In their first-ever tests for crashworthiness by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2016 models of the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevrolet Camaro failed to score the coveted Top Safety Pick rating by the agency.

Although they make up a relatively small share of the overall car market, these three muscle cars, especially in their powerful V8 configurations, are popular with consumers, including vacationers who rent them and young drivers with more courage than skill.

The IIHS battery of tests includes evaluations of a car’s performance in moderate and small-overlap frontal crash tests into a barrier at 40 mph—the latter similar to colliding with a car crossing the center line. There also is a side-impact test, and evaluations of a car’s roof strength and head restraint geometry.

The Dodge Challenger was one of the muscle cars that were tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Challenger's small-overlap crash test result.

Challenger, Camaro Trail Mustang

The Mustang came closest to earning a Top Safety Pick rating, getting “good” marks in all tests, but needing to improve its small-overlap performance.

The Challenger needed the most improvement, scoring a “marginal” in the small overlap test and “acceptable” for roof strength and head-restraint performance.

The Camaro scored a “good” in the three major crash tests but was only “acceptable” for roof strength.

As for frontal crash-prevention technology, the Mustang and the Challenger scored only a “basic,” while the Camaro lacks an available front crash prevention system.

Check out our IIHS crash test video hub.

Chevrolet Camaro crash test
The Camaro's crash test indicated that the driver would not be severely impacted by the door frame, steering wheel, or instrument panel.