First Drive: 2013 Dodge Dart

What’s the hottest segment in the auto industry right now?   Forget the SUVs and people carriers of old, because compact  cars are on fire.  With their small dimensions and light weights,  compacts have become the consumer’s weapon of choice to combat  rising gas prices.  With the stylish 2013 Dart, Dodge aims to make a  splash in the compact segment and appeal to younger, economical  buyers.  The brand’s first vehicle to be built on Fiat technology, the  Dart is highly customizable, with unbundled options.  Buyers can choose from 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color combinations, 4 grilles, 6 wheels, and 3 engines and transmissions.  It also offers affordable luxury, with standard features like a back up camera starting for under $20,000.  With an entry model that achieves 160hp and 36mpg (all without sacrificing safety features like 10 standard airbags), the 2013 Dart is an excellent red-hot addition to a segment that has traditionally been ruled by the most boring shades of beige.  Don’t miss it at the Show this year!