By Patrick Rall
Ever since the 2013 Dodge Dart debuted at last year’s Detroit Auto Show, there have been rumors that there would be a high performance Street and Racing Technology (SRT) version but rumors suggest that the project may be dead as the SRT brand looks to stay away from a front wheel drive model. At best, it seems that the soonest that the SRT4 Dart could hit dealerships is 2016 according to the 2013 business plan update published by the company earlier this year.
After the Chrysler Group national dealership convention earlier this year, the internet was abuzz with rumors that one of the vehicles on display at the dealer-only affair was the new high performance Dart SRT4. The rumor that dealers were introduced to the SRT Dart lead many to believe that this new high performance compact sedan could be coming sometime during the 2013 calendar year. However, when the company issued their 2013 business plan update last month it was revealed that there would not be a new model entering the SRT brand until 2016. There will be updates for 2014 including the Charger, Challenger and 300C followed by a 2015 refresh of the SRT Viper while 2016 is slated to bring us a new SRT product. Many believed that this new car would be the SRT Dart but rumors indicate that the high performance Dart has been shelved as the SRT brand tries to stick to very high performance rear wheel drive and all wheel drive models.
Along with the SRT Dart, the new model coming in 2016 could be a high performance Ram pickup or the long rumored SRT Cuda. The Ram brand is slated to get a refreshed model in 2015 that could be a vastly redesigned Ram 1500, with the SRT version following in 2016 and the SRT Cuda has been a popular rumor – suggesting that SRT was build a lightweight, ultra high performance of the Dodge Challenger that would be uniquely badged as Chrysler went after the likes of the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
The existence of the Dodge Dart SRT4 – which rumors indicated would be named simply the Dodge Dart SRT – seems to be up in the air. With so many people believing that it would arrive in the next year and the business plan crushing those hopes, the rumor that SRT will avoid building a high performance front wheel drive sedan have a touch more validity than they would have 4 months ago. It seems odd that the company would wait until 2016 to debut the SRT Dart with the production model already building momentum but it seems that right now – a 2016 debut of the high performance Dart is at best 3 years away.
This delay has been attributed by some Dodge fans to the fact that the second generation Dodge Dart could arrive in 2015 for the 2016 model year and those new Dart sedans would feature an advanced all wheel drive system. SRT has no problem offering a high performance vehicle that spins all four wheels which is very clearly displayed by the incredible Grand Cherokee SRT8 so perhaps SRT wants to wait until they have an all wheel drive Dart platform on which to build their compact that would do battle with the likes of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and the Subaru WRX STI.
Should the new SRT product in 2016 be the SRT Dart; that means that the SRT Cuda will not arrive until 2017 and the same would be true of a high performance pickup truck. On one hand, it is disappointing that there isnt an ultra high performance rear wheel drive muscle car or a go-fast pickup coming within the next 4 years but the good news is that in three years – Mopar lovers are definitely going to have another high performance model to choose from…we just don’t have any idea what it will be. However, as times goes on and we get a better look at new models that arrive throughout the 2013 and 2014 calendar year, we will have a good idea of what is coming in the more distant future.