Despite being miles ahead of the Dodge Caliber it replaced, the 2013 Dodge Dart still hasn’t gotten the respect it deserves. Having sold 25,303 units from July 2012 through December, it pales in comparison to the 2012 Honda Civic’s 217,000 over the whole year–and up until the Civic received its upgrades for 2013, the Dart was the better car.
Alas, it’s not does as well as Chrysler would have liked, so the brand is switching up strategies with it. For 2013, Dodge will be launching a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that’ll be higher up the ladder than the current turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine. As a result, the small turbo engine will be reeled in, with Dodge cutting a shift for it on the production line to make room for the bigger mill.
It is expected that the 2.4 will eventually find a place paired with the new nine-speed automatic transmission that Chrysler announced for use in the Dodge Dart, Jeep Liberty replacement, and next-generation Chrysler 200 sedan. It may not come immediately, though, as the newest vehicles will be the biggest priority.
To keep the 2013 Dodge Dart fresh as it enters into its first full model year, the automaker is also introducing a Mopar edition at next month’s Chicago Auto Show. Mopar, short for Motor Parts, is Chrysler’s factory-backed division that’ll help you deck out your Chrysler product any which way you like.
“This vehicle is the perfect canvas for personalization and customization,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand, in a statement about the car. “We couldn’t wait to get our hands on it and give it the Mopar treatment.”
While we’ve not yet seen it, we know that it’ll follow along the same lines as the Dodge Challenger, Charger, and Chrysler 300 Mopar editions that have come before it. Chrysler has shown that it will come with blue leather seats. Because the red leather seats it sells in other cars just isn’t outlandish enough.
Overall, when we drove the 2013 Dodge Dart, we were impressed with its level of sophistication and quality materials, but were let down by its loud, coarse 1.4-liter engine and jolting six-speed dual-clutch automatic, feeling it was a bit pokey and unrefined. We hope the upgrades Chrysler is planning fix the problems it has.
Sources: Detroit Free Press, Chrysler