Chrysler has recently revived the legendary Dart brand name for its Dodge compact car line. While the brand does not stand specifically for high-end automotive design and execution, Dodge Darts have historically been very solid, reliable entry level cars. No doubt part of this brand resurrection is retire the Neon brand which has become a bit long in the tooth.
The Dart is being touted by Chrysler as being offered “with Alfa Romeo DNA” a slogan that notes that that Chrysler, being an Italian-owned automaker, is bestowing Italian design elements to the dart to create a vehicle that is not only fuel efficient but stylish too.
The 2013 Dodge Dart may be an entry level compact but Chrysler offers it with in a number of trim packages. Starting with the SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and capping out with R/T version. Prices range from $16,000 for the SE to $22,500 for the R/T version.
On-board technology is beginning to be more and more standard these days and the 2013 Dodge Dart offers quite a bit. You really need to look no further than the 8.4 inch touchscreen display in the center of the dash. Chrysler says this is the largest display offered in a compact car and it certainly makes not only the vehicle control icons easy to see but also the image displayed on the rear-view backup camera. Integrated in the control system is a vehicle navigation sourced by Garmin, an am-fm-satellite radio and a voice recognition system. We wondered if this was available on all the Dodge Dart models so we called a friend at Firkins Auto, a leading Tampa dealership and we were informed that “it is a little complicated”. Frankly, it depends on the trim level and in some cases the control system is standard and in others it is optional.
Now to the Alfa Romeo DNA part. Aesthetically the 2013 Dart is a stunning vehicle. It would seem that other car manufacturers are content to rest on their brand name rather than invest in snazzy styling. Of course, it is a little easier for Chrysler to offer some of the best looking cars around due to their stable of distinquished Italian stylists.
Standard on all Darts, with the exception of the R/T model, is a 160hp, 2.0 liter in-line engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard but a six-speed automatic is optional for those that are shifting-challenged. For those who want additional thrills, the top of the line R/T model boasts Chrysler’s Tigershark 2.4 liter engine which pumps out 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque.