Pre-Production Review: 2013 Dodge Dart

Posted on 11. Jun, 2012 by in Auto News

The last time Chrysler was a serious attempt at the C-segment in 1995 with the Neon. High initial sales were soon followed by less than stellar crash scores, a redesign to discourage buyers, the death of the Plymouth brand and the unholy offspring of the Dodge Caliber. With Fiat need to add a "40 MPG CAFE" vehicle in the fleet to continue its acquisition, the Dodge Dart was born. The first fruit of the Fiat / Dodge Marriage is not just a rebadged Alfa Romeo Giulietta (pronounced Juliet-ta), And there's a reason for that. Dodge wants a bigger piece of the pie since limousines for 80% of the compact class. Instead of "sedanify" Giulietta Dodge took the additional step of craft an entirely new vehicle, which has little to do with the Italian organ donors. Some Italian seasoning give dodge what they have to compete with the growing compact sedan segment? Dodge invited us to a regional preview event to find out.

Outer

I used to be a Mopar man. My folks bought it for years and my first two new cars in 1997, Eagle Vision and a 2000 Chrysler LHS. Keep that era of Pentastar product in mind, the Dodge Dart fits directly with a dick right out of the 1999 Dodge Intrepid. Before you flame, I think the look is much more attractive than many small cars on the market. What distinguishes the darts aside, however, the aggressive front end with a wide grille and headlights ginormous. The front-end design is almost enough to forget that is the C-segment. So far, so good.

Interior

Within the Dart is a cabin light years ahead of the Caliber. While there is still plenty to be found hard plastic bits, the cabin actually has more soft-touch points as the Cruze or Sentra. While the styling may turn off some customers could the thick rimmed steering wheel hook some swing voters. Dodge either high sales targets or is not dwell on dealer lots as around a dozen different interior trim color and style combinations are affected. I would be so good for the buyer, questionable call for the profitable future of the Dart. Base SE models skip air conditioning and power door locks and a lower class of the seat cover to keep prices low. A quick look at the lineup of shows that Dodge expects the $ 17,995 SXT model to be the volume seller, as it asked the usual mix of equipment buyers such as A / C, keyless entry, has folding rear seats and a sextet of speakers and a few extra cup holders. Despite significant improvements in the Focus and Elantra are better places to spend your time, but I would rather be in a dart than a Mazda 3 or Cruze.

Infotainment

If you love gadgets, the Dart is the compact car of choice. With the exception of a self-parking feature, such as Ford Focus, so that the upper trim levels of the Dart. Some snazzy features that will be found nowhere else in this segment Beginning with the Limited trim, is the speedometer in the instrument cluster with a 7-inch LCD, which is highly customizable replaced. Unlike the LCD gauges Mercedes, Jaguar and Land Rover use, this means more than just display a picture of a dial. Apart from navigation and infotainment displays, the system also serves as the on-board computer. Dodge also decided to make a decent amount of customization of colors to choose what date you see and where you can see it. Also included as standard (optional on SXT and above) on the Limited model Chrysler 8.4-inch system is uConnect. Our short time with the system showed that Chrysler has developed the Apple iDevice bugs in the system. Uconnect 8.4 now fully voice command your iDevice with the saying "playing song, Red Solo Cup"And the system you make your bid., The system works as well as Ford's MyTouch is on much more than slow system Fords.

Drivetrain

Despite the PR people do not comment on the long rumored 9-speed gearbox, there was plenty of new metal under the hood to see. First up is the 2.0L engine. This is the Caliber 2.0L engine, but only shares 20% of the parts together. Most of the changes relate to smoothness and noise, but power has a slight bump on 160hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. Next above 1.4L turbo engine Fiat is transplanted almost directly from Alfa. This "MutiAir" engine cranks for the same horsepower as the 2.0L, but trumps with 184 lb-ft of twist. Further up, the 2.4-liter engine (in the R / T model), which benefits the same NVH improvements and includes MultiAir to power to 184HP and 171 lb-ft of twist to increase. Fiat MultiAir is say such that the inlet valves on the 1.4L and 2.4L engines via solenoid hydraulic chamber between the valve and the cam (at least on the 2.4L sits are actuated. The 1.4L has no intake cam). The result is more controlled valve, the ability to remove the throttle and some seriously complicated plumbing. What is the reliability of that be? Your guess is as good as mine. If you want to know more, check out this video. All engines will be covered in the 6-speed manual transmission Fiat, while the 2.0 and 2.4 get the possibility of a 6-speed slushbox and Hyundai-sourced 1.4 with Fiat 6-speed dual clutch transmission dry clutch transmission have.