2019 Honda Civic Si vs. 2019 Dodge Challenger

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Si deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic Si’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Challenger’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigation Braking System optional in the Civic Si as “Superior.” The Challenger scores only 1 point and is rated only “Basic.”

Both the Civic Si and the Challenger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda Civic Si is safer than the Dodge Challenger:

 

Civic Si

Challenger

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

20%

28%

Neck Stress

176 lbs.

195 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

192/350 lbs.

67/568 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Stress

131 lbs.

180 lbs.

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

73 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Honda Civic Si Coupe is safer than the Challenger:

 

Civic Si

Challenger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

8 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

21 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.50/.62

1.46/1.01

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performs roof strength tests. In that test the Civic Si earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the Civic Si’s weight before being crushed five inches. The Challenger was rated lower at “Acceptable.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Civic Si is safer than the Challenger:

 

Civic Si

Challenger

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

30 mm

61 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

Max Neck Shearing Force

0

83

Max Neck Tension

211

456

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Civic Si the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Challenger was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Civic Si’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Challenger runs out after 60,000 miles.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the Civic Si has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Challenger.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Civic Si’s reliability 23 points higher than the Challenger.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Honda 15 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Civic Si gets better fuel mileage than the Challenger V6 RWD (28 city/38 hwy vs. 19 city/30 hwy). The Civic Si gets better fuel mileage than the Challenger R/T Manual (28 city/38 hwy vs. 15 city/23 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Civic Si uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Challenger R/T manual requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Civic Si has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Challenger doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Civic Si stops much shorter than the Challenger:

 

Civic Si

Challenger

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

109 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Civic Si’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Challenger SXT’s standard 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Civic Si’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Challenger doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Civic Si Coupe handles at .97 G’s, while the Challenger SXT pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Honda Civic Si may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 950 to 1600 pounds less than the Dodge Challenger.

The Civic Si Coupe is 1 foot, 8.1 inches shorter than the Challenger, making the Civic Si easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Civic Si is 5.9 inches narrower on average than the Challenger, making the Civic Si easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

For excellent aerodynamics, the Civic Si has standard flush composite headlights. The Challenger has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Civic Si Coupe is quieter than the Challenger SRT Hellcat:

 

Civic Si

Challenger

At idle

40 dB

59 dB

Full-Throttle

84 dB

87 dB

70 MPH Cruising

72 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space

The Civic Si Coupe has .3 inches more front legroom, 2.8 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear hip room than the Challenger.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Civic Si easier. The Civic Si’s trunk lift-over height is 26.8 inches, while the Challenger’s liftover is 33.2 inches.

Ergonomics

The Civic Si’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Dodge does not offer a locking feature on the Challenger’s standard power windows.

The Civic Si’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Challenger’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Civic Si the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Challenger can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Civic Si has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Challenger doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Model Availability

The Honda Civic Si comes in coupe and sedan bodystyles; the Dodge Challenger isn’t available as a sedan.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Civic Si is less expensive to operate than the Challenger because it costs $207 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Civic Si than the Challenger, including $638 less for a muffler, $264 less for front brake pads, $14 less for fuel injection, $209 less for a fuel pump, $63 less for front struts, $101 less for a timing belt/chain and $753 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic Si will be $4857 to $48214 less than for the Dodge Challenger.

Recommendations

The Civic Si was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Challenger has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 22 years. The Challenger has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The Challenger has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Dodge Challenger by over five to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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