What is it? A compact sedan, destined to be loved if for no other reason than because it replaces the dreadful Dodge Caliber.
Is it real? Chrysler’s first compact sedan since the Dodge Neon shares many pieces with its spry corporate sibling under Fiat Group, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Not a bad thing. Not bad at all.
What they said: “Dart has the look, style and features to set it apart from anything else in the class,” said Richard Cox, the Dodge brand chief, at the press conference here. “The Dart will shatter consumer perception of what a compact car can be.”
What makes it tick? Take your pick: a 160-horsepower 2-liter 4-cylinder, known as the Tigershark; a 160-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder like that in the Fiat 500 Abarth; or a 184-horsepower Tigershark 2.4-liter 4, which will not be ready until four months after the initial introduction. These are paired with a 6-speed manual — available with all engines — a 6-speed automatic or, with the turbo, a 6-speed dual dry-clutch unit. Dodge expects the thriftiest Dart to return 40 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving.
How much, how soon? Production begins in the second quarter of 2012. It is expected to arrive in the Hartford, CT area at Papa's Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in New Britain. shortly there after.Pricing begins at $15,995, excluding delivery, but could range north of $20,000 with some of the many accessories promised.
How’s it look? Against tough, distinctively styled competitors like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, Dodge has raised its game. The Dart succeeds because it starts with a widened and lengthened Giulietta platform, and adds a body so voluptuous even an Italian might blush.
Papa's Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is the number 1 volume New and Certified CDJR dealer in Connecticut for 2 years running (2010 and 2011) celebrating their 65th year. For more information visit http://www.papasdodge.com.