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.

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.