Car News:  2012 Detroit Auto Show

Dodge Dart to Debut in Detroit

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Tom Cassady December 2011
  • Based on Alfa Romeo's Giulietta
  • Replaces the Caliber in the Dodge lineup
  • Will be built in Belvidere, IL

Until now, the big news of Chrysler's merger with Fiat has been the relaunch of the latter brand in the US. But those of us who are familiar with FIAT know that the company also owns another company, Alfa Romeo, which had to pull out of the US market, too. Many have been waiting for the brand's return, and it's going to happen, at least in part, as evidenced by the announcement of the Dodge Dart.

Set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the Dart is in fact a reskinned Alfa Romeo Giulietta. That's a bit misleading, though, as the chassis from under the Giulietta had to be widened for our wider American roads. But what does remain, which is the more important part, is the independent suspension in all four corners. This should make for a fun-to-drive sedan, another departure from the Giulietta's hatchback form, which sticks to the road with ease.

Also aiding in the fun-to-drive characteristic is a choice of three engines. The smallest of the three is the 1.4-liter MultiAir® Intercooled Turbo out of Fiat's recently announced Abarth 500. The other two come in 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder varieties.

From the outside, the Dart is unmistakably Dodge, using cues from the bigger Challenger and Charger models, including the unified taillight assembly in back. In the few teaser photos that Dodge has released, we also see an R/T badge stuck to the back, meaning Dodge has some interesting product-cycle strategies in place for the Dart as well.

All the nitty gritty details will be released on January 9 at the Cobo Center, but we do know that the car will be built in the former home of Chrysler's last successful small car, the Neon, in Belvidere, Illinois.

What it means to you:

Dodge will replace the Caliber with a smaller, more nimble sedan for 2013.

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Dodge Dart to Debut in Detroit - Autotrader