Car Comparison

2018 Chevrolet Camaro vs. 2018 Dodge Charger: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Chris O'Neill October 2018

Buyers looking for a new American muscle car might be considering both the 2-door Chevrolet Camaro and the 4-door Dodge Charger. Below we'll compare the two to highlight differences beyond the obvious added practicality of the Charger's two extra doors.

Basic Specs

The 2018 Dodge Charger is based on a design that was first introduced in 2006. While in 2011 it received a significant update and has since received a number of smaller updates, the Charger is a very old vehicle by modern standards.

The Camaro was last fully redesigned for the 2016 model year and will receive an update for 2019. The Camaro is likely better compared to the similarly shaped Dodge Challenger.

Powertrains

The Camaro is available with four different engine choices. Entry-level Camaros come with a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder that makes 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Also available is a 3.6-liter V6 making 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. The potent Camaro SS is offered with a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. The top-dog Camaro is the ZL1 model, which comes with a variant of the 6.2-liter V8 paired with a supercharger for a total output of 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.

The Charger is offered with a number of engine options as well. Base-model Chargers get a 3.5-liter V6 making 305 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque. Three V8 engines are offered. On the low end is a 5.7-liter mill making 375 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. Next is a 6.4-liter that puts out 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. At the top of the lineup is the potent Charger SRT Hellcat, which comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 making 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The Charger comes exclusively with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Only the Camaro is available as a convertible, which can be specified with any of the engines and trim levels outlined above.

Here, we'll be pitting the Charger SXT, R/T, GT and 392 against the 4-cylinder, V6 and SS Camaros.

Buyers considering the Charger and the Camaro should probably cross shop the V6 Charger SRT and GT with the 4-cylinder and V6 Camaros. The Charger 392 should be compared to the V8-equipped Camaro SS.

Performance

Given its extra doors and ancient architecture, the Charger is considerably heavier than the Camaro in all configurations. As a result, the Charger is at a disadvantage to the Camaro from a performance standpoint.

The Camaro performs much better on the track than the Charger, as it is an overall smaller and nimbler vehicle. The Charger, on the other hand, is primarily meant for straight-line speed and suffers in the corners.

Camaro V6 and SS models can be optioned with the 1LE performance package, which serves to further ready it for track duty. On the SS model, the 1LE also gets buyers GM's highly desirable Magnetic Ride Control suspension.

The Charger is available with similar performance options offered through a variety of special models and trim packages, including the Daytona and R/T Scat Pack trim levels.

Fuel Economy vs. Acceleration

Equipped with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Camaro goes from 0-to-60 in a quick 5.4 seconds and achieves 25 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. Opt for a V6 Camaro and that 0-to-60 time improves to 5.1 seconds, while fuel economy decreases to 23 mpg overall.

Both the 4- and 6-cylinder Camaros are considerably faster than the entry-level Charger V6, which needs 6.3 seconds to get to 60 mph and earns 23 mpg in combined driving.

Step up to the 5.7-liter V8, and those figures are 5.1 seconds and 19 mpg overall.

The story stays the same when it comes to the top-tier performance models of the Charger and the Challenger. With the 6.4-liter V8, the Charger 392 goes from 0-to-60 in 4.2 seconds and earns 18 mpg combined. The Camaro SS reaches 60 in 4.1 seconds, one tenth of a second sooner, while also earning 20 mpg combined.

Reliability

Camaro buyers should see about average reliability, while Charger buyers should be wary of below-average reliability. Both Dodge and Chevrolet offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, in line with the rest of the industry.

Safety

In third-party crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Camaro scores significantly better than the Charger. As it was designed for modern safety standards, the Camaro receives scores of Good in most categories. The Charger receives a score of Marginal in the new small front-offset test, indicative of its aging design.

The Charger offers blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic monitoring, rear parking sensors, front automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. The Camaro only offers blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors.

While the Camaro performs better in crash testing, the Charger offers better driver-assistance safety features.

Interior Space

The Camaro is cramped inside; there's no better way to put it. While technically it seats four people, the back seat only offers 30.0 inches of legroom and 33.5 inches of headroom. The Charger, which has four doors, offers 40.1 inches of second-row legroom and 36.6 inches of headroom.

In the trunk, the Camaro offers a microscopic 9.1 cu ft. of cargo room while the Charger offers 17 cu ft.

Needless to say, with four doors, a bigger back seat and a much larger trunk, not to mention better sight lines, the Charger is a far more practical vehicle than the Camaro and will be much easier to live with day-to-day.

Interior Design & Quality

The Camaro and the Charger offer retro-inspired designs both outside and inside. That said, the Camaro's interior feels more modern than the Charger's, thanks to the Camaro's recent redesign. The Camaro's interior also utilizes better quality materials than the Charger's, which is worthy of criticism for utilizing hard plastics and old designs. Only the Camaro offers a heads-up display.

Technology

The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro and the 2018 Dodge Challenger both come with standard touchscreen infotainment systems. In entry-level Camaros, this is a 7-inch screen, while an 8-in screen is offered on upper trim levels. Base model Chargers get a small 5-in screen, while higher trims come with an 8.4-in screen.

Both Chevrolet's and Dodge's infotainment systems are pretty good, and both offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Only the Camaro offers 4G LTE with mobile Wi-Fi.

Autotrader's Advice

In terms of modernity, the Camaro is a better vehicle. In reality, though, these two vehicles are not meant to be direct competitors. Buyers interested in the Camaro but willing to consider a Dodge product should consider the Challenger. That said, it's hard to beat the Charger's practicality, as it's the only 4-door muscle car on the market. Altogether, both the Camaro and the Charger have their flaws, and if you aren't married to either one, you may want to strongly consider a Ford Mustang, which is currently the most competitive vehicle in the muscle car segment.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro vs. 2018 Dodge Charger: Which Is Better? - Autotrader