If there’s one thing that automotive enthusiasts from all over the world love about the American auto industry, it’s muscle cars. Oldsmobile was the first company to build a muscle car when it took a large V8 engine from its full-size luxury car and dropped it into the considerably smaller and lighter intermediate-sized model, making it super fast. Other American automakers copied Oldsmobile’s approach and by the end of the ’60s decade, the muscle car segment was alive and growing fast.
Muscle cars have been popular since then thanks to their sporty designs, loud V8 engines, and the fact that they’re typically more affordable than other performance cars. Another thing people love about them is that they are reliable cars too. Muscle cars can survive for hundreds of thousands of miles while performing at high levels, and their maintenance costs are affordable too. Let’s explore some of the most reliable muscle cars you can buy in the used car market.
10 2008-Present Dodge Challenger
The 21st century didn’t start well for the Chrysler Corporation and its divisions, as it struggled to sell cars. To boost sales, Chrysler decided to revive the popular Dodge Challenger nameplate, almost three decades after its discontinuation.
The modern Challenger debuted in 2008 and immediately impressed everyone. For one, Dodge came up with the perfect design. The Challenger looked modern enough to blend in with other cars but had design elements that reminded gearheads of the best ’60s muscle cars, which is why Dodge hasn’t changed the design much since. The Challenger was also insanely powerful, especially the high-performance and special versions like the SRT8 and the incredible Hellcat. With a J. D. Power Quality and Reliability rating of 88 out of 100, the modern Challenger is bulletproof.
9 2005–2014 Ford Mustang
If there’s one muscle car that’s guaranteed to give you reliable service, whether in modern or classic form, it’s the Ford Mustang. The Mustang has been a key part of Ford’s lineup since 1964 and is still going strong today, with Ford announcing a new generation a few months ago. The Mustang has stuck to a tried and tested formula for decades, which is why you could never go wrong with one.
We could choose any Mustang to include on this list, but we went with the fifth-generation model, particularly the last three model years after the design refresh. These cars have arguably the best modern muscle car design and lots of power depending on the trim and engine choice. A J.D. Power Quality and Reliability rating of 82 is the icing on the cake.
8 2010-2015 Chevrolet Camaro
Just like the Mustang above, the Camaro has survived all these years as other muscle car models faded into obscurity. However, rumors are going around that the Camaro is in its final years, which is why we think it’s a great idea to buy one today while they’re still affordable.
We particularly love the fifth-generation Camaro, which debuted in 2010 after an eight-year hiatus. The fifth-generation Camaro impressed many thanks to its modern design and its power – up to 426 hp in the high-performance SS trim. The Camaro also excelled in reliability ratings, receiving a score of 82 out of 100 on J.D. Power.
7 2015 Cadillac CTS-V
When Cadillac introduced the CTS in the early 2000s, gearheads loved a lot about it, but not its power. As such, Cadillac rolled up its sleeves and developed a high-performance version – the fantastic CTS-V.
Cadillac produced three generations of the CTS-V, and gearheads loved them all. The final generation debuted in 2015 and is our favorite. It comes with a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8 engine dishing out 631 hp, allowing it to hit a top speed of 200 mph. With zero complaints for the 2015 Cadillac CTS-V on carcomplaints.com, this model is also reliable.
6 1964-1972 Pontiac GTO
The legendary Pontiac GTO needs no introduction. Even though Pontiac is long gone, gearheads will always love and cherish the GTO, thanks to the key role it played in the creation of the muscle car industry.
The first two generations of the Pontiac GTO set the standards which other manufacturers followed when building their muscle cars, demonstrating how good it was. Pontiac introduced the first-generation GTO in 1964 and kept updating it to boost sales and improve overall performance. One key update came in the 1967 Pontiac GTO, as it replaced the Tri-Power carburetion system with a single four-barrel Rochester Quadrajet carburetor and replaced the two-speed automatic gearbox with a three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic system with a Hurst shifter. These changes not only improved performance, but also made the GTO one of the most reliable muscle cars of the day.
5 1990 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Another cool car that makes us wish Pontiac were still around is the Firebird Trans Am. The Firebird Trans Am was essentially a corporate cousin to the Chevrolet Camaro, and both cars shared the same platform and engines.
To most gearheads, the most desirable Firebird Trans Am is the second-generation version, particularly the 1977 model year, as it’s among the most popular movie cars after its role in Smokey and the Bandit. However, we think the third-generation version is the better choice today as it was the first to offer factory fuel injection, five-speed manual transmissions, and four-speed automatic transmissions.
4 1967-1970 Mercury Cougar
Mercury is one of those defunct car manufacturers we wish would come back in the future. One car that makes us wish Mercury were still around is the Cougar, as it’s among the most underrated muscle cars.
Mercury introduced the Cougar in 1967. The Cougar used the Ford Mustang platform and engines, but had a unique design that set it apart. Although Mercury is no longer around, the Cougar makes a great purchase today, as it’s just as reliable as the Mustang and still has a wide selection of spare parts.
3 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
If you love the aforementioned Dodge Challenger but wish it was more practical, the Charger is the car for you. The modern Charger may be a large four-door sedan, but it’s still a muscle car with exhilarating performance, particularly the SRT Hellcat version.
The Charger SRT Hellcat debuted in 2015 with an insane 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 pumping out 707 hp, making it one of the fastest four-door sedans ever. The Dodge Charger has consistently been among the most reliable performance sedans, with the 2015 model getting a J.D. Power rating of 78 out of 100.
2 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
The ‘Impala SS’ name is iconic, having belonged to one of Chevy’s best muscle cars. However, the Impala SS had lost its fear factor by the ’90s and had even turned into a large four-door sedan.
However, despite its sedate appearance, the 1994-1996 Impala SS was a beast under the hood. Since it was heavily based on the Caprice 9C1 police package, it offered many cool features previously only available in law enforcement cars. These include a sport-tuned suspension system, a high-performance reverse-flow cooling system, four-wheel disc brakes, and a dual exhaust system. Equipped with the same 260-hp LT1 V8 as the C4 Corvette, the Impala SS was not only fast but also reliable.
1 2014 Ford Shelby GT500
The aforementioned fifth-generation Mustang is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable used modern muscle car, but if you want a bit more thrill, excitement, and muscle than the standard versions offer, the 2014 Shelby GT500 is a better option.
The 2014 Shelby GT500 had plenty of upgrades over the standard Mustang, including a monstrous 5.8-liter supercharged and intercooled V8 blurting out 652 hp, twin fuel pumps, larger fuel injectors, a three-row intercooler, and a beefed-up Tremec six-speed manual transmission. Thanks to the upgrades, the 2014 Shelby GT500 is faster and easier to handle than the standard Mustang, but can still be a reliable daily driver.