Friday, July 15, 2016

Compact Sedan Comparison Test: Toyota Corolla vs. Dodge Dart

May 16, 2016

is literally the best-selling car of all time, with more than 43 million sold in the past 50 years. This kind of success doesn't come easy, however, so when Dodge recently brought back the Dart compact, some folks may have wondered if the Corolla's sales crown was in jeopardy. Well, it's not. A few years into the Dart's lifecycle, the Corolla continues to provide benefits the Dodge can't match, and in some of the areas that are most important for shoppers.

For example, compact sedans like the Corolla have become more and more popular with young families, but some rivals, like the Dart, actually aren't that comfortable for family members in the second row. The Dodge allows just 35.2 inches of space for back-seat occupants to stretch their legs, while the Corolla comes in with what Toyota claims is a best-in-class 41.4 inches. Of course, the front row does just fine as well, thanks to 42.3 inches of legroom that also rates as best in class.

Nor does the Corolla disappoint in terms of fuel economy, which is another important reason people choose compact cars. The entry-level Corolla sets the pace with a noticeable 2-mpg advantage in combined driving as compared to the Dodge; with the standard engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Toyota owns an even wider 5-mpg lead for combined travel. Of course, the Corolla also has higher peak EPA grades than the Dart. The Corolla LE Eco, the most fuel-efficient model, checks in with ratings of 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway/35 mpg combined, and that's 2 mpg/2 mpg/3 mpg better than the most efficient Dodge competition. When cruising on the freeway, it also translates into an extra 40 miles of driving range for Corolla drivers

Toyota plans on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Corolla with additional upgrades, too. Now, they'll be for the new model year, but because of automaker conventions, the 2017 Corolla actually comes to dealerships later this year. (If you're counting birthdays, Corolla sales first kicked off in Japan in November of 1966; 1968 marked the U.S. launch of the car.)

Perhaps most notable for the new Corolla will be a major boost in driver-assistance technologies, which will include a standard rearview camera and the Toyota Safety Sense-P system. Available for all Corolla grades, so that all owners can access Toyota's top occupant-protection features, this setup bundles:
  • A pre-collision system with a specific pedestrian-detection capability
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-departure alert with automatic steering assistance
  • Automatic high beams
It's also worth pointing out that, first, those headlights will rely on LED illumination, and second, the Dart delivers neither a comparable safety package nor LED headlamps.

Needless to say, only one car is leveraging its long track record of satisfying customers by introducing a 50th anniversary special edition this year. That would be the Corolla, with luxury cues like 17-inch machine-finished alloy wheels, complex-LED headlamps, a black interior with Black Cherry accents, and tech toys like Entune Audio Plus with a 7-inch high-res touchscreen and the Scout GPS link app for app-based navigation.

*All vehicle mileage based on 2016 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.


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