Skip the 2021 Dodge Charger For 1 Of These Alternatives If You Can’t Afford a V8

The 2021 Dodge Charger is a sales giant, lapping the rest of the large sedan class. However, it might only be worth considering the Charger’s expensive V8-equipped trims.

The 2021 Dodge Charger’s V6 engine isn’t worth the money

A red 2021 Dodge Charger GT AWD driving through the snow
The 2021 Dodge Charger driving through snow | Stellantis

Many motorists are attracted to the muscle car’s aggressive image. Meanwhile, others are swayed by the base Charger’s price, which at $29,995 is the lowest MSRP in its class.

Unfortunately, these muscle cars like the punch you desire. The Charger SXT’s standard 3.6-liter V6 only kicks out 292 hp.

Thankfully, there are many better options on the market than a V6-equipped 2021 Dodge Charger.

Experts like Car and Driver recommend buying the V8-equipped R/T trim, but that’ll cost you $36,995. Instead, you should explore the following three models rival the Charger in price while offering so much more.

This Kia sports car delivers an inviting blend of luxury and athleticism

A blue 2021 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD driving down a highway road
The 2021 Kia Stinger in action | Kia

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The 2021 Dodge Charger and the 2021 Kia Stinger aren’t quite in the same class. The Charger is a burly muscle car, while the Stinger is a sleek sports sedan. However, both models appeal to a similar clientele. 

These thrill-seekers also have wildly different powertrains. The base 2021 Kia Stinger only has a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. 

This powertrain has nothing on the Stinger’s twin-turbo V6, which is available every trim above the base model. But it isn’t too far off from the performance you’ll experience in the Charger’s 292 3.6-liter V6.

The 2021 Kia Stinger’s lighter weight and athletic handling also allow it to deliver sportier performance than the base Charger.

Notably, the 2021 Dodge Charger is cheaper, as the Stinger has a starting MSRP of $33,090. However, Kia makes spending the extra money well worth it, as the Stinger toes the line of luxury.

It comes with heated leather front seats, a wireless device charger, paddle shifters, and a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Dodge Charger GT, which starts at $31,995, can’t compete. The most significant advantage it offers is an 8.4-inch touchscreen instead of seven-inch displays on the base Stinger and base Charger. However, this model does have a slightly more powerful version of the V6 that delivers 300 hp.

Still, most drivers will find more to love about the 2021 Kia Stinger.

Ford’s iconic pony car has more to offer than the 2021 Dodge Charger

RELATED: Sticker Shock: Every 2021 Ford Mustang Trim Got a Price Bump

The 2021 Ford Mustang is typically pitted against the Dodge Challenger. However, it may be a better option than the Charger for those who don’t plan on using it as a family vehicle.

Ford priced the entry-level Mustang at $26,670, and it has several trim levels that are cheaper than any V8-equipped 2021 Dodge Charger.

You may scoff at the fact that a four-cylinder engine powers the Mustang. However, this turbocharged powerplant kicks out 310 hp, making it significantly more potent than the Charger. 

Plus, the 2021 Ford Mustang archives better fuel economy than the Charger. The EPA estimates that the Mustang gets 25 MPG city/highway combined, while the Charger only manages 23 MPG combined.

Best of all, the Mustang is also a safer vehicle than its larger counterpart. Ford beefed up its safety systems for 2021. It now comes standard with forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and more. All the 2021 Dodge Charger SXT has is a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.

Test-drive a 2021 Mazda CX-30 before buying a 2021 Dodge Charger

RELATED: Why Are 2020-21 Mazda CX-30 Owners So Smitten With Their Crossover?

Are we really recommending a subcompact SUV for muscle car shoppers? Yes. We know it’s an odd comparison, but hear us out.

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 has a lower and more confident stance than other SUVs. That means you’ll have a slightly higher view than you would while driving the 2021 Dodge Charger. However, you’ll also have the same confidence due to its low center of gravity.

Best of all, you’ll gain the advantage of having a spacious cargo bay of an SUV without losing out on the driving dynamics of a car.

While Mazda priced the base CX-30 at only $26,300, you’ll want to actually choose the 2.5 Turbo trim. This model. This model ditches the lackluster standard engine with a front-wheel-drive system and replaces it with a 2.5-liter turbo engine and an all-wheel-drive system. This energetic powerplant kicks out 250 hp when you use 93-octane premium fuel, but it dips to 227 hp if you use regular 87-octane fuel.

Notably, the CX-30 2.5 Turbo costs just about the same as a base Charger, but you’ll get a whole lot more.

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 features a high-quality interior filled with premium material. Plus, it has heated front seats with leatherette upholstery, an eight-speaker sound system, and an 8.8-inch touchscreen display.