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Dodge puts 2016 Dart in hospice

Fiat Chrysler has rejiggered the Dart's lineup, slimming and trimming in advance of the car's slow phase-out.

2016 Dodge Dart Blacktop
Douglas Schaible

In January, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that it would phase out two compact cars, the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart, until the company could get together with another and find a cost-effective way to build them. Ahead of said phase-out, Dodge has heavily tweaked the Dart's lineup, in what could be seen as a final effort to bump up sales.

Dodge is paring down its Dart trim levels from five -- SE, SXT, Aero, GT and Limited -- to just three -- SXT Sport, Turbo and GT Sport. Gone are the focuses on efficiency (Aero) and comfort (Limited). Now, it's all about appealing to the enthusiast.

The transmission by itself shows that Dodge is really hoping to get fanatics behind the wheel of a Dart. A six-speed manual transmission is standard for all three trim levels, and it's the only option on the Turbo (a six-speed slushbox is available for SXT Sport and GT Sport models).

Each Dart features a different engine. The $17,995 SXT Sport gets a 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the $19,495 Turbo picks up a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (with more torque) and the $20,995 GT Sport rocks a 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-pot.


In terms of visual flash, the Turbo sports a more aggressive hood, dual exhaust pipes and blacked-out trim. The GT Sport has many of the same parts, but it adds in bits like an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, keyless entry and sportier transmission gear ratios. The base SXT Sport can be freshened up with three available packages that offer additional styling tweaks and light suspension modifications, as well.

All three cars go on sale later this month.