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Muscle Car Comparison - Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
November 18, 2010
4 min. Reading Time

The retro muscle car scene has enjoyed a recent boost thanks to GM's decision to resurrect the Ford Mustang's longtime rival, the Chevrolet Camaro. These two competitors have traditionally gone at one another tooth and nail in an effort to attract buyers interested in the horsepower, styling and attitude that comes along with a muscle coupe. Recent updates to both platforms have narrowed the gap between the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro considerably, making the choice a difficult one for new car shoppers. Let's compare these two mid-size coupes to see where their strengths and weaknesses truly lie. Learn more about the new 2011 Ford Mustang Photos courtesy of respective manufacturers


The 2011 model year marks a turning point for the Ford Mustang in terms of performance, as it receives a pair of engine upgrades that seriously increase the potency of both its entry-level and top-end trims. The vehicle's all-aluminum base 3.7-liter V-6 offers 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which when matched with a six-speed manual transmission help it hit 60-mph from a standing start in just 5.6 seconds. Suspension architecture has been tweaked so as to improve the V-6 Mustang's handling, and braking performance is also up. The Ford Mustang GT adds almost 100 horsepower to the 2010 model's peak output thanks to the inclusion of a fresh 5.0-liter V-8 that generates 412 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a six-speed auto or manual transmission, the GT launches to 60-mph in 4.4 seconds and runs the quarter mile in 12.7 with a trap speed of 112-mph. The Chevrolet Camaro LS's 3.6-liter entry-level V-6 out-duels the Mustang V-6 in terms of horsepower (312) and matches its torque production (278). Transmission choices are also identical, but the heavier Camaro takes a half second longer in the sprint to 60 miles per hour. The Chevrolet Camaro SS overpowers the Mustang GT's V-8 engine thanks to the 426 horses and 420 lb-ft of torque produced by its own 6.2-liter, eight-cylinder engine, but the extra curb weight once again conspires to keep its 0-60 times almost a half second slower than the Ford offering. On the drag strip, the Chevrolet Camaro SS turns in a 13.1 second run at 111-mph. Learn more about the new 2011 Ford Mustang


Fuel Economy

Unsurprisingly, the Ford Mustang V-6 provides the better fuel mileage rating of the two drivetrain choices available from the Blue Oval, coming in at 19-mpg in city driving and 31-mpg on the highway. The latter number is accessible when using the optional six-speed automatic transmission. The 5.0-liter V-8 trails by only 1-mpg around town but lags to 25-mpg during highway cruising. The Chevrolet Camaro's V-6 feels the pinch of its additional power output and greater mass by way of lower fuel economy in both the city (17-mpg) and highway (28-mpg) measures. The automatic edition of the Chevrolet Camaro SS posts better fuel consumption numbers than the six-speed manual version thanks to a cylinder deactivation feature that helps the muscle coupe return gas mileage of 16-mpg in stop-and-go driving and 25-mpg during highway cruising. Learn more about the new 2011 Ford Mustang



The Camaro LS is the least expensive model in the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro lineup, and it starts at an MSRP of $22,680. The 2011 Ford Mustang V6 nips at its heels with an MSRP of $22,995. For muscle car shoppers interested in parking a V-8 in the driveway, the tables are turned thanks to the Ford Mustang GT's $30,495 base MSRP. The Chevrolet Camaro SS is $450 more expensive (MSRP $30,945). Chevrolet intends to bring out a convertible edition of the Camaro later in 2011, but until then the 2011 Ford Mustang drop top is the only game in town. The Mustang V6 Convertible retails for $27,995 while the Mustang GT Convertible goes for $35,495. Chevrolet will be pricing the entry-level Camaro Convertible at $30,000. Learn more about the new 2011 Ford Mustang


Exterior Styling

Styling is one of the most subjective aspects of a vehicle to evaluate, but given that it forms such a huge part of both the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro identity it is an impossible to ignore characteristic of each of these muscle machines. The Mustang borrows liberally from the iconic look of its 1960s progenitor, but it also throws in a heavy dose of modern design thanks to its sharp lines, smooth rear bumper and aggressively-canted front fascia. Tying the entire package together are the classic tail lights and grille-mounted driving lights found on the Ford Mustang GT. The Chevrolet Camaro also draws visual comparisons to the 1968-1969 model that has much cachet with collector car enthusiasts, but its overall design is distinctly from this millennium, with a tall belt line, chunky rear flanks and sneering front grille adding an additional degree of menace to the coupe's appearance. Learn more about the new 2011 Ford Mustang



The Ford Mustang offers a wide range of features and packages for both the V-6 model and the GT trim levels. All editions of the Ford Mustang come with a limited-slip rear differential, air conditioning, power windows and door locks and keyless entry. The Premium trim adds leather seats, a unique set of color-adjustable dash instrumentation and a upgraded stereo system. It also installs the Ford SYNC vehicle communications and entertainment interface. The Pony package adds fog lamps and a Pony grille to V-6 editions of the Mustang, while the Performance package upgrades the vehicle's suspension system with stiffer springs and a strut tower brace, and adds a retuned electronic stability program, larger wheels, better brakes and different rear gearing. The Mustang GT offers its own version of the Performance package called the Brembo Brake package, which makes many of the same improvements to the V-8 powered car. The Chevrolet Camaro matches the Mustang in terms of standard equipment, but on the V-6 model most of the available optional features focus on comfort and convenience as opposed to performance. Items such as heated leather seats, a Boston Acoustics stereo system, Bluetooth integration and rear parking sensors are all available on the V-6 Camaro, along with the option of 19-inch wheels. The Camaro SS steps up to 20-inch wheels and a standard spoiler, and it can be had with almost all of the luxury items offered on the V-6 model. Every model save the base Camaro can also take advantage of the RS package, whose highlights include HID headlights and unique wheels. Learn more about the new 2011 Ford Mustang



Both the 2011 Ford Mustang and the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro are viable muscle car options, whether ordered in entry-level V-6 form or optioned out as full-on V-8 performance models. The two vehicles are extremely close in almost all meaningful areas, with a slight performance and fuel economy advantage going to the Ford Mustang. The Mustang also enjoys a more extensive feature list, in part due to the maturity of its platform in comparison to the recently introduced Camaro. On paper, the decision is a difficult if not impossible one to make, which means that interested buyers will need to test drive each model in order to sample the intangibles that separate these two competent muscle cars. Learn more about the new 2011 Ford Mustang



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