American muscle cars have been part of american culture since the ’60s. The Camaro and the Mustang have been also been America’s favorite muscle cars since the ’60s. Today the battle is more fierce than ever. Both make over 430 horsepower, both are luxurious, and both are insanely fast. But if you were to buy one, which one should you buy?
Camaro vs Mustang: Exterior
This part is very subjective, so we will not count this towards which one is actually better. With that out of the way, let’s get on with the exterior comparison.
The 2016 Camaro is a massive leap forwards from the previous generation of Camaro. Although the shape seems very similar to the previous generation, the look is totally different. The headlights are very futuristic, and the whole front end screams pissed off muscle car. The back end basically has smushed together Corvette tail lamps, but somehow they seem fitting.
The 2016 Mustang is far more modern looking than Mustangs of the past. The 6th generation body style is very muscular while also being refined, almost like a German car. The thin headlights definitely scream modern, as do the very three dimensional tail lamps. Overall the whole shape is undeniably Mustang, however I feel like it’s missing a little bit of that muscle car look.
I know I said at the beginning I wouldn’t count the looks of either of these cars. But, the 2016 Camaro just looks so angry it’s hard to ignore. It pains me as a Mustang fan, but the Camaro has the better looks.
Camaro: 1 Mustang: 0
Camaro vs Mustang: 4 Cylinder
Unfortunately not everyone can afford a $40k car that drinks fuel like an SUV. This is where the little turbo 4-bangers come into play. They offer you a good driving experience with better fuel economy, but a little bit less power.
Prices for the 4-cylinder Mustang starts at about $26k. That’s a really good price considering what you’re getting. The 4-cylinder Camaro starts at around $27k, which is slightly more expensive. Both of these prices are pretty good considering they’re both rear-wheel drive sports cars.
The EcoBoost Mustang sort of had some shoes to fill. Since the SVO Mustang is remembered by so many enthusiasts, the EcoBoost needed to meet the expectations of SVO fans. The EcoBoost delivers with an impressive 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque.
The 4-cylinder Camaro doesn’t have any shoes to fill in, there was a 4-cylinder Camaro offered a long time ago, but it wasn’t good at all. Because of this Chevrolet didn’t focus on power, but rather on fuel economy. The Camaro makes a lackluster 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
One of the main attractions of purchasing a 4-cylinder pony car is the awesome fuel economy. Not everybody can afford the amount of fuel the V8 muscle cars drink. The EcoBoost Mustang gets a very impressive 22 city, 31 highway, and 26 combined mpg. The Camaro ties the Mustang at 22 city, 31 highway, and 25 combined mpg.
4-Cylinder Camaro Specs:
- Horsepower: 275 horsepower @ 5,500 RPM
- Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 RPM
- Displacement: 2.0L
- Curb Weight: 3,300 lbs
- 0-60: 5.5 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14 seconds
4-Cylinder Mustang Specs:
- Horsepower: 310 horsepower @ 5,500 RPM
- Torque: 320 lb-ft @ 3,000 RPM
- Displacement: 2.3L
- Curb Weight: 3,600 lbs
- 0-60: 5.5 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds
I came into this expecting the EcoBoost Mustang to take the 4-cylinder crown by a long shot. But, they have nearly identical fuel economy ratings, and nearly identical performance specs thanks to the Camaro’s low weight. The Mustang however, is cheaper and more powerful. Hopefully updated 4-Banger Camaros will receive a bump power. For now the Mustang’s low price tag will just barely give it the crown.
Camaro: 1 Mustang: 1
Camaro vs Mustang: 6 Cylinder
Maybe you don’t want a little 4-cylinder, but you don’t want a V8. Luckily there is an in-between solution for both pony cars, however they’re not your best option.
Chevy’s V6 Camaro starts at $29k, which is about $2k more than the 4-cylinder model. Ford’s V6 Mustang starts at $25K, which is actually $1k less than the EcoBoost model. The reason the V6 equipped Mustang is cheaper than the V6, is that the EcoBoost is really a better option.
The V6 Camaro makes a pretty impressive 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft. This is slightly surprising given the 4-cylinder’s lack of power. The V6 Mustang makes 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft. Like I said above in the price section, the V6 Mustang isn’t a great option.
The V6 Camaro makes 60 more horsepower than it’s turbo counterpart, but makes 11 lb-ft less. The V6 Mustang makes 10 horsepower and 40 lb-ft less than the EcoBoost. The EcoBoost is without a doubt the better engine than the V6.
Chevy’s V6 powered Camaro gets a pretty impressive 19 city, 29 highway, and 22 combined mpg. This puts it slightly behind the 4-cylinder model. Ford’s V6 Mustang nearly matches the V6 Camaro, and gets 19 city, 28 highway, 22 combined. This is also slightly behind the EcoBoost. Both get pretty much identical fuel mileage.
V6 Camaro Specs:
- Horsepower: 335 horsepower @ 6,800 RPM
- Torque: 284 lb-ft @ 5,300 RPM
- Displacement: 3.6L
- Curb Weight: 3,450 lbs
- 0-60: 5.4 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14 seconds
V6 Mustang Specs:
- Horsepower: 300 horsepower @ 6,500 RPM
- Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM
- Displacement: 3.7L
- Curb Weight: 3,600 lbs
- 0-60: 5.5 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14.1 seconds
Both of these V6 equipped cars are an excellent middle ground between the V8 models and the 4-cylinder models. Just like with the 4-cylinder models, these get nearly fuel economy. The Camaro is $4k more expensive, however it is quite a bit more powerful and slightly faster. The Camaro takes the crown for the V6 models.
Camaro: 2 Mustang: 1
Camaro vs Mustang: 8 Cylinder
If you’re anything like me, then the lower end models don’t really interest you. The V8 muscle car has been apart of American culture since the ’60s, and Americans still love it to this day. Both of these V8 engines make a ton of horsepower and torque, but which one is actually better?
The Mustang GT with absolutely zero option has an MSRP of about $33k. That’s pretty good considering the amount of performance you’ll get out of its V8 engine. The Camaro 1SS with zero options comes in considerably more expensive at $38k. The trend of the Camaro being more expensive than the Mustang has once again shown itself.
Ford’s Mustang GT does come equipment with a much smaller 5.0L engine. But, that doesn’t stop them from producing an insane 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet has a much easier time producing horsepower with their 6.2L in the Camaro which produces 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque.
It should be noted that both engines use very different technologies. The Mustang uses dual over head cams, and revs pretty high. The Camaro uses a pushrod design with a single cam in the block, and doesn’t rev as high as the Mustang.
If you’re purchasing a V8 muscle car you should already be expecting poor fuel economy. I would’ve skipped over this part if I hadn’t mentioned the fuel economy for the smaller engines.
Chevy’s 6.2L gets an EPA estimated 17 city, 28 highway, and 20 mpg combined. Although real world usage shows its actually closer to 18 combined mpg.
Ford’s much smaller and more advanced 5.0L gets an EPA estimated 16 city, 25 highway, and 19 combined mpg. To my knowledge this is a fairly accuracy real world number.
V8 Camaro Specs:
- Horsepower: 455 horsepower @ 6,000 RPM
- Torque: 455 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM
- Displacement: 6.2L
- Curb Weight: 3,750 lbs
- 0-60: 4.1 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 12.3 seconds
V8 Mustang Specs:
- Horsepower: 435 horsepower @ 6,500 RPM
- Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM
- Displacement: 5.0L
- Curb Weight: 3,800 lbs
- 0-60: 4.4 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 12.8 seconds
As you can tell from the specs, the Camaro is actually slightly faster at everything. This isn’t to surprising considering its horsepower and torque advantage. Although the Camaro is a few thousand dollars more expensive, it’s faster and has a lot more torque. The Camaro takes the crown when it comes to the V8 models.
Camaro: 3 Mustang: 1
Camaro vs Mustang: High Performance
I want to compare the high performance models, however there is a major problem. Ford began production of the Shelby GT350 in 2015, and it has been a major success thus far. But, Chevrolet has yet to come out with their new generation high performance model.
The only real performance Camaro that compares to the GT350 is the Z28. But, the Z28 was available in the previous generation, not the current gen. For now the Mustang wins this category, but when Chevy releases the ZL1 Camaro we will revisit this topic.
Camaro: 3 Mustang: 2
Overall both the Camaro and the Mustang are both great vehicles. They both shine in their own specific ways, however there are some trends with both. The higher models Camaros are more powerful, but are also about 10% more expensive than a comparable Mustang.
I personally would rather have the Dodge Challenger, but that’s just my personal preference. Let me know which car you think is better in the comments below!