Safety

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The Mustang offers optional Pre-Collision Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Challenger offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Mustang’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Challenger doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Mustang’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Challenger doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Mustang and the Challenger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Mustang is safer than the Dodge Challenger:

Mustang Challenger

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

23%

28%

Neck Compression

31 lbs.

31 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

125

209

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

23%

29%

Neck Stress

172 lbs.

180 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

47/13 lbs.

190/375 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

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The Mustang’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Challenger runs out after 60,000 miles.

There are over 26 percent more Ford dealers than there are Dodge dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Mustang’s warranty.

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Mustang have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Challenger.

The Mustang has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Challenger doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 8th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 3 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Engine

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As tested in Car and Driver the Mustang GT is faster than the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6.4 V8 (manual transmissions tested):

Mustang >Challenger

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

1.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.2 sec

4.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.5 sec

10.2 sec

Quarter Mile

12.6 sec

12.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

114 MPH

113 MPH

In a Car and Driver race course test, the Ford Mustang GT Fastback was clocked 6 seconds faster than the Dodge Challenger SRT Widebody Hellcat (173.8 sec. vs. 179.8 sec.).

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Mustang Fastback gets better fuel mileage than the Challenger:

MPG
Mustang Fastback

RWD

Manual

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

Performance 2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

5.0 DOHC V8

15 city/24 hwy

BULLIT 5.0 DOHC V8

15 city/23 hwy

Auto

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

Performance 2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

5.0 DOHC V8

16 city/25 hwy

Challenger

RWD

Manual

5.7 OHV V8

15 city/23 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

14 city/23 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/21 hwy

Auto

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

16 city/25 hwy

6.4 OHV V8

15 city/25 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/22 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Mustang uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Challenger R/T manual requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Mustang has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Challenger doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Ford Mustang higher (3 to 5 out of 10) than the Dodge Challenger (1 to 3). This means the Mustang produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Challenger every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is available on the Ford Mustang, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Challenger.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Mustang’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Challenger SXT are solid, not vented.

The Mustang stops much shorter than the Challenger:

Mustang Challenger

70 to 0 MPH

139 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

94 feet

109 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The Mustang GT’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Challenger Widebody’s 35 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Mustang GT Fastback handles at 1.13 G’s, while the Challenger SXT pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mustang GT Fastback executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the Challenger Scat Pack (23.6 seconds @ .86 average G’s vs. 25.5 seconds @ .81 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Mustang’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the Challenger SXT/GT/R/T’s (36.5 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Ford Mustang may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 600 pounds less than the Dodge Challenger.

The Mustang is 9 inches shorter than the Challenger, making the Mustang easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the Mustang has standard flush composite headlights. The Challenger has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

The front grille of the Mustang (except Performance Pack) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Challenger doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Mustang uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Challenger doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Mustang GT Fastback is quieter than the Challenger SRT Hellcat:

>Mustang >Challenger

At idle

45 dB

59 dB

70 MPH Cruising

74 dB

76 dB

Towing

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While the Challenger Manual/392 Hemi/Hellcat is not recommended to tow, any Mustang can tow a minimum of 1000 pounds.

Ergonomics

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When three different drivers share the Mustang Premium, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, suspension setting, power steering assist and outside mirror angle. The Challenger doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Mustang Premium’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Challenger doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Mustang has a lever hand brake in the console, easy to use while keeping both feet free and not impeding entry and exit. The Challenger’s foot pedal parking brake is not handy to use as a hill holding device with a manual transmission.

The Mustang’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Challenger’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

Model Availability

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The Ford Mustang comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Dodge Challenger isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mustang is less expensive to operate than the Challenger because it costs $28 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mustang than the Challenger, including $10 less for a water pump, $44 less for a muffler, $217 less for front brake pads, $104 less for a starter, $525 less for a fuel pump and $97 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Mustang will be $2344 to $24723 less than for the Dodge Challenger.

Recommendations

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The Mustang GT/Bullitt was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2019. The Challenger has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Ford Mustang outsold the Dodge Challenger by 14% during the 2019 model year.