Technically these two vehicles have wildly different classifications: compact for the Ford Mustang and large car for the Dodge Charger. However, who would consider either one anything other than a muscle car? These cars are meant for speed, fun, and grown-up excitement.
The Ford Mustang is the iconic American sports car, with tire-smoking pony-car thrills, but it has also become quite sophisticated as it's grown up over the years. The Dodge Charger may lean slightly more towards the family car spectrum, but the V8 under the hood makes it an exhilarating ride.
When you’re talking muscle cars, you have to think about differences in performance first. The Mustang delivers raw 5.0-liter power with a much improved V8 version for this model year. The Dodge Charger’s V8 is thrilling but very, very thirsty – and the V8 models don’t tend to ride as well as some of the other versions due to firmer suspension. The 3.7-liter V6 engine on the base Mustang model is slightly larger than the 3.6-liter V6 on the Charger. As such performance will be further offset by the Charger’s heavier body and the fact that the Mustang delivers a higher net torque of 280 @ 4250 RPM, versus Charger’s 260 @ 4800. Quarter-mile time for the Mustang is a whole 1.2 seconds faster and it delivers 104 mph in that ¼ mile; while the Charger will be left in the dust at only 94 mph. The Mustang gets from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds versus a still-respectable 6.4 for the Charger.
Both the Mustang and the Charger have all of the accoutrements that you would expect from a mid-range machine: power seats and mirrors, plus a host of infotainment features. A voice recorder and adjustable pedals are both available on Charger and not on the Mustang. The seating in the Mustang can be a little challenging, especially in the back seat which was clearly only made for two people. The Charger’s back seat is a fair bit larger and the car will seat up to five passengers with a 60/40 back seat split. Heated front seats keep the driver toasty warm, but only in the Charger.
If you’re looking for a modern muscle car you’re going to want the Mustang for its sporty nature, but if you want to have something that has oomph but can still pick up the kids from school with ease, then the Charger is a solid option.