This is it — the 2013 Dodge Dart, the new Alfa Romeo-based compact car that'll say arrivederci to the Caliber when it's fully unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in just two days. But we knew all that. What we didn't know is what it'd look like. Until now.
These images — leaked ahead of its official unveil — show the Dart in all its econobox glory.
Based on Alfa Romeo's Giulietta platform, this spawn of the Fiat-Chrysler merger's going to be Chrysler's first decent attempt at winning over the ever-expanding compact space since the Dodge Neon.
As with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, this "new" car owes its platform to the engineering of a European company. While the Jeep's based on the Mercedes ML platform, the new Dart is based on Alfa Romeo's Giulietta.
This is a good thing as the last small Chrysler product was the unloved Dodge Caliber.
Of course, based on the information that's leaked, Chrysler had to tweak the European version to create the "Compact U.S. Wide" architecture, which is a euphemistic way of saying "we made it bigger for chunky, space-hungry Americans." Even with the extra room the Alfa's four-wheel independent suspension's been retained. It's also been turned into a sedan instead of a five-door hatch.
If you like redundant overlapping drivetrains you're going to love the Dart, which comes with three engines and three transmissions. The engines are a "Tigershark" 16-valve 2.0-liter engine, a 16-valve 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine (similar to what's found in the Fiat 500), and the "Tigershark" 2.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder.
The three transmissions will include two automatics and one six-speed manual.
And you know what? The little Dart looks pretty damn good. And not just econobox good.
What more can you ask for from a small car?