The 2015 models will soon be in dealer showrooms which means one very important thing. Soon you can get a very good deal on a 2014 model as dealers try to clear out their stock.
So, if you have been wanting a modern American muscle car it may be coming to the time to make that purchase. To help you decide if you should buy a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, 2014 Ford Mustang or a 2014 Dodge Challenger we recently did some undercover recon for you.
We went to multiple dealerships to test drive each car and also got a feel for the different dealerships. So, we had the hard task of driving these machines, life is tough (well we did have to put up with some of the sales people which isn’t always the best).
So, how are they? All three cars are pretty good to drive on the road, but the Challenger felt like the best quality vehicle (more on that in a bit).
First lets start by talking about the Ford Mustang. 2014 is the last year that the car will have a live rear-axle, making it possible that these cars could become valuable some day (just need to save it for 50 years). The GT is a very quick car and because it is lighter than say the Challenger, it would be quicker than it on a track. Having said that on the road there was no real noticeable difference in performance between the cars (largely thanks to stop and go traffic).
The big problem that the Mustang has is build quality. Of the three cars it felt the least solid and the interior of the base model was very plasticky. If you up you trim level things do get better, but it still doesn’t live up to the Camaro or Challenger. If you want a Mustang wait for the 2015 as it will likely be a much better vehicle, and from what we have seen build quality has gone up some, but we will have to get our hands on one to really tell.
For the Camaro things were a bit better than the Mustang. The car felt more solid and it was still very quick. We checked out the SS model with a higher trim level which made things feel better. However, some things like the body colored door card inserts looked like they may not hold up well over the long haul.
Driving the car is very good. It felt a bit faster than the Mustang GT, and the car was pretty nimble on the road, but it didn’t feel quite as solid as the Dodge. Plus with the recent recall issues that GM has had, our confidence in build quality is a little on the shaky side.
Last, but not least was the Dodge Challenger. This is a massive car that is the same length as most mid-sized sedans. This helps make it a very practical performance car. When test driving I had my six year old and three year old in the back seat with my wife and I in the front. I’m 5′ 10″ and my wife is 5′ 3″ and are children fit back there with room to spare ( but if you are 6′ 3″ this may not be the care). In fact it was about the same amount of space as they had in the back of a 2006 VW Jetta that we once owned.
The back seat also has features like rear air vents and the seat belts are bolted to the frame making then more secure. The rear area leg room is almost 4 inches longer than the two other cars, meaning an adult could actually sit back there without cursing at you the entire time.
The practicality continues in the trunk where you could fit at least two bodies (not that I recommend that). Because of its massive sized and strong construction it weighs considerably more than its other muscle car counterparts. You are basically carrying around half of a Lotus Elise with you, so it isn’t quite as fast or nimble as the other two cars.
That being said the performance didn’t feel like it lagged and in the higher V8 models it felt like more than enough for a street car. You add this to the fact that at all trim levels the Challenger felt like it was made of better quality materials and was more solid and you have a winner.
For me I would buy the Challenger and am planning on doing just that. I’m not selling my Porsche, but with all the space in the back am seriously considering it as a family performance car.
Of course the dealership does make the shopping experience better. The Dodge dealership we visited was an SRT certified dealership and the higher service level showed. The people were helpful and knew all about the cars and the shopping experience was closer to what I have experienced at high end dealerships such as Porsche.
With the Ford and Chevy it was a little more typical of the high pressure sales experience. Having said this, I have bought from Ford dealerships (not GM, at least yet, but if I get a Corvettee…) that were not high pressure, so it could just be the dealerships that we visited.
So, if you want a new muscle car and don’t mind last year’s model, you can save some cash if you buy right after the 2015’s get on the lot.
Picture Source: R.c.carpenter