- The Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro are direct competitors in American muscle cars.
- The Challenger is bigger than the Camaro and has a more usable back seat.
- Both cars offer a wide range of engine options for every taste and budget.
If you’re in the market for a 2-door American muscle car, then there’s a good chance the Chevy Camaro and the Dodge Challenger have both caught your eye. Both of these cars offer striking style and incredible power, especially when you get into the higher-performance trims.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences and similarities between the Challenger and the Camaro and see which one is right for you.
Both of these cars have their own distinct personalities that are shown off with their unique exterior designs. The Challenger has a more retro look, with an aesthetic that is a clear throwback to the Challenger of the early 1970s, but with a modern twist. The Camaro has a shape that’s reminiscent of its early predecessors, but it has an overall more modern look than its Dodge rival.
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The Challenger is a bigger car than the Camaro, being 10 inches longer, one inch wider, and up to 5 inches taller than the Chevy. The Camaro is a smaller, lighter car, which contributes to its excellent agility, but the larger size of the Challenger gives it some benefits that we’ll get into shortly.
Another big difference between these two cars is the fact that the Camaro is available as either a coupe or a convertible, while the Challenger has no convertible option.
Neither of these cars is particularly luxurious on the inside, but they both have stylish, functional interiors and roomy, comfortable front seats. The Camaro has a flat-bottom steering wheel and unique ventilation controls, while the Challenger has a good interior, but nothing spectacular to make it stand out.
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One big benefit that comes with the Challenger’s larger size is a much more usable back seat. The Camaro has four seats, and the back seats are extremely cramped. The Challenger, however, seats up to five with a bench back seat with significantly more legroom than the Camaro. If you want a muscle car and you’re planning on actually using the back seats occasionally, your passengers would greatly appreciate the Dodge over the Chevy. The Challenger also has a much bigger trunk than the Camaro.
The Camaro and the Challenger both have four engines available. They also both come standard with rear-wheel drive, and the Challenger is available with all-wheel drive, but only with the base V6 engine.
2020 Dodge Challenger Engines
- 3.6-liter V6 making 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque; 19 miles per gallon in the city/30 mpg hwy
- 5.7-liter V8 making 375 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque; 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy
- 6.4-liter V8 making 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque; 15 mpg city/24 mpg hwy
- 6.2-liter supercharged V8 making 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque (SRT Hellcat); 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque (SRT Hellcat Redeye); 13 mpg city/22 mpg hwy
2020 Chevrolet Camaro Engines
- 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four making 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque; 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy
- 3.6-liter V6 making 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque; 19 mpg city/29 mpg hwy
- 6.2-liter V8 making 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque; 16 mpg city/27 mpg hwy
- 6.2-liter supercharged V8 making 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque; 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy
The base turbocharged 4-cylinder in the Camaro is more efficient than the base V6 in the Challenger while offering less horsepower and more torque. If you upgrade to the V6 in the Camaro, you get better performance numbers than the Challenger’s V6 with almost identical fuel economy.
The 6.2-liter V8 in the Camaro SS is a better engine than the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 in the Challenger R/T. The Challenger offers a bigger 6.4-liter V8, which is a fantastic engine, but if you really want to get serious about performance and money is no object, then upgrading to the supercharged Hellcat or Hellcat Redeye is a must. The supercharged V8 in the Camaro ZL1 is outstanding and incredibly powerful, but it still doesn’t match what Dodge offers on the top end.
Both of these cars benefit from pretty user-friendly infotainment systems. They both come standard with a 7-in unit, and they’re both upgradable to a slightly bigger screen with more features. They both come standard with Android Auto and Apple AAPL, +2.57% CarPlay, but the Camaro has a standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot which can’t be had in the Challenger.
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Neither of these muscle cars offers a lot of standard safety technology outside of a backup camera. Optional driver assistance tech in both cars includes rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and forward-collision warning. The Challenger is available with adaptive cruise control, and the Camaro is available with a head-up display and a rearview camera mirror.
The Camaro is a bit more competitive on price than the Challenger. The Camaro starts at $25,000 and the Challenger starts at $28,095. If you want a V8, the Challenger R/T starts at $34,995, and the more powerful Camaro SS starts at $37,000. If you want to get crazy, the most expensive Camaro you can get is a ZL1 convertible, which starts at $68,000, while the priciest Challenger is the SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody model, starting at $78,295. Both cars have a lot of variety in their respective model ranges, which means there’s a Challenger and a Camaro for every taste and every budget.
Which muscle car is right for you depends on your priorities. If you value sharp handling on the track over muscular, straight-line performance, then you’ll prefer the Camaro over the Challenger. However, if the drag racer in you craves big power in a big car and you want the added practicality of usable back seats, a bigger trunk and available AWD, then the Challenger is the better choice.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.