Dodge's Jetta fighter has Alfa genes

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IOL mot jan9 dart ST fr . The Dart combines muscular American design with Alfa Romeo underpinnings.

Dodge is pointing its cannon at the likes of Focus, Corolla and Jetta with this daring new sedan that's based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

It's the first all-new product to emerge from the marriage between Fiat and Chrysler, which could result in a full merger by 2015, and the 'baby' Dart looks to be a compelling product.

While the side profile appears rather generic, there is a definite sporting design attitude at either end of the car, with a front that resembles the VW Scirocco and a full-width rear tail light treatment that was inspired by the latest Charger muscle sedan.

"The Dodge Dart was a dream to design," said Joe Dehner, Head of Dodge Design. "The Alfa Romeo-based architecture (low, wide and long) allowed us to design an exterior with great proportions that say 'fun-to-drive' when you look at it.

Inside, you'll find a driver-centric layout, high-quality soft-touch materials and high-tech features, according to Dodge. Buyers can even choose between 14 interior colour and trim combinations.

There's also plenty of choice on the engine front, with a three-strong petrol engine line-up comprising a 119kW 2-litre, 119kW 1.4-litre turbo and 137kW 2.4-litre. The latter two are fitted with Fiat's Multiair technology that creates optimum combustion by allowing direct control of the air intake and combustion process.

IOL mot ST jan9 dart u

Three six-speed gearboxes are offered, in manual, automatic and dual-clutch automated manual guises.

Suspension is by a MacPherson strut set-up at the front and a bi-link independent system at the rear.

According to Chrysler South Africa, there are currently no plans to bring the Dart to South Africa as it is only available in left-hand drive. Were a right-hand drive version to enter production, the company would certainly consider it.

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