10 Surprisingly Reliable Muscle Cars We’d Buy In 2022

Shirley Beal
10 Surprisingly Reliable Muscle Cars We’d Buy In 2022

Muscle cars and reliability are not two terms that are commonly connected. Yet, decades after they debuted in the 1960s, it’s not unusual to see a classic Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro still on the roadways, or in excellent condition in used car markets. The fact is that the best American muscle cars were built with durable frames and quality craftsmanship, and novice mechanics can learn to keep them running due to their relatively simple and accessible internals.

Modern muscle cars seek to bring the raw horsepower of these classic machines into an automotive world that demands an even higher level of performance, driving technology, and comfort. Some models like the Ford Mustang try to address the lack of fuel efficiency of older muscle cars with its EcoBoost engine delivering more miles per gallon and making it a sensible daily driver.

Recent muscle cars offer increasing reliability ratings along with a surprising variety of luxury vehicles and 4-door sedans that accommodate more passengers and cargo. Whether shopping for a new or a slightly older used model, there are few excuses left these days not to experience the raw power of a V8 equipped muscle car.

RELATED: 8 Modifications Ford Mustang Owners Should Consider (2 They Should Steer Clear Of)

10/10 Cadillac CTS

Black 2014 Cadillac CTS
Via Cadillac

When car enthusiasts think of Cadillac, muscle cars are definitely not the first things that come to mind. Known more for luxury and larger sedans that provide ultra-comfortable rides, Cadillac tried to change its image in 2003 with the debut of the mid-sized Cadillac CTS and its even higher-performance variant, the CTS-V.

White 2014 Cadillac CTS
Via Cadillac

Taking cues from the Z06 Corvette, the first Cadillac CTS-V included an LS6 V-8 engine, giving it some jaw-dropping raw power. The CTS was eventually discontinued in 2019, but not before Repair Pal gave it a 3.5 out of 5 rating for reliability, ranking it higher than most high-performance sports cars.

9/10 Equus Bass 770

Red Equus Bass 770 Side View
Via Equus

The Equus Bass 770 is a modern muscle car that you might mistake for a 60-year-old classic based on outward appearances alone. Equus Automotive, founded in 2008, sought to combine the style of beloved cars Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger while implementing modern luxury and safety features.

Black Equus Bass 770
Via Equus

The hand-built and highly-customizable Equus Bass 770 is also not meant to be a vehicle that you keep in your garage as a showpiece. The manufacturer claims that the car has easily survived 150,000-mile road tests, matching, if not exceeding, the reliability of other modern muscle cars.

8/10 Plymouth Road Runner

Orange 1972 Plymouth Road Runner
GPS 56 Via Wikimedia Commons

As an attempt to offer an alternative to muscle cars in the late 1960s which had become increasingly complex and expensive, Plymouth developed the idea of the Road Runner which offered plenty of power along with a reasonable price tag.

Tan 1974 Plymouth Road Runner
Sicnag Via Wikimedia Commons

Until it was discontinued in 1980, the Road Runner developed a reputation as a heavy-duty muscle car that could function more than reliably as a daily driver. As a result, you can routinely find Road Runners on the used car market with over 100,000 thousand miles that have stood the test of time remarkably well.

7/10 Pontiac GTO

Red 1970 Pontiac GTO
Via Mecum Auctions

The Pontiac GTO proves the theory that necessity is the mother of invention. Responding to a surprising General Motors ban on producing racing-oriented vehicles, Pontiac and its famed engineer John DeLorean had to get creative in modifying a LeMans design to qualify as a reliable daily driving muscle car suitable for the general public.

Green 1969 Pontiac GTO
Via Mecum Auctions

The first Pontiac GTO in 1963 ushered in the golden era of muscle cars in the 1960s and 1970s. The modern-day Pontiac GTO looks almost nothing like the classic muscle car, but both share some of the top reliability scores for their class.

RELATED: 10 Awesome Facts About The Pontiac GTO

6/10 Pontiac Firebird

White 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Via Bring a Trailer

The Pontiac Firebird is often referred to as a pony car, following in the mold of the Plymouth Barracuda and Ford Mustang which were released in 1964. Compared to muscle cars, pony cars are usually slightly less powerful, more compact, and aimed at younger middle-class audiences. Still, the Firebird packed plenty of power when it was introduced in 1967 alongside the remarkably similar Chevrolet Camaro.

Orange 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Via Bring a Trailer

The Trans Am package was initially offered with the Firebird in 1969, only increasing its appeal, and landing it in numerous popular TV shows and movies. There are plenty of classic Firebirds on the used car market in good working order, a testament to their durability.

5/10 Chevrolet SS

Silver 2015 Chevy SS
That Hartford Guy Via Wikimedia Commons

The Super Sport (SS) name has appeared alongside many Chevrolet cars starting in 1961 with the Impala, and later on, it was used to signify boosted performance models of sports cars like the Camaro. In 2014, a new SS arrived in the form of a four-door sedan based on the Australian-made Holden Commodore.

Blue Chevrolet SS Sedan
Chad Horwedel Via Flickr

Despite its humble appearance, the underrated Chevrolet SS 4-door sedan packed a surprisingly effective punch with a V8 engine producing 415 hp. The sedan ended its production run in 2017, earning a solid 3.5 out of 5 reliability rating from J.D. Power.

4/10 Dodge Charger

Yellow Charger Daytona 392
Via Chevrolet

The Dodge Charger enjoys the distinction of being one of the earliest muscle cars, with its concept first introduced in 1946. The early Charger did not actually enter production until 20 years later and since has undergone numerous transformations, culminating in the super-powered 4-door sedan that is still sold today.

Blue Charger SRT Hellcat
Via Chevrolet

With its flashy SRT Hellcat Redeye Trim, and incredible 797 hp, the 2022 Dodge Charger is as close as a family can come to riding in a Daytona stock car on a daily basis. The Charger is also one of the most reliable modern muscle cars sold, ranking 89 out of 100 on J.D. Power’s reliability index.

3/10 Dodge Challenger

Dark Red 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Wide Body
Via Chevrolet

As one of the original pony cars, the first Dodge Challenger was released in 1969 to compete with the likes of the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. The early Dodge Chargers included an incredibly powerful for the time 390 hp V8 engine. Discontinued in 1983, the Challenger did not return until 2008 as part of a modern muscle car revival.

Red 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat SRT
Via Chevrolet

With few revisions and changes in production during the prior years, the 2-door 2020 Dodge Challenger is regarded as one of the most reliable editions in terms of durability and is a popular target for modern muscle car enthusiasts in the used car market.

2/10 Chevrolet Camaro

Gray 2023 Chevrolet Camaro SXT
Via Chevrolet

Released in 1966, the Chevrolet Camaro completed the famous trio of American pony cars along with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. The Camaro aimed to put a dent in the sports car market that Ford had dominated throughout the first half of the 1960s, and it was an instant success with its front-engine rear-drive configuration.

Front shot of white 2023 Chevrolet Camaro
Via Chevrolet

The 6th generation of the Camaro was launched in 2016, with the goal of making the car lighter and more aerodynamic than ever before while including a Corvette-designed V8 engine with more than 450 hp. Consistently rising in value, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is regarded as one of the most reliable editions of the modern pony car, scoring a 78 out of 100 on J.D. Power’s reliability index.

1/10 Ford Mustang

Blue 2024 Ford Mustang
Via Ford

Lee Iacocca developed the idea for the first Ford Mustang as a sports car aimed at the youth market, and his concept was extremely well received at the 1964 World Fair. Although they sold extremely well, Ford’s pony car saw major changes in body size from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s to accommodate increasingly larger engines with more horsepower.

Rear view of Blue Ford Mustang 2024
Via Ford

Ford will soon launch the 7th generation of the Mustang with an improved powertrain and a 5.0-liter V-8 engine producing 480 hp. Recent Mustang models have above-average reliability for cars in their class with an 85 out of 100 rating from J.D. Power.

Sources: Ford, J.D. Power

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