Dodge has been rightfully accused of both getting wrong and completely misreading the compact car market in North America for years. The advent of the Alfa Romeo based Dodge Dart, which has been on sale since last summer is going a long way of reversing that, but Dodge is hardly resting on its laurels. While enthusiasts await the sporty Dart R/T this month, Dodge has announced the addition of the Dart Aero.
In an economy which is still lagging, and in the face of rising fuel costs, there is a strong focus on compact sedans. Buyers not only demand style, performance and technology, but strong fuel economy as well. Most of the major players like the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus and Honda Civic offer a more fuel efficient version of their car, and Dodge now joins those ranks with the Dart Aero. To improve fuel economy over other Darts, the Aero features weight-saving aluminum chassis components, active grille shutters for improved air flow at the nose, an under body aero kit, a lower profile and low rolling resistance tires.
The Dart Aero will start at $19,295USD. Standard will be a 1.4L MultiAir turbocharged four cylinder rated at 160hp. Since fuel economy is the name of the game, a Dart Aero with a six-speed manual will get 41 MPG on the highway. Opting for the six-speed dual dry clutch transmission drops that figure to 40 MPG. Production of the Dart Aero commenced this summer, but Dodge gave no word as to when it would arrive in showrooms.
Under the guidance of parent company Fiat, Dodge has done an about face with its compact car offering with the new Dart. Yes, the bread and butter mainstream models are fully accounted for, but the performance oriented R/T and the fuel sipping Aero show that Dodge is finally in-step with the competition in offering something to suit most compact car buyers tastes, whatever they may be.
*Editor’s Note: The pictures shown are a Dart Limited, as Chrysler provided no media for the Dart Aero.