Dodge's new take on the compact sedan is here, and it's wearing an old name, but on new, Alfa Romeo-derived hardware, and it will be built in the U.S.
Previewed today ahead of its official debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, the Dart seeks to hit a trifecta of small-car goals, with unique styling, high gas mileage, and sporty performance. To do so, it gets a trio of engines and transmissions.
The three engines include a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter Tigershark four-cylinder, and a 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder with MultiAir. What is MultiAir? It's an advanced variable valve system that lets the engine provide both higher efficiency when desired and more powerful performance. The three transmissions haven't yet been disclosed.
To help get the most out of the Dart's powertrain lineup, Dodge has leveraged the Alfa Romeo Giulietta-derived platform. In Dart form, that means the body structure will be made of 68 percent high-strength steel, allowing a lighter, stronger chassis than standard steel without the added costs of aluminum or composites.
Standard four-wheel independent suspension, available 18-inch wheels, and Dodge's new styling language will tie the whole package together in what the company hopes is a compelling new compact car. Given the strong competition in the segment from Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda, it will need to be compelling.
The 2013 Dodge Dart will be built at the Belvidere, Illinois plant, where a $600 million upgrade project is ongoing to enable construction of the Dart and other future products.
We'll be bringing you more details, including live photos and video, from the Detroit Auto Show debut, so stay tuned.