It was originally introduced as a replacement for the Dodge Dart, and — in response to the 1970s oil crisis — was designed to be a more fuel-efficient alternative to larger cars.
Available in both 2-door and 4-door body styles, they offered a few different four-cylinder engines, including a 1.6-liter inline-four and a 2.2-liter inline-four. The Omni used the Chrysler K platform, and was very similar to the Plymouth Horizon.
In the 1970s, other small cars in the same market included the Ford Mustang & Ford Capri, Buick Skyhawk, Chevrolet Monza Sport, Olds Starfire, Pontiac Sunbird, and the Honda Accord. By the 80s, there was also competition from the Ford Escort, Nissan Sentra, and Toyota Tercel.
What people loved about the car: its compact size, the fuel efficiency, and handling. On the minus side of the column, the little Dodge had a super bare-bones interior, and lacked the amenities of many of its rivals. (That said, in the early 80s, the Omni was updated with new exterior styling and several mechanical improvements.)
Still, they are remembered fondly by many… even if there are very few left on the roads. But here, you can see what they looked like when they were new and in pristine condition!
Dodge Omni’s tops (1978)
Motor Trend magazine thinks so. Which is why Dodge Omni became Motor Trend Car of the Year.
Veteran car critics and testers have been reporting some very nice things about Omni. Like the confident feel of its front-wheel drive. And the kind of space front-wheel drive gives Omni’s occupants. So, the nations automotive press also thinks so.
We think you’re going to think Omnis tops, too. Because Omni can get so much done… lots more in fact…than it did for the car experts. We say that because it will take thousands of miles around the town and out in the country to put Omni to its truest test. With you at the wheel.
Ms Omni. Dodge Omni cars from 1978
Considering what’s happening to American lifestyles, looks like Omni couldn’t have come along at a better time. There’s so much about Omni that’s bound to attract today’s woman.
Yep, Ms. America is going to find Omni easy to get along with.
Our engineers have designed in plenty of suspension “jounce” travel — so Omni’s supple suspension handles the bumps with extraordinary smoothness. They’ve given the same kind of attention to handling. Omni’s front-wheel drive combines with rack-and-pinion steering to offer a stable, precise feel of the road. A long-distance weekend is a snap in Omni.
Omni makes a very willing companion in so many other ways, too. It’s roomy. It has four doors to make rides easier to share. It’ll hold a week’s groceries in its 10.2 cubic feet of cargo area with the seat up. And over three times that when the seat is folded down. Plenty of space for plants, chairs, tents, backpacks. And friends.
The Spirit is willing. And able. (1979)
Do you get the feeling the Omni 024 should be poised at the end of a runway? Ready for takeoff. It’s understandable. But the fact is, the surface really doesn’t matter.
The 024’s front-wheel drive sees to that. Rain or snow, the bite is there. So’s the precision you get from the rack-and-pinion steering. And the stopping power from the 024’s front disc/rear drum brake system. Suspension? Independent all around. A little like your thinking.
Ready to lift off in your 2+2? If you’ve got a lot of gear, lower the back seat and put it there. Now climb behind the wheel and let the Omni 024 spirit you away from it all.
Classic ’79 Dodge Omni 4-door with premium package
Dodge Omni 024 sport coupe (1979)
The competition is still on the drawing board: First American sport coupe with front-wheel drive and transverse engine.
More cargo volume with rear seat folded down than Mustang, Capri, Monza Sport, Starfire, Skyhawk, Sunbird, Honda Accord (according to M.V.N.A. Cargo Volume Index).
Power hatchback release standard; either not offered or an extra-cost option on domestic cars mentioned above.
AM/FM radio and white sidewall radial tires standard; optional on domestic cars mentioned.
More interior room than Monza Sport, Celica GT Liftback, or VW Scirocco, according to EPA.
1983 Dodge Omni car ad
We were first. We think that as America enters the age of front-wheel drive efficiency, you should know where it all began.
With Dodge Omni, America’s first domestic-built, fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive car. The idea behind Omni was to design a car that’s rugged, doesn’t cost much, gets high mileage, is roomy, comfortable, lasts long, and is front-wheel-drive.
A lot of other car makers liked the idea. But while they’re busy copying their little hearts out, they’re missing the point: Value.
While others play catch up to the original idea, we’ve expanded upon it. We’ve made Omni even better for ‘83. For less money. We’ve added 13 important new standard features such as power brakes, reclining bucket seats, and halogen headlamps.
Until somebody catches on and copies our value, get in your car, buckle up, and head for your nearest Dodge dealer to cither buy or lease. Let him show you the original, not an imitation. It’s called Omni. Always has been.
1985 Dodge Omni GLH: No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Omni GLH. We turned a mild-mannered economy car into one of the fastest production cars in the world.
This little hummer contains the same high-output 2.2 engine we introduced in our Shelby Charger (and it’s now available with a Garrett-turbocharged engine that’ll increase its horsepower by a whopping 32%).
So it snuffs performers like VW’s ‘84 GTI and Chevy’s ’84 228 with a 0-50 time of 5.75 seconds or less. And gets back from 50 to 0 in an incredible 2.38 seconds.
GLH also handles corners with super-fast 14-to-1 steering, special Shelby suspension, and new, bigger rear brakes inside of new 15-inch Shelby cast-aluminum wheels.
All this is covered by our famous 5 year/50,000-mile warranty. And by an aura that is making Omni GLH the world’s newest cult car.
Retro Dodge Omni America ad from 1989
The simple advantages of owning an Omni: It’s simple. Just compare Omni America against Escort LX 4-Door, Sentra FE, 4-Door or Tercel DLX 5-Door.
None of them can beat Omni when it comes to standard features and good honest value for the money. Dodge Omni America. It’s simply the right one to pick.