Spied: 2013 Dodge Small-Car

Every previous look at the upcoming Dodge Caliber replacement (commonly called the Hornet by folks who hope it adopts the blocky looks of the 2006 Geneva concept) has shown the car wearing a black, undisguised Alfa Romeo Giulietta body. That changes now with these first photos of a disguised Alfa. No, we don’t think Dodge has engineered a car that can move back in time through development, and we’re quite sure it isn’t all an elaborate “reverse engineering” joke. The front end is now covered because the car has its very own Dodge crosshair grille in place of the Alfa’s triangular piece. Despite also wearing camo, the headlamps—complete with four-bulb LED running lights—seem to be unchanged from the Giulietta’s.

Look closer and you’ll notice a few other things are off, though, like that dark strip along the center of the hood and roof. Yes, it seems that the engineers cut a Giulietta in half and widened it by a few inches. In addition, the rear doors are longer, likely in the name of back-seat legroom. It isn’t often that changes to an architecture are so clearly laid bare; the car will be built on Fiat’s C-Wide platform to cater to space-lovin’ Americans. This is a modified version of the C-Evo platform that underpins a number of European models, and this wider version will find itself carrying the next-generation Jeep Patriot, as well as the next Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200. For those last two vehicles, the length and width will again be increased.

We’re torn about what to predict for the car’s styling. It won’t be as boxy as the Hornet concept, but we also doubt it will head to production looking like a badge-engineered Alfa Romeo. The altered panels indicate the car will have to use several new stampings, so we’re optimistic that the Dodge will get its own body. (A sedan version would make some sense, too.) Those hopes are supported further by the fact that the Alfa’s hood creases flow off the corners of the original grille, meaning they’ll look downright silly with the wider Dodge crosshairs. Plus, Alfa’s U.S. comeback is supposed to include the Giulietta, so how much sense does it make to produce an identical Dodge?

Our spy photographer’s peek at the interior doesn’t help the case, however. As far as we can see, this mule is still using a largely unchanged Giulietta cabin. We’re not sure how it still fits in the wider car, but, hey, engineers tend to have excellent MacGyver skills.

Thanks to: Car and Driver
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