Since reviving a long-dead nameplate last year when it arrived as the first true spawn of the Fiat-Chrysler corporate mash-up, the Dodge Dart has been met with mixed reaction. One thing we can agree on, however, is that it's a key vehicle for a resurgent Chrysler Group. The Dart is critical in bringing young buyers into Dodge showrooms and starting them on what the company hopes will be a lifetime of Chrysler-brands ownership.
Until now, the sportiest of the Darts was the Rallye with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 160 horsepower. For 2013, Dodge is adding a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in the GT trim that makes 184 hp mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and it will arrive at dealerships in a few weeks. I recently had a brief drive in the 2013 Dart GT at Chrysler's Chelsea Proving Grounds as part of the company's annual new model extravaganza that it hosts for the media.