If today's compact car segment is a party, it's a good one.
Nearly every automaker is attending; the room is packed with plenty of attractive models that are worth spending some time with. This is a crowd in which even the few Debbie Downers and malcontents are due for updates soon.
Conspicuously absent from this soiree has been Dodge. Its previous offering was a hatchback thing called the Caliber, as in "Boy, this is a really low-caliber product." To no one's disappointment, it left the party in 2011. But now Dodge has returned for the 2013 model year. And this time, it brought along its Italian majority-owner Fiat.