Whether the car here will be wearing “Caliber”, “Hornet”, or “Neon” nameplates when it arrives at US dealers next year remains to be seen – but these things are certain:
- this will be the face of first all-new car from Chrysler since the Fiat takeover, and
- this will be the most important new Chrysler since the K-Car.
If Fiat does anything well, that thing is building desirable small cars, and whether they carry the Fiat badge, the Lancia badge, or even (gasp!) the Chrysler badge, those small Italian cars have their fans. Those fans? I am one of them (two of them, if you believe my bathroom scale). I am also a Dodge Neon fan, and have a number of friends (Chris DeMorro, included) who can easily spot authentic “sublime”, “go mango”, and “plum crazy” across a broad field of close imitators. So, when a new Fiat/Mopar headed stateside, set to do fierce market battle with 40 mpg heavyweights from GM, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda … let’s just say it gets our attention.
According to MotorAuthority (the site that broke these photos), the new Neon’s power will almost certainly come from one of the Fiat Group’s highly highly-praised MultiAir engines, mated to a standard 6-speed manual gearbox, with an optional six-speed automatic somewhere higher up in the product mix, with all models capable of a CAFE-pleasing 40 mpg (at least) performance. No word yet on pricing, of course, but expect high-teens/low-twenties for the small turbo manuals.
Source | Photos: MotorAuthority.