Based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the all new Dodge Dart reprises a brand name that stood for economy and reliability. The fact that the original Dart brand was discontinued just as Detroit entered the malaise era, which produced crappy cars for two decades, meant that the brand name’s reputation for honest value was undamaged. Though some have said that Chrysler messed up a nice looking Alfa by trying to turn it into a Neon, I think it’s a good looking car and even if the production version is not a class leader, at least it gives Chrysler a far more competitive compact car than the Caliber was. Chrysler will offer three different engines and three different transmissions in the Dart, which may have prompted Ford’s subsequent announcement that they’ll be making a manual transmission available on the top “Platinum” trim level of the Focus.
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