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Dodge Dart
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dodgeOverall
Sensuous style in a small sedan, with a nice combination of Italian and American influences.

Drivetrain
Base and optional four-cylinder engines, ranging from 160-184 horsepower; six-speed manuals for all and available automatic transmissions, except fuel-saving Aero that uses a twin-clutch automated manual.

Now that Chrysler and Fiat have been joined in matrimony, they continue to integrate their products and models. Although the Dart and Alfa’s Giulietta (Alfa Romeo also belongs to Fiat) share the same basic underpinnings, the Dart has its own distinctive sheet metal, interior and powerplant selection. It’s also built at a Chrysler assembly plant in Illinois. The Dart’s importance can’t be overstated enough, since Chrysler hadn’t had a compact sedan in play since the 2005 model year’s Neon. The Dart name resonates more with older customers, with many younger car buyers likely missing the connection completely. Turning a Giulietta into a Dart involved increasing the platform length by 12 inches and the width by two inches. The result, claims Dodge, is a car with segment-leading scale, beating such small-car luminaries as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze. The cabin design is a standout, with futuristic-looking gauges, non-traditional control-panel displays and a unique storage area beneath the front passenger seat-cushion. For 2015, Dodge is reacting to customer and market feedback and has shuffled the Dart’s trim levels a little. The base engine is a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s standard with the SE, while the bulk of remaining trims — SXT, Limited and GT — come standard with the 184-horsepower 2.4-liter, which is now available as a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV). The 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder remains exclusively found in the fuel-saving Aero. The turbo-four is rated at the same 160 horses as the base engine, but leads in the torque department with 184 pound-feet to 145. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with all engines, while a six-speed automatic is optional with all but the Aero’s 1.4 Turbo. That engine can be had with an available six-speed automated manual gearbox. Base Darts are pretty basic, but now get air conditioning, Bluetooth, air conditioning and power windows/locks for 2015. The options list incorporates a heated steering wheel, driver-selectable information screen, push-button start, soft Nappa leather seat covers, backup camera and trailer sway control that prevents your load from wiggling about.