Your guide to the world of modern Mopar muscleIn some of the latest Dodge commercials, Vin Diesel has been touting Dodge and its products as being the "Brotherhood of Muscle." There are a few Dodge products we would single out as not living up to that reputation, but we did realize that the Mopar brands do have an impressive line of V8-powered machinery, something we thought a lot about as we recently tried out its latest and greatest. So we decided to look at all of the rumbling V8 models the company has, and sort them out based on their power and performance. All of the cars are listed from the least to most powerful, and each model is represented by the cheapest trim level to offer a particular V8. After all, who wants to spend more than they have to to get their high octane kicks?
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Dodge Durango R/T - 360 HP / 390 LB-FTThe bottom of the Mopar V8 hierarchy is the Dodge Durango R/T. It has the lowest output of any V8 model from the American arms of Fiat-Chrysler at 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. That's still not a bad amount of power and torque, and it does allow the Durango to tow up to 7,400 pounds. It has room for seven people, something no other vehicle on this list can claim. It's also one of only two ways to power all four wheels with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
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Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 - 360 HP / 390 LB-FTWith the same power and effectively the same weight as the rear-drive Durango R/T, we have the Jeep Grand Cherokee. With this SUV, you can only get the V8 with four-wheel drive, and the Limited trim level is the most affordable way to get the V8. But with the Jeep's off-road goodies, this V8 will get you places you wouldn't consider in the Durango.
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Chrysler 300S - 363 HP / 394 LB-FTNext up on the list is the Chrysler 300, and the lowest trim on which a V8 is available is the sporty-looking 300S. It ekes out a few extra ponies and pound-feet compared with the Durango R/T. But it should be substantially quicker than those numbers would suggest due to the V8-equipped 300 weighing about 800 pounds less than the Durango.
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Dodge Charger R/T - 370 HP / 395 LB-FTThe Chrysler 300's less fancy twin, the Dodge Charger R/T, picks up another 7 horsepower and a single pound-foot of torque. Despite lacking some of the luxurious pretense of the Chrysler, you can save about $3,800 by choosing a base Charger R/T over a base 300S with the V8. So if you're on a budget but need V8 power and four-door practicality, the Charger is your ride.
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Dodge Challenger R/T - 375 HP / 410 LB-FTThe Dodge Challenger R/T manages to squeeze even more out of the 5.7-liter than its sedan counterparts. With a manual transmission, output is 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. Opting for the automatic will drop that to 372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Our choice would obviously be the manual, and the Challenger model line is the only one in the Chrysler set to pair a manual with any of its V8s. The Challenger R/T is also the second cheapest way to get Mopar V8 fun with a price almost $2,000 less than the next cheapest Charger R/T.
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Ram 1500 Tradesman - 395 HP / 410 LB-FT
Interestingly, the most powerful (395 horsepower), torquiest (410 pound-feet) version of the 5.7-liter V8 resides in the humblest of Rams, the 1500 Tradesman. It's available in higher trim levels, too, but this bare-bones, stripped-out model represents the cheapest way to get Mopar V8 power with a base price of $28,445. That's impressive bang for your buck. Of course, you'll have to be ok with the Spartan interior of a work truck.
Also of note is that the 5.7-liter engine is standard in the larger 2500 Tradesman, but with 383 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, so the 1500 is the way to go, unless...