The most fuel efficient Chrysler product ever built is almost here.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- April 28, 2012
The Dodge Dart "Aero
" trim that is scheduled to be released in the third quarter should provide a 28/41/30 mpgUS city/highway/combined rating with when equipped with the 1.4L Turbo mated to a tall ratio 6-speed MT.
While Dart news has been lacking the past few weeks, apparently the embargo from the short lead in Austin, TX ended this morning as Chrysler released the final EPA certified fuel economy ratings for its much anticipated designed and built US compact vehicle.
As reported previously, the 2013 Dodge Dart is loaded with innovative technology unmatched in the industry.
The 2013 Dodge Dart will be with available with three different engines, three different transmissions and five trim levels including the SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T. The SE lacking A/C and other niceties arrives with a base MSRP of just $15,995. The Dart will be built in the US at Chrysler Group’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, IL with consumer product production scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2012.
The Dart definitely does not move the needle far from the Dodge brands sports car roots.
2012 Dodge Dart
Up front Dodge incorporated their signature cross hair grille, snake eye lenses with projector beams beneath, piano black front fascia and fog lamp cutouts and a hood cutout that follows the contour of the top view of the car. A lower close-out panel is positioned below the front fascia that reduces drag while still allowing for an 8” curb clearance.
From the side integrated fender flares with an almost 0 radius edge to the flat section parallel a number of uniquely styled alloy wheels. A razor straight belt line crease begins out of nowhere near the top of the front fender flare and gets progressively more pronounced as it streams back into the rear tail light lens.
To the rear Dodge integrated the rear spoiler, and an LED light bar consisting of 152 individual LEDs running across the back of the rear fascia like that on the Charger.
Given the longer hood and shorter rear trunk profile, it is almost as if Dodge designers were guided to produce a 50/50 weight distribution although I am not yet privy to that specification.
Overall, the Dart provides an all new exterior profile designed to cheat the wind with a Cd of 0.285 instead of the ghetto sled appearance and it is the first Chrysler built sedan in decades that I have personally wanted to “grab the keys and go for a drive.”
Dodge designers focused on creating interior colors that excite with a quality of materials typically found in far more expensive segments.
A “driver-centric” layout with customizable displays and comfort-tuned seats are packaged in interior sized at 97.2 cu. ft. This is larger than the current generation midsize 2012 Chevrolet Malibu! To give you an idea as to the passenger volume advantage within the compact segment, its competitors include the highly regarded 12 Elantra at 96 cu. ft., 12 Civic with 95 cu. ft., 12 Cruze with 94 cu. ft, 12 Corolla with 92 cu. ft. and 12 Focus with 90 cu. ft.
The 2013 Dodge Dart features the interior spaciousness of a mid-size sedan, and it boasts best-in-class hip and shoulder room.
The coup de grace of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart is its class-exclusive but unfortunately optional 7” Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LED customizable gauge cluster display with a light pipe surround that also houses the available 8.4” touchscreen Media Center, by far the largest touchscreen in the segment.
The center console features auxiliary jacks to plug in a wide variety of electronic devices while center console side pockets, are perfect for storing mobile phones, receipts, or pens and paper.
An optional “racetrack” lighting surrounds the floating island bezel. Ambient lighting for the door handles, map pockets, foot wells, glove box, storage bin and illuminated cup holders is both useful and provides a warm atmosphere inside the vehicle.
2012 Dodge Dart
The Dart is available with 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim combinations, six wheel options, three engine options and three transmissions to fit just about anybody’s individual style wants.
Drivers can select from the 160 HP 2.0L Tigershark, a 160 HP 1.4L MultiAir Turbo engine and a 184 HP 2.4L MultiAir Tigershark I4 (available 3rd quarter 2012). These three engines, combined with three transmission choices including a tall ratioed 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic or 6-speed dual dry clutch (DDCT) transmission (available 3rd quarter 2012) provide enough options for the average buyer to scream when it is time to choose. I am saying that in a good way
The 2.0L with the 6-speed MT is EPA rated at 25/36/29 mpgUS city/highway/combined.
The 1.4L Turbo engine with the 6-speed MT is EPA rated at 27/39/29 city/highway/combined.
Dodge will also introduce a Dodge Dart "Aero" model that will achieve probably a 28/41 city/highway rating available 3rd quarter 2012.
The Dart’s body is comprised of 68 percent high-strength steel resulting in an architecture that is lightweight, and solid given its true mid-size dimensions. At 3,191 to 3,348 pounds depending on trim and drivetrain choice, it is not a lightweight by any means however.
Aero? It is loaded with it…
The 2013 Dodge Dart includes an active grille shutter system, underbody panels running stem to stern, tire spats located forward of the front and rear tires and an integrated decklid spoiler incorporates a trailing edge shape for cleaner airflow separation in the rear portion of the vehicle, which optimizes the air wake.
Driver and passenger safety features include a GM matching 10 standard airbags including front, side, side curtains, both outward rear sides and both driver and passenger knee.
The Dart also features an active head-restraint system; available Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection, three-point safety belts in all five seating positions; front driver and passenger dual seat belt pretensioners at the anchor and retractor positions and active load limiters. These features and more all work to protect passengers in the event of a crash. All three rear seat positions feature Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH).
Other standard safety features:
- Four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS)
- Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
- Traction control (TC)
- Brake Assist (BA)
- Brake-lock differential
- Ready Alert Braking
- Rainy Brake Support
- Hydraulic boost compensation
- Electronic stability control (four-channel active handling system ESC)
- Electronic Roll Mitigation
- Hill-start Assist (HAS)
- Trailer-sway Control
- ParkView rear back-up camera
- ParkSense rear park assist
There is one item that Dodge has done a really good job at in recent years and that is its exterior paints. I expect no less form the production variant of that 2013 Dart that arrives with a choice of 12 exterior colors:
- Redline Red Pearl Coat
- Header Orange Pearl Coat
- Blue Streak Pearl Coat
- True Blue Pearl Coat
- Winter Chill Pearl Coat
- Laguna Blue Clear Coat
- Maximum Steel Metallic Clear Coat
- Tungsten Metallic Clear Coat
- Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat
- Citrus Peel Pearl Coat
- Pitch Black Clear Coat
- Bright White Clear Coat
We should have a chance to drive this new addition to the hyper competitive compact segment sometime this spring or summer and as we have all been waiting for, this could be one of the most interesting drives this year.
2012 Dodge Dart
A pair of Darts and expect to see a lot more of the Dodge signature LED light bars ahead as the year unfolds.
Other 2013 Dodge Dart related stories can be found through the following links: