The Dodge Dart will return to the company’s lineup yet once again as a compact, but instead of the compact sold from 1963 through 1974 (or the “intermediate” with that name from 1960 to 1962), the new 2013 Dodge Dart will share a platform and drivetrain with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
The new Dodge Dart will replace the neither-fish-nor-fowl Dodge Caliber, which had superseded the Neon in Dodge’s lineup as a not-quite crossover. However, the 2013 Dart represents “the brand’s re-entry into the compact sedan segment”, according to Dodge.
It’s another element in the cross pollination between Chrysler Group’s America products and Fiat’s European brands. Another recent example is that adaptation of the Chrysler 300 and the Town & Country minivan into the Lancia lineup. Those “Lancias” are made in North America.
The 2013 Dodge Dart will share its fully independent suspension with the Giulietta, which should excite driving enthusiast who had largely ignored the pedestrian Neon and agricultural Caliber. While the Dart no doubt we be tuned differently from the Giulietta, it’s a more sophisticated base than what small cars from Dodge have previously had.
Until its introduction at the North American International (Detroit) Auto Show, Dodge isn’t showing anything but teaser photographs that show the Dodge “crosshairs” grille and the “racetrack” taillights.
Dodge has not revealed which engine will be used in the Dodge Dart although has said the engine will have MultiAir technology, the advanced electronically-controlled hydraulically-actuated variable valve timing system which is also used in the Fiat 500. In Europe, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is powered by a range of diesel and gasoline engines, the latter ranging from a 1.4-liter four producing either 118- or 168 horsepower, or a 231-hp 1.7-liter four.
Despite the Alfa Romeo Giulietta being highlighted as the donor car for the Dodge Dart, there has been no recent mention of Alfa Romeo’s reintroduction into the United States, a part of the original business plan that had the sporty Italian make sharing showroom with the Fiat 500 and other Fiat models in the U.S. Reports which we haven’t been able to confirm—and are in reality unconfirmable—had Sergio Marchionne delaying Alfa’s return to America delayed because he wasn’t happy with the appearance of the Giulietta. In the meantime, would-be Alfa owners will have to make do with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta with an “R/T” badge on its tail and “Dodge Dart” on the registration papers.