Same Name. Why? - 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart: Same Name. Why?

February 27, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart

Dodge's new compact car goes by the name of Dart. And that's just plain weird given its roots (its platform is derived from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta) versus those of its namesake ancestor. Hell, that's like Pontiac calling a Daewoo-based subcompact a LeMans. Or Chevrolet calling a Toyota-based compact a Nova. Oh, wait, they did.

As most any middle-aged-and-up American can tell you, the old Dodge Dart was a very popular compact that competed against the real Chevy Nova and the Ford Maverick during the '60s and '70s. But very popular doesn't necessarily mean very good.

Usually powered by a slow, yet fuel-inefficient but virtually indestructible "slant 6", these old Darts were the typical old lady car when new. After they outlasted granny, they often found themselves with much different owners, students who needed dependable wheels.

My sister had one and my lasting memory of that car is how awful the steering was. With about as much road feel and required effort as the old "Pole Position" video game of the '80s, you'd have to turn the steering wheel about 90 degrees before the front wheels reacted. Yeah, you couldn't kill 'em. But you can say the same about a cockroach.

I happened to come across a mid-'70s Dart and couldn't resist the photo op. These two Dodge Darts have about as much in common as my esteemed colleague Michael Jordan and umm, the other one. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my thoughts on the new Dart.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 3,600 miles


  • I'm not trying to support the new Dart, nor get too hissy-fitty about the original. But you're describing a single engine option of the sedan Dart. Come on now, the reason Dart's are so famous in the Mopar community is their ability to support extremely large engines with very little weight. I too hate the renaming, but you don't have to unfairly trash the original to make a point. All late '60s-early '70's cars have horrendous steering when compared to modern cars. We get it. But a sub 3,300 pound car with a 440+ cubic inch engine...that has to count for something, even if it is only for useless, rare fun! That aside, even a year after the unveiling, I like you just can't agree with the name. Why not at least contemplate a rear-wheel drive Avenger/200 replacement, and use the Dart name there? Chrysler/Fiat has said that a rear-drive platform is on the table, although I highly doubt they'd go through with it. Alright, I'll actually stop complaining now. Have a good one!

  • memoryman memoryman Posts:

    Be fair. You should recall the Dart/Valiant compacts were rated above their competition (GM,FORD,AMC) according to a well known consumer's magazine. Shown as filled in circles on a comparison chart versus the other 3 shown as empty or half filled circles, proving the Chrysler twins were the best in their field.

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