The Ultimate Comparison Between a Camaro and a Mustang

The Ultimate Comparison Between a Camaro and a Mustang

Since the 1960s, the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang have been duking it out for pony car supremacy. Over the years, there have been many body styles, engines, and optional performance packages. But one thing hasn't changed: Each offers its unique take on what a reasonably priced American sports car should be.

In 2021, both the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang are high-tech vehicles with a bevy of useful features, both performance-wise and those that enhance everyday convenience. But while each is undoubtedly an excellent vehicle, does one have the edge over the other?

Let's explore what makes the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang different and whether one has a significant advantage over the other.

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Camaro vs. Mustang: Which has better style?

Pony cars like the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang have coupe styling that's all-American and sporty and reminiscent of each automaker's unique heritage. With its galloping horse emblem affixed to its grille, the Ford Mustang symbolizes free-spirited fun and getting away on the open road. The Camaro is all about a muscular, chiseled profile and a car that hints at its capacity for high performance.

The 2021 Ford Mustang has styling touches that harken back to the iconic 1964 model that set sales records and captured the heart of America. With its three-bar rear brake lights, sloping fastback roof, and open grille, Ford decided to keep elements that made the car so famous over the years. But there are still modern takes throughout the car, like its sculpted rear shoulders and LED headlights that give it a strong presence.

The Chevy Camaro charts its own course, just as it always has ever since its beginnings. With bodywork that's chiseled and defined, it has a more futuristic personality and looks imposing as it cruises the boulevard. The powerful haunches around the rear wheels add to the muscular profile, and the traditional Chevy bowtie emblem in the grille hints at the American-made horsepower under the hood. 

Some traditionalists may say the Ford Mustang nips the Chevy Camaro in the style department, thanks to its heritage-influenced look and old-school pony car personality. But one thing's for sure: There's no arguing that both cars are sleek, sporty, and – above all else – all-American.

Camaro vs. Mustang: Which Has the Better Powertrain?

Today's engines are far from the somewhat primitive versions when the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang first debuted in the 1960s. In fact, if you take a look at the '69 Ford Mustang versus the '69 Chevrolet Camaro, each used an overhead valve V-8 with carburetors, which today is considered inferior technology. 

Both the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro offer a wide range of engine choices, from turbo four-cylinders to roaring V8's designed to take to the track.  The 2.3-liter Ecoboost in the Ford Mustang has especially impressive fuel economy, returning a combined 24 mpg. 

If you're after the ultimate in horsepower, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the car for you with 760 supercharged horsepower on tap. The 5.2-liter DOHC engine is mated to a leading-edge dual-clutch seven-speed transmission, which means you can click off shifts like a race car driver. 

Chevrolet isn't far behind with its Camaro ZL1, producing 650 horsepower from its pushrod V-8 and sending it through a traditional manual transmission. 

Again, it's a close competition, but in the end, the Ford Mustang wins out with its use of high technology DOHC cylinder heads on its V-8 engines, as well as the use of a dual-clutch transmission in the Shelby GT500. 

Camaro vs. Mustang: Which Handles Better?

Both the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang have taken enormous strides over the years, with updated suspension designs and improved technology. Back when the Camaro and Mustang debuted, solid-axle rear suspensions were the norm, and though it may have torn up the drag strips, it couldn't match European competitors in handling.

Today, that's all different, with the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro each using independent rear suspension and rigid body structures manufactured with the latest technology. 

Experts have particularly lauded the Chevy Camaro for its composed handling, partly because of its weight advantage over the Ford Mustang. No matter which engine option you choose, the Chevy Camaro is at least 100 pounds lighter than a comparable Ford Mustang. 

While the Ford Mustang is no slouch on back roads, it falls because of additional body roll, a tendency to oversteer, and less road feel. 

In the handling department, the Chevy Camaro wins out over the Ford Mustang with its surefooted performance. 

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Camaro vs. Mustang: Which has better convenience and technology?

Cars of today are technology powerhouses with features like Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and GPS navigation. Additionally, no matter what type of car you're driving, a measure of convenience is nice to have in terms of seating and storage space. 

While neither Chevy nor Ford designed the Camaro and the Mustang as suburban family vehicles, each does have some storage space to get you through a multi-day trip or make a grocery run. In this department, the Ford Mustang is the winner, featuring a more user-friendly trunk with 13.5 cubic feet of cargo volume compared to the Camaro's 9.1. Additionally, the Mustang offers more spacious seating for rear passengers when you have a group of friends along for the ride.

Both the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang are available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reaching a draw in that category. But the Ford Mustang's extra safety features like Ford Co-Pilot360, which offers forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, among others, put it ahead of the Camaro. 

With its extra trunk space, more comfortable rear seating, and extra safety features, the Ford Mustang offers slightly better convenience and technology than the Chevy Camaro.

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Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang: Where to Buy?

Everyone loves driving off the lot in a shiny new sports car. But for a number of reasons, buying used can be a better choice. More than anything, it makes financial sense because you can get a vehicle in nearly new condition for thousands less.

But when it comes time to buy a used Camaro or Mustang, where should you go? You want a car in excellent condition with no hidden mechanical issues or previous accidents. Who can you trust?

Shift has a team of certified mechanics that perform a 150-point inspection on every car they sell. In addition, they offer a full vehicle history report at no extra cost, so you know the vehicle has had no unreported accidents or major repairs. 

2017 Ford Mustang GT (from $31,950)

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Chevy Camaro vs. Ford Mustang: Which Is Better?

In a competition almost too close to call, the Ford Mustang pulls ahead at the finish line. Its combination of classic styling, high-tech powertrain options, and reassuring safety features make it an excellent choice for buyers who want a sports car at an affordable price. 

The Chevy Camaro is a strong contender that may appeal to those who want a show-stopping, muscular American muscle car and prefer the feel of an old-school manual shifter. Its small-block V-8 makes sounds that will take you right back to the beginning of the muscle car era. 

Whichever way you ultimately go, be it Mustang or Camaro, one thing's for sure, regardless of the model year: You'll be behind the wheel of a timeless classic.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team