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Dodge introduces new Dart compact, pricing starting at $15,995; 40 mpg unadjusted with 1.4L MultiAir turbo and DDCT

Dodge Brand President and CEO Reid Bigland introduces the new 2013 Dodge Dart at the Detroit Auto Show. Click to enlarge.

Dodge introduced the new 2013 Dodge Dart compact at the Detroit Auto Show. (Earlier post.) The new Dart, the first Chrysler Group vehicle based upon a Fiat architecture, offers buyers a choice of three powertrains, three transmission choices, 12 exterior colors, 14 interior colors and 5 trim levels, and is intended to give the company an attractive entry in the important compact market. The new Dart will go on sale in the second quarter of this year at prices beginning at $15,995.

The last compact model introduced by Dodge was the Caliber, in 2006. “We weren’t competing in this segment, so we wanted to create a world-class compact car. We approached this segment with a clean slate—no baggage,” said Dodge Brand President and CEO Reid Bigland, at the unveiling.

Drivers can select from a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter engine; a 16-valve 1.4-liter MultiAir Intercooled Turbo engine and a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.4-liter MultiAir 2 four-cylinder engine. The 2013 Dodge Dart will be the first compact sedan built in North America to feature MultiAir engine technology.

The new Dart also will feature three transmission choices coupled with the new engines, including a six-speed manual, new six-speed dual dry clutch transmission (DDCT) and a new six-speed automatic.

Preliminary fuel economy estimates (unadjusted, not EPA label) for the Dart with the 1.4-liter turbo and DDCT transmission are 40 mpg US (5.88 L/100km) combined cycle.

The three new engines available in the new Dodge Dart have been designed and tested to meet consumer’s needs for fuel economy, refinement, durability and power in a compact car. Technologies, including the latest generation of MultiAir (MultiAir 2) and turbocharging, provide improved fuel economy, reduced emissions and increased power. A forged steel crankshaft, forged connecting rods and select fit main bearings are just a few of the many design features that contribute to the highly refined sound character of these engines.

—Bob Lee, Vice President – Engine and Electrified Propulsion Engineering

2.0-liter Tigershark Engine. The all-new, standard 2.0-liter Tigershark features preliminary performance ratings of 160 bhp (119kW) at 6,400 rpm and 145 lb-ft (196 N·m) of peak torque at 4,800 rpm.

The new engine starts with a lightweight, high-pressure, die-cast aluminum block with cast-iron bore liners and includes a host of features that increase fuel economy and provide quiet operation. A forged steel crankshaft and forged connecting rods, coupled with a cast-iron structural main bearing beam, contribute to an extremely rigid and quiet lower structure. Bore diameter is 88 mm and stroke is 82 mm on the new engine. Total displacement is 1995 cc.

To help reduce noise from the lower reciprocating assembly, the engine is equipped with a steel sandwich type design oil pan that includes acoustic material between the outer and inner steel surface of the pan.

The four-valve, aluminum cylinder head also is new and includes larger, 36 mm intake valves to provide exceptional performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Independent variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust side have extended cam phaser range to 60 crankshaft angle degrees of motion.

Port fuel-injection provides precise fuel delivery. Both the intake manifold and fuel rail have acoustically dampened covers that contribute to reduced engine noise in the passenger cabin. Regular fuel with an 87 octane rating is recommended.

The 2.0-liter Tigershark engine is standard on the Dart SE, SXT, Rallye and Limited models.

1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo Engine. The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbocharged Intercooled engine will offer added performance and a significant torque increase. The preliminary ratings for the Dart 1.4 MultiAir Turbo engine are 160 bhp (118 kW) at 5,500 rpm and 184 lb-ft (249 N·m) of torque from 2,500 through 4,000 rpm.

Structurally, the 1.4-liter engine starts with a cast-iron block. Bore is 72 mm and stroke is 84 mm. A forged steel crankshaft is fitted with select fit main bearings and is supported across five main journals. Forged steel connecting rods, which include a unique cross section to minimize longitudinal and lateral bending, also are used for increased durability. Cast-aluminum pistons with a compression ratio of 9.8:1 are used.

The aluminum cylinder head features MultiAir technology. Unlike fixed lobes on a conventional camshaft that control valve lift and duration, the intake valves with the MultiAir system are electro hydraulically controlled. This results in wide flexibility of intake valve openings for better fuel economy and power with lower emissions.

The substantial power level is a result of the turbocharger, which includes a single intercooler. Boost pressure is dynamically managed to provide a broad torque curve over a wide variety of ambient conditions with peak pressure of 22 psi at 4,000 rpm.

2.4-liter Tigershark Engine with MultiAir 2. Largest of the trio of engines available in the 2013 Dodge Dart, the new 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir 2 is the third Chrysler Group engine to feature MultiAir technology. The preliminary ratings for the 2.4-liter Tigershark with MultiAir 2 are 184 horsepower (137 kW) at 6,250 rpm and 171 lb-ft (232 N·m) of torque at 4,800 rpm. The engine is slated for availability in the third quarter of 2012.

The new 2.4-liter engine incorporates many of the same features found in the 2.0-liter Tigershark, including a high-pressure, die-cast aluminum block with cast-iron bore liners, forged steel crankshaft and forged connecting rods. Bore diameter is 88 mm and stroke is 97 mm. Total displacement is 2360 cc.

Lightweight cast-aluminum pistons have been designed specifically for lower friction on the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine and provide a 10.1 compression ratio. Maximum engine speed is 6,500 rpm.

The aluminum cylinder head includes a four valves-per-cylinder arrangement with 36 mm intake valves for optimum performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency. MultiAir 2 allows better control of the start and end of the valve events and an extended opening on the intake cycle for better exhaust gas recirculation. Both features improve fuel economy.

Exhaust is through a tubular exhaust manifold that is located in the front of the engine compartment. The location of the exhaust manifold helps decrease the possibility of exhaust noises entering the passenger cabin. Other sound refinement features, including an aluminum head cover, aluminum front engine cover, an acoustically dampened intake manifold and a fuel rail cover, reduce outside engine noise significantly.

C635 Six-speed Manual Transmission. Standard on all three engines is the six-speed C635 manual transmission, designed and built by Fiat Powertrain. Compact and lightweight, the transmission is designed to withstand maximum torque values up to 350 N·m. With six gears, the transmission is designed to operate at a low engine rpm to provide maximum fuel economy. The low operating speed range also reduces noise and provides a quiet cabin environment at highway speeds.

C635 Dual Dry Clutch Six-speed Automatic Transmission. Improved performance and fuel efficiency are two attributes of Chrysler Group’s new C635 DDCT. The new DDCT will be available exclusively on 2013 Dodge Dart models equipped with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbocharged engine.

Designed specifically for lighter vehicle applications, the new DDCT represents the first application of this technology to Chrysler Group front-wheel-drive passenger vehicles. The six-speed DDCT is designed to handle up to 350 N·m of torque.

The new DDCT also includes a hill start assist feature that helps prevent vehicle rollback when the vehicle is on an incline. Working with the brake control unit, the transmission momentarily holds brake pressure until adequate torque is reached to move the vehicle forward.

6F24 Six-speed Automatic Transmission. Small and compact, the Powertech six-speed automatic transmission is fully electronic and is designed for increased fuel efficiency. Torque capacity for the new transmission is 250 N·m.

With a 5.4 gear spread, gear changes are nearly imperceptible at all speeds and optimum shift quality is provided throughout the rpm range, including launch, acceleration and passing at highway speeds. Autostick is standard.

Designed to provide maximum durability, the six-speed automatic is “fill-for-life” and requires no maintenance.

Aerodynamics. The Dart spent more than 600 hours of development time in the Chrysler Group’s aero acoustic wind tunnel. As a result, designers optimized the car’s front end for smooth airflow above, below and around the car without compromising styling or engine cooling requirements. Examples include the notch angle at the rear of the car, the shape of the rear taillamp applique and rear corners, all of which combine to improve aero performance without hurting the design aesthetics. In addition, work in the wind tunnel helped designers aero shape the mirrors for a significant improvement in aerodynamic performance.

The Dodge Dart is the first Dodge vehicle to employ an active grille shutter system, which automatically closes the airflow through the lower intake when cooling is least needed, reducing drag roughly 3 to 5% when compared with a vehicle without an active grille shutter system.

When the active grille shutters are closed, airflow is redirected around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through the vehicle, enhancing aero performance. Engine coolant temperature and vehicle speed determine whether the shutter is open or closed. For example, the shutter will close at highway speeds when less engine cooling is required and aerodynamic drag is most significant; the system will open when the car is hot city driving, traveling up a hill or pulling a trailer.

The 2013 Dodge Dart also includes segment-exclusive underbody panels that run virtually stem to stern on the Dart’s underbody. The belly panels are constructed of Mold-in-color (MIC) black composite and essentially cover 90% of the underbody. In addition to the aerodynamic benefits, the panels also serve to stop road noise from entering the passenger cabin.

The extensive use of underbody treatments, including a stylized lower radiator close out panel that is positioned below the front fascia, front and rear tire spats, an engine belly pan, two mid-floor belly pans, a center diffuser and outboard diffusers, collectively reduce aerodynamic drag by 7%.

Electric Power Steering System. With a 15:1 steering ratio, the 2013 Dodge Dart is one of the fastest-steering vehicles in the compact car segment. The Dart employs standard electric power steering (EPS).

The boost, or assist, is variable and speed sensitive, responding to sensors monitoring steering torque, steering wheel speed and angle and vehicle speed. The steering system is fully integrated with the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESC) system and helps to compensate in split-traction, torque steer and pull-drift (crowned road) situations.

The 2013 Dodge Dart features next-generation electric dual-pinion steering, which delivers sporty handling by managing significant loads at all steering wheel operating speeds, power assist curves modulated according to driving conditions and up to a 3% improvement in fuel efficiency when compared with a conventional hydraulic system.

Safety Features. The 2013 Dodge Dart was engineered with 60 safety and security features. The body has a high-strength steel content of 68%, one of the highest in the industry, and features both active and passive safety features. Driver and passenger safety features include 10 standard airbags, and include: dual-stage adaptive venting front driver and passenger air bags; front-seat-mounted driver and passenger pelvic and thorax air bags; two rear-seat-mounted pelvic air bags; front driver and passenger knee air bags; and all-row side-curtain air bags. The Dart also features a reactive 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).

Additional standard safety features on the 2013 Dodge Dart include:

  • Four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution and traction control system on all models;
  • Brake Assist;
  • 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;
  • Trailer-sway Control;
  • ParkView rear backup camera; and
  • ParkSense rear park assist.



A lot of features and good fuel economy for $16K.


This is the most impressive set of Dodge small car specs in decades


No kidding. If I wasn't dead-set on going electric or at least PHEV, I'd want one.


Question is will it be high-quality enough to lure away would-be buyers of Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans, etc? Or will it be just another rental & corporate fleet vehicle sold to puff up vehicle sales like GM does to help Obama?


If it creates jobs for Americans I don't give a sh_t whether it helps Obama or not. But then I'm not a Republican. Their sole mission has been to make sure Obama is a one term President and to hell with the rest of the country.


It might be more appropriate to take the political comments to some other site. This is about sustainable mobility.


Good questions ejj.....Corolla is an all around leader in quality small cars and will be difficult to overtake. Made in China Corollas may be required to match this low price.

E-P....Due to current lack of charging facilities in our building, we may have to settle for an advanced HEV (Camry's size) next time around (2013?). Our hydro-electric producer/distributor is planning a serious charging facilities subsidy program starting in 2013/2014. If so, our next car may be an advanced PHEV instead of HEV.


It is my understanding that some car rental companies look for deals. They may want Honda or Toyota to give them deals, but they won't. Ranting about political mindsets does not clarify the issues.


Like the new Ford Fusion, this Dodge Dart is remarkable technological progress. These are two high volume designs that significantly improve the real world fuel economy of the offerings available to Americans.

If the DOE's RICO "Achieved CAFe for Model year 2011" when available, doesn't report we have already met the 2020/2016 CAFE targets, the addition of these two models will insure that the "Achived CAFE for Model year 2012" does do so.

In any case, we can be confident that Oil Demand in America will continue its decade long decline, and maybe decrease even more quickly. Together with improved extraction technology,and domestic production, it does seem that North America may cease importing petroleum by mid-late decade.


cease importing petroleum by mid-late decade...

I find that very unlikely, since of the 18 million barrels per day used, almost 12 million are imported to the U.S. Unless we export 200 million of our 300 million people this decade, it is very unlikely that we will not need that imported oil.

All the shale oil and tar sands are making up for declines in Alaska and older wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. peaked oil production in 1970 at close to 10 million barrels per day. We now produce about 6 million barrels per day and it is unlikely that figure will rise much this decade.

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