With the resurgence of the Dodge brand and the return of nameplates from deep within its history, Dodge has also resurrected the Mopar name. While the R/T series has given manageable power to Dodge’s passenger cars and the SRT group has turned out incredibly powerful versions of the same cars, the Mopar tuning division has been taking one model each year and giving it the full treatment from the ground up. Showing that it doesn’t discriminate, this year Mopar has turned its sights on the lowly Dart.
The unfortunate circumstance of the 2013 Dodge Mopar Dart is that it is aimed more towards form than function. While Dodge claims to have improved handling by lowering the ride height by a quarter of an inch and re-calibrated the steering, the fact is that the Mopar Dart will use the same turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that is optional in the common Dart. Producing 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, this engine gives the Dart a 0-60 time of 8.3 seconds, extremely quick for its class. This engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and a performance-tuned exhaust system, but neither of these will likely satisfy the true Mopar fan looking to resurrect memories of the Dodge Dart Sports of the 1970s.
The Mopar Dart is all about looks, inside and out. The exterior gets gloss-black paint job with the trademark Mopar-blue uneven racing stripes going from front to back. The 18-inch wheels are painted black, and highlighted by blue brake calipers. The outside also gets a bevy of ground effects, including a chin spoiler, decklid spoiler, and rear diffuser. Mopar badges and logos are placed strategically, just enough to remind you who had a hand in it.
The same color scheme continues inside, with the driver’s seat being covered in leather in the same Mopar blue. Note that this does not mean that it is black leather highlighted with Mopar blue – which is what the passenger seat is – but that it is completely Mopar blue. It’s impossible to miss, not to mention a bit gaudy. Beyond the driver seat, the rest of the interior is rather handsome, with black leather highlighted by blue stitching and chrome accents. Blue ambient lighting augments the interior, so if you’re not a fan of the color, this certainly isn’t the car for you. Sport pedals, Mopar-branded floor mats, doorsill guards, and an 8.4-inch touch screen complete the alterations in the interior.
The final party trick of the Mopar Dart is a unique owner’s kit that contains a personalized plate, the car’s build date, and the unique identification number of the vehicle, in a black case. There will be only 500 Mopar Darts produced, and they’ll start at $26,480. This is roughly the same as a similarly equipped non-Mopar-branded Dart, and more expensive than the upcoming Dart GT that will have the new 2.4-liter engine that produces 184 horsepower. It’s up to the buyer to decide if having an electric blue leather seat, Mopar badges, and a case of goodies, is really worth it.