Face-off Mustang vs. Camaro

The V6 version of the Ford outperforms its Chevy counterpart

Last reviewed: October 2010

Last Year, in our face-off of modern pony cars, we tested V8 versions of the freshened Ford Mustang and the reissued Chevrolet Camaro (both available to subscribers). Despite being an older design, the Mustang outscored the Camaro with a combination of strong acceleration and agile handling. It was also easier to live with.

But what happens when you opt for the V6 engine in those cars? You would expect better fuel economy, but would the lower performance dilute the fun factor?

The answer is no for the Mustang but yes for the Camaro (both available to subscribers). The Ford’s new V6 engine is not only more refined than the Camaro’s, it delivered stronger acceleration and better fuel economy. The Mustang, which has a new gearbox and different steering for 2011, is the more agile and enjoyable car to drive of the two.

The Camaro provides decent acceleration, but it’s not as readily available. The car rides well enough but it’s almost 300 pounds heavier than the Mustang. Handling is considerably less agile, and the powertrain is rather lackluster. As we found in the V8 Camaro, the snug cabin has a closed-in feel and limited visibility.

Both cars have softer, more compliant suspension tuning than their V8 versions. That might not appeal to performance-oriented drivers, but it makes the cars more comfortable to drive on a day-to-day basis.

The V6 models are priced about $8,000 less than the V8s we tested; our Mustang Premium retails at $28,680 and our Camaro 2 LT at $28,195.

Only the Ford is recommended. The Mustang has an excellent reliability record with the old V6; we expect this one to be similar. The Camaro is too new for us to have reliability data.

Used-car alternatives

Buying used can save you money or let you move up to a more upscale model. These have proved reliable and have scored well in our testing.

Model Current value
2008 BMW 328i Coupe $24,425
2008 Nissan 350Z Coupe 19,925
2009 Infiniti G37 Coupe 31,725