(By Tom Lohnes) – Being stuck in quarantine, I will do anything to pass time (Digital school starts this week – ed). What I do the most though, is go onto car configurators and spec the cars I dream about out as I wish. Today I decided that I would compare the American sport coupes or pony-cars, muscle cars whatever you want to call them. We will be comparing different models of the Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro, and Ford Mustang. Starting at the base model and going up, the best deal will win. Welcome to configurator battle.
Round one: Muscle cars.
Starting at the trim no one wants, the base model. The Mustang and Camaro are both powered by turbocharged four-bangers, while the Dodge is powered by FCA’s tried and true Pentastar V6. The Dodge is automatic only, as the Camaro and Mustang are both offered with manual transmissions. The Mustang Ecoboost starts at $26,670, fully loaded up, every option ticked, costs $38,958. The Camaro 1LS starts at $25,995 and the way I have it configured, with the fully loaded version coming in at $35,575. The big Dodge starts at a more expensive $28,095, and loaded comes in at a heavy $39,140.
But who really wants that trim? Let’s go ahead and upgrade to the midrange trims: The Challenger R/T, Camaro LT1, and Mustang GT non-premium. All powered by some form of V8 engine, these cars deliver big on fun and don’t break the bank. The Mustang GT starts at $35,630 and has a 435 horsepower, 5.0-liter Coyote V8. Fully loaded, the Mustang tips the scales at $49,270. The Camaro LT1, is powered by GM’s LT1 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 with 455 horsepower and the same in torque. The LT1 starts at $34,995 and comes fully loaded at $48,900. The Dodge Challenger R/T is the weakest of the bunch. Its 5.7-liter Hemi V8 “only” produces 395 horsepower, but starts at only $34,545. The fully loaded R/T would cost you $49,605.
Then there’s the top of the line, supercharged monsters. The Shelby GT500 packs a 5.2-liter Supercharged V8 making 760 horsepower but is only available in dual-clutch automatic form. The GT500 starts at $72,900, but can be optioned all the way up to an eye-watering $105,990. The Camaro ZL1, with its supercharged LT4 V8 making 650 horsepower and the same in torque and starts at $63,445, almost $10,000 cheaper than the Shelby. Fully loaded, the Camaro comes in at $74,830, a whole $31,000 cheaper than the ‘Stang. The Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody is the most mental of the pack. It produces 797 horsepower and is a burnout god. The Redeye widebody starts at $77,945 and tops out at $80,261.
Which is the best deal? I’m on team Camaro. It’s bang-for-your-buck is impossible to ignore and it houses the roar of a small block Chevy. The Mustang and Challenger are great, but the Camaro comes out on top for value in my book. Now, if only my dad would go shopping for one.