By on January 9, 2012

What don’t you know about the Dart? I will tell you something: it is spacious inside. The rear seat is no-kidding suitable for full-sized adults In fact, it’s quite nice to sit in, front and back. Click the jump for some comments from Speed:Sport:Life’s Byron Hurd:

“In a scene more suitable for debuting a new iteration of the ‘Rock Band’ franchise than the launch of a new domestic compact, Dodge proudly introduced its new 2013 Dart. It’s small. It’s Italian (sort of). It looks like nothing else on the road… from the front or rear, anyway.

Actually, don’t look at the sides too closely or the Kia Forte greenhouse and Mazda3 rear deck profile (each its respective model’s least-attractive design trait) will be obvious. Of course, Dodge took great pains to point out that they were not beholden to any previous compact strategy, the subtext here of course that the outgoing Caliber was neither compact nor the product of any recognizable strategy.

Naught has changed since we received preleminary specs a few weeks back. Three engines offer either 160 or 184hp (the former from either a 2.0L non-turbo or a 1.4L turbocharged MultiAir; the latter available only from the 2.4L, naturally aspirated range-topper) and you have your “choice” of 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed slush-o-matic, or six-speed-not-a-DSG-twin-clutch. The dual-clutch unit will be available only on the MultiAir turboharged engine, and going by industry convention, we expect the 6-Speed manual will be limited to the 2.0L and lower trims of the 2.4L.”

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46 Comments on “NAIAS: 2013 Dodge Dart...”

  • avatar

    It may be a trick of the design but it looks like the nose is much lower than a lot of new cars.

  • avatar

    Can’t call it a C-Segment “game changer” as the game has already been changed by Chevrolet, Ford and Hyundai, but this appears to be a very valid competitor coming into the game. Given the size and HP figures don’t know if any version will hit the magic “40 MPG” number on the highway, but if it does, and the price range for a nicely equipped version is in the low 20’s — it’s a game changer for Chrysler.

    Now they just need to get the average American into the showroom to look at one.

    • 0 avatar

      Judging by the sales increases Chrysler has enjoyed, getting customers in the showrooms is no problem. The tricky part is pricing. The OLD Dart was somewhat larger than its Ford/GM competitor compacts and was sold as a family size car – more car for the same money. The torquey slant sixes and reliable torqueflite drivetrain didn’t hurt. From Jack’s description, they can sell it as more car inside, but it’ll come down to competitive pricing.

      • 0 avatar

        The bar keeps getting higher and higher over at Toyota and Honda – they both need to get their act together in this segment because the spawning salmon that return to their showrooms without cross shopping are starting to wake up to alternatives.

        Happy C-Segment buyers tend to move up the product line.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    I know the sedan or coupe version will be the big seller, but if they could find it in their hearts to make a hatch/wagon version, i would buy my family’s first ever Chrysler product [not counting the DSM 1989 Eclipse GSX].

    Could really give a Mazda3 a run for its money I think. Make a SRT version and go after the Speed3 too! do it!!!

    • 0 avatar
      word is bond

      I was wondering about this, as I would also like a hatch variant. Perhaps, they won’t be making one, because the Alfa Giuletta that it is based on may be coming over eventually.

  • avatar

    3 engines, 1 of which is a turbo and 3 different trannys? From Dodge? In a compact car? Stop the presses this is news!

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, that sounds like the 2nd gen Neon – there were different engines for the box standard models, the R/T, and the turbo engine in the SRT-4, and there was the choice of a 5-speed manual, or (depending on the year), a 3 or 4-speed auto.

  • avatar

    Does the Dart name have equity? Being 30, I don’t really have any connection with the “Dart” lineage. I’m assuming most people that remember the Dart are probably a bit older than the segment’s usual buyers. Therefore, off to the rental lot.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the point is what little name recognition value the name “Dart” may have 30 years on, it is most likely positive.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly why it’s a viable name today. Any negative connotations from Darts of old has been forgotten, what’s left is some sort of positive name recognition “Oh, my grandpa used to have a Dart” and such. Most of the target buyers probably don’t even recognize the original Dart when one passes by, let alone know anything about it.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly. I think when you mention Dodge Dart, especially with the slant six under the hood the following words come to mind from those who remember them:

        1) Roomy
        2) Inexpensive (versus cheap)
        3) Comfortable
        4) Torquey
        5) Indestructible

        In New England where I grew up Dodge Darts did not die. The long term exposure to years and years of winter salt eventually rotted the body and frames away leaving a rust shell with viable interior and fully operating engine and transmission. Many were driven to the wrecking lot, probably years of service left under the hood and on the inside, the bodies hopelessly riddled with cancer.

        MOPAR fans are faithful to the older brands; and although the Neon had it’s good qualities I just don’t think it has a lot of brand equity/legacy like the name Dart does.

    • 0 avatar

      I applaud Dodge’s use of the Dart name while making no attempt to produce a retro car. I’m sick of retro cars (& movies) anyway.

      The old Dart name evokes solid basic, affordable transportation, with a little sport if you wanted it. This new Dart is attempting to do the same thing.

    • 0 avatar

      We have truly entered a time when it’s mostly impossible to tell what kind of car we are looking at by it’s side plain generic profile. Badges and grilles are really the only way to tell 85% of whats on the road today. They all use very similar door handles. They have all eliminated any kind of trim or chrome or ornamentation save a few rare examples like the Charger which is pretty distinctive in a sea of blandness.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Any word on prices, yet? Since I’ve yet to see any, I’ll fill-in-the-blank.

    Price 1: The El Cheapo. Includes pressed-steel wheels with plastic hubcaps that don’t quite fill the wheelwell.

    Price 2: Includes equipment from the El Cheapo, plus a USB port on the sound system. You’ll be able to rent ’em by the boatload.

    Price 3: Offers the second-most powerful engine in the line-up, plus power seats and other stuff that will break just when warranty expires.

    Price 4: Fully optioned and looks a LOT like the cars seen at the Detroit show. When compared with the VWs, one will be torn between which Mexican-made interpretation of a European car will depreciate less in the first three years.

    • 0 avatar

      $16K for the entry-level – which is what a bottom tier, 4 door, Focus starts at.

    • 0 avatar

      Dart will be made in Belvidere Illinois. Not Mexico.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m surprised by the low entry price. My guess is that there’ll have to be quite a large spread in price between the entry level model and the bells-and-whistles model. I don’t see how they could possibly make a 9-sp auto, digital screen display guages, and a completely new model profitable in this segment. Had some other opinions and thoughts about the Dart, but overall, it’s one of the models I’m most excited about at NAIAS.

    • 0 avatar

      Fully optioned… When compared with the VWs, one will be torn between which Mexican-made interpretation of a European car will depreciate less in the first three years.

      The top o’ the line Jetta(GLI) and Golf(GTI) are made in Germany as well as all variants of the CC. And the all new for North America Passat is assembled in Chattanoga.

      All a long way from Mexico.

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    Given my present Dodge experience (a terrible 2008 Grand Caravan), I’m not eager to repeat that in any way. Bad for Dodge, since my other car is a Mazda 3 and I would probably be in play for the Dart, but they lost me after 3 complete brake jobs before 60K miles, and new torque converter at 61K, broken seat belt on the driver side, broken electrics on the sliding doors…etc. etc. etc. Dodge/Chrysler quality is crap, in my personal experience, and one will never darken my driveway again.

    • 0 avatar

      2008 model? Wasn’t that the year of the bankruptcy? Everything you mentioned is a supplier-produced item designed by Chrysler and assembled in Canada. By 2008, Daimler had eliminated the profit sharing for suppliers and Cerberus under Minimum Bob was cheapening everything.

      All manufacturers have problems with sloppy suppliers, particularly when they supply entire assemblies to make line assembly easier. GM’s recent missing brake pads weren’t GM’s fault, the entire front assembly was produced by a supplier who left the brake pads off during sub-assembly. Until OEM’s put inspectors in their suppliers’ factories, and/or write stiff penalties into supplier contracts, this is going to be a chronic problem for them all.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, the 08 Dodges were assembled when Cerberus was putting the squeeze on their suppliers.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        …Which in no way should excuse the brand from producing and marketing unreliable vehicles, of course. One can certainly understand someone’s reluctance to take a chance on Fiasler again, especially on a brand new, Fiat-sourced vehicle.

  • avatar

    Dart is a terribly goofy name. Why not just call it Neon? It sure looks like a new one.

  • avatar

    I said in a previous article that I really like this and hope it’ll be at our upcoming auto show in Cincinnati.

    Unfortunately, memories of engine sludged 2.7Ls and Ultradrive failures are still in my memory as well as many others.

    Wait and see, but I hope the best for them, as I REALLY want to love Chrysler, again.

  • avatar

    I like the looks overall but really not a fan of the blobby center dash’s in the new Dodges. The central air vent area just lacks style.

  • avatar

    I like to get drunk and play darts, so Dodge Dart is a great name. Nothing satisfies like whipping sharply pointed daggers across a room after downing a couple of single malts. It is amazing how those bull’s eyes shift after a couple of rounds. And man can those darts bounce back at you after about five rounds.

    Dodge Dart. Yeah – that’ll work.
    The Neon was a girly car. Looked like some kind of happy Pokemon. Shaped like a flat breast implant. With a smile.

    • 0 avatar

      You have just made me think of my friend’s, a fairly portly young man, Neon in a whole new way. Not sure if it’s a good way or not, but he has the wheezy 98 Neon, in eggplant purple, which has had the guts driven out of it. I hate driving that thing because I can’t get up to freeway speeds even with the accelerator planted. I’m not sure if it’s the car or having to cart the 2 of us around with an underpowered engine.

      He’s not big on caring for it though. Twice I’ve had to put 3 quarts of oil in it, after he’d driven for awhile, because the dipstick didn’t register an oil level. I try to show him how to check the dipstick and make sure he has enough, but he plays dumb until somebody else does it. Once he put 8 quarts of transmission fluid in because the transmission was acting up. Didn’t bother to double check how much should go in.

      I can’t blame the car for being a piece, but when he went to pick it around 2 years ago the first thing I said was, “oh god, it’s a Neon”. I’d heard some of the issues. The dumb part is, had he waited a day he could have had a Millenia, a larger car, in better condition, for less. Oh well.

      Sorry, I’ve rambled again.

  • avatar

    I had a 64 that I upgraded to a later 4 barrel setup. Good solid car. The later GTS could be a lot of fun but not as good a car, the beginning of Mopars quality death spiral.

  • avatar

    It’s the new spirit of Dodge Fiat!

    • 0 avatar

      If things get as bad in Europe as they say, it’ll be Chrysler-Fiat instead of Fiat-Chrysler soon enough. Fiat is a high volume/low margin buy in Europe, while Dodge is potentially a high volume/medium margin buy in North America. Sergio is a smart guy, he knows Fiat has a no-profit future in Europe. Why do you think he chose to personally take over the NA operation in Auburn Hills? Why do you think Fiat’s Italian unions were up in arms about it? It wouldn’t be the first time small-fish Chrysler swallowed a bigger automaker (ironically, Dodge Brothers).

  • avatar

    This should do a good job in increasing Dodge market-share; it looks to be a very competitive entry.

    Interesting to see that a lot of automakers are using a hexa-shaped grill these days.

  • avatar

    It’s actually longer than the Jetta — will it also have even more interior room?

  • avatar

    I had a good friend in high school that drove a Dart Swinger with a 340. That thing was a riot and virtually indestructible. Experiences with that car and also an older brother’s ’71 GSS Dodge Demon 340 Six Pack (still in the family) ensure that the Dart will get a close look from our family. I wonder if the engine/transmission match on this will be as good as the 6-speed auto-manual we experienced in an ’07 Pacifica 4.0!

  • avatar

    This puts Dodge back into the game for those C-segment sales. Fingers crossed, let’s hope for the additional model with a rear hatch.

    Is anyone going to miss the Caliber?

  • avatar

    The blank-painted bit just looks awful, it was fine with Audi started it but I knew that eventually other car companies would steal “the black spot” styling que, and ruin it.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    I look into the future some years down the road and some traditional Fiat/Mopar issues rear up their ugly end. The next generation of the Mopar hating B&B won’t be able to wait & yell it:

    Dodge that Dart.

    How did I never see this before.

  • avatar

    5 pics where we see the front but not one pic of what the rear looks like?

  • avatar

    Of course the big question is will it starts coming loose and rattling as it leaves the lot, like most Chryslers, or will it be doomed to Fiat unreliability.

  • avatar

    I wonder what will be the car rental trim level? Should be interesting, if there are enough bells and whistles in that trim level, this could very well be a best seller very fast.

    It’s attractive and might be a very good car for the american market.

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