Younger car buyers have no memory of original Dodge Dart, which is just as well since the new model deserves to be evaluated with a clean mental slate. It's a formidable midsize sedan developed in conjunction with Chrysler's Italian connection, Fiat.
The Honda Civic needs no introduction. It's a perennial favorite of buyers who want economical transportation with a touch of sophistication. With the introduction of the 10th-generation model, the Civic joins the Dart in the small end of the midsize pool. With its redesign also comes new powertrains, a more upscale look, and plenty of roominess.
How does the resurrected Dart stack up against the familiar Honda?
What the Dart Gets Right
The Dart, while one of the larger cars in its class, is plenty agile for most drivers. Its precise steering makes whipping in and out of traffic a breeze while its sporty suspension is a willing dance partner.
The Dart also meets the needs of most buyers with an easy-to-use infotainment system that has unusually flat learning curve. What’s more, its cabin is relatively spacious.
Powertrain options are plentiful for the Dart, and all three options are more potent that the non-Type R Civic’s powerplants. This lineup includes a 160-horsepower 2-liter, a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo, and a 2.4-liter with 184 ponies.
What the Civic Gets Right
The Civic received a complete redesign in 2016, bringing in an Accord-inspired front end, a fastback look for the sedan and coupe, and a roomier cabin. The latter puts the new Civic in the same midsize class as the Dart, but the Honda actually has 2 extra inches of rear-seat legroom and an extra 2 cubic feet of storage in its trunk.
Those looking for more versatility can opt for the new Civic Hatchback with a whopping 122 cubic feet of total interior room.
Though the Civic’s powertrains lack the top-end horsepower of the Dart, they offer better fuel economy across the board, And the Civic’s 1.5-liter turbocharged engine actually delivers better acceleration than the Dart’s range-topping 2.4-liter.
Finally, the Civic earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation.
Who Darts to This Dodge?
Pound for pound, the Civic is better than the Dart, but this Dodge does have a select group of fans. Younger folks who desire a sportier look and feel will love the Dart and its lower base price.
Our Verdict: Honda Civic
The Civic is just too versatile to compare to the Dart. Its powertrains deliver more spirited performance and better fuel economy while its look is more sophisticated. Additionally, more established buyers are sure to favor its larger cabin and trunk.