2013 Dodge Dart GT Review
2013 Dodge Dart GT Review Video
Aiming for the consumer bullís eye
by Craig Cole
Itís been a looong time since Chryslerís offered a competitive small car. Early in its lifecycle the bubbly Neon was a pretty compelling choice with some powerful engines and friendly styling, but it quickly fell behind the field in its second generation.
After the companyís experiment with noble gases came the star-crossed Caliber, a product that went nowhere faster than Detroitís People Mover, a circular monorail of depression.
But now the reinvigorated Pentastar brand is aiming for the consumer bullís-eye with Dodgeís stylish new Dart. Did they hit the target or is this just another lamentable Chrysler compact (and another bad pun)?
IMPORTED FROM TORINO
Thanks to the companyís tie-up with Fiat, the engineers in Auburn Hills have access to a wide range of excellent vehicle architectures. Instead of rehashing the Caliberís underpinnings or reusing the Neonís outdated bones, product planners did a wise thing. They borrowed from their allies in Italy.
The newly minted Dart shares a foundation with Alfa Romeoís Giulietta, a compact hatchback. Fortunately the Dodge sedan is wider and longer than its European counterpart; you could say itís designed for American-sized customers. But no matter how you measure it, the Giuliettaís rigid structure was a fine starting point.
Dart drivers have a choice; three different engines are available under this compact carís hood, though according to number-crunchers at the EPA itís technically a midsize model, if only just.
The base engine is a forgettable 2.0-liter four-banger. It cranks out 160 horsepower with 148 lb-ft of torque. Itíll get the job done but itís no fun. Consider this the carís least enjoyable powertrain option.
Stepping up from there is a 1.4-liter turbocharged and intercooled unit. Fitted with Fiatís fancy MultiAir variable valve lift technology it delivers 160 ponies with a substantial 184 units of twist...
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