Alfa DNA, all-American name.
The compact-car segment represents more than fifteen percent of all new car sales. Dodge’s new entry in the segment, the Dart, uses architecture from an Alfa Romeo Giulietta — a benefit of being part of Fiat’s family — and resurrects a name from the 1960s. The Dart is larger all around than its overseas sibling and is wider, longer, and taller than most compact sedans. Under the hood there are two available engines, both paired to a Fiat-sourced six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder is available with a six-speed automatic transmission, and the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will be available with a Fiat-designed six-speed dual-clutch automatic. There’s also an R/T model on the horizon that will be powered by a 184-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder, but an on-sale date for that car hasn’t been set yet. Dodge will also start selling an Aero model, which ekes out 41 mpg on the highway, later this year. The Dart has a smooth and well-controlled ride, and it feels both more substantial and more capable than most of its competitors. That said the Dart doesn’t render other choices in the compact-car segment, such as the Mazda 3 and the Ford Focus, any less desirable. Competition is fierce in this group, but with the Dart, Dodge can put up a good fight.
new for 2013
The compact four-door is currently available in four trim levels: SE, SXT, Rallye, and Limited. An R/T model will debut in the not-so-distant future, and an Aero model will debut later this year.
Ten air bags, ABS, stability and traction control, a tire-pressure monitor, and hill-start assist are standard.
Capitalizes on its Italian roots
Plenty of powertrain options
Lots of competition, likely more on the way
Underwhelming exterior styling
Base Price Range: $16,790–$20,790
TRIM LEVELS: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited
BODY STYLE: Sedan, 5-passenger
ENGINES: 1.4L turbo I-4, 160 hp, 184 lb-ft
2.0L I-4, 160 hp, 148 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 97.2 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: 13.1 cu ft