Mustang vs. Charger

Mustang GT vs. Charger R/T: The Great American Debate

Mustang vs. Charger

Closely matched in terms of price and technical specs, the choice of a Mustang GT vs. a Charger R/T is sure to inspire passionate debate. While both cars seem to have much in common, there are a number of differences that should be considered before purchasing either.

Refine Your Search
BizRate Circle of Excellence
BizRate Customer Certified (GOLD) Site - CJ Pony Parts Reviews at Bizrate
Norton Secured
Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies
Inc 5000 Honoree
Mustang Club of America Proud Sponsor
CJ Automotive Group
Sort by
5 Results
Results per page
Sort by
5 Results
Results per page

Mustang vs. Charger

Mustang History

As any pony car fan knows, the Mustang story begins in 1964, when the very first vehicles rolled off the assembly line and into showrooms across the country. Combining raw power, track-ready performance and an economical price that made it stand out in a field dominated by pricey European imports, the 1964.5 Mustang was an immediate hit, selling over 100,000 units within three months and giving the term "pony car" a permanent place in the automotive lexicon.

The first generation Mustang was produced until 1973, when rising gas prices and changing consumer tastes conspired to force Ford to change directions. Although a version of the car would continue to be a popular seller (the comparatively anemic Mustang II), it wasn't until 1979 that Ford re-entered the muscle car game. Since then, the Mustang has gone through several iterations but remained true to its original spirit, offering drivers powerful out-of-the-box performance and an affordable platform for customization.

Enter the Charger

The storied rivalry of Mustang vs. Charger dates back to 1966, when Dodge, in a clear bid to move in on the muscle car market, introduced its own two door fastback based on the Chrysler B platform. Initial sales were underwhelming, leading to a redesign just two years later that introduced the nameplate's iconic grille, taillights and "coke bottle" profile. With these distinctive cosmetic improvements, sales began to take off as consumers began to view it as a powerful performer and less as a cousin to the Dodge Coronet.

1968 was also the first time the R/T edition of the Charger was available. The R/T nameplate (which stood for road/track) quickly became synonymous with a high-performance, tuned version of the vehicle. The B platform-based Charger was sold until 1978, at which point Dodge made the same decision Ford had five years early, transitioning their signature muscle car into something in line with the increasing consumer demand for fuel economy.

Mustang vs. Charger: The Rivalry Today

Dodge reintroduced a performance-oriented Charger in 2006, and just like that, the rivalry was re-ignited. Here's a look at how these two iconic brands stack up today:

  • Body style: The Charger is available exclusively as a four-door sedan, whereas the Mustang is available in two-door convertible and coupe configurations.
  • Engine and drivetrain: The Mustang GT is equipped with Ford's acclaimed 5.0L 'Coyote' engine, whereas the Charger R/T features Dodge's equally legendary 5.7L Hemi. Standard transmission on the Mustang GT is a 6-speed manual, whereas the Charger comes with a 5-speed Autostick. Unlike the exclusively RWD Mustang, the Charger has optional AWD.
  • Performance: Most tests give the Mustang a clear advantage on the track. The Ford pony car has the Charger beat to 60 mph, has a greater power-to-weight ratio and handles corners better.
  • Amenities: The all-business Mustang GT is less luxuriously appointed than the Charger, which includes standard features such as a touchscreen interface and heated power seats only available as an option on the Ford.

The Mustang Difference

Of course, just comparing specs and standard features does little to illuminate what has made the Mustang a beloved American muscle car for almost 50 years. Any Mustang vs. a Charger conversation must take into account the unique passion only Ford drivers possess. When you drive a Mustang - whether it's a 1960s-era classic or a later model - you're driving a true American classic. At CJ Pony Parts, we've been selling aftermarket, performance and reproduction Mustang parts for over 28 years, and we know firsthand how strong Mustang culture is. Our customers are uniquely loyal, driven by a strong need for performance and speed. Like them, you'll feel the Mustang difference as soon as you get behind the wheel.