2021 Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro? Pros and Cons of Each
This isn’t the first time we’ve compared these Detroit-born crosstown rivals (as a matter of fact, we’ve conducted exactly 32 Mustang versus Camaro comparisons). And it won’t be the last. The historical significance and fanaticism behind these two sports cars make it hard to talk about one without referencing the other. In their modern iterations, the Ford and Chevrolet are better matched than ever, but is one a smarter buy than the other? Keep reading to learn about the distinct strengths and weaknesses of the 2021 Ford Mustang and 2021 Chevrolet Camaro.
2021 Ford Mustang: Pros Over the Camaro
If you want the bragging rights, the “pub ammo,” the ability to raise eyebrows high and warp faces at full throttle, it’s the Mustang that offers the most extreme performance model. Of course, we’re talking about the monstrous Shelby GT500. Its 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 develops a whopping 760 hp—up 110 horses on the most powerful Camaro ZL1. The big Shelby manages to put down the power, too; it’s indisputably the best Mustang you can buy.
We’ve described the current Camaro front end as looking like it was designed for a Transformers movie. By comparison, the retro-modern Mustang appears more elegant and mature. Especially in Shelby spec, the Ford is quite a looker.
According to our pals at IntelliChoice, who evaluate factors such as depreciation, maintenance, and repairs to determine five-year ownership costs, the Mustang is the value buy. It earns a Good overall value rating compared to the Camaro’s Average score. Keep in mind that, for both vehicles, value varies depending on the trim you select. In terms of initial purchase price, you’ll pay a couple thousand more for that blue oval.
No one buys one of these cars for the space, but it still matters. The Mustang has a wider, more usable trunk opening than the Camaro, plus 13.5 cubic feet of cargo volume to the Camaro’s 9.1 cubes. Likewise, whereas the Camaro Convertible with the roof down renders the trunk effectively useless, the Mustang Convertible provides reasonable utility even with the roof folded. Neither car offers much rear legroom, but the Mustang’s back seat offers significantly more head- and shoulder room.
2021 Chevrolet Camaro: Pros Over the Mustang
Both Mustang and Camaro offer turbo-four, naturally aspirated V-8 and supercharged V-8 options, but the Chevy can also be had with a rev-happy, surprisingly sweet-sounding V-6. Especially with the 1LE handling package, the six-cylinder Camaro is an excellent accessible driver’s car.
The Camaro also earns points for offering its six-speed manual transmission on all variants. Ford only sells the Shelby GT500 with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic; Chevy allows buyers to order the 650-hp Camaro ZL1 with three pedals and a manual shift lever.
The Camaro is a dynamic rock star. The way it brakes, turns in, delivers power to the road, and powers out of a corner is always exactly what you’d expect; this is a car comfortable with driving quickly. In a comparison between V-8 Mustang and Camaro coupes, we said, “The Chevy never puts a foot wrong, never misbehaves, and most certainly never understeers.”
By comparison, the V-8 Mustang rolls too much, initially understeers, and snaps to oversteer. It feels disconnected, and that’s not what you want. That said, four-cylinder and Shelby-modified ‘Stangs are much better.
Across the board—turbo-fours, V-8s, supercharged top dogs—the Camaro is at least 100 pounds lighter that its crosstown competitor. As a result, even when the cars deliver similar power, the Camaro is the superior performance machine. Our turbo-four pony car comparison saw the Camaro hitting 60 mph over a second quicker than the Mustang, and comparing V-8s, the lighter Chevy dominated the Mustang around our figure eight.
Of course, both cars have their strengths and weaknesses. But with an emotional purchase like that of a sports car, your personal preference will trump any small differences in performance or interior space. If you love the way the Camaro feels on a back road or racetrack and don’t mind the looks or small interior, go with the Bow Tie. If you’re looking for a more usable pony car and don’t mind the way the Mustang drives at the limit, Blue Oval it is. This is a golden age of American sports cars; you really can’t go wrong.
2021 Ford Mustang Pros Over the Camaro
- More power
- Interior space
2021 Chevrolet Camaro Pros Over the Mustang
- Powertrain availability
- Confident handling
- Lightweight performance
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