What It Is: Chrysler’s compact hatchback, which probably will be called the 100. Development cars have been driving around for several months, but this first glimpse of the interior shows that Chrysler is planning some traditionally upscale features for this car. Close-ups of the dash show nicely labeled switches for adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and a lane-departure warning system. You can ignore the sheetmetal borrowed from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, by the way; it’s just being used for skin on prototypes and isn’t indicative of the final product.
Why It Matters: Call us cynical, but this looks like a push for Chrysler Group sales volume above all else. The new Dodge Dart is about the same size as the 100 will be, it’s based on the same architecture, and will be sold in the same showrooms. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has said he doesn’t like the idea of overlapping products; perhaps the 100 being a hatchback and having more toys sufficiently differentiates it from the Dart in his mind.
Platform: The 100 will use what Chrysler calls its CUSW (Compact U.S. Wide) architecture, an enhanced and widened version of a Fiat and Alfa Romeo platform. The Dodge Dart was the first vehicle to debut on CUSW; in addition to the 100, we’re also expecting it to underpin one or two Jeep models as well as the replacement for the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200. Odds are that the 100 will be front-wheel drive, but being that this mule is a hatchback, Chrysler could shock us all and position it as an all-wheel-drive baby crossover.
Thanks to: Car and Driver