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5 Great Modern Day Muscle Cars Under $40,000 for 2019

Whether it’s got two or four doors, any vehicle combining a rear-wheel drive (RWD) platform with a powerful, performance-oriented powertrain can arguably be considered a muscle car, especially if it offers all of this in a no-frills, value-oriented package. Here we’ve listed five of our favorite vehicles that can be considered modern day muscle cars that are available for around $40,000 or less. Given our budget, the vehicles below are mostly in their base trim levels, but come with their more powerful engine option, and still offer that visceral muscle car experience.

2020 Ford Mustang GT

2020 Ford Mustang GT

Pound-for-pound, the Ford Mustang remains the most compelling muscle car on the market today. It offers an airy cabin with good visibility (something you don’t get with the Camaro or the Challenger), a decently sized trunk and just about all of the active safety features buyers could want here in 2019. And we haven’t even gotten to the performance yet. While a potent, turbocharged 4-cylinder is offered as the entry-level engine, the Mustang GT comes with a 5.0-liter V8 making an impressive 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-to-60 mph time of just under 4.0 seconds. Transmission options are either a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters or a 6-speed manual. Pricing for the Mustang GT starts at a little over $36,000 if you opt for the manual, or just under $38,000 if you go with the automatic. With a budget of $40,000, we’d probably look to a GT in Premium trim, which comes with heated and ventilated leather seats, selectable drive modes, a 9-speaker audio system and more. Find a Ford Mustang for sale

2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS

2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS

While you won’t be able to afford many options, buyers can get a powerful, V8-equipped Chevrolet Camaro for under $40,000. In basic 1SS trim, the 2019 Camaro SS comes with 20-in wheels, LED lighting, an upgraded instrument cluster, an 8-in infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Brembo brakes, all for around $38,000 if you opt for the 6-speed manual transmission, or just under $40,000 if you check the box for the 10-speed automatic. Under the hood of the Camaro SS is a 6.2-liter V8 making 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds. Buyers wanting more features can look to the Camaro V6, which packs a 3.6-liter V6 making 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds flat. The Camaro V6 carries a starting price of about $33,000 with a manual transmission, or about $34,500 with an 8-speed automatic. Opt for either one and you’ve still got room in your budget for the performance-focused 1LE Track Performance Package and the Convenience and Lighting Package, which adds features like aluminum interior trim and memory settings. Find a Chevrolet Camaro for sale

2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

Here in 2019, the Challenger is a certified dinosaur, having first gone on sale way back in 2008. Now in its 12th model year of production, the Challenger is overweight and antiquated, but offers big V8 power at a reasonable price. Buyers on a budget of $40k can opt for the performance-oriented R/T Scat Pack, which comes with a 6.4-liter V8 churning out 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. Handling falls short of the Camaro and Mustang given the Challenger’s added heft, but 0-to-60 mph time takes only 3.9 seconds, making this quite the performance bargain. Beyond performance stuff, the Challenger is offered with a modern 8.4-in touchscreen infotainment system running FCA’s UConnect infotainment software, which is among the best in the industry. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, radar cruise control, rear parking sensors and automatic high beams are offered as well. The Challenger R/T Scat Pack comes with either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Find a Dodge Challenger for sale

2019 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

2019 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

Aside from some styling differences, there’s really only one main thing separating the Charger from the Challenger: doors. While the Challenger only has two of them, the Charger offers four, making it a much more practical vehicle for buyers who need to transport more than one person around. Trim levels are virtually the same as the Challenger, so we recommend buyers interested in a high-performance Charger look to the R/T Scat Pack model, which comes with the same engine and powertrain as the Challenger R/T Scat Pack. 0-to-60 mph time comes a little slower in the Charger, taking 4.2 seconds, which is nothing to scoff at, as the Charger R/T is probably the most value-packed performance sedans on the market, assuming big power and straight-line performance are your main priorities. The Charger R/T does differ from the Challenger in its transmission offering — only an 8-speed auto is available. Find a Dodge Charger for sale

2019 Kia Stinger GT

2019 Kia Stinger GT

The Stinger GT may not have a pony-car pedigree, but when you look at its spec sheet, it becomes clear that the Stinger is one of the purest modern day muscle cars on sale today. It comes with a twin-turbo V6 putting out 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic directing power to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available, but it’ll run you an extra $2,200. A base Stinger GT comes in at just over $40,000, meaning that there isn’t room for many options given our budget. The benefit here though is that the Stinger is designed to a greater level of refinement than your mainstream Optima or Soul, meaning that even in base form, buyers are treated to 19-in wheels, aluminum accents, Brembo brakes, a Harmon/Kardon audio system, a litany of active safety features and Kia’s excellent 5-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. If you want power and performance, but aren’t swayed by any of the American muscle car offerings, a Stinger GT is worth a test drive. Find a Kia Stinger for sale

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