When is a Dart not a Dart? When it's sold in the Chinese market as the Fiat Viaggio. Yes, this sedan shares almost all of its mechanical parts with the 2013 Dodge Dart sedan sold in America, but wears unique sheetmetal designed to lure in Chinese buyers.
In some ways, seeing the Fiat Viaggio in person is a bit anticlimactic. Although the rounded chrome grille, subtly flared trunklid, and abundance of chrome trim help the Fiat Viaggio stand apart from the Dodge Dart, there's not a huge difference between the models. Rather than a unique Chinese car, we think the Viaggio just looks like a Dodge with a new grille and different lights.
The Viaggio is still a very attractive car, however, and looks very smart under the bright lights of the auto show stand. It didn't appear to be getting much attention from the public; there were more people checking out the Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Passat in the adjacent hall.
Power comes from a turbocharged 1.4-liter T-Jet inline-four engine in 120-hp and 150-hp flavors. Buyers can pick either a five-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Fiat says the 150-hp model with a dual-clutch transmission will reach 62 mph in 9.7 seconds and manage a top speed of 127 mph.
Though it was restyled in Turino, Italy, the Viaggio will be built at the new Fiat-GAC factory in Changsha, Hunan. Fiat has had a joint venture with Chinese automaker GAC since 2009. After the Viaggio goes on sale in China later this year, Fiat may also consider launching a hatchback version. Even though Fiat does sell cars on our shores, the Viaggio is not destined for sale in the U.S. market.
The Fiat Viaggio goes on sale in China in June.