The best muscle cars

(iSeeCars) – Although the first true American muscle car was introduced in 1949 with the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, it wasn’t until the 1960s that muscle cars hit their peak. It was during this time that Americans embraced their love for powerful vehicles, and major American automakers introduced high-performance vehicles into their lineups to meet growing demand.

Although there aren’t as many Detroit muscle cars in production today, there are still several American muscle cars to choose from. There are even luxury vehicles that have the qualities of a muscle car for drivers who want something more sophisticated. Or, if you want to own a classic, there are plenty of vintage muscle cars to choose from. With a lot of muscle cars Across many different trim levels, we’re breaking down the best muscle cars for power-hungry drivers.

What is a Muscle Car?

Muscle cars don’t have a standard definition, but for the purposes of this article, we categorize traditional muscle cars as American coupes and sedans with powerful v8 engines. They usually come standard with rear-wheel-drive rather than front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive versions are also available. (You can learn more about the differences in RWD versus FWD here.) With their rapid acceleration and straight-line speed, muscle cars are considered the best vehicles for drag racing, and these performance cars are also relatively affordable compared to foreign sports cars. In addition to standard American muscle cars, we also include analysis of foreign and American luxury vehicles that we believe embody the essence of a muscle car.

Best muscle cars for 2022

Every American muscle car is iconic on its own, but some perform better than others. We determined the best muscle cars based on the iSeeCars Best Cars analysis. The winners are the cars that last the longest, retain the best value, and have the highest average safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The torque and power of the vehicle are also taken into account.

1.Dodge Charger

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.8

  • Reliability score: 8.1
  • Retained value score: 8.4
  • Security Rating: 10.0

Average new car price: $39,931

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $42,070

The top-ranked muscle car is none other than the Dodge Charger. With a powerful V8 engine in its R/T, Packet of droppingsand Hellcat SRT models, this spacious sedan is as comfortable as it is powerful. the Dodge Charger R/T features a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 370 horsepower, while the more powerful Scat Pack has a 6.4-liter V8 that offers 485 horsepower. However, the most powerful of them all are the famous Dodge Charger Hellcat and the new version Hellcat Redeye 2021. Both have a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that produces 717 horsepower for the Hellcat and 797 horsepower for the Hellcat Redeye. Both can hit zero to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and the Hellcat Redeye can do the quarter mile in 10.6 seconds.

2.Ford Mustangs

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.7

  • Reliability score: 8.5
  • Retained value score: 6.9
  • Security score: not available

Average new car price: $49,128

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $36,338

The second famous American car, the Ford Mustang ranks second. Although generally classified as a sports car, its high performance versions earned it the title of muscle car. The first is the Ford Mustang GT, which has a five-liter V8 engine that delivers 460 horsepower and is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. The Mach 1 replaces the discontinued Bullit version for 2021 and has the GT’s V8 engine but ups the horsepower to 480 horsepower. The top spec variant is the Shelby GT500 with a 760 horsepower supercharged V8 engine with 625 pound-feet of torque to make it the most powerful car Ford has ever produced.

3.Chevrolet Camaro

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.5

  • Reliability score: 8.0
  • Retained value score: 7.0
  • Security Rating: 10.0

Average new car price: $51,646

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $40,151

In third place is the Chevrolet Camaro, which stands out as a muscle car with its LT1, SS and ZL1 versions. With a starting price of $34,000, the beloved Chevrolet Camaro LT1 is the cheapest V8 muscle car on the market and comes with a 455 horsepower engine and performance suspension. The SS comes with the same engine, but adds more technology and safety features. the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is the most powerful and expensive version and comes with a 650 horsepower supercharged V8 engine. Along with the Mustang, the Camaro is generally considered a pony car rather than a muscle car due to its size, but we categorize it as a muscle car based on its engine performance.

4.Dodge Challenger

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.0

  • Reliability score: 8.2
  • Retained value score: 7.9
  • Security Rating: 10.0

Average new car price: $42,688

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $43,798

To complete the list is the dodge challenger, which, like the Charger, combines power and comfort with its spacious cabin and robust engine choices. The Challenger is available with a V8 engine on its R/T and SRT-Hellcat toppings. The R/T is the least expensive version to come with a V8 engine and delivers 375 horsepower from a Hemi V8. Bring up the cutting line is the R/T Scat Pack, which is upgraded to 485 horsepower and has more convenience features and a better infotainment system. The Scat package is also available with the Widebody package which adds 3.5 inches of width and features a high performance suspension and braking system on 20-inch wheels. Next is the SRT Hellcat with a 717-horsepower Hemi V8 engine and features like a supercharger, upgraded brakes, and a high-performance SRT suspension system. The second most powerful topping is the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye with 797 horsepower from a supercharged Hemi V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Topping the lineup is the new 2020 SRT Super Stock, which features a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 with 807 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque. With a quarter-mile time of 10.5 seconds, the Super Stock is a force to be reckoned with on the drag strip.

Best luxury muscle cars

The classic definition of muscle cars applies to the big American brands, but there are also powerful luxury cars that meet muscle car performance criteria.

1. Tesla Model S

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.9

  • Reliability score: 9.4
  • Retained value score: 8.3
  • Security score: not available

Average new car price: $167,229

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $89,895

the Tesla Model S may not have the style of a muscle car, but it performs like a car. The base Model S can go from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.1 seconds, while the high-performance Plaid variant can go from zero to 100 km/h in 1.99 seconds. The Plaid variant has a quarter-mile time of 9.23 seconds and reaches a top speed of 200 mph.

2.BMW M5

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.9

  • Reliability score: 8.4
  • Retained value score: 7.4
  • Security score: not available

Average new car price: $126,945

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $101,824

the BMW M5, which is the performance variant of the 5 Series, has a 600 horsepower V8 engine and is known as one of the best luxury performance cars in the market. It has a premium interior and includes luxury features like a heated steering wheel, but it doesn’t come cheap at a new-car price that’s well into six figures.

3. Lexus RC F

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.8

  • Reliability score: 7.5
  • Retained value score: 8.1
  • Security score: not available

Average new car price: $85,951

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $78,115

The Lexus RC F ranks third and has a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 472 horsepower and can hit 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. New for 2020, it added 5 more horsepower and an additional 6 lb-ft of torque.

4. Mercedes-Benz AMG GT

iSeeCars Quality Level: Not Available

  • Reliability score: not available
  • Retained value score: 6.6
  • Security score: not available

Average new car price: $166,363

Average price of a 3-year-old used car: $174,463

The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT strikes the perfect balance between a sports car and a muscle car. All AMG GT coupe and roadster body styles come standard with a 523-hp twin-turbo V8, and its top trim offers 720 horsepower. It includes safety features such as standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

5.Cadillac CTS-V

iSeeCars Quality Level: Not Available

  • Reliability score: not available
  • Retained value score: 7.9
  • Security rating: 8.0

Ranking fifth is the Cadillac CTS-V, which is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that delivers a staggering 640 horsepower. Reaching a top speed of 200 mph, it goes from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Although it was discontinued after the 2019 model year and has no quality score, it deserves a spot on the list because it brilliantly combines American luxury and muscle while having the performance of a supercar.

View the full list of Best Muscle Cars including a list of classic muscle cars.

Best Used Muscle Cars By Price

The best used muscle cars can be found in a variety of budgets. Here are the best used muscle cars that can be found at various price points.

Best Used Muscle Cars Under $15,000

If you are looking for a used muscle car under $15,000here are the ones to choose from:

Best Used Muscle Cars Under $20,000

Here are the best used muscle cars under $20,000:


If you’re hungry for power and have always dreamed of owning a modern hot rod, the muscle cars listed above are sure to satisfy your high torque cravings.

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If you’re interested in a new or used muscle car, be sure to check out iSeeCars’ award-winning products car search engine. It uses advanced algorithms to help buyers find the best car deals and provides key information and valuable resources, like iSeeCars Verification of VIN report and Best cars rankings. Filter by horsepower, drive type and other parameters to find your next vehicle.

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