Dodge car darting way back into marketplace
By Stephen Groessel
The 2013 Dodge Dart

As this Spring Auto Guide is coming into the hands of readers, local and area Dodge sales managers and consultants such as those at the Van Horn Dodge dealership in Plymouth are being introduced to the 2013 Dodge Dart.

In a short time, dealerships like Van Horn Dodge will have one of the five Dodge Dart trim levels on its lot for the public to view and test drive.

Older readers will remember the full-size Dodge Dart which appeared in 1960-1961, the mid-size version in 1962 and the compact which hit the production lines from 1963 to 1976. Many will agree that it was a dependable, reliable vehicle with strong owner loyalty. Regrettably, the Dodge Aspen, which succeeded it, was a disappointment. The 2013 Dart is Chrysler’s first compact sedan since it stopped making the Neon in 2005.

The 2013 Dodge Dart is replacing the Dodge Caliber and is being touted as a driving machine that is better equipped than the Caliber. Auto experts will say it compares favorably in its class with competitors on price, performance, tight handling, quality manufacturing and equipment.

More competition

The 2013 Dodge Dart is entering a compact sedan market that is meeting increased competition. When compared to the Chevy Cruze its base version is heavier that the 2012 Chevy Cruze but has more horsepower and torque. Besides the Cruze, the Dodge Dart faces competition from the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla.

Not having the opportunity to test drive the Dodge Dart, no firsthand experience can be shared with the reader. But literature generated by the Dodge division of the Chrysler Corporation describes the 2013 Dodge Dart as a combination of power, efficiency, technology and style. It is marketed as a vehicle capable of being personalized by the owner. One can add up to 150 Mopar® accessories which distinguishes the 2013 Dodge Dart from all other vehicles in its compact class. For instance, the owner has a choice of unique grilles, hoods, tailpipes, shifters, steering wheels and hundreds of other available options turing the Dodge Dart into a one-of-a-kind automobile.

The Dodge Dart is the first car built by the Chrysler Group making use of a platform and technology generated by Chrysler’s Italian owner, Fiat. The technology employed imitates driving dynamics found on the European continent and produces an estimated 41 miles per gallon on the highway.

At the start, buyers of a Dodge Dart will have a choice of two engines and two transmissions. Other options will be made available later. A re-engineered Chrysler 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-four Tigershark ™ engine is standard. It delivers 160 horse power and 148 pounds-feet of torque in combination with a six-speed manual transmission.

An option is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.

A 16-valve 2.4-liter inline-four with Fiat’s Tigershark™ MultiAir® variable valve timing and a six-speed dual dry clutch automatic transmission are due later. The Chrysler Group is also talking about a nine-speed automatic and an Aero high-mileage version that promises a highway fuel economy of 41 mpg and more.

Seven-inch instrument panel

The driver of the Dodge Dart will enjoy a configurable seven-inch instrument panel. The driver is able to toggle between different cluster displays. One is able to monitor vehicle functions such as performance, turn-by-turn navigation and driver efficiency. The panel also allows the driver to receive blind spot alerts.

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