Following a slew of teasers and rumors, the first official images and a video of the new Dodge Dart have finally surfaced on the internet, just a few hours before its official unveiling at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit. As previously reported, the Dart has been developed on the same C-Evo platform that generated the Alfa Romeo Giulietta - making it the first Chrysler car based on a Fiat’s platform - and will go on to replace the Caliber in Dodge’s line-up. Strategy-wise, the Dart represents a very important model for the Fiat-Chrysler Group, which just needs to new model to be successful in order to revamp its position on the American market and achieve the goals they have set for themselves for the next two years.
This massive photo gallery and the video give us the chance to take an all-comprehensive look at the model, which will be undisputed star at the Dodge’s stall in Detroit. The Dart appears to be longer than the Alfa Romeo-badged model it derives from (it has a three box configuration, whereas the Giulietta is a proper hatchback), boasts a quite aggressive-looking front end dominated by massive hexagonal grille and a rear end that makes large use of LED technology. The cabin features fine upholstery and a pretty original dashboard design, with an original instrumentation cluster and a 8.4″ LCD touch-screen placed right in the middle. Through this screen, the driver will be able to control the main functions of the car as well as its modern info-tainment options, which rely on the Uconnect system. in order to please any kind of customer, Dodge will offer 14 different color-finishing-upholstery combinations for the interior.
The Dodge Dart will begin its commercial life with three 4-cylinder engine options taken from the automaker’s range of new Tigershark small-displacement engines: a 2.0-litre 16-valve unit delivering 160 hp, a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre delivering 184 hp and a turbocharged 1.4 MultiAir engine producing also 160 hp. As for the transmission, initially there will be two possible choices: a 6-speed manual gearbox or the TCT dual clutch transmission (both of which have been seen on the Giulietta), while another 9-speed automatic gearbox manufactured by German specialist ZF will join the fold at a later time. Dodge confirms that 68% of the Dart’s body structure is made of high-strength steel, which can be thinner and lighter than standard steel. The production of the 2013 Dodge Dart is scheduled to start this coming summer at Chrysler’s plant in Belvedere, Illinois, with the first models expected to hit the showrooms in Autumn 2012.
View the full Dodge Dart photo gallery