By Patrick Rall
Quite a while back, we brought you the news that the sedan that we know and love as the Dodge Dart here in the USA would be sold as the Fiat Viaggio in select overseas markets. There were rumors back then that the Viaggio would also be offered as a hatchback and that Dart 5-door debuted last week in China with a new name and a unique exterior design that I believe would be very popular in the US market.
The Dodge Dart hatchback that was introduced last week is called the Fiat Ottimo and in addition to the obvious changes that come with the 5-door hatchback design and the name change, the Ottimo also receives a front and rear refresh that makes it very unlike the American Dart sedan. While the basic front end shape, the hood and the headlights of the Dart front end are all retained, the Ottimo wears a super sporty front fascia with some angular LED driving lights that really jazz up the face of this compact hatch.
Out back, the long roofline of the Fiat Ottimo steeply sweeps down to a set of high tech looking taillights that are very unlike the racetrack taillights of the Dodge Dart. The lower rear fascia has also been revised to include a set of classy looking chrome bezels around red reflectors that flank a curvy diffuser style center portion.
We don’t know what will power the Fiat Ottimo in the Chinese market but I think that this hatchback based on the Dodge Dart for the US market could be a great competitor for the likes of the new Mazda 3 or the VW Jetta Wagon. Unfortunately, there arent any plans to bring the Fiat Ottimo to the US and with the stigma against vehicles that can be classified as a “station wagon” – we arent likely to see a Dart hatchback in the near future but with the success of comparable models, this sure looks like a vehicle that could fit comfortably into American Dodge dealerships.