So, you like muscle cars? Then you've come to the right place. In today's comparison guide, we pit the iconic Ford Mustang against the equally iconic Dodge Charger. Both got their start in the heyday of the 1960s. Both are American-made muscle cars, sometimes repurposed as high-powered performance cars. Finally, both fire the imagination with their long history of automotive excellence, though not without a few bumps in the road. Which is the better overall muscle car today? We'll take you through the talking points and crown a winner.
Exterior: 2018 Ford Mustang
Both cars are immediately recognizable, each with a very distinctive look. Obviously, the Mustang is a two-door while the Charger is a four-door. Of necessity, that makes the Charger longer, by about a foot, and three inches taller. If you're a family man, the Charger makes more sense. But if you're just going for aesthetics, we prefer the Mustang.
Simply put, the 2018 Ford Mustang is neo-retro. It has plenty of throwbacks that'll remind you of the original Mustang cars of the ‘60s, but the 2018 has also been modernized to look even bolder, more aggressive. Both of these cars look stunning, but you have to admit that the Charger is the wallflower of the two.
Under the Hood: 2018 Ford Mustang
Buy the most affordable 2018 Mustang and you're still getting a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged inline-4 engine that generates an impressive 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the base engine for the 2018 Charger is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, making up to 300 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque. That's a step down from what the Mustang offers.
Go up a trim level or two and we find two other engines to compare. In this Mustang, it's the improved 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine, which now produces 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Again, the Mustang engine is better than the comparable Dodge Charger engine, which offers a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, generating 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. At this level, the Mustang gives you the pulse-pounding numbers you crave.
If you step up to the very best engine each car can offer, the tables turn. The top-tier Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat boasts a 6.2-liter Hemi SRT Hellcat V8. This engine generates a dizzying 707 horsepower and astounding 650 lb-ft of torque. But the price is pretty steep: $65,000. That's no longer an affordable muscle car though. If you have the cash, by all means, go for the Hellcat. The rest of us are better off with the more affordable, more powerful Mustang options.
Pricing: 2018 Ford Mustang
It wouldn't be a true muscle car if the average Joe and Jane couldn't afford it. The 2018 Ford Mustang has a lower starting price and lower price ceiling than the Dodge Charger. (And with the Hellcat engine, it's no wonder!) The base Mustang costs just $25,680, while the starting Charge is $28,995. The very best road-oriented Mustang, the Shelby GT350, at $57,240, is more than $10,000 less than the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. So, buy the Mustang and let your teenager take it for a spin every now and again. You know you'd want your dad to do the same for you when you were young.