Let's be honest: Useful as the Dodge Caliber was, it didn't quite fit into the C-segment as nicely as the plucky little Neon that came before it. But now the Caliber is dead, and the Chrysler Group has a big ol' Italian parts bin to work from in order to create its new crop of cars, the first of which is this, the 2013 Dodge Dart. Not only is this an all-new entry into an extremely competitive segment, it's the first bit of fruit from the Chrysler-Fiat partnership, and from the looks of things, it's going to be good.
Those of you paying close attention will know that the Dart is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, though we commend Chrysler's design team for giving the Dodge sedan an appearance that's anything but Italian. We've had the chance to check out a loaded-up Dart R/T in person – the trim you see in these photos – and it's a decidedly handsome thing. Compared to the Giulietta, the Dart has a four-inch-longer wheelbase and a slightly wider track, and we like the aggressive, planted stance. The low nose and upward slope to the beltline are very reminiscent of the last Neon, especially the SRT4, and while we haven't had a chance to see a base model with the body-colored grille and smaller wheels, we think the design will work well on the full range of models. The 2013 Dart will be available in SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T trims. And for those of you who like the full-LED wraparound taillamps of the Charger, you'll be happy to see them here on the Dart, as well.
Compared to the Giulietta, the Dart has a four-inch-longer wheelbase and a slightly wider track.
Three engines will be available when the Dart launches later this year. The base powerplant is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Tigershark inline-four producing 160 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Next up is an available 2.4-liter naturally aspirated Tigershark four with 184 hp and 171 lb-ft, and topping the range is a 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir four with 160 hp and 184 lb-ft. A six-speed manual transmission is available with all three engines, a six-speed automatic is optional on the 2.0- and 2.4-liter mills and a six-speed dual-clutch box can be had on the 1.4-liter turbo unit. Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has stated that a nine-speed automatic is in the works, though that won't drop until sometime in 2013. As for fuel economy, Chrysler has been quick to boast a 40 mile-per-gallon rating, but that's CAFE, and the final EPA numbers should be somewhere in the mid-30s. Respectable stuff. And considering that the Dart uses a slightly modified version of the Giulietta's European suspension setup with a new electronic steering rack, all that power will hopefully be put to the ground with proper poise.
There's big news inside the Dart, too, with Chrysler's "second-generation" interiors. We've already seen vast cabin improvements in the latest crop of 2011 and 2012 models, and after spending limited time inside a pre-production Dart, we came away without complaints about fit and finish, comfort or overall quality. We've shown you the Dart's interior before, complete with things like an illuminated instrument panel surround, 8.4-inch touchscreen UConnect interface, and reconfigurable seven-inch screen inside the gauge cluster. The red/black motif seen here is pretty cool, but we're actually big fans of the gray interior with the "citrus peel" accent lighting. If you get a chance, definitely check it out.
A nine-speed automatic is in the works, though that won't drop until sometime in 2013.
The 2013 Dodge Dart makes its official debut later this morning at the Detroit Auto Show, with the first round of cars hitting dealerships in June. Pricing and final fuel economy numbers will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but for now, follow the jump for the complete details in Chrysler's press release, as well as a video showing the new Dart in action.
Related Gallery2013 Dodge Dart
The All-new 2013 Dodge Dart Blends Alfa Romeo DNA with Dodge's Passion for Performance and Style, Resulting in a Groundbreaking Compact Sedan
• All-new 2013 Dodge Dart is the first Chrysler Group vehicle built on Fiat Group architecture
• 2013 Dodge Dart breaks new ground with a savvy, modern, unmistakable Dodge design that evokes emotion, efficiency and fluidity of movement and delivers world-class aerodynamics
• Dodge Dart offers five well-equipped trim levels with class-leading safety features and breakthrough technology typically found in more expensive vehicle segments
• Three state-of-the art, fuel-efficient powertrains with available MultiAir® technology power the fun-to-drive 2013 Dodge Dart
The 2013 Dodge Dart redefines performance with Alfa Romeo DNA, fuel-efficient powertrains and Dodge's passion for performance. The all-new Dodge Dart is a thoroughly modern vehicle that's fuel-efficient, beautifully designed and crafted, agile and fun-to-drive.
Loaded with innovative technology, class-leading safety features and clever functionality, the 2013 Dodge Dart sets a new standard in the compact car segment by offering unmatched personalization, roominess, style, functionality and fun-to-drive dynamics.
"The all-new Dodge Dart is a groundbreaking car that will surprise and delight customers who want a no-compromise, fun-to-drive car that's a great value," said Reid Bigland, President and Chief Executive Officer - Dodge Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "With 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim options, three powerful, fuel-efficient engines, three transmission choices, unsurpassed safety features and world-class aerodynamics, the new Dodge Dart sets a new standard for the compact car class."
The 2013 Dodge Dart will be available in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T. It will be built in the United States at Chrysler Group's Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Ill. Production of the 2013 Dodge Dart will begin in the second quarter of 2012.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart boasts a timeless, stylish and distinctive exterior design. The car sports an athletic, sculpted, fluid and aesthetically agile appearance. The exterior design of the Dart conveys a level of visual drama and timeless surfaces that add excitement to the competitive compact sedan segment in the United States.
"The Dodge Dart was a dream to design," said Joe Dehner, Head of Dodge Design - Chrysler Group LLC. "The Alfa Romeo-based architecture allowed us to design an exterior with great proportions that say 'fun-to-drive' when you look at it. Add in the Charger-inspired 'racetrack' taillamps, a new, sleek crosshair grille and piano black accents, and it all adds up to a performance-inspired design with just the right amount of attitude."
The Fiat Group-based Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-wide) architecture's low, wide and long dimensions ensured a stable "body-in, wheels-out" stance and coupe-like silhouette. The CUS-wide platform allowed for accentuating the fender formations and pushing the wheels as far out to the corners as possible, creating a very stable look, which gave Dodge designers incredible opportunities for some very dramatic sculpturing. Designers visually stretched the skin of the car over the vehicle framework as if stretching nylon over a surface.
"When designing the all-new Dodge Dart, we were inspired by classic, beautifully designed vehicles throughout time," Dehner added. "Each car was beautiful, based on its surface work and presence alone; they didn't need unnecessary cladding, jewelry or lines that confuse the eye."
Once the basic design was in place, with dynamic lines and curves from every angle, designers inserted a little Dodge attitude into the mix. The face of the Dart was styled with the unmistakable Dodge split crosshair grille, but with a modern, sleek look that "floats" in the front fascia, giving the Dart a full-width mask that marks it as a Dodge.
The rear view of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart features an available Charger-inspired "racetrack" full-width taillamp with 152 indirect glow LEDs, and class-exclusive dual exhausts mounted in the rear fascia.
The front of the 2013 Dodge Dart has been designed for smooth airflow around, above and below the car without compromising styling or engine cooling requirements. In addition, a lower radiator close-out panel is positioned below the front fascia. This not only contributes to the Dart's lower front-end appearance, but also reduces drag while still allowing for an 8-inch curb clearance.
Dodge designers made attention to detail and precision craftsmanship a priority, and it is noticeable from every angle. Standard laser-braised roof welds, high-quality metal Daylight Opening (DLO) moldings painted piano black and standard projector headlamps are just a few examples of well-crafted features typically found on much more expensive classes of vehicles.
Tasteful, detailed accents add to the design of the Dodge Dart. Style lines on the hood lead the eye to the floating crosshair grille, while chrome accent spears below the projector headlamps and inboard of available projector fog lamps highlight the attention to detail.
The result is a compact sedan that blends exceptional proportions, "aero-dramatic" surfacing, world-class craftsmanship, modern technology, an exceptionally quiet cabin and an upscale feel in a package that is undeniably a Dodge.
Dodge designers focused on creating a modern blend of precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology, exciting bursts of color and hand-sculpted shapes when designing the Dart's interior, which is crafted with materials and technology typically found in more expensive vehicle segments. Starting with modern Dodge DNA and through the use of innovative ambient interior lighting, high-quality soft-touch materials and high-tech features, the 2013 Dodge Dart is loaded with cool amenities and unexpected delights for both drivers and passengers. The Dart's "driver-centric" layout is designed to put all controls within easy reach of the driver. Customizable displays and comfort-tuned seats are packaged in an exceptionally spacious, pleasing interior. Packaged in the footprint of a compact car, the 2013 Dodge Dart features the interior spaciousness of a mid-size sedan, and it boasts best-in-class hip and shoulder room.
"The all-new Dodge Dart is the showpiece for Dodge's next generation philosophy of interior design," said Klaus Busse, Head of Interior Design - Chrysler Group LLC. "The Dart interior takes the beautiful, precision-crafted interiors we rolled out last year and adds a little bit of fun with surprises of color, eye-catching ambient lighting and some really cool technology."
Customization was key in the all-new Dodge Dart's development, and with 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim combinations, seven wheel options, three engine options and three transmissions, each Dodge Dart can be personalized by every buyer to fit their individual style. And the combinations are multiplied exponentially, as Mopar® also will offer more than 150 customization options and themed packages specifically developed for the Dart. The high-tech centerpiece of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart is the class-exclusive floating island bezel, which houses the segment-exclusive available 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) customizable gauge cluster display with light pipe surround that also houses the available class-exclusive Uconnect® Touch 8.4-inch touchscreen Media Center – the largest touchscreen in its class. Thoughtful storage options throughout fit today's technology. The glove box easily conceals a stowed iPad; the center console features auxiliary jacks to plug in a wide variety of electronic devices, and thoughtful, inventive storage solutions, such as center console side pockets, are perfect for storing mobile phones, receipts, or pens and paper. Lighting in all the right places provides drivers and passengers a warm, comfortable cockpit. Available "racetrack" lighting surrounds the floating island bezel. Ambient lighting for the door handles, map pockets, foot wells, glove box, storage bin and illuminated cup holders is both useful and provides a warm atmosphere inside the vehicle.
Three sophisticated, fuel-efficient and powerful engines
The 2013 Dodge Dart will be powered by three fuel-efficient, powerful, state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines that add to Dart's fun-to-drive quotient. Drivers can select from 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 2 four-cylinder engine. These three engines, combined with three transmission choices - six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or six-speed dual dry clutch (DDCT) transmission - redefine performance by providing the most diverse powertrain lineup in its class. MultiAir technology delivers optimum combustion at any speed under all driving conditions by allowing direct and dynamic control of air intake and combustion. The result is up to a 15 percent increase in low engine rpm torque and a 7.5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
Engineered with passion
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart was developed and engineered to exceed expectations for satisfaction, quality and reliability. From the world-class aerodynamic performance, to the agile, responsive driving experience, to items seemingly mundane like segment-leading heating and cooling performance that gives drivers and passengers the right temperatures in the right locations and a whisper-quiet interior, Dodge engineers kept the customer top of mind while developing every detail of the Dart.
"The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart has been engineered with a passion that demonstrates Dodge is back in the compact car segment in a big way," said Matt Liddane, Vehicle Line Executive - Chrysler Group LLC. "The Dart is well-crafted, agile, powered by world-class, fuel-efficient powertrains, loaded with high-tech features that are both clever and useful, and it's fun to drive."
Alfa Romeo DNA
The Dodge brand's re-entry into the U.S. compact sedan segment is based off of the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The Giulietta is renowned for satisfying the most demanding customers in terms of road-holding agility and safety, with exceptional driving dynamics. The Giulietta platform was lengthened and widened, creating a spacious compact sedan that meets the wants and needs of North American consumers.
The proven modular architecture allows multiple models to be built using the same basic underpinnings, resulting in improvements in quality and reliability, as well as reducing cost, development timing and tooling. The body structure of the Dart is comprised of 68 percent high-strength steel – hot stamped, high-strength and ultra-high-strength – resulting in an architecture that is lightweight, modern and solid.
The 2013 Dodge Dart features the proven, lightweight MacPherson strut front suspension, specifically tuned to minimize camber loss, resulting in more responsive steering and handling characteristics, improved ride quality and a reduction in road noise – all qualities drivers will appreciate.
A bi-link independent rear suspension enables European handling capability for those drivers who love to lean into corners and the smooth ride North American drivers covet.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan was designed and engineered for world-class aerodynamic performance. With more than 600 hours in the wind tunnel during the Dart's development and using technology typically found on more expensive vehicles, Dodge engineers and designers looked at every aspect from the ground up to optimize the aerodynamic performance of the Dart.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart is the first Dodge vehicle 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 will open or close automatically based upon engine coolant temperature and vehicle speed.
Underbody panels run stem to stern on the Dodge Dart, covering the majority of the lower vehicle from the front fascia to the rear fascia. Constructed of mold-in-color (MIC) black composite, the panels both enhance the aerodynamic performance and also block road noise.
Tire spats located forward of the front and rear tires were engineered to function as mini air dams and were optimized for shape and ground clearance, adding to the underbody efficiency in conjunction with the underbody panels.
In the design and engineering of the 2013 Dodge Dart, no aerodynamic detail was too small. Mirror design, the notch angle at the top of the header of the backlight to the trailing edge of the decklid and even the tail lamp applique shape and rear corners were all designed and engineered for optimal aero performance. An integrated decklid spoiler incorporates a trailing edge shape for cleaner airflow separation in the rear portion of the vehicle, which optimizes the air wake.
Class-leading Safety Features
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart was engineered with 60 safety and security features to ensure driver's and passengers' peace of mind when traveling. The Dodge Dart starts with a strong foundation, a body that has a high-strength steel content of 68 percent, one of the highest in the industry, and then adds both active and passive safety features. Driver and passenger safety features include 10 standard airbags, which is unsurpassed in the segment and include: dual-stage adaptive venting front driver and passenger air bags, front-seat-mounted driver and passenger pelvic and thorax air bags, two rear-seat-mounted pelvic air bags, front driver and passenger knee air bags and all-row side-curtain air bags. The Dart also features a reactive head-restraint system; available Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection, three-point safety belts in all five seating positions; front driver and passenger dual seat belt pretensioners at the anchor and retractor positions and active load limiters. These features and more all work to protect passengers in the event of a crash. All three rear seat positions feature Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH).
Additional standard safety features on the 2013 Dodge Dart include:
• Four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution and traction control system on all models
• Brake Assist
• Brake-lock differential
• Ready Alert Braking
• Rainy Brake Support
• Hydraulic boost compensation
• Electronic stability control (four-channel active handling system ESC)
• Electronic Roll Mitigation
• Hill-start Assist
• Trailer-sway Control
• ParkView® rear backup camera
• ParkSense® rear park assist
State-of-the-art, Segment-exclusive Technology
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart sports segment-leading technology and not-seen-in-the-segment features, enchanting and delighting drivers and passengers alike. Examples include the segment-exclusive floating island bezel, 8.4-inch Uconnect Touch Media Center, 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) customizable instrument cluster display and upscale ambient lighting.
The 2013 Dodge Dart is loaded with technology that improves driver and passenger comfort, as well as the performance of the car.
Customizable for the driver's own style
The 2013 Dodge Dart will be available in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T. Each trim level has a style and value that will appeal to the diverse customer base interested in a compact sedan.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart will feature 12 exterior colors: Redline Red Pearl Coat, Header Orange Pearl Coat, Blue Streak Pearl Coat, True Blue Pearl Coat, Winter Chill Pearl Coat, Laguna Blue Clear Coat, Maximum Steel Metallic Clear Coat, Tungsten Metallic Clear Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Citrus Peel Pearl Coat, Pitch Black Clear Coat and Bright White Clear Coat.
The Dart offers customers the choice of 14 interior color and trim combinations with seven interior color environments in cloth or leather fabric: Black denim, Black/Light Diesel Grey, Black/Light Frost Beige, Black/Ruby Red, Diesel Grey/Citrus Peel, Diesel Grey/Light Diesel Grey and Ceramic White/Light Diesel Grey.
In addition to the exterior color and interior trim options, the 2013 Dodge Dart offers seven wheel options, three engine options and three transmissions, as well as a slew of available exceptional or segment-leading features, including:
• World-class aerodynamics
• Class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust
• Class-exclusive "racetrack" LED taillamps
• Class-exclusive choice of either Hyper Black or polished wheels
• Class-exclusive 8.4-inch touchscreen Uconnect Touch Media Center with built-in radio, navigation, iPod control, climate controls, voice-activated blue tooth, SiriusXM Travel Link, weather updates and points of interest
• Class-exclusive 7-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster display that is easily customizable to the driver's taste. Choices include: digital and analog gauges, navigation turn-by-turn display, eco-meter, fuel economy, audio, phone, compass and temperature read outs
• Class-exclusive floating island bezel
• Class-exclusive heated steering wheel
• Class-exclusive in-seat storage
• Available 506-watt sound system
• Keyless Enter 'n Go with push-button start
• High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps
• Dual-zone automatic temperature control with humidity sensor
• Unsurpassed 10 standard airbags
• ParkView® rear backup camera
• Blind-spot Monitoring
• Rear Cross Path Detection
• Best-in-class hip room and shoulder room
• The most diverse lineup of gasoline powertrains in the segment – three new engines and three transmissions:
• New Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates an estimated 160 horsepower with the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission
• The technologically advanced Fiat 1.4-liter MultiAir Intercooled Turbo producing an estimated 160 horsepower and an impressive 184 lb.-ft. of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed DDCT transmission.
• New powerful 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir 2 four-cylinder engine that produces an estimated 184 horsepower with the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Dodge also is giving drivers the opportunity to customize their vehicles, as Mopar will offer more than 150 customization options and themed packages specifically developed for the Dart.
2013 Dodge Dart
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart will compete in the compact sedan segment, one of the largest segments in the automotive industry. The Dart is well-crafted and built with the features, technology and style today's compact car customers desire, positioning the Dart as a groundbreaking new car.
Dodge expects the Dart to appeal to a wide ranging group of new car buyers, from millenials to empty nesters. The millennial customer is a young professional most likely purchasing their first new car. They desire a car that is truly an expression of themselves, a car they can personalize and call their own. The millennial customer is connected with their friends, enjoys having a great time and is never without their phone. They grew up with technology and they indulge in the latest high-tech features.
The empty-nester customer is in the process of redefining their lifestyle, and they have more time for themselves than in their recent past. This customer typically knows what they like and purchases things and participates in activities that make them happy. The empty-nester appreciates what they have, leads an active lifestyle and is always up for a challenge. This customer knows a little bit about a lot of things and is interested in not only the way things work, but why. The empty-nester appreciates a good value, but doesn't want to sacrifice the level of quality and amenities they have worked hard to attain.
The all-new Dodge Dart has been engineered with great levels of refinement, craftsmanship and engaging driving dynamics. Consumers can get more information at www.Dodge.com/Dart.
About the Dodge Brand
For nearly 100 years, Dodge has defined passionate and innovative vehicles that stand apart in performance and in style. Building upon its rich heritage of muscle cars, racing technology and ingenious engineering, Dodge offers a full-line of cars, crossovers, minivans and SUVs built for top performance – from power off the line and handling in the corners, to high-quality vehicles that deliver unmatched versatility and excellent fuel efficiency. Only Dodge offers such innovative functionality combined with class-leading performance, exceptional value and distinctive design. With the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart, the all-new Dodge Charger paired with the ZF eight-speed transmission that achieves a class-leading 31 miles per gallon on the highway, the new Durango and the significantly revamped Grand Caravan – inventor of the minivan – Journey, Avenger and iconic Challenger, Dodge now has one of the youngest dealer showrooms in the United States.