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July 22, 2013

New-for-2013 Dart takes Dodge down an Italian path

Dodge has built its modern-day reputation on big, powerful, boat-like sedans and coupes that hearken back to the musclecar era.

Cars like the Challenger and Charger do a great job of that, especially when fitted with Dodge's insane HEMI V8 engine. They make you want to stomp the accelerator, smoke the tires and burst people's eardrums.

The 2013 Dart represents a total change of pace for the Dodge brand, though, despite carrying the name of a historic Dodge land barge.

It's small, for starters.

Unlike the 1960s Dart and the modern-day Challenger, which has a hood long enough for the U.S. Navy to launch aircraft from, the new Dart has a much more practical, logical size. It's priced like a compact car, but it comes with a fit and feel more like a mid-size sedan.

It's also designed for crisp handling, which its longer, heavier Dodge stablemates simply are not.

The Dart's chassis started life as an Italian FIAT before being lengthened and given an American-style body makeover.

You can feel that from the driver's seat. It has a suspension that firms up nicely in corners, European style, and a steering setup that communicates lots of little details from the pavement, making it surprisingly fun to toss around on winding roads.

For an affordable, front-wheel-drive sedan, it's one of the more enjoyable cars you can buy today.

As part of an increasingly prevalent trend, its engine is set up more for impressive gas mileage than mind-bending horsepower.

The base 2.0-liter engine makes 160 horses, starting around $16,000 in the Dart SE. A more efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged engine is available in the Dart Aero ($19,295), which is rated for up to 41 mpg on the highway.

People who want the best performance should opt for the Dart GT ($20,995), which comes with a 2.4-liter, 184-horsepower engine but has the drawback of a 30-mpg highway fuel economy rating with an automatic transmission.

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Obituaries
  • Alan J. Walker, 68

    Kingston, N.H. — Mr. Alan James Walker, 68, passed away peacefully at his home on July 8, 2014, after a long, brave battle with cancer.

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  • James Reese

    Raymond, NH — James Edwin Reese, 74, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Raymond, N.H. He was the son of John and Ruth Reese, born on Oct. 29, 1939 in Edensburg, Pa. James graduated from Central Cambria High School in Pennsylvania before proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a food inspector. His military service was followed by 31 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector. Mr. Reese was an avid outdoorsman and spent much of his time fishing, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. He became involved in the Boy Scouts and enjoyed passing on his vast knowledge of the wilderness to others. Throughout his retirement years he enjoyed woodworking, raising rabbits and working in his garden.

    Continued ...
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  • Velma J. Reid

    South Hampton, NH — Velma J. Reid, 80, died peacefully on July 17, 2014 at Exeter Hospital, surrounded by family. She was born in Haverhill, Mass. on June 8, 1934, the daughter of the late George C.W. and Alta I. (Kimball) Haynes. A graduate of Haverhill High School, Velma worked at Western Electric until she had children. For years, she was a devoted “stay-at-home” mom who raised her three children in a loving, nurturing environment. She later worked various manufacturing jobs until her retirement. After retiring, she volunteered her time at various organizations and was very involved at the East Kingston Community United Methodist Church as a member of the women’s guild, assisting with the holiday fair, and helping out wherever she could. She had a passion for animals, and would donate money, food, and blankets to the NH SPCA. She loved to sew and made a personalized quilt for every member of her family. She was also a member of the “Ugly Quilts” group, which made blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless using recycled fabric. She is survived by her husband, Clyde Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; daughter, Pam Eaton of Danville, N.H.; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Kim Reid of Raymond, N.H.; daughter, Shirley Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; two sisters, Gwen Stuart of Haverhill, and Norma Taplin of Dracut; four grandchildren, Cheryl and Marc Welch, and Kristen and Joshua Reid, and several nieces and nephews.

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  • Carleen A. Knowlton, 80

    Danville, NH — Carleen A. (Rhoadhouse) Knowlton, 80, of Danville and formerly of Hampstead, died on July 7, 2014, at her home.

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  • Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84

    Kingston, NH — Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84, a resident of Kingston since 2001, and former longtime resident of Grafton, Mass., died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on July 11, 2014, following a long illness.

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