What is it? One of the best known, and certainly one of the best-selling, Dodge nameplates is making a comeback: Dart. A significant addition to the Chrysler portfolio (none of the three Chrysler brands currently has a compact sedan), the Dart replaces the Dodge Caliber hatchback. The Dart targets the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford focus, and will have a larger footprint than both. The entry-level price will be $16,000.
What is new or notable? The new Dart will be built on a widened-and-stretched platform from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, another car in parent corporation Fiat's portfolio. The Dart will have a choice of three four-cylinder engines: a 160-hp 1.4-liter turbo borrowed from Fiat, a 160-hp 2.0-liter, and a 184-hp 2.4-liter. There are three transmission choices as well: a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, and a dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Available safety features include rear cross-path detection and blind-spot monitoring. Ten airbags are standard.
CR's take: The Giulietta has been critically acclaimed in Europe, so we’re looking forward to sampling the new Dart.
When will it be available? Spring 2012