Dodge Dart

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Dodge Dart

The Dodge Dart isn't about to arrive in a UK showroom any time soon but it's still a significant car for European buyers. That's because it's based on a modified version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform and the Fiat Group (which owns Dodge) is using the extra economies of scale offered by the American market to justify the expense of developing it.

That doesn't matter much to us right now, of course, but Alfas, Chryslers and Fiats will all appear on the Dart's chassis within the next few years.

The Dart is being sold as a dynamic' offering in the small saloon market in the US traditionally the sort of vehicle you get when you turn up at the hire car desk.

It has plenty of advanced technology, including fully independent suspension all round, Fiat's 1.4-litre Multiair engine and three transmissions a six-speed manual, a dual-clutch unit and an eight-speed ZF automatic.

It's unashamedly American inside, with too many hard plastics to compete with, say, a VW Golf's cabin. However, its price in the US starts at a little more than 12,000. If the Fiat Group can take this platform and turn it into even a reasonable mid-size saloon for Europe, it could be a strong value offering.

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