Camaro vs. Mustang: The Ultimate Showdown
As a car enthusiast, you know that Ford and Chevy have been battling for muscle car superiority for decades. Are you Team Camaro or Team Mustang? Let’s settle the Camaro vs. Mustang debate once and for all. This guide will help you decide which muscle car has the edge in terms of performance, safety, design and so on.
More than 50 years after its initial release, Ford sold 126,000 Mustangs worldwide in 2017. That makes it the world’s most popular sports car for the third year in a row.
Yet, before their sales started to slip in 2016, the Camaro wasn’t far behind. So besides worldwide sales, who wins out in the Camaro vs. Mustang age-old rivalry?
There’s a lot more to consider nowadays than ever before in the battle for America’s car. Today, we have to consider tech and fuel economy as much as big, loud engines and a whole lot of power.
So let’s look at the 2018 models of both muscle cars and compare all the details to determine a conclusive winner (at least for this year).
Engines and Performance
So, right out of the gate… How big are the engines and what kind of power are they packing?
The base 2018 is outfitted with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder. It rates at 310 horsepower and comes stock with a six-speed manual transmission.
The six-cylinder isn’t being produced this year, so the next step up is the GT’s 5.0-liter V8 that puts out a whopping 460 horsepower.
With 5.2-litre V8’s in the GT350 and GT350R you’ll get all of 526 horsepower.
A turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine rated at 275 horsepower is the base Camaro. A little smaller and a little less power than the base ‘Stang. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission but they offer an eight-speed auto for a little extra out of your pocket.
The Camaro SS carries a 6.2-litre V8 rated at 455 horsepower. Again, you’re looking at a little less horsepower than the Mustang.
If you’re looking for supercharged, look no further than the ZL1. It takes the 6.2-liter and rates it at 650 horsepower. You can pay extra for the 10-speed auto.
If we’re talking solely about horsepower, Mustang is the clear winner. You might be able to improve the Camaro’s performance with a spoiler, but in terms of production, the Mustang has the power many people are looking for.
Tech wasn’t a player in the early years of this rivalry, but in more recent decades, tech matters.
Mustang tech offers a 12.4-inch digital instrument panel that features a unique display for each mode.
2018 also offers Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment, voice-controlled navigation and the Shaker Pro Audio system. Other options include forward collision warning, pre-collision assisted driving with a pedestrian detection system, a reverse sensor and adaptive cruise control.
Camaro’s tech includes all the standards of today’s vehicles plus some innovative functions. The standards include a driver information display within the instrument cluster, rear park assistance and a head-up display.
Not-so-average is the teen driver function, lane change alert, and a side blind zone alert. The blind zone assist is really helpful — this car isn’t easy to see out of.
Considering that many of these options cost extra, we might be tempted to call this a tie. But, when taking a closer look, we’re giving the win to Chevy for giving us some cool, innovative functions we didn’t even know we wanted or needed.
Sounds, Burnouts and Drag Racing
|These are muscle cars, right? So let’s compare how they rank in terms of what muscle cars are known for.
Both the Chevy and the Ford have 2-mode exhausts and 8 pistons, but the Ford sounds better. Its revving is loud and powerful, and while the Camaro still makes some great noise, it doesn’t compare to the purr of the Mustang.
The Michelin stock tires on the Mustang win the burnout every single time. The Camaro can only get in one or two burns before the Goodyear tires heat up and lose their grip.
This one is pretty close.
The two cars are identical in weight distribution. At 54/46, the Chevy wins the 0 to 60 mph from a full stop position. It comes in at 4.1 seconds.
If the race was lengthened, the Mustang might be the winner. The Camaro’s torque and traction advantages are decreased the longer the race is. That’s when the horsepower of the Mustang takes over.
Taking 2 of 3, the Mustang wins this round.
Fuel economy is definitely not one of the fun parts of comparing these two rivals, but it’s something you should absolutely consider — especially since gas prices show no signs of getting any lower.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, the 2018 Mustang gives you 21 miles per gallon with aggressive, city driving.
The Camaro gets 22 miles per gallon when it comes to a more aggressive city drive.
The Camaro squeaks by with the win in this category, but who’s really looking at fuel efficiency when it comes to your weekend toy?
Exterior and Interior Design
What your car looks like, and how many people look at it as you drive through town, is a big deal for sports car owners. The design is (and always has been) an important element of this rivalry.
A big change in the Mustang design has to do with Ford taking Mustang sales to the rest of the world, which means compliance with European regulations. To comply with Pedestrian Safety regulations, the Mustang was designed with small headlights and some changes to the volume hood.
The inside is modern, clean and techy. The steering wheel is a sleek three-spoke wheel that compliments the round air vents and the tall center console creates a nice barrier between the driver and passenger seats without being too clunky.
On paper, the Mustang seats four people. In practice, it doesn’t fit that many — at least not comfortably. The back seats are tiny and are more than likely going to end up carrying groceries instead of full-grown adults.
On the plus side though, there’s a lot of head and leg room for the driver and passenger. Long drives aren’t going to be a problem for two people.
Chevy designed the 2018 model with appropriate visual links to the old models. They’ve made the updates sleek, stylish and modern.
The Camaro keeps its traditional shape but uses sharp curves and visually-appealing lines to bring it into 2018. Thin taillights and LED-integrated headlights make your outside-lighting far more stylish and well-rounded than the Mustang.
Sitting in the car makes you feel like you’re sitting in a luxury sports vehicle. It’s sporty but professional. The steering wheel is Alcantara-clad and the porthole vents suit the interior design nicely.
Taking the interior and exterior into consideration, the Camaro beats the Mustang out for design. The design was a big part of the new model, and Chevy did it well. But you can always give your Mustang more style with aftermarket upgrades.
Both 2018 models offer convertibility, but which one is more functional?
Taking down the roof with the Mustang is pretty fast. Besides speed, you have to be at a full stop to take the top down or put it back up, which isn’t exactly handy when a drizzle comes out of nowhere.
The same high seats that make this a comfortable drive mean you’re catching more wind in your face while you drive.
The Camaro’s top is going to take a little more time to stow. On the bright side, you can power the top at lower speeds — like when you’re rolling to or from a stop. It also stows more cleanly and feels more hidden than the Mustang top.
If you’re not a wind-in-your-hair person, the low seats mean you’re not getting as much wind spillover either.
For its tidy stow and less wind, the Camaro takes the prize when it comes to convertible design.
When you’re driving a sports car, you want to know that the engineers have done everything they can to keep you safe behind the wheel.
The Mustang comes standard with dual front, side, curtain and knee airbags. There’s an alarm as well as a system for monitoring tire pressure. (Tire pressure is key to your safety as is your fuel economy.)
The Camaro comes with all the same airbags as the Mustang, but they’ve added a few extras to sweeten the deal.
Standard safety features include a five-year subscription to OnStar, a teen driver technology, as well as a tire pressure monitor.
Although both come with the same standard safety features, the OnStar subscription and teen driver function put Camaro one step ahead.
Camaro vs Mustang: Who Wins?
Cost-wise, the base Mustang is going to put you back $25,585 while the Camaro starts at $25,905. The options you add are obviously going to change your price, so, putting cost aside (because the options are endless), who wins the Camaro vs Mustang rivalry for 2018?
Taking 5 out of the 7 rounds, Camaro wins the 2018 rivalry for best in tech, design, convertible design and safety.
Take Your Muscle Car to the Next Level
The Camaro vs. Mustang debate is a long and deep one. But whether you own a Camaro or a Mustang, we can help you outfit it to be the best muscle car it can be.
Contact us to find out more about what we offer.