19 Best Muscle Cars Under $40K

Best Muscle Cars Under $40K
Photo by Lance Asper

Muscle cars are beautiful, and like most beautiful things, they come with an equally attractive price tag. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the thrill of a powerful car without having to break the bank, though!

We put together this list of the best muscle cars under $40k, so if you want the thunder without breaking your piggy bank, scroll down to check out what we found!

I’ll introduce you to the best muscle cars under $40k and still pack the power and style of their bigger brothers and sisters that are listed at $100,000 or more.

These cars are the perfect compromise for those who love this iconic look but don’t want to spend money on higher-end models! Let’s get started!

1. 2017 Ford Focus ST $39800

For buyers seeking the best muscle cars under $40k with the latest technology and excellent handling that still falls within the budget of most buyers, it is hard to find an option better than the 2017 Ford Focus ST.

It is powered by a 240-horsepower turbocharged engine coupled with six-speed manual transmission. 

Also, this car makes quick work of turns and delivers breathtaking acceleration. It is fast, offers surprisingly comfortable ride quality, and plenty of equipment as standard. So what are you waiting for? Drop by your local Ford dealer and test drive one today! 

2. 2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS $37955

The Chevrolet Camaro is one of the best muscle cars under $40k on the market. For under $40,000, you can pick up a new 2018 Camaro SS with a six-speed or 10-speed automatic transmission. It has three trims available, and there’s even an option for a performance package. 

Additionally, the Camaro comes with 300 horsepower and has 305 pound-feet of torque, as advertised. Its engine is a 6.2L V8 which sounds incredible, and you’ll be happy to know that this car gets up to 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway when driven in its Eco mode.

The Camaro SS rides on 20-inch wheels, which are designed to look beautiful but also durable, with the use of high gloss exterior paint for that extra pop. 

3. 2018 Subaru WRX STI $37200

If you’re looking for one of the most versatile and rugged best muscle cars under $40k on the market, then the Subaru WRX STI is a great pick.

It’s fun to drive, powerful enough to pound your heart, and has an all-wheel drive for excellent grip on dry or wet surfaces.

With its 2018 model, in particular, two additional trim levels add luxury features like automatic climate control and an infotainment system with a bigger screen and better sound quality. The starting price of this SUV-style performance car starts at about $37,200.

4. Dodge Challenger Scat Pack $38,995

If you’re looking for the best muscle cars under $40k that are still family-friendly, the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack might be suitable. This muscle car features a V8 engine with 485 horsepower and automatic transmission.

There are also plenty of safety features, including antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, and front head airbags. 

Also, the safety features ensure your family’s safety even when you’re tearing up the road at speeds over 100 mph. Plus, this Dodge Challenger is fuel efficient!

For example, on average, this vehicle will give you 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway, which is significantly better than most muscle cars out there!

5. Ford Mustang GT $35,880

The Ford Mustang GT is an American muscle car. It is the high-performance version of the Ford Mustang and has 460 HP. The 2016 Mustang GT has a top speed of 161 MPH and can go from 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds.

The GT also comes with 20-inch aluminum wheels, racing bucket seats with leather trim, a leather steering wheel, and a leather/suede bound shifter knob. Also, with cruise control and an anti-theft alarm system. 

6. Chevrolet Camaro LT1 $34,995

The Chevrolet Camaro has been America’s favorite muscle car ever since it debuted in 1967. The sixth generation is no exception, with a 453 hp LS3 V8 and manual or six-speed automatic transmission options. 

From front to back, this is one of the best muscle cars under $40k. Muscular good looks on the outside and comfortable performance-oriented seating on the inside, at least as long as you’re not sitting behind the notoriously small back seat.

7. Dodge Charger R/T $36,495

The Charger is a four-door sedan with a sleek design and has room for up to five people in the cabin. The R/T model starts at less than $37,000 and is equipped with 370 horsepower, making it a potent car with all the capabilities you need to get on the highway or race around on back roads. 

The Charger also offers top safety ratings and outstanding handling, thanks to its massive tires and wheels.

There are other models available starting at under $30k, which have around 300 horsepower, but if you want something that’s both fast and aggressive, then the R/T is worth considering for your money.

8. Chevrolet Camaro V-6 $28,090

For those with a need for speed and a need for some of American best muscle cars under $40k, Chevrolet has created the perfect car with their Camaro V-6.

This high-performing sports car features a 3.6 liter 6 cylinder engine that provides 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque with plenty of room to seat four adults comfortably. 

The interior is comfortable and features power seats that can be adjusted to fit any size driver or passenger. With the balance of affordability and power on your side, what more could you ask for?

9. Nissan 370Z $30,090

Nissan has been making affordable and reliable sports cars for years. The 370Z offers excellent power and agility for the price, and it also features Bluetooth connectivity to hands-free calling devices with an audio streaming package.

With its sharp lines and powerful engine, this car is a perfect blend of vintage muscle and modern reliability.

10. Ford Mustang EcoBoost $26,670

Ford is at the top of the muscle car ladder with its new 2018 Mustang EcoBoost. With a horsepower of 310 and only 184 pounds-feet of torque, this car will put power to the ground as well as any other on this list. It also features Ford’s latest stability control system that helps drivers stay on course. 

It’s not only about speed for drivers who want a car to tear up dirt roads or mountain passes in search of spectacular views. The Mustang has plenty of passenger space and a comfortable ride to make those long trips more enjoyable.

At just over $26,000 with navigation, it costs less than all but one other vehicle on this list of best muscle cars under $40k. With its sleek looks and raw power, it feels worth every penny.

13. Buick Regal GS $39,070

If you’re looking for a muscle car with mid-level performance, the Regal GS is one of the best muscle cars under $40k. The Regal GS offers 310 horsepower and delivers an exhilarating ride with speeds up to 172 miles per hour. 

Although the Buick Regal GS has a slightly lower horsepower than other muscle cars on this list, it’s still a great option if you’re shopping on a budget.

The vehicle retails at under $39,000, including destination and delivery fees. For that price, you can get one in either black or silver.

14. Subaru WRX STI $36,995

Introduced in 2014, the Subaru WRX STI is one of the best muscle cars under $40k on the market today. The WRX STI can handle an array of terrain with a safety-focused body design and all-wheel drive capability.

The car comes standard with Recaro front seats, and a driver’s seat equipped with power side bolsters for better control and stability. 

This model has 310 horsepower under the hood and a six-speed manual transmission with limited slip differential to make it perfect for driving enthusiasts. Other features include:

  • Automatic climate control.
  • Cruise control.
  • Auto lights and wipers.
  • Heated leather seats (front and rear).
  • Heated door mirrors (lower portion).
  • HD radio-ready sound system from Harman Kardon.

15. Nissan Maxima $34,450

The Nissan Maxima is built with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and rated at 300 horsepower. You will also get to choose a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive option.

Some of the other features of this vehicle include Bluetooth® streaming audio, heated mirrors, seats, automatic headlights, and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels on models other than the base model. 

This specific model comes in five trim levels: Base, S, SV, SL, and Platinum. The Base version starts at around $27,400, while the top-level model is around $38,700 after adding options and packages.

16. Infiniti Q50 $37,245

One of the best muscle cars under $40,000 is the Infiniti Q50. It features a 300-horsepower engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission, and its suspension can be stiffened for those that want to enjoy some spirited driving. As with all Infinitis, it offers sharp handling and luxurious ride quality. 

The safety features on this sports sedan are designed to offer protection on both city streets and highways thanks to standard front seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters, side-impact door beams, and available lane departure warning systems with adaptive cruise control. This is the perfect muscle car if you like luxury combined with performance!

17. Toyota Avalon $35,875

Start your search with Toyota’s Avalon. The car has both a luxurious interior and exterior and boasts a responsive V6 engine with 301 horsepower.

It may not be the fastest car on the list, but it can go from 0-60 in 7.1 seconds which is close to average for this market segment. 

There are plenty of extras, such as a push-button start and heated seats, so that you can stay comfortable even in frigid temperatures.

The Avalon may be one of the more expensive cars on this list at just over $35,000 brand new, but it will be worth every penny.

18. Toyota Camry $31,170

Another great car under 40K is the Toyota Camry. This midsize sedan boasts a powerful engine that gives it speed and power and 300 horsepower.

The 8-speed automatic transmission can be controlled manually for a more exhilarating driving experience. 

Moreso, you can purchase the Camry in either a front-wheel or all-wheel drive configuration, depending on your desired driving style.

Although fuel economy could be better at an EPA-estimated 25/37 mpg city/highway, this affordable car won’t break the bank at a $31,170 sticker price.

19. Honda Civic Type R $36,995

The Honda Civic Type R is among its class’s best muscle cars under $40k. With 306 horsepower and an all-wheel drive system for improved handling, the Honda Civic Type R will have you riding the road to victory in no time. 

You may need to change gears manually on this car, but it will be worth it for all the races you win with your friends.

Be careful, though: You’ll need to find ways to cool down after a long race, or your engine could overheat!

Conclusion

Muscle cars are excellent and powerful, making them fantastic additions to any car collection. The problem with these types of vehicles is that they’re not cheap to buy—especially those built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, which are highly sought after by collectors and fans alike.

With this in mind, we scoured hundreds of thousands of listings online to identify some of the best muscle cars under $40k you can buy today.  

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