Dodge has finally revealed its new compact sedan, the Dodge Dart, at the Detroit Auto Show.
While the name follows the same retro trend as the new Challenger and Charger, the new Dart is not a new version of the original. Still, though, by resurrecting the old name, Chrysler is just asking for comparisons to be made between then and now.
The specs for the modern version are as impressive as the design, both of which come to us thanks to Dodge’s new Italian cousin, Alfa Romeo. The 2013 Dart, based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, isn’t anything close to a sports car, though. It’s a compact sedan aimed at the likes of the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra.
Let’s compare new with old and let you decide: Which would you want?
Instead of the somewhat boxy lines of the original, the new Dart has the sleek stance of a modern muscle car, with a short hood, long roof and slightly flared fenders.
Engine choices will include two naturally aspirated mills and one turbo-assisted powerplant. First is a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder producing 160 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, then a 2.4-liter four with 184 hp and 171 lb-ft. Even better, and probably the most fuel efficient, is the 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir four with 160 horses and 184 lb-ft. Yes, 160 ponies out of 1.4 liters. Amazing.
The original Dart was built between 1960 and 1976, most of those years as a compact car. Sedan, coupe, wagon and convertible versions all graced showroom floors. Engine choices included the famous slant-6 (in 2.8-, 3.2- and 3.7-liter varieties) and no fewer than five V8 engines, ranging from 4.5 liters to 7.2 liters. You can still find a few on DealFinder, some of them coming close to, or eclipsing, the 2013 model’s $15,995 starting price.
Today’s Dart, unlike the Dart of the past, is a crucial test of the new Chrysler-Fiat alliance. This car is the first designed jointly by the companies using Fiat’s frames, engines and technology, but mixed with American style and interior space requirements. Considering the roll Chrysler’s been on lately, I wouldn’t hesitate to bet on success for the new Dart, while no one will really miss the old one.
New or used: Which is your Dart of choice?