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Pony cars, or muscle cars if you prefer, are selling rather well of late. What better time is there to buy a sporty new American car than in the lead-up to the summer of 2010, as the American automotive industry reinvigorates itself, when the deals and temperatures are equally hot?

Brand loyalty is a difficult thing to decipher. Are there any Chevrolet enthusiasts in America who’d be willing to buy a 2011 Ford Mustang…. if the Mustang was the better car…. if the Mustang was the better cheaper car? Then there’s the big 2010 Dodge Challenger, a car with style and horsepower to spare in SRT8 form; a car lacking in both departments when seen as the run-of-the-mill SE. Would a former Ford Mustang owner, or a young guy who grew up yearning for a Camaro, consider a Dodge Challenger?

Let’s assume brand loyalty means nothing. For the purposes of this article we’ll ignore acceleration times, our subjective style opinions, and the gs each car pulled on Car & Driver’s skidpad. Think of pony car purchasing in a purely financial sense. Will it be the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, or Dodge’s Challenger that ends up appealing to your bank account? Find out after the jump.

chevrolet camaro
Ford Mustang: $22,145
Chevrolet Camaro LS: $22,680
Dodge Challenger SE: $23,695
Chevrolet Camaro 1LT: $23,880
Ford Mustang Premium: $25,845
Chevrolet Camaro 2LT: $26,875
Ford Mustang Convertible: $27,145 
Ford Mustang Premium Convertible: $30,845

dodge challenger


Ford Mustang GT: $29,645
Chevrolet Camaro 1SS: $30,945
Dodge Challenger R/T: $31,610
Ford Mustang GT Premium: $32,845
Chevrolet Camaro 2SS: $33,945
Ford Mustang GT Convertible: $34,645
Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible: $37,845
Dodge Challenger SRT8: $43,680
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: $48,645
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible: $53,645

* Chevrolet charges $995 for an automatic on the LS, 1LT, and 1SS Camaros or $1185 on 2LT and 2SS Camaros.
* Ford charges $995 for an automatic transmission but the Shelby is manual-tranny only.
* Dodge equips Challengers as standard with an automatic. Manuals aren’t available with the V6. Opting for manual transmission will cost $695 on the SRT8 or $995 on the R/T.