Two monster muscle cars of yesteryear -- the Camaro and Challenger -- have returned to their respective lineups in recent years and they are set to take each other on for many years to come. Both models feature styling cues from their predecessors and both pack a mean wallop at all levels, including base trims. So, which of these classically-styled modern day muscle cars comes out on top?
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 -- or 372 horsepower with an automatic transmission. The Challenger peaks at 470 horsepower from a 6.4-liter V8 engine in its SRT8 garb. Additionally, the SRT8 Core package allows buyers to get the SRT8’s performance without the high-end features for under $40,000.
Why Buy a Challenger?
Though the Challenger is out-muscled by the Camaro, it does excel in a certain area: The Challenger, with its true retro styling, is great for old-school muscle car enthusiasts who crave the segment's pure tradition. Additionally, the Challenger has a more comfortable interior and a slightly better ride than the Camaro.
Verdict: Chevrolet Camaro
You can talk about comfort and features until you're blue in the face, but it all pales in comparison to the importance of muscle in this segment. This is exactly why the Camaro beats out the Challenger, besting the Dodge's power and performance at each trim level.