2013 Dodge Dart: New Sedan, Old Name To Debut At Detroit Auto Show

Digging deep into its past, back to the year 1960, in fact, Chrysler Group has resurrected the name of the Dart as its moniker for the new 2013 compact sedan that will debut at the Detroit Auto Show on January 9, 2012.

Though the Dodge Dart, which came out for the 1960 model year, endured for 16 years to 1976 in the U.S., its heyday was the first three years of production when it sold more than 622,000 units, according to Automotive News (sub. required), citing Allpar.com.

2013 Dodge Dart Compact Sedan

2013 Dodge Dart Compact Sedan

Announcing both the name and its debut at the forthcoming Detroit Auto Show, a press release from Chrysler Group says that “Similar to the Dodge Dart of the late 1960s, the 2013 Dart offers a special blend of style, performance and innovation.”

The  two teaser photos just released give glimpses of the front and rear of the Dart, a car that the company hopes brings Dodge back to the compact segment “in a big way.” As our sister publication GreenCarReports opines, this “may be its [Chrysler’s] most important car in decades.

Old name aside, the new Dodge Dart will reside atop a Fiat platform, adapted from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, but lengthened and widened for segment-leading interior roominess. The 2013 Dodge Dart replaces the Dodge Caliber.

Engines and transmissions

Three fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines and three unspecified transmissions will be offered: a new Tigershark 2.0-liter engine, a 1.4-liter MultiAir intercooled turbo, and a new 2.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder. Other sources indicate that a six-speed dual-clutch transmission will be available first, followed later by a nine-speed automatic.

All three engines will be assembled in the U.S.

Other details

Competition for the 2013 Dart will likely include the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic on the compact side, and possibly the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit on the subcompact side. That’s because the Dart is somewhat smaller (some six to 10 inches) than its compact competition, meaning the new sedan is between a compact and a subcompact in size.

The intriguing aspect is how that smaller size will translate to segment-leading interior roominess.

Other known details include racetrack tail lamps and integrated dual exhaust (a class exclusive, according to Chrysler), inspired by the Dodge Charger, and available 18-inch wheels.

The 2013 Dodge Dart will be built at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant.