By Jessica Dufresne
The first product to emerge from the partnership between Chrysler and Italian carmaker Fiat is here: the 2013 Dodge Dart.
This compact, four-door sedan manages to be both sporty and practical, with a roomy interior that’s been carefully designed with pops of color and warm lighting. The Dart boasts 12 exterior color choices and 14 interior options for color and trimmings, making it infinitely customizable. A large touchscreen media center on the dashboard lets you say “buh-bye” to distracting radio knobs and pre-set buttons. Dart’s modern safety features (10 airbags, blind-spot monitoring, as well as back-up and parking cameras) are on par with what you’d find in a luxury-class vehicle. Just as important are the Dart’s oh-so-smart hidden storage spaces: the extra deep glove compartment is large enough to hold a laptop, and if you flip the bottom of the front passenger seat forward, you’ll find a secret cubby of sorts–big enough to stash your Burberry handbag or an assortment of Sephora goodies.
Why is this car a great choice? Well, aside from its myriad features, it offers smooth handling and a secure ride, whether coasting on the highway or weaving through rush-hour traffic. And, with the choice of three types of engines, it can please any type of driver, from a recent college grad looking to burn rubber to the baby boomer looking to cruise in style. Plus, it just plain looks nice.
The on-target Dart’s sleekness and cool factor, bundled with functional, attention-grabbing features that won’t hurt pockets, are a win. For Chrysler and Fiat, this is certainly the start of a beautiful “friendship.”
2013 Dodge Dart
MPG: 29, combined
Starting price: $15,995
Best body part: Top secret under-seat storage compartment