[MUSIC PLAYING] One of the longest running rivalries in the car world is between the Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang. Both of these two started out as sporty coupes in the 1960s that could add a few performance options, if you could fit it into your budget. But now, they’re both available as fully fledged, track-munching machines. Just put them at a racetrack. We’ve brought out a 2019 Chevy Camaro SS and a 2020 Ford Mustang GT Premium to see just how they perform.
We want to see what they’re both like when you’re going fast. Hi, I’m Travis from Edmunds. We painstakingly test and review hundreds of cars, trucks, and SUVs each year. And every time there’s keys to a Mustang or a Camaro in the office, we have a little bit of a fight about who gets to take it home. CarMax buys, sells, and expertly appraises thousands upon thousands of cars a year.
So we’ve combined forces to help you make the right choice on your next car, whether it’s got a pony in the front or a bow tie in the back. For more information on both of these muscle cars, click the link in the description below. Press like and subscribe if you want to see more CarMax videos, and let us know down in the comments which one you’d take home, and which one you’d take to the track. [MUSIC PLAYING] Let’s start with the important stuff, the numbers. What we’ve got here are two American muscle cars, both rocking V8s.
Sure, you can get other engines and other trim levels, but we’re concerned with these two specific vehicles, and how they perform during the Edmunds’ testing process. In straight line acceleration, these two pony cars are neck and neck. They’re within 1/10 of a second of each other from 0 to 60, and they finish the quarter mile with a similar distance between them. Braking and skid pad are a similar story, and those numbers vary slightly, depending on the tires. Even when it comes to price, these two cars are fairly similar.
CarMax averaged used prices for a Camaro SS, like this one, around 41,000, while Mustang GT Premiums sell for around 43,000. So that’s two modern V8s that are relatively easy to get your hands on, and they perform excellently. These two are so evenly matched, though, that I would say the story here isn’t really about the performance numbers. It’s about the factors that can help you decide between the two of them that have nothing to do with how fast they are. [MUSIC PLAYING] Let’s talk about the Camaro first.
Why? Because well, I don’t know, alphabetical order. Something like that, right? What we’ve got here is the SS Camaro, which comes with the 6.2 liter V8, but it doesn’t just get the upgraded engine.
It also gets bigger brakes, upgraded engine cooling, unlimited slip differential, and all that grunt. Man, that sounds really good! With all those extra bits, it means you can drive the Camaro quickly in a setting like this and really enjoy yourself. You don’t feel like you’re beating it up, or doing anything that it’s not completely capable of handling.
On the track, steering and handling in the Camaro are excellent.
This thing is really a point and shoot sports car. Any ideas you’ve got about muscle cars being only straight line speed machines, you can throw those out the window. This thing is really, really good on a racetrack. And despite its sporty intentions, it’s still pretty good to drive on the street. Now it does have firm suspension in this SS trim, and the seats are a little more firmly padded than I would like, but it’s totally daily drivable.
If you want even more performance out of your Camaro, look for one with the 1LE package. Essentially, it’s a pack of track goodies, and you can get it with the V8 or the other smaller engines, like the four-cylinder or the six-cylinder. What that means is, you’ll have less weight up front. And sure, you have less power in that scenario, but you’ll have a car that handles a little bit better. I like the manual that’s available in the Camaro, and the automatic that we’ve got here is just fine.
Really, the fun from the Camaro comes from steering and handling, along with the big power. In terms of what’s best out on the track though, I still think it’s the 6.2 liter V8. I love driving this thing! There’s another track goody too that’s available, and that is Magnetic Ride Control Suspension.
It’s a great balance between on road comfort and track performance. So if you’re looking for something that can be daily driven in comfort, and taken to the track and beat on the weekends, look for that option.
[MUSIC PLAYING] Now let’s talk about the Mustang. Woo! Now styling choices aside, I wouldn’t really go with the big stripe down the center of the hood.
I really enjoy the way this Mustang drives. Steering and handling in the Camaro are definitely more precise. You feel like you can aim it and point it a lot better out on the racetrack, but this Mustang is still really fun to drive quickly and it feels very controlled out on the racetrack. I’m not afraid of it. He likes to slide around a little bit, but that’s kind of part of the fun, right?
The Mustang has a leg up on the Camaro, too, especially when it comes to comfort.
The ride quality is better, and so are the seats. Honestly, if you’re doing a road trip on the way to the racetrack, this is the one you want to go with. It’s a lot better on the highway, and when you’re on a racetrack that’s not a perfect surface, then you might want something with a little bit more comfortable suspension. Especially if you get tired from racing all day, then you want to drive your vehicle home.
Another thing the Mustang has going for it, it’s got a quieter interior. Now, I enjoy the sound of the Camaro’s exhaust more, but if you want a louden up the Mustang, there’s a performance exhaust available for it too. So maybe keep an eye out for that option. One of my favorite things about this Mustang is the 6-speed manual. I really love this transmission.
The way the shifter slides into the gates, it’s really smooth, and the clutch doesn’t have a long or heavy travel.
It feels great. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite manual transmissions that I’ve ever tested. Now aside from racetrack driving, you got to think, if your daily driving something, you might want an automatic. Seems like it’d be easier, right?
But even if I were daily driving a Mustang, I wouldn’t want to go with the optional automatic. This 6-speed manual is so good, I’d want it every day. [MUSIC PLAYING] Aside from having a great shifter action, it’s also got rev match downshifting.
So when you come up to a corner, brake hard and downshift, it gives you some revs so the transmission and the engine match speeds. Makes you feel like a hero around the racetrack.
And this 5.0, which is what people typically refer to the five liter V8 as, does not have a bad engine note. It really is no slouch. If you like hearing the revving sounds of a V8, it’s going to give you plenty of those noises everywhere you go. [MUSIC PLAYING] Now that we know how both of these drive, let’s talk about them from a practicality standpoint.
And first things first, the Camaro has a tiny trunk. I mean, look at them right here, you can see.
It’s much easier and lower to load something into the Mustang than into the Camaro, which has a tiny opening for the trunk. I mean, coupes aren’t great at this cargo space stuff to begin with, but the Camaro falls even behind its competition in this class by a significant amount. In the coupe, it’s only got nine cubic feet of cargo space, and in the convertible, it’s only seven cubes.
And the opening, as we’ve seen, is really small, so we’ll have a hard time getting large luggage in if you pack heavy. With the SS trim, your focus is performance. So fuel economy comes at a price. Perhaps surprisingly, the Camaro is reasonable in this department, considering the size of the engine with an EPA estimate of 20 MPH combined. The Mustang gets 13 and 11 cubes of cargo space, depending on whether you go with the coupe or the convertible.
And when you consider the fact that it’s got a larger opening for the trunk, than the Camaro, well, you can get more items and bigger ones in the trunk of the Mustang.
So the win here goes to the Ford. When it comes to fuel economy, though, it’s a flip-flop of that story. According to EPA estimates, the Camaro will do better than the Mustang. And this manual we’ve got here drops a little bit below the automatic estimate.
The Camaro’s interior isn’t hateful. It’s totally usable. But there are some big issues. For starters, there’s really poor outward visibility and there’s the strange locations of some of the buttons and controls, like the fan that’s behind the gear shifter here, which makes no sense to me. And that’s going to make it harder to live with on a daily basis.
Those things can wear on you over time. Then there’s getting in and out of the Camaro. Sure, sports cars normally have low roofs, but this one’s really low. So you’re going to have to duck a lot. Plus, it’s got long doors, which you would think means easy access to the back seat, but again, no.
Still really hard to get back there.
And the long doors mean that when you’re in a tight parking spot, you can’t open them very far, and you have to kind of squeeze to get in and out. Once you’re inside the Camaro, there’s not a lot of space for your stuff, either. Center console is puny, and if you like carrying around large water bottles, this isn’t the car for you. The cup holders are pretty small.
All of that combined with the ride quality and the stiff seats means you’re going to have to find something to love about the Camaro, like its excellent handling, if you want it to be the winner in this competition.
Overall the Mustang’s interior design is just more functional. It’s got better button layout, a better center console layout, and it’s easier to learn all the controls in here. The center console has a larger storage bin, larger cup holders, and easier access to the controls in front of the gear shifter. At Edmunds, we’re big fans of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, not because its high resolution, which it isn’t– it’s pretty low res– but because of its high functionality.
When you plug-in your smartphone, for instance, and you get Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto is standard on the GT Premium, the connection is really quick. It indexes your music fast and it uses really natural voice controls. So I can do stuff like press the voice control button and say, make the cabin temperature 65 degrees. The Ford understands and does it pretty easily. Finally, there’s getting in and out of the Mustang.
The door opening is a little taller, the doors are a little shorter, so you’re not squeezed into parking spots as tightly. And when you’re getting into the back seat, the front seat moves forward further so it’s easier to climb in.
So which one comes out on top? What’s the better modern muscle car? Well, my dad’s a Chevy guy, and my grandfather was a Chevy guy.
My uncle’s a Chevy guy. It pains me to say it, but the Ford Mustang is the better car. I mean, come on. My dad told me growing up, that his father would say to him, there’s a four letter word that starts with F that you don’t say in front of your mother. It’s Ford.
I feel like I’m abandoning my family here. The Mustang is more practical. It’s better to drive on a daily basis. And it’s more fun around the track. Sure, if you get a Camaro, you’re going to have fun going fast.
But the vehicle I’d rather drive to the track, at the track, and then all the way home in comfort, is the Ford Mustang. Leave us a comment and let us know whether you choose the Mustang or the Camaro. Press like and subscribe for more CarMax videos. And if you want an in-depth article on both of these vehicles, click the link in the description below. [MUSIC PLAYING].