A big, honkin’ V-8 muscle car may not be for everyone given the considerably larger fuel hole it burns in your wallet. There are entry-level versions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger with the look and cool factor of the desirable V-8s, but at a much more attractive price. As we discovered, some of these model-year 2016 small-engine muscle cars are far from posers, and they deliver big in the performance department.
The Small-Engine Muscle Car Challenge
We gathered automatic-transmission V-6 versions of the Camaro and Challenger, and the Mustang EcoBoost with its turbocharged four-cylinder. We put them through the same acceleration and handling tests as their V-8 counterparts: zero-to-60-mph acceleration, quarter-mile acceleration time and speed, 60-mph-to-zero braking distance, and then we threw them on the handling course at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park’s 11-turn, 1.2-mile West Track in Chandler, Ariz. Here’s how they performed.