Flex some muscle in these muscle cars.
Muscle cars first made their appearance in the US market in the 1960s as manufacturers wanted to appeal to a generation of drivers who craved high speeds, power, and excitement. Since then, countless pedigrees have graced the highway and suburban driveways, fulfilling the need for high horsepower and unbridled performance. Muscle cars continue their legacy by providing an exhilarating mix of technology, comfort features, and powertrain options.
Want to add a muscle car to your garage? To help you hone-in on your options, we've compiled a list of the 10 best muscle cars for 2020 shoppers, based on CarMax vehicle sales data from May 1, 2019, to October 31, 2019.
The Dodge Charger proves that driving a full-size sedan isn't boring. It blends four-door practicality with muscle-car good looks and strong engine performance into one solid package that can hold its own whether in the carpool line or on the open road. Anchoring the rear-wheel-drive 2017 Charger SE is a 3.6L V6 that pounds the pavement to make 292 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, but if you need four-season traction, all-wheel drive is available as well. With seating for five passengers and 16.5 cubic feet of cargo volume, the 2017 Charger SE is functional enough for families wanting an ultra-sporty sedan.
Other standard features on the 2017 Charger SE include:
- 17-inch painted aluminum wheels (RWD only)
- Keyless entry and ignition
- Six-way power-adjustable driver seat
- Dual-zone manual temperature control
- Five-inch Uconnect® touchscreen with Bluetooth® connectivity
If you want a muscle car with retro styling and modern power, the 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T is sure to whet your appetite. This two-door coupe sports an exterior design that harkens back to the 60s and 70s, like its double-bulge hood with functional vents, while its wide stance gives it an unmistakable swagger. Power flows from a 5.7L V8, putting out 375 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It all adds up to a genuine sports-car experience.
The 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T comes standard with some slick features, including:
- 20-inch painted aluminum wheels
- Houndstooth sport cloth upholstery
- Performance leather-wrapped steering wheel with vehicle controls
- Uconnect 4 with a seven-inch touchscreen
- Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ capability
- Rear spoiler with back-up camera
In the eighth spot on our list of best muscle cars, we're circling back to the Dodge Charger—but this time to the SXT trim. The 2017 model shares the same four-door sedan body design and 292-horsepower 3.6L V6 as its tenth-place sibling, the SE, but with more high-tech standard features and package options. Anchoring the 2017 Charger SXT's dash is an upgraded 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, along with a premium six-speaker sound system and an extra USB port. Opting for the available Rallye Group package ups the 2017 Charger SXT's power to 300 horsepower, plus you'll experience a more athletic ride with its sport-tuned suspension.
Other standard features on the 2017 Charger SXT include:
- Remote start system
- LED fog lamps
- 18-inch painted aluminum wheels
- Dual-zone automatic temperature control with humidity sensor
- Sport cloth upholstery with mesh interior accents
If you crave a muscle car with tire-shredding prowess, the Chevrolet Camaro SS is a driving enthusiast's dream. 2017 to 2019 models draw power from a 6.2L V8 that's good for 455 horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match—that'll have you shifting gears as fast as a race car driver. You'll also find a mechanical limited-slip differential, four-piston Brembo brakes, and a sport-tuned suspension on the Chevy Camaro SS (2017 to 2019 models), making this muscle car worthy of a day at the track.
2017 to 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS models sport the following standard features:
- 20-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels
- Stanchion rear spoiler
- Four drive modes: snow/ice, tour, sport, and track
- Eight-inch touchscreen display
- Built-in 4G LTE WiFi hotspot1
Hot and spicy performance is the basis of the Dodge Charger R/T. Redesigned for 2019, this model sports an assortment of race-bred chassis upgrades, like standard performance suspension and steering improvements, that make the 2019 Charger R/T prowl more so than drive. Potent power flows from the 5.7L V8 that cranks out 370 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque (2019 models), while a standard active exhaust system gives the Charger its signature growl. The 2019 R/T matches this slick performance with new exterior enhancements, including a performance hood with air induction, styled fascia, and sculpted side sills that add even more muscle to this already muscular car.
With the 2019 Charger R/T, you can expect the following standard features:
- 20-inch Granite Crystal wheels
- Performance rear spoiler
- Cloth performance seats
- Uconnect 4C with 8.4-inch display
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
If you want an iconic muscle car that can heat up the track, the Ford Mustang GT is a fiery option. Anchoring the GT is a 5.0L V8 that puts out 435 horsepower in 2017 models and 460 horsepower in 2018 to 2019 Mustang GTs. A standard dual exhaust with quad tips creates a ferocious, throaty rumble (2018 to 2019 models) and you can even customize the muscle car's exhaust note with the available Active Valve Performance Exhaust System on 2018 to 2019 models.
The 2019 Mustang GT comes standard with some slick exterior features that add to its aggressive stance:
- LED fog lamps
- Raised blade-style decklid spoiler
- Unique high-gloss black-painted grille
- Larger brake rotors with four-piston front calipers
- Unique rear valance
Back on our list of the best muscle cars for 2020 shoppers is the Dodge Challenger SXT. This 2018-to-2019 base-level coupe runs off a powerful Pentastar® V6 and TorqueFlite® eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver 305 horsepower and an estimated 30 mpg on the highway.2 Craving some on-road thrills? Engaging the Sport Mode, which comes standard on 2018 to 2019 Challenger SXT models, provides sharper throttle responses and modified shifting for an enhanced driving experience.
2018 to 2019 SXT models also sport a standard performance suspension, along with these features:
- 18-inch cast-aluminum wheels
- Stainless-steel dual exhaust with integrated bright tips
- Uconnect 4 with seven-inch touchscreen display
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Rear spoiler with backup camera
For a 2.3L four-cylinder, the 2018 and 2019 Mustang EcoBoost certainly has a saucy attitude to go with its turbocharged swagger. This powerplant delivers 310 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque with an EPA-estimated 32 mpg on the highway when equipped with the 10-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission.1 Adding the available MagneRide® Damping System (available on 2018 and 2019 models) ups the Mustang EcoBoost's ante by improving the muscle car's ride and providing increased responsiveness to changing road conditions.
You'll find the following standard features on 2018 and 2019 Mustang EcoBoosts:
- 3.31 limited-slip rear differential
- Four-way manually-adjustable driver seat
- Cloth upholstery
- Carbon Zag instrument-panel trim
- Dual bright exhaust with rolled tips
After capturing the third spot for the best muscle cars for 2020 shoppers, the Ford Mustang has also skidded into the second position as well, boasting an amazing range of trim levels and engine options above the base level EcoBoost. If you're a die-hard pony-car fanatic, the iconic Bullitt trim, which returned for 2019, will get your heart racing with its 480-horsepower 5.0L V8 and exclusive fastback design. Just like the original model that graced the silver screen in 1968, the modern-day Bullitt sports Dark Highland Green exterior paint and a six-speed manual transmission with a white “cue ball" shift knob (2019 models).
The 2019 Mustang Bullitt pairs these vintage touches with the latest standard features, adding a new twist to the legendary pony car:
- Active Valve Performance Exhaust System
- 3.73 TORSEN® limited-slip rear differential
- 19-inch five-spoke heritage wheels
- Heated steering wheel
- SYNC® 3 infotainment system
Capturing the top spot is the Chevrolet Camaro LT, which is currently in its sixth generation (2016 to 2019) since it first roared onto the automotive scene in 1967. A truly unique muscle car, this coupe delivers sharp handling and potent acceleration from the available 3.6L V6 with 335 horsepower and 284 lb.-ft. of torque (2017 to 2019 models). The four-wheel independent suspension, which comes standard on 2017 to 2019 LT models, provides a solid connection to the road for a smooth ride. With its perfectly sculpted body, the Camaro lets you be seen, while the dual-outlet exhaust (2017 to 2019 LT models) lets you be heard.
With the 2018 Chevy Camaro LT, you can expect the following standard features:
- Eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission
- Remote vehicle starter system
- Eight-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Bose® premium nine-speaker audio system (coupe only)
- Heated and ventilated leather-trimmed seats for the driver and front passenger
Whether you are looking for iconic style or brawny performance (or a mixture of both), there is no shortage of choices on this list of the best muscle cars for 2020 shoppers.
Looking to learn more? These related articles can help you on your search:
1Wi-Fi hotspots require a data plan to activate and may also require a compatible device. See the owner's manual or manufacturer website for more information
2Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.
Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.