Both the Mustang and the Challenger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, available four wheel antilock brakes and traction control.
The Mustang comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Dodge doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Challenger.
The Mustang’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Challenger runs out after 100,000 miles.
There are over 33 percent more Ford dealers than there are Dodge dealers, which makes it easier to get service under the Mustang’s warranty.
The camshafts in the Mustang’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Challenger SE 3.5 SOHC V6’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt which eventually needs to be replaced. If the Challenger’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Mustang have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Challenger.
The Mustang GT has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Challenger doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Mustang first among midsize sporty cars in their 2007 Initial Quality Study. The Challenger isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2005 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 8th in initial quality. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 27th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics which show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 17th in reliability, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 24th.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Mustang uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Challenger requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.
The Mustang Shelby GT Coupe handles at .92 G’s, while the Challenger SRT-8 pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The Mustang Bullitt Coupe goes through Road & Track’s slalom 1.4 MPH faster than the Challenger SRT-8 (66.4 vs. 65 MPH).
For better maneuverability, the Mustang V6’s turning circle is 4.1 feet tighter than the Challenger SRT-8’s (33.4 feet vs. 37.5 feet). The Mustang GT’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Challenger SE/RT’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.9 feet).
The Ford Mustang may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 500 pounds less than the Dodge Challenger.
The Mustang is 10.1 inches shorter than the Challenger, making the Mustang easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Mustang has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Challenger uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.
As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Mustang Bullitt Coupe is quieter than the Challenger SRT-8 (80 vs. 84 dB).
The Mustang Coupe has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Challenger (97.9 vs. 93.9).
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Mustang easier. The Mustang’s trunk lift-over height is 31 inches, while the Challenger’s liftover is 33 inches.
The Mustang has a lever hand brake in the console, easy to use while keeping both feet free and not impeding entry and exit. The Challenger’s foot pedal parking brake is not handy to use as a hill holding device with a manual transmission.
The Mustang’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Challenger’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
With optional voice command, the Mustang offers the driver hands free control of the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Challenger doesn’t offer a voice control system.