2013 Dodge Dart: Same Name. Why?
February 27, 2013
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