The Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger embrace every bit of American culture that they can. Never mind the Australian, German or Italian lineage lurking underneath these models, the two cars ooze the essence of muscle cars from the '60s and '70s heyday. Sure, they major on looks and speed, but one also adds a degree of performance cred, while the other is more comfortable and livable than you might think.
See a side-by-side comparison of the Camaro & Challenger >>
What the Camaro Gets Right
Chevrolet clearly spent painstaking hours designing a Camaro that looks like a modern version of a late-1960s Camaro. The standard 18-inch wheels and four-wheel independent suspension give it a leg up, and the 1LE handling package allows it to hold more than 1 g of lateral acceleration.
Under the hood, the Camaro leads the pack with a base 3.6-liter V6 that pumps out 323 horsepower. From there, it moves up to a 426-horsepower -- 400-horsepower with an automatic transmission -- 6.2-liter V8 in the SS models. The Camaro caps off with a 580-horsepower supercharged V8 engine in its ZL1 trim. The latter two engines allow for 5-second and 4.4-second 0-to-60 mph sprints, respectively.
What the Challenger Gets Right
The Challenger comes in with retro styling too, but its lack of a modern twist makes it more marketable to classic car enthusiasts. Inside, the Challenger features a clean and refined cabin that includes plenty of high-end standard features like automatic climate control, a six-way power driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Under the hood, the Challenger is competent from the base level with its entry-level V6 that produces 306 horsepower. Moving up the lineup to the R/T trim level, Dodge throws in a 5.7-liter V8 engine with a peak output of 376 horsepower. The R/T Scat Pack and SRT get 485 horsepower from a 6.4-liter V8 engine. And then there's the new supercharged Hellcat with 707 horsepower. And while a six-speed manual is standard on most V8s, the eight-speed automatic is a thoroughly modern and refined tool for getting power down.
Why Buy a Challenger?
Well, practicality for a start. Neither is accommodating, but the Challenger has a usable back seat and a nicer interior compared to the Camaro's sea of black plastic. Its UConnect system is also more easy to use than the system in the Chevy. But the Challenger is a big car, and it has to work harder in anything but a straight line than a Camaro has to.
Verdict: Chevrolet Camaro
You can talk about comfort and features, but you're not exactly buying a grand tourer, are you? The Camaro is the performance car winner here because it does more than straight lines well. Couple that with its reduced mass and greater power over most Challenger trim levels, and it makes more sense for those into going fast.