Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Dodge Bringing the Dart Back

Once-familiar nameplate returns at Detroit Auto Show.

by on Dec.06, 2011

Dodge revives a once-familiar nameplate with the rebirth of the Dart.

A name once familiar to Baby Boomers will be making its return in time for the new crop of Millennial motorists, the Dodge Dart staging its revival at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

A fixture of the ‘60s, the Dart was one of the more popular small cars in the domestic line-up but steadily lost traction as imports came to dominate the market for compacts.  It was last produced in 1976.  But the Dodge Dart nameplate will be revived for the 2013 model-year as the replacement for the largely unloved Dodge Caliber hatchback.

News You Can Use!

The name may harken back to an era of peace, love and 30-cent gasoline but Dodge insists this is anything but a retro-mobile, describing it as “a thoroughly modern vehicle that’s fuel-efficient, beautifully designed and crafted.”

It’s also the first vehicle in the Chrysler line-up to get an injection of partner Fiat’s DNA, or more precisely, the automaker’s upscale brand Alfa Romeo.  The new 2013 Dodge Dart will be based on a Fiat platform “adapted from the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta,” explains an advance release.

The 2013 Dodge Dart will be the first Chrysler product to use the new Fiat-derived compact global architecture.

The new Compact U.S. Wide, or CUSW, architecture will be used for a number of new Chrysler corporate products.  It is the most significant step yet taken as Chrysler and Fiat meld into one global entity – a process that began with a number of current Chrysler products, such as the new 300 update, migrating to Europe where they are sold under various Fiat brand badges.

The new Dodge Dart will make extensive use of high-strength steel, the maker notes, to ensure a rigid body – enhancing both safety and ride in the process.  It will feature four-wheel independent suspension and offer optional 18-inch wheels, according to the release.

In keeping with its tradition, Chrysler plans to put a significant emphasis on design with the newly-revived Dart nameplate.  We’ll have to wait until January to see the full vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show but these teaser shots give a glimpse of what appears to be a more aerodynamic and appealing shape than that of the old Caliber model.  Familiar features will include the Dodge “crosshair” grille and “race track” taillamps, as well as a Dodge Carger-inspired dual exhaust system.

On the powertrain side, the Fiat influence will be obvious with the 2013 Dodge Dart offering two MultiAir engines, a 16-valve 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four and a 16-valve 2.4-liter I-4,  There will also be a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter I-4.  The Dart will also get Chrysler’s new 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Fuel economy will reach as much as 31 mpg on the highway, the maker reveals, though it will wait until January to provide full mileage information.

Produced at the Chrysler plant in Belvedere, Illinois – which is just completing a $600 million renovation – the 2013 Dodge Dart will enter one of the most crowded and competitive segments in the industry, going up against the likes of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and Ford Fiesta.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.