The interior of the all-new ’13 Dodge Dart should resonate with consumers, according to data compiled by J.D. Power and Associates.

Interior comfort ranks second among vehicle attributes most valued by would-be buyers, says

Mike VanNieuwkuyk, the consultancy’s executive director of global vehicle research.

J.D. Power defines interior comfort as “equipped and laid out in a way I find useful,” VanNieuwkuyk tells WardsAuto as Chrysler releases teaser photos of its coming replacement for the C-segment Dodge Caliber.

Among the Dart’s interior amenties:

  • A “driver-centric” layout to accommodate easy reach.
  • Customizable gauge cluster on a 7-in. (17.8-cm) Thin Film Transistor screen.
  • Comfort-tuned seating and hip and shoulder room Chrysler calls “best in class.”
  • A light pipe surrounding the instrument panel.
  • An 8.4-in. (21.3-cm) touchscreen to activate Chrysler’s UConnect telematics system.

The UConnect screen, which the auto maker says is among the largest in the industry, was a key feature of the ’11 Dodge Charger interior that earned a Ward’s 10 Best Interiorsnod earlier this year.

Only vehicle reliability ranks ahead of interior comfort among the top 10 considerations consumers have when buying a new vehicle, VanNieuwkuyk says. Those attributes also finished No.1 and No.2 in 2010, according to J.D. Power’s acclaimed initial quality appraises new-vehicle performance during the first 90 days of ownership.

“A lot of that is driven by the amount of time we spend in vehicles today,” VanNieuwkuyk says. “These spaces have become living environments.”

Because of traffic congestion, American motorists spends an additional 34 hours in his or her vehicle last year, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2010 Urban Mobility Report.

The Dart, which will be unveiled next month at the Detroit auto show, will be assembled at Chrysler’s plant in Belvidere, IL, former home of the Caliber.

The Dart is based on platform derived from the one that shoulders the acclaimed Alfa Romeo Giulietta compact hatchback.

emayne@wardsauto.com