Dodge Dart Limited
POSTED: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 5:11pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 1:41am
The late, unlamented Dodge Caliber is gone. It was never a looker, or particularly fun to drive, or the most practical car in the compact field. I even drove a hot rod version on a test track and was bored.
In its place, is an absolute gem. For all of you who want economy but don’t need a lot of overstyled, boy-racer swoops and scoops, I present the Dodge Dart.
It is classier, and a bit larger than the competition, and when you slide behind the chunky wheel, you remember what you loved about Italian cars. Why Italian, you ask?
Well, the new merger with fiat has brought us some wonderful things for Chrysler. Unfortunately, it hasn’t brought us any new Alfa Romeo’s yet, especially the new Alfetta sedan. Just look as the smooth, sleek, almost …uh, I’m getting a little carried away. Suffice to say, just like the little Alfa Spider I had as a young news punk in my 20’s, the Italians have a way with cars.
So until then, how about an Alfetta in American skin? That’s what the new Dart actually is.
What we have here is the perfectly damped and controlled suspension of the Alfetta, and the turbo-charged 1.4-liter twin-cam four cylinder engine, and an interior that will make you forget every crumby Neon or Intrepid you ever rented from Hertz.
Our Limited edition starts at just under $20,000, and the lovely hand-stitched leather, electronics package, sunroof, better wheels and tires, only adds about $5600 American.
Although 160-horsepower doesn’t sound like much, it will take the little dodge to 60 in just over 8 seconds, and to a top speed of 120. On a trip to Dallas we averaged 36 miles per gallon, and roughly 30 around town.
Think of it as an American kid who went to school in Italy. The Dart is honest American value with a continental accent.
Not a bad combo, really.