As part of its revised, five-year plan, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced in January that it will end production of its smallest sedan, the compact Dodge Dart.

Along with the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan, the Dart will be phased out rather than replaced, to free up production capacity for trucks and SUVs.

Before that happens, though, FCA is making some changes to the 2016 Dodge Dart lineup midway through the model year.

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The number of Dart trim levels has been cut from five to three in an effort to simplify the model lineup. Both the entry-level SE and the pricey Limited high-end version are gone.

The three remaining models are the new base Dart SXT Sport, a mid-level Dart Turbo, and the range-topping Dart GT Sport.

The Dart SXT Sport includes more standard equipment than the defunct SE base model, effectively raising the car's base price.

2016 Dodge Dart

2016 Dodge Dart

The SE started at $17,690, while the SXT Sport starts at $18,990 (all prices include destination).

But the SXT Sport incorporates several features that were optional on the SE, including remote keyless entry, active grille shutters, voice control, a USB port, and steering-wheel mounted audio controls.

A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque is the only offering on the SXT Sport.

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It drives the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic transmissions.

Because Dodge has also eliminated its Dart Aero model, the 6-speed dual-clutch transmission is no longer available.

However, the Aero's 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine lives on in the Dart Turbo, but only with a 6-speed manual.

2016 Dodge Dart

2016 Dodge Dart

This engine produces the same 160 hp as the naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter, but more torque, at 184 lb-ft.

In the Aero, that combination yielded EPA fuel-economy ratings of 28 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, 32 mpg combined—hardly at the top of its segment.

Aside from the turbocharged engine, the Dart Turbo is mainly differentiated by cosmetic add-ons, including a "sport-appearance" hood, 17-inch wheels, and dual exhaust tips.

RELATED: 2014 Dodge Dart Dumps Dual-Clutch Automatic, Except On Aero Model (May 2014)

Finally, the Dart GT Sport gets the larger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine previously offered on upper-level Dart models, with 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

It produces 184 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque.

The Dart GT Sport also adds features like a 10-way power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, backup camera, and Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system with 8.4-inch touchscreen display.

2016 Dodge Dart

2016 Dodge Dart

Dodge will begin taking dealer orders for the revised 2016 Dart lineup this month.

The current Dart debuted for the 2013 model year as the first new vehicle from the combined Fiat and Chrysler companies.

It received lukewarm reviews at the time, and has never sold well.

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Sales this year are down by roughly one third over the same period last year.

While all compact sedans are struggling as buyers flee to small crossover SUVs, more established competitors like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla have not seen anything like the Dart's decline in sales.

Emboldened by last year's low gas prices and high demand for SUVs, FCA has concluded that it can marginalize its car lineup and focus on its much more successful truck lines.


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