Which Muscle Car Is the Safest?

The muscle car segment stays true to its automotive roots, with classic coupe looks, a big V8 up front, and rear-wheel drive (RWD). Within that segment, the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro routinely fight for the top position. Whether it be quarter-mile times, horsepower figures, or sales, the muscle car trinity is in constant competition. One thing most muscle car customers don’t seem to care about as much is safety. However, if you want the most safety for your tire-shredding coupe, which car has the best ratings?

Is the 2022 Ford Mustang a safe muscle car?

Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro: Which muscle car is the safest?
A 2022 Ford Mustang California Special | Ford

The new Ford Mustang gets pretty good scores in most crash protection categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) typically grades cars like the Ford Mustang with good, acceptable, marginal, and poor ratings. Further, the agency will crash a test variant of the Mustang and assign ratings like those to individual trials, like front and side impacts. 

The Mustang performed admirably in most IIHS tests, if not up to Chevrolet Camaro standards. Ford’s famed muscle car got an acceptable rating in the small overlap front-impact test. The small overlap refers to the amount of the front end exposed to the impact site. Coincidentally, more of the front end slams into the site in the moderate overlap test. The Mustang got top scores in the moderate overlap test. Furthermore, the IIHS side and roof testing revealed good ratings for the pony car as well. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also responsible for judging the crashworthiness of the vehicles. The Mustang did well in the NHTSA’s tests, with an overall five-star rating. 

2022 Dodge Challenger’s safety scores will likely disappoint Mopar fans

Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro: Which muscle car is the safest?
A lime green Dodge Challenger | Eric Thayer, Getty Images

The Dodge Challenger gets some of the lowest scores in the segment from the IIHS. The big Mopar muscle car gets a marginal rating in the small overlap front crash test. Additionally, the Challenger received only acceptable scores in roof strength and seat safety. However, the news isn’t all bad for Challenger fans, as the big Dodge got good ratings in the moderate overlap front test and the side impact test. 

The NHTSA awarded the Challenger a five-star overall safety rating, even if the big car didn’t get perfect scores. Dodge’s premier two-door muscle coupe scored a four-star rating for front crashworthiness. The Challenger also scored four stars in the rollover protection tests. However, the Dodge muscle car redeemed itself with a five-star rating in side crashworthiness.  

Is the 2022 Chevrolet Camaro a safe car? 

The 2022 Chevrolet Camaro got the best scores from the IIHS, claiming a good rating in every category but the roof strength test. Unfortunately, the Camaro only withstood 13,641 lbs applied to the roof structure, quite a bit less than the Mustang. However, the Camaro makes up for it with the best scores in the segment. 


The good news for Chevrolet fans continues with the NHTSA testing. The muscle car scored a five-star rating overall, with only a few specific follies. Specifically, the Camaro received four out of five stars in front crashworthiness. However, the Chevrolet muscle car got five stars in the other categories. 

Scroll down to the following article to read more about the venerable Dodge Challenger.

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