Considering the buzz Dodge has generated in recent years by mining its past with models like the Challenger and Charger, the return of the Dart name is no shock. (We’re hoping Polara is next.) It will serve duty on the automaker’s newest compact model. Ensuring that the modern Dart’s Dodge-ness remains fully intact are recent key exterior-design elements—full-width taillamps, a chunky mini “flying buttress” C-pillar, and a split-crosshair grille.
But the Dart will need more than an old name and a familial resemblance to make its mark: While Chrysler was biding its time in killing off this car’s predecessor, the awful Dodge Caliber, a bevy of refined competitors like the Chevrolet Cruze and the multiple-comparo-winning Ford Focus have launched and raised expectations for the compact-car class.
The first Chrysler vehicle to be based on Fiat Group architecture, the front-wheel-drive Dart utilizes lengthened and widened Alfa Romeo Giulietta underpinnings; they’re referred to internally as the “Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-Wide)” platform. The proper ’Merican-sized architecture features MacPherson struts up front (specifically tuned, Dodge says, to minimize camber loss for more responsive steering) and an independent suspension in the rear. Both front and rear suspension cradles are of a high-pressure, die-cast aluminum construction. The Dart, which is to be offered only as a sedan, rides on a 106.4-inch wheelbase and is 183.9 inches long and 72.0 inches wide.
Original Article on Car and Driver