Long in the fight for horsepower supremacy, since the days of the original family sedan even, has been the large V8 engine. But with such a large engine comes a plethora of problems from gas mileage to practicality when it comes to city driving, which has created a market for smaller engines and frame designs, a must in the modern hunt for a mix of performance and fuel economy. The Mustang has long been a favorite in the pony car race for its excellent performance and design, but what if there were a batch of V6-powered underdogs that could give the Mustang a run for its money? Well, there are. And most of these vehicles are well under the price range of a Mustang.
Many of these V6-powered cars are relatively well known, and you wouldn't believe how many can actually give the rampaging pony a run for its money. Naturally, with the Mustang name comes a prestige that's attached to every vehicle that leaves the factory, but if you can get comparable power in a superior design why not go for it? This list will be taking a look at some of the most powerful and comparable V6 rides that you can get, many of which provide a fun riding experience and a more practical interior for growing families or someone who wants a more comfortable ride. The Mustang has come a long way in terms of comfort and convenience, but there are quite a few cars that can give it a fun-filled run for its money.
22 Lexus SC300
The Lexus SC300 is a fan favorite with the drifting community because it features the same V6 engine that you'd find in the Toyota Supra.
Not only is this engine legendary, but it also packs a serious punch that many cars cannot compete with.
And did we mention that it's uber fast when you slap a turbocharger onto it? The Lexus SC300, in good running condition, can literally be had for a few thousand, and this is one of the fastest and most exciting used sports cars that you can get. (Cargurus)
21 Toyota Supra Third generation (A70; 1986-1993)
It should be without question that the third-generation Toyota Supra will blow the doors off of any Mustang that you put in front of it. The Toyota Supra Turbo is still one of the most sought-after cars on the road, and if you cannot afford 1997, you can find one of these models, with a powerful V6 engine that Toyota designed to tear up the track, for a few thousand. The third-generation Toyota Supra also has a nice large interior and a surprisingly roomy backseat, which makes the travels of your passengers quite comfortable. (Cargurus)
20 Toyota Supra Fourth generation (A80; 1993-2002)
This generation of the Toyota Supra has now become one of the most expensive cars in the world, and yes, it will absolutely blow the doors off of a Ford Mustang.
When you take a look at this timeless design, you're greeted by a car that literally changed history, and although the car wasn't really popular at the end of its life cycle, it's now taken on a second life like never before.
If you can somehow find one of these cars on a deal, it's one of the best buys in the used sports car market, and the turbo engine is absolutely jaw-dropping. (Cargurus)
19 Toyota Celica Fifth generation (T180; 1989-1993)
This zippy little car was featured in the Toyota lineup during the early nineties and, for the most part, was one of their more popular cars. The Celica was never designed to win any races, but with the AWD version and an available turbo option, this little car has been known to slide and skirt wherever you want it to. The Toyota Celica fifth generation is probably one of the more underrated models, and any Toyota fan should have this car on his list when it comes to smoking a Mustang. (Cargurus)
18 Toyota Celica Sixth generation (T200; 1993-1999)
Taking a cue from the much larger Toyota Supra model, the sixth generation of the Toyota Celica looked to build on an already impressive body and engine with a much faster and zippier model. The one-of-a-kind little sports car came in many options, with the ladder of the models featuring the legendary four-cylinder engine that's made the car famous. The one-of-a-kind Toyota Celica is a stellar car that usually has a great resale value, and the car can take a Ford Mustang on with no problem, especially with some nice aftermarket modifications. (Cargurus)
17 Toyota Celica Seventh generation (T230; 1999-2006)
The final generation of the Toyota Celica to be released in the US market was one of the most popular models as well. With a radically new design, this was one of the more sporty models for Toyota to release as they tried to appeal to a younger audience, and this car, with its sharp styling and signature engine, did just that. Naturally, this car will take on a Mustang pretty well. Grab the Celica in the manual transmission package, and you'll have a winning combination of affordable speed and sportiness. (Cargurus)
16 Mitsubishi Eclipse First generation (1G, 1990-1994)
When Mitsubishi entered into a partnership with Chrysler at the start of the nineties, they were looking to provide the world with an affordable sports car that could compete with the likes of any fast car on the market.
The first-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse and Plymouth Laser were two of the most fun-to-drive cars for the price, and coupled with the factory turbocharger, these cars are great choices to this day.
They're incredibly fast for the price, and the resale value is still very affordable, especially for the lesser-known Plymouth Laser model. (Cargurus)
15 Mitsubishi Eclipse Second generation (2G, 1995-1999)
The second generation of the Mitsubishi Eclipse became even more beautiful and modern, and it introduced the world to the Spyder model. This beautiful sports car featured some of the most striking lines of the nineties, and the factory turbocharger was one of the best in the industry. To this day, the Eclipse remains one of the favorite Japanese cars to improve upon and add modifications to. What makes the Mitsubishi Eclipse a great car is the fact that it came in an AWD drivetrain, which made the car a wickedly good performer even in bad weather conditions. (Cargurus)
14 Mitsubishi Eclipse Third generation (3G, 2000-2005)
The third generation of the Mitsubishi Eclipse was released to a good amount of fanfare, and why not? The car had broken many records for the total time that it was produced, and the market was hungry for another top-notch sports car.
The new-generation Eclipse built on the powerful performance and kept it up with a stylish new interior and a much larger exterior that gave the car and spunky look.
This generation of the Eclipse also showed the world the Spyder model once more and proved to be one of the best-selling cars in Mitsubishi history. (Edmunds)
13 Mitsubishi Eclipse Fourth generation (4G, 2006-2012)
Perhaps the most highly anticipated Eclipse model yet, the fourth generation of the Eclipse was an all-new car from the ground up. This car introduced the world to a groundbreaking new design that was actually ahead of its time, and with the one-of-a-kind powerful engine that made the car famous, this is one car that will give the Mustang a run for its money any day of the week. This particular Eclipse model has held its value extremely well, but you can find these cars in great shape for the price. (Edmunds)
12 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS
One of the more underrated cars on the list, the 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS is far more than just the rally car that it looks like. Underneath the hood is enough to power to pretty much demolish any V6 Mustang that should come in its way and, with the right amount of work, could potentially impress a larger V8 Mustang with ease.
Everything about the 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS, with a one-of-a-kind exterior that matches the car's spunky personality, is a stylish car.
The 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS is also one of the more affordable models on this list. (Edmunds)
11 Subaru Impreza Third generation (2007-2014) – GE, GV, GH, GR
Probably the most popular with the aftermarket crowd is the Subaru Impreza Third generation (2007-2014) – GE, GV, GH, GR. This one-of-a-kind car introduced the world to a whole new style that created a sales sensation for the Subaru brand, and with the right modifications, this generation of the Subaru Impreza is one of the fastest cars on the road. You’ll also notice the vastly improved interior, which, on the WRX model, comes standard with racing seats, and this car has a signature exhaust note as well. (Edmunds)
10 Dodge Charger SRT8
No list would be complete without a car that'll blow the Mustang out of the water, and funny enough, it has four doors. The Dodge Charger SRT 8 is a Hemi-powered beast of a car, and even with four full doors, this car will absolutely give the Mustang a run for its money. The Dodge Charger SRT 8 has a beautiful leather interior, and the factory rims and ground effects that are on the car give it an aggressive look that's hard to replicate. (Edmunds)
9 Chrysler 300C SRT 8
If style and speed are the focus, then the Chrysler 300C SRT 8 is a fire-breathing monster that looks like an opera singer to the naked eye. The Chrysler 300C SRT 8 was famously owned by Walter White in the final season of Breaking Bad, and with the monstrous motor and signature sound of the Hemi V8, this is a Mustang-spanking powerhouse that's hard to forget. The Chrysler 300C SRT 8 is also one of the most beautiful cars that you will see, available in some stunningly beautiful color combinations. (Edmunds)
8 Chevrolet Camaro V6
Surprisingly enough, the modern incarnation of the Camaro V6 is one of the more powerful cars that you can get in this price range. Coupled with the manual transmission, the current Camaro V6 will take a Mustang V6 head on and actually make the drive exciting. There are other benefits to the Camaro V6 over the V8 Camaro as well. One of them is the improved gas mileage and the lower insurance rates. The Camaro V6 is also a lot cheaper than a fully loaded SS model, and you still get the pride of owning a Chevrolet Camaro. (Edmunds)
7 Subaru BRZ
Designed by Toyota but with its own unique Subaru flare, the one-of-a-kind Subaru BRZ will definitely either beat a Mustang or a give it a run for its money in a race.
This is a stellar sports car that features a powerful engine as well as a driver-oriented cockpit that makes driving the car a breeze.
The Subaru BRZ is a winning combination of style and comfort, and when coupled with the turbo option, this is a scary-fast race car that won’t break the bank like many other sports cars that are in this horsepower range will. (Edmunds)
6 Mazda RX8
The Mazda RX8 is a car that was released for a few years and never really managed to get popular among the sports car crowd. One of the reasons could've been the awkward design, which didn’t really conform with traditional sports car standards. The RX8 did have some nifty features such as the third door for passengers and a one-of-a-kind interior that was both luxurious and driver-focused. The later versions of the RX8 added an enhanced amount of luxury and performance to the car, which made it a stellar choice over a Mustang. (Edmunds)
5 1995 Mazda RX7
The 1995 Mazda RX7 is blisteringly fast and blisteringly expensive to this day. The car, at the time, was one of the most beautiful on the market, and that still stands true to this day. To get one of these cars, you're going to have to do some searching because they're quite rare, but this car will wholeheartedly take on a Mustang with no problem. There's no lack of performance here, and the model is a beautiful car by today's standards. (Edmunds)
4 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
No, this isn’t the Monte Carlo SS of past generations, and there's no powerful V8 motor in it. But, for the most part, the supercharged V6 motor that was included in this stylish model is enough to take on any Mustang. Now, it should be noted that the Monte Carlo is a much heavier car and generally not meant for racing. The Monte Carlo is known as a personal luxury coupe and thus, was made for a comfortable drive. But if you need the power, it's there, and this car will definitely take a Mustang head-on. (Edmunds)
3 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
The 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT is another car similar to the Monte Carlo SS that takes a supercharged V6 and makes it look cool. This model, which featured a Ram Air edition, was one of the fastest sedans of its time, and with a pillowy suspension, this car will take a Mustang on with no trouble. You’ll be surprised by the performance that this supercharged V6 can muster as it pilots this big bulky sedan with authority and makes it a stellar choice as opposed to a Mustang if you need a family-friendly car. (Edmunds)
2 Dodge Caliber SRT
A surprisingly little car that's fun to drive, the Dodge Caliber SRT is a limited-edition car that was made to take on a Mustang or just about anything that gets in the tiny car's way. Now, naturally, the Dodge Caliber SRT is a much smaller car than a Mustang, and the car is somewhat unknown because so few were made. But if you can get this rare car, you’ll be more than happy with the performance and the style that it offers for the price. (Edmunds)
1 Dodge Neon SRT
The titan among this list is the Dodge Neon SRT, a car that's known for being fast out of the factory. When these cars were first released, it was almost unreal how fast they were, and with its beautiful factory paint job and a huge wing, you knew that this car meant business. This isn't your run-of-the-mill Dodge Neon, and if you think that it is, you're going to be pleasantly surprised with performance and power to match. (Edmunds)
Sources: Cargurus, Edmunds