We’ve been hearing for a long time that Dodge will launch a new small car to replace the Caliber, and now the company has shared that car’s name. Meet the 2013 Dodge Dart sedan, which will be fully unveiled in January at the Detroit auto show. We knew that Dodge had ditched the previously-announced Hornet name, but we are surprised that the brand decided to dig up the Dart name from its archives. (The Charger likewise uses a retro moniker from Dodge’s history.)
As was promised by parent company Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy proceedings, the new Dodge sedan will be based on the European-market Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback. The Alfa Romeo platform has been widened and lengthened for use by Dodge, and is now called the Compact U.S. Wide architecture. Dodge says high-strength steel and independent suspension help guarantee the Dart will be more fun to drive than its predecessors.
The Dodge Dart’s styling draws heavily on that of the larger Charger, with a full-width bank of LED taillights and dual exhausts accenting the rear. Up front, Dodge’s signature crosshairs grille leads into headlights that are angled up over the car’s front fenders. The overall profile should be similar to that seen in our earlier spy photos of the 2013 Dart.
The three engine choices comprise a 2.0-liter inline-four “Tigershark” engine, a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir inline-four, and a 2.4-liter “Tigershark” inline-four. There will be three transmission choices, likely an automatic plus a choice of five- and six-speed manuals. The car will be built at the Chrysler Group factory in Belvidere, Illinois, which currently assembles the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot.
In addition, Dodge promises the 2013 Dart will be more fuel-efficient and more attractive than its forbears, which include such illustrious nameplates as the Neon sedan and Caliber hatchback. We’ll find out more over the next month as Dodge gears up to unveil that 2013 Dart at the Detroit show next month.