenced by many factors including the amount of vehicles produced. Then the dyno numbers are released, which are closer to real world stats. And finally the cars are tested on the road to figure out what the real fuel economy will be.

Dodge released its CAFE fuel economy numbers for the Dart, which are a little more optimistic than the real fuel economy rating will be. While a 40 mpg highway rating for the new Dart is possible, look for an average in the mid-30s when the car debuts Monday at the Detroit Auto Show.

To find out more about the EPA and fuel economy numbers, click here.

 |  Jan 05 2012, 10:00 AM

Oh how compact cars have changed…  Chrysler, or Fiat as it were, is taking a march through the elephant graveyard and bringing new life to some old bones.

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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 |  Dec 13 2011, 9:00 AM

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With the Dodge Dart’s official debut around the corner at the upcoming 2012 Detroit Auto Show, Chrysler has decided to continually tease us with exterior photos and now interior shots of the upcoming compact. Dodge is looking to make a statement with the interior of their Dart, boasting that it’ll feature materials and precision craftsmanship normally found in more expensive vehicles.

According to Dodge, the Dart will be loaded with state-of-the-art technology, loaded with cool amenities and unexpected delights for both the driver and his/her passengers. The Dart’s interior will feature plenty of personalization options with 14 interior color and trim combinations while the 7-inch TFT customizable gauge cluster display takes center stage in a class-exclusive floating island bezel. It also boasts the largest touchscreen – 8.4-inch – in its class equipped with UConnect.

The glove box houses a stowed iPad while the center console features auxiliary jacks for all your devices. Ambient lighting is plentiful throughout the interior while “racetrack” lighting surrounds the floating island bezel, giving it a really nice and luxurious feel to it.

Dodge also wanted to brag that the Dart will be the only vehicle in its class to offer Blind-Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection. It’s shaping up to be a nice compact, but will it live up to its hype?

GALLERY: Dodge Dart Interior

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Discuss this story at DartForums.com

 |  Dec 06 2011, 12:24 PM

Dodge revealed teaser shots of their Dart compact car, designed to replace the wretched Caliber crossover, and so far it looks to be the first hit of Alfa Romeo-inspired product for North America.

Using the underpinings of the lovely Alfa Giulietta compact, the Dart will use a 1.4L turbocharged Fiat MultiAir engine – good for 168 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque while returning a reported 39 mpg. Other engines include a 2.0L and 2.4L “Tigershark” 4-cylinder, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox. A 9-speed automatic is said to be available at a later date.

Other features include a dual exhaust and 4-wheel independent suspension. The Dart will be built at Chrysler’s Illinois plant, and will get a proper reveal at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart

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