12 January 2012

Dodge Dart Debuts in Detroit

Dodge has unveiled its all-new Dart saloon at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Based upon Alfa Romeo architecture and powered by Fiat Powertrain Technology's advanced MultiAir engines, the new Dart will lead Chrysler Group's charge into the growing North American compact segment when it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2012. The Dodge Dart will be the third vehicle to go on sale in North America underpinned by a European platform, following on from the Fiat 500 and RAM-branded FIAT Doblò.

Using a lengthened and widened version of the sophisticated architecture from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (a platform known as CUS-Wide or Compact U.S. Wide) the Dodge Dart promises new levels of ride quality and refinement combined with poised and responsive handling. It is powered by three new "Tigershark" four-cylinder engines: A 160hp 2.0-litre unit for entry-level models (available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic); a 160hp 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo engine (available with a six-speed manual or six-speed twin-clutch transmission) and a 184hp 2.4-litre MultiAir unit which is reserved for the high-performance R/T models (available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic). Five trim levels will be offered in America: SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T.

Despite adopting a number of Charger and Challenger design cues, such as Dodge's signature "crosshair" grille and full-width LED ‘racetrack' tail lamps, the new Dart has its own distinct personality which sets it apart from everything else in the segment. Its projector headlamps, plunging bonnet-line and bulging wheel arches give it an aggressive and sporty identity, while the clean and uncluttered flanks help emphasis its strong shoulder-line and kicked-up rear deck.

The Dart also represents a new direction in interior design for the Dodge brand, the centrepiece of which is a seven-inch TFT instrument cluster which can be reconfigured to suit the driver's tastes and requirements. An 8.4-inch "Uconnect® Touch" touchscreen infotainment system is also available, complete with iPod control and satellite radio, and despite its compact size, Dodge promises the cabin space of a mid-size saloon with best-in-class hip and shoulder room as well as unprecedented levels of safety with no less than ten standard airbags, including knee airbags for front occupants and side-airbags for rear passengers.

The all-new Dart, which revives a classic Dodge nameplate from the 1960's, will be built in America at Chrysler Group's Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois following a recent $600 million revamp of the facility.

 

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