Automotive rivalries don’t come any more heated and enduring than the Chevrolet Camaro vs. Ford Mustang. When Ford unleashed the sporty Mustang onto an unprepared world in 1964, Chevrolet was caught with its pants down. But in late 1966, Chevy unveiled the Camaro as a direct response. The two have competed against each other in both sales and on the racetrack ever since. But which of the two is best for you? With style, power, handling, and optional features that put them both at the head of the safety class, the Camaro and Mustang have never been more closely matched. But before you compare them in your mind, first define what is most important to you, your practical needs, and your budget. Read on to find out if the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro or the 2019 Ford Mustang is right for you.
About the Chevrolet Camaro
The Chevrolet Camaro is a two-door, four-seat coupe or convertible with strong accents on style and performance. Chevy offers multiple trim levels on the Camaro, including the base 1LT, powered by a 275-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four. The 2LT adds more standard equipment, and the 3LT adds a 335-horsepower V6 engine. The 1SS and 2SS versions upgrade to a 455-horsepower V8. Finally, the ZL1 models have a supercharged 650-horsepower V8, providing supercar performance. Each of these models is available with either a manual or an automatic transmission. All Camaros are assembled in Michigan. The Camaro has won recent awards for digital connectivity and for high performance from the SS and ZL1 models.
About the Ford Mustang
Like the Camaro, Ford’s Mustang seats four with a tight back seat. Various trims are also offered, though they are a bit simpler. Mustangs start off with EcoBoost or EcoBoost Premium trim. These come with a 310-horspower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Premium versions carry more standard equipment. From there, the GT steps up with a 460-horsepower V8 engine. Really a variant of the GT, the Bullitt Edition commemorates the Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in the 1968 film, Bullitt. It comes in either green or black paint, with special trim, powered by a 480-horsepower V8 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. No automatic is available with this model. The Shelby GT350 is the top performance Mustang, with a special 526-horsepower V8. Other equipment includes a six-speed manual transmission and racing-inspired brakes and suspension. Next year, there will also be a GT500 with a supercharged V8 making over 700 horsepower. The current-generation Mustang provides a very sophisticated and sporty appearance in a smaller package than the Camaro. It’s available in coupe and convertible body styles, in both four-cylinder and V8 GT versions. The Mustang has won several awards for its design and for the high-performance GT350 model. It’s built just outside of Detroit, Michigan.
Camaro vs. Mustang: Which has Better Interior Quality, Space, and Comfort?
Front-seat room in both the Mustang and Camaro is generous. But the Camaro feels more restrictive, due to the shallow height of its front and side windows. The Mustang has more total glass at the sides and back, giving an airier feeling inside. The standard seats are comfortable for both long interstate trips and sporty driving on twisty roads. The Camaro has less rear seat room. Passengers who actually try the back seat will find a darker, more enclosed-feeling space because of the smaller rear side widows. Interior quality among the two has improved over the years. However, the Camaro still lags behind the Mustang in materials. The Mustang’s interior seems a bit retro in design, with the traditional speedometer and tachometer centrally located in front of the driver. However, the Mustang also offers an optional digital and changeable instrument cluster. For some buyers, this will bring its dash further into the 21st Century. As with the Mustang, the Camaro places the speedo and tachometer directly ahead of the driver. Most secondary controls are located in the center stack, just under the multifunction Infotainment 3 display. That display works well and has won a couple of awards. But while the large touchscreen itself is of high quality, it’s surrounded by low-quality plastic. The Camaro loses on storage and cargo, too, with the Mustang offering more of both. Interior win: Mustang.
Camaro vs. Mustang: Which has Better Safety Equipment and Ratings?
Both the Camaro and Mustang received five-star crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the Camaro as “good” in four of five categories. The IIHS also rates the Mustang as “good” in four of five categories. But the Camaro performed better in one type of front-end crash. The Camaro has fewer standard active safety features than the Mustang, however. And the Camaro really should come standard with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Its visibility to the rear and sides is terrible. Optional active safety systems include forward collision warning, emergency braking assist, lane-keeping assist, and rear parking sensors. As for which is safer, the difference is really negligible. Both vehicles perform well in the area of crash safety. But the Camaro’s fewer advanced safety features and poor outward visibility might be an issue for some buyers.
Camaro vs. Mustang: Which has Better Technology?
Both the Camaro and Mustang have gotten recent updates to their in-car technology packages, so neither is really ahead of the other. Most buyers will be satisfied with the standard and optional tech features in either car. Ford’s SYNC system integrates smartphone apps, and its navigation has been around longer. On the other hand, the Camaro’s Infotainment 3 system is easier to learn. Both offer Wi-Fi that can support multiple devices, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
Camaro vs. Mustang: Which is Better to Drive?
Both the Camaro and the Mustang are fun, nimble, and fast cars, though the top-line ZL1 and GT350 are crazy-fast. The more regular Camaros and Mustangs of every stripe are very well-rounded. The Camaro handles slightly better, though, despite its heavier weight, showing that there’s some great engineering under the skin. Meanwhile, the Mustang’s base 310-horsepower EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder engine outperforms the Camaro’s base 275-horsepower turbo four. And today’s Mustang skips over any V6 engine options, going right from the four-cylinder to the 5.0-liter, 460-horsepower V8. Both cars actually use the same 10-speed automatic transmission, and both also offer a six-speed manual. However, the Mustang’s manual shifts more crisply with better feedback. The Camaro’s suspension and chassis hold an edge over the Mustang’s, though the margin is small. The normal GT is the sweetest driving Mustang without breaking the bank. In Camaro-land, the 335-horswpower V6-engined LT might be the best overall package for the money. Better-to-drive win: Camaro.
Camaro vs. Mustang: Which Car is Priced Better?
The least expensive 2019 Mustang, at $27,490, is nearly $1,500 more than the equivalent Camaro, at $25,995 (all prices include destination charge). So, if you’re stretching your dollar, the Camaro is the better choice. Of the V8 models, though, the Mustang GT rises in cost to a base of $36,450, where the Camaro SS hits a minimum of $37,995, so the V8 price advantage goes to the Mustang. Both cars carry the same three-year, 36,000-mile warranty and very similar “average” reliability ratings from JD Power. With the base Camaro’s handling advantage offsetting the Mustang’s power advantage, this decision would then come down to your preference in looks. Current sales figures give that advantage to the Mustang.
Camaro vs. Mustang: Which Car Should I Buy?
For most buyers considering the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, the mechanical stuff will likely take a back seat to looks. And in that case, the Ford has a great blend of classic Mustang design and modern flair. The Camaro looks big and bloated in comparison, and even though it’s bigger on the outside, it feels a smaller on the inside. Overall win: Mustang.