Little more than a month after announcing the name and some teaser shots of its all-new compact sedan, Chrysler’s 2013 Dodge Dart shows off the real deal at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.
As we reported previously, this may be Chrysler’s most important car in decades. The fact that the Dart name resurfaces isn’t just a coincidence, either. Digging into the past for a name that resonates with consumers and attaching it to a stylish, fuel-efficient and safe new product today is bound to attract some interest.
Chrysler says the target market for the 2013 Dodge Dart is wide, ranging from millennials, young professionals likely buying their first car, to empty-nesters, those with active lifestyles who appreciate good value but don’t want to sacrifice quality and amenities in their choice of vehicle.
There’s a lot to like in the new five-passenger small sedan. Here are some of the highlights.
2013 Dodge Dart launch at Detroit Auto Show, Jan 2012Enlarge Photo
The front and rear of the 2013 Dodge Dart shows design influences from two other larger Dodge sedans, the Avenger (front) and the Charger-inspired racetrack full-width LED taillamps. The Dart also sports dual exhausts, a class exclusive. Chrysler has said that this new Dart “offers a special blend of style, performance and innovation” that’s similar to the Dart of the late 1960s.
The Dart is also the first Chrysler Group vehicle built on Fiat Group architecture known as Compact U.S. Wide or CUS-wide. Infusing the new sedan with Alfa Romeo DNA, says the automaker, translates into a “fun-to-drive” car when you look at it.
Available in five trims, SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T, the 2013 Dodge Dart will be built at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois, assembly plant with production beginning in the second quarter of 2012.
2013 Dodge DartEnlarge Photo
Designers spent a lot of time crafting the interior, with a special emphasis on the driver-centric layout that puts all the controls within easy reach. Customizable displays, comfortable seats and a spacious interior are other highlights of the Dart. Although classified as a compact, Chrysler says the Dart is as spacious inside as a mid-size sedan, offering class-leading front and rear hip and shoulder room at 54.8/52.6 inches and 58.2/56.1 inches, respectively. Trunk storage capacity is 13.1 cubic feet.
Racetrack lighting, a glovebox that stores an iPad, auxiliary jacks in the center console, illuminated cup holders and ambient lighting throughout the vehicle are other Dart features designed to please consumers. Also noteworthy is the customizable gauge cluster display and the optional Uconnect Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen media center, the largest touchscreen in its class.
2013 Dodge Dart - 2012 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
Customers have a choice of three four-cylinder engines and three transmissions in the front-wheel drive 2013 Dodge Dart. Engines include the 160-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder (standard in SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited), a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter intercooled turbo four (optional in SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited), and a new 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder standard in the Dart R/T.
Transmissions include a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic and six-speed dual dry clutch (DDCT).
An active grille shutter system, the first on a Dodge product, and an integrated rear spoiler add to the Dart’s efficient aerodynamics.