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The Dodge Challenger is a staple in modern muscle cars if also doomed to be discontinued. However, the big, brutish Challenger isn’t your only option for a fun sports coupe. Better yet, you can get a solid alternative to a Dodge Challenger for under $40,000. Check out sports coupes like the Ford Mustang GT, Nissan Z Sport, or Toyota GR86 that might not break the bank but might break the back tires loose. 

  • Subaru BRZ
  • Ford Mustang GT
  • Chevrolet Camaro LT1
  • Toyota GR86
  • Nissan Z Sport

Are Subaru BRZs fast?

A Subaru BRZ, like the Toyota GR86, is a solid alternative to a Dodge Challenger.
2023 Subaru BRZ | Subaru

The rear-wheel drive (RWD) Subaru BRZ produces 228 horsepower from its 2.4L flat engine. That’s not enough to make the Subaru BRZ fast compared to other sports cars, but it’s no slouch. With the six-speed manual transmission, the BRZ can hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. That’s one of the BRZ’s better features, too; in addition to starting at just $29,615, a manual transmission makes it feel like a proper driver’s car. 

Is the Ford Mustang GT a solid Dodge Challenger alternative? 

The Ford Mustang GT starts at just under $40,000, making it one of the most powerful Dodge Challenger alternatives at that price point. The 2022 Ford Mustang GT loses 10 horsepower compared to the 2021 model, dropping from 460 to 450. However, that’s still enough to make the late model S550 Ford Mustang GT a tail-happy muscle coupe or convertible with an optional Getrag manual transmission. 

Should you consider a Chevrolet Camaro LT1 as a Dodge Challenger alternative? 

The Chevrolet Camaro LT1 starts at $37,495, making it more affordable than a comparable 5.7L Hemi V8-powered Dodge Challenger R/T. Moreover, the LT1 produces 455 horsepower from its naturally aspirated 6.2L V8, compared to the R/T’s 375 horsepower. Better yet, the Camaro offers a manual transmission and a convertible for those who want a drop-top. 

Is the GR86 faster than BRZ?

The GR86 is a solid sports coupe and driver's car.
Toyota GR86 | Toyota

While the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ are similar sibling sports cars, the Toyota GR86 is better suited for track work. MotorTrend tested both cars on a road-holding skidpad course, and the GR86 returned a 0.98 g result compared to the BRZ’s 0.93 g. Furthermore, the GR86’s tighter handling characteristics lend itself to a snappier 0 to 60 mph time than the BRZ, beating the Subaru by about 0.1 seconds. 

Honorable mention: Nissan Z Sport

Although the upcoming Nissan Z Sport starts just above the $40,000 mark, it’s one of the most natural alternatives to the outgoing Dodge Challenger SXT, GT, and V8-powered R/T. The Nissan Z is a RWD coupe with a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6. If that isn’t enough to put the Z Sport on your radar, its retro-inspired styling is akin to the Challenger’s classic aesthetic. 

The Nissan Z Sport, like the Toyota GR86, is a great alternative for the Dodge Challenger.
2023 Nissan Z | Nissan

Beyond RWD coupes, there’s no shortage of hot hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type R that warrant consideration. Where there’s a will, there’s an alternative to the venerable Dodge Challenger. Scroll down to the following article to read about cool coupes!


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