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Auto Show:  2012 Detroit Auto Show

2013 Dodge Dart: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Nick Palermo January 2012
  • An all-new compact sedan that will reach production this year
  • Charger-inspired exterior details, high-tech and customizable interior
  • Three available engines and three transmission choices

An all-new compact sedan from Dodge made its world debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. After a 36-year absence, the Dart nameplate is back, this time attached to a four-door, front-wheel drive car that shares underpinnings with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, another FIAT Group product. The Dart brings unmistakable Dodge styling together with and a new instrument and information display called a Thin Film Transistor (TFT) and several engine and transmission options.

Exterior styling includes a Charger-inspired crosshair grille, integrated exhaust and LED "raceway" taillights. Otherwise, the Dart is more wedge-shaped, with a low nose tapering up to a high rear quarters. The Dart is longer and wider than the Alfa whose platform it shares. Fenders flare in smooth curves to accommodate the wider track. The extra length is significant – the Dart is about 5.5 inches longer than a Ford Focus sedan.

Dodge says this translates into the interior space of a midsize sedan. Indeed the Dart's width yields best-in-class hip and shoulder room. But space is a commodity. The Dart's real draw may be its handsomely styled interior, which has a cleaner and more classic look than the edgier designs of some competitors. Dodge offers 14 interior color and trim combinations and adds splashes of color to the dash, door panels and seat stitching. Available LED-lit piping on the dash evokes the look of the raceway taillights.

The centerpiece of the interior is an available customizable color display floating in the center of the instrument panel. The display sits between two analog gauges, a tachometer and a fuel gauge, and can display a range of information in a location easily visible to the driver. The display can be configured to communicate the driver's choice of vehicle information and uses simple icons to avoid distraction.

An available 8.4-inch color touchscreen controls media and navigation and includes Uconnect infotainment and connectivity functions.

Dodge will offer a choice of three engines in the Dart, all four-cylinder. Standard on SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited trim Darts is a new 2-liter motor with variable valve timing good for 160 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 1.4-liter turbo with the same power but 184 lb-ft of torque. The Dart R/T includes a 2.4-liter engine producing 184 hp. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic and a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Dodge says production will begin on the Dart in the second quarter of this year. We look forward to getting behind the wheel of what appears to be a tough new competitor in the compact segment.

What it means to you: The new 2013 Dodge Dart is an Alfa-based compact sedan with sporty styling outside and new technology inside. It will go on sale later this year.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Dodge Dart: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader