Though claims by Dodge that its new Dart is a revolutionary car fall somewhere between delusional gibberish and being blatantly purposefully misleading, the Dart is almost certain to be a sales success in America. It's basically a reworked Alfa Romeo Giulietta and has been created specifically to meet the terms of the original Chrysler sale agreement which required a Chrysler based on a Fiat platform getting at least 40 combined mpg to be produced in the U.S. At US$16,000, the Dart is economical, sporty and price-competitive against its Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus competition.
By completing the terms of the "third event" referred to in the original Chrysler sale contract, the move also snares another 5% of Chrysler shares, taking Fiat's interest in Chrysler to 58.5%.
The 2013 Dart will be offered with three different MultiAir engines - a new 160 horsepower Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter engine, a 160 horsepower 16-valve 1.4-liter MultiAir® Intercooled Turbo engine and a new 184 horsepower Tigershark 16-valve 2.4-liter MultiAir® four-cylinder engine. In addition to the three engines, the Dart will also offer three transmission choices -- six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or six-speed dual dry clutch (DDCT) transmission.
The high-tech centerpiece of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart is the class-exclusive floating island bezel, which houses the 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) gauge cluster display that is designed to be easily tailored to the driver's taste. Customization choices include different digital and analog "virtual" gauges, navigation turn-by-turn display, eco-meter, fuel economy, audio, phone, compass and temperature read outs.
The concole also houses the Uconnect® Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen Media Center (with built-in radio, navigation, iPod control, climate controls, voice-activated blue tooth, SiriusXM Travel Link and weather updates).
The Dart is the first Dodge to use an active grille shutter system. The system automatically stops airflow through the lower intake at highway speeds when less engine cooling is required and aerodynamic drag is most significant. When closed, the shutter system enhances aerodynamic performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through it. The active grille shutter system functions automatically based upon engine coolant temperature and vehicle speed.