By on January 8, 2013

TTAC’s Alex Dykes didn’t fall in love with the Dodge Dart in his initial meeting, although he did refer to it as “class competitive”. In its first half-year on these shores, the Alfa-Dodge has struggled to keep inventory levels down despite great advertising.

Ten or twenty years ago, Chrysler might have let this state of affairs continue for a year or two before adjusting the product mix and/or changing the marketing approach, but in the lean-and-mean era they don’t play that game. The Dart GT is meant to restart the model’s momentum, and it does it the old-fashioned way: with high content and reasonably aggressive pricing.

The GT is powered by the big motor in the Dart lineup — the 2.4L, 184-horsepower “Tigershark” — and it’s pretty well-loaded with everything from leather to the 8.4-inch touchscreen in the center console. It appears that the suspension tuning and components are brought over from the R/T, although the press release doesn’t explicitly state that fact. HIDs and a Garmin nav appear on the option list. Price for the manual-transmission variant is $20,995.

If you didn’t fancy the Dart before, this won’t change your mind, but if you were waiting for a little more visual aggression at a reasonable price, this might do the trick. We’ll see it in Detroit.

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26 Comments on “Never Mind The Inventory, Here’s The Dart GT...”

  • avatar

    Looks good, but I think they need to find a way to do a two-door coupe/hatch ala Turbo Shadow.

    • 0 avatar

      That or a bright green Swinger!

    • 0 avatar

      Hey my buddie Dan, in highschool had a 88 4dr Shadow es turbo stick and his “line” was it’s easier to get my friends in and out. He would say that even though his parents ordered a 4 door for him, and i never asked why…insurance reasons???

      But I like your thought and reasoning (:

      • 0 avatar

        For a high school kid, a 4-door has insurance advantages, but the turbo stick had to take some of the savings away. Then again, it’s still a 2.2 four to the insurance company. The Turbo raised the horsepower from 98 to 150, not exactly a rocket, even on a 2500 lb. car.

  • avatar

    So what’s the difference going to be between the GT and the R/T? Or are they dropping the R/T?

  • avatar

    If there isn’t a Tigershark embossed on the engine cover, an opportunity was needlessly squandered.

  • avatar

    I’d think anyone looking for real power is holding out for SRT4 of some kind. Willfully cheap but with 300 or so horsepower to blow the Focus/STI away at the strip, track, and streetlight.

  • avatar

    I like the Dart’s features and prices…I really do, but I sat in one, and the ergonomics are all wrong. Moreover, it doesn’t have nearly as much usable rear-seat room as the Cruze, Elantra, Jetta or even Civic…

  • avatar

    I hits the perfect balance between OTT and bland and nicely done. Watch this space.

  • avatar

    That’s a really great price for the features and content. They need to tweak the pricing/equipment of the other models and the Dart just might start to sell well.

  • avatar

    If these numbers are right, that looks like a great deal.

    I’m suspicious though, and also confused on the difference between this and the R/T. Are they saving the R/T for something more powerful now? I thought the 2.4L engine was meant for the R/T.

    Also, if you build a Dart on Dodge’s website, a Limited with the 1.4T, 6-speed, and leather seats hits $22,235. I didn’t look at how the rest of the options list might compare, but the GT adds the 2.4L engine for about $1,200 less?

    Can’t build a GT on the website yet.

  • avatar

    If I was forced to buy a midsizer right now – the Dart SRT would be it.

    • 0 avatar

      Haven’t driven Dart but I have seen them in person, they are a little small to be considered a mid-size IMO.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s actually a compact, not a mid-sized car, competing against Corolla, Civic and Focus. That’s where they missed the appeal of the original Dart: It was a bit bigger than the GM and Ford compacts and had “family-sized car” written all over its 4 doors, while the coupe was sporty and the wagon came in 2 and 4 doors. Fiat engineers are used to designing smaller Euro-style cars, and they possibly think it’s a “big enough” car for us that will sell outside of the US as a full size car.

  • avatar

    A friend rented one of these over Christmas. He said is was a terrible car.

    • 0 avatar

      wow..that’s as good as Consumer Reports’

    • 0 avatar

      I had one too, for four days. The base engine is gutless and the rear seat is no bigger than my sister’s 99″ wheelbase 2001 Forester. My 5’5″ 110 lb. sister thought it was roomy and had enough power, but she also accused me of being an “aggressive driver” because I was “tailgating” a driver who reached the merge end of a 65 mph highway on-ramp at 42 mph.

  • avatar

    Wait… what are we talking about?

  • avatar

    At first, it seems kind of goofy to change the Dart R/T to GT but, historically, a ‘Dart R/T’ wasn’t in the lineup. There was Dart GT/GTS/Swinger/Demon/Dart Sport, but never a Dart R/T.

    The R/T moniker was reserved for the Coronet/Charger/Challenger, and even the R/T badge went away after the 1972 EPA smackdown, replaced with ‘Rallye’ (well, until the lame Aspen R/T showed up, anyway).

  • avatar

    I would like the option of Alfa Badges!!
    Just kidding…not
    looks pretty damn good for 21k!!

  • avatar

    Drove a rental version of one of these over Xmas.

    Panel fit was terrible. Thought it had been wrecked, but another one at the mall on display had the same abysmal build quality.

    Interior plastics and comfort were no better than anything in the segment, and after 200 miles I wished the rental agency had had a few Chargers and Impalas sitting around.

    Styling is what a the future probably was imagined to be in the 1990s, with swaths of shiny black plastic along the schnoz to look “sporty.”

    Handling was also “sporty,” which translated to beating up what is left of my spine on rough Oregon back roads. Good to know ride comfort is not on the list of things they wanted to fix, because Italians are obsessed with handling–or something.

  • avatar

    The interior plastics and their texture really looks nasty. It’s too much of a pebbled look, and seems like it’d be really hard and rough feeling.

  • avatar

    The GT still isn’t available until Q2-2013, very frustrating.

    I test drove a 1.4 6MT and a 2.0 6AT. The 2.0 automatic was far more pleasant to drive, but it needed more torque. I’m hoping the 2.4 is the answer. The turbo 1.4 is quite gutless and terrible to drive in city traffic, and the stick was poorly positioned for me.

    I found interior build quality to be iffy. But the exterior is beautiful.

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