and Motor Trend, let’s break them down even further and see which 2010 model stands alone as the muscle-bound king of the mountain.
Powertrain: Starting with the V6, the 4.0L offered by Ford doesn’t possess the hp or the torque that the 3.5L in the Challenger does. The same seems to go for the V8s. The 4.6L V8 in the Mustang doesn’t match up to either of the V8s offered in the Dodge, the 5.7L or the 6.1L Hemi. Remember though, these are 2010 stats and Ford has upped their V8 power in the 2011 models with a 5.0L V8 pushing more than 400 ponies. Recognizing that flaw does earn the ‘Stang some extra points. Fuel efficiency is even, as is the five-speed automatic transmission in both.
Braking/Safety/Handling: Both models scored perfect in frontal crash test ratings, but the Mustang scored only four stars in the side impact rear test. It did, however, get five stars in the rollover rating where Dodge earned only four. The tug of war continues. The Brembo brake package that comes as an option in the Challenger is a leg up for Dodge. Not only does it increase braking performance, it keeps the brake pads closer to the rotors in wet surface driving, limiting the amount of water collected between the surfaces. Handling on either is respectable but the Dodge is the heavier of the two vehicles and it is noticeable.
Cargo/Hauling: While neither vehicle was built for family adventuring, the Challenger boasts an impressive trunk capacity at 16.2 cubic feet. That’s larger than many luxury sedans. The coupe model of the Mustang is good for 12.3 cubic feet, but the convertible shrinks that number down to 9.7 cubes.
Winner: Dodge Challenger
Comfort/Interior: While both models offer the sleek, dynamic exterior of their classis predecessors, the interior of the Dodge is rather bland. It’s characteristics and features are equivalent to what you’d find in a lower-version Charger. The material quality is sound and the seats are still very comfortable. The Mustang prides itself on interior superiority. A retro design and very high-quality materials make a noticeably elegant cabin, and the GT’s seats are some of the most comfortable around.
Amenities/Options: Though Ford is becoming known for some of the best high-tech gadgetry around, don’t write Dodge off just yet. The Challenger offers such amenities as a 13-speaker premium audio system with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, satellite radio with iPod integration, auto-dimming rearview mirror, sunroof, xenon headlights, heated from seats, Bluetooth, and a very nostalgic Mopar trim package. The Mustang adds a Rear Axle Package and stability control for those who want to feel a little more sport from their sport car.
Value for the $: The MSRP for the Mustang starts at $21,395, and the Challenger begins at $23,245. Though Ford does offer more trim levels, you’re going to pay more for the Hemi if you go with Dodge. The Challenger SRT8 can run the MSRP up to $41,230, while the Mustang will top out at $36,395 for the convertible.
Winner: This is one of the closest calls any car buyer would have to make. Both vehicles offer their own brand of style and performance. If you’re buying on price alone, the Mustang is the clear winner. However, Dodge does offer a better feel of the classic nostalgic muscle car experience. As long as you’re willing to pay for it.