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Looking for a muscle car on a budget?

November 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
You may have admired some of the new muscle cars on the road, but thought they were way beyond your means. Consider some less costly options.Some cars may look like that $40,000, 400 horsepower, 13 mpg retro Dodge Challenger that's been making the scene, but there not.

"We've also been able to introduce a high mileage version where we get mid-twenties in miles and low twenties in price," said Jim Press, Chrysler Vice Chairman.

The Challenger SE is an eye catcher without the steep price. The real beauty of it is that most people can't tell the difference.

The new Challenger RT has a V8 engine, an optional six-speed manual transmission, and expensive parts like big wheels and tires and comfy leather sport seats.

The SE gets by with a V6 engine and only 250 horsepower, as well as, a much more spartan interior.

It has an overall EPA rating of 20 mpg. And while the V8 Challengers request premium fuel, the Challenger SE just needs regular.

"The V6 technology is bringing us much better performance, gas mileage, and of course much better C02 footprint. It is a win, win for everybody. It's sort of like being able to eat a souffle with no calories," said Press.

Ford's Mustang also offers an economy model. But it sure looks a lot like the more expensive GT -- especially when equipped with the optional pony package which includes: five-spoke wheels and stripes.

The Mustang's V6 makes 210 horsepower, which is less than the Challenger's base engine -- but still no slouch. By comparison 15 years ago the Mustang's GT V8, the mighty 5.0, made about the same power at the V6, and without today's strict emissions regulations.

And it's still no slouch in the acceleration department.

Ford will be updating the Mustang soon, and a power increase could be part of the package.

It'll probably need more power to go up against Chevy's new Camaro. When it arrives in the Spring, it'll be the V6 horsepower champion with just over three hundred and that's for around $22,000.


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