While some car models come and go, others are so beloved that they stick around for decades. Both the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro first debuted in the mid-1960s and have evolved through multiple generations to become what they are today. While some can afford to get one of these pony cars strictly for doing laps at their local drivers’ club, most folks want their car to earn superior fuel economy. So let’s take a look at a few of the different ways you might want to utilize these impressive cars—and see which is the more versatile player: the 2022 Ford Mustang vs the 2022 Chevy Camaro.
On the Racetrack
Let’s start with the most exciting thing you can do with one of these cars: go fast. While bringing them up to their top speeds is extremely dangerous on a highway, there are tracks around the country that let you run laps in a controlled environment—and feel the thrill of finding out what these cars are really made of. If this kind of driving is your cup of tea, you’ll want to know what these cars have going on under the hood.
The Camaro’s standard engine is a 2.0-L turbo that offers 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Mustang equivalent is a 2.3-L turbo that can provide 330 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. If you can afford to upgrade to a 5.2-L supercharged V8 in the Shelby model, the Mustang still comes out on top—with 760 horsepower rather than the Camaro’s 650. Across the board, we have to hand this one to the Mustang.
While there are plenty of trims that can fulfill your need for speed, if you want to go to the next level, each of these cars has a version that goes all-out to deliver maximum thrills. The Camaro ZL1 is fiercely capable on the track, but its high windowsills and thick pillars make it difficult to see out of, which can make it hard to feel confident in where you’re going. The available 1LE Extreme Track Performance package is advertised as a great add-on, but its suspension gives it a rough ride that isn’t exactly comfortable for the driver.
The Mustang Shelby GT500 is an absolute beast that instantly commands respect from drivers and onlookers alike. Its supercharged V8 provides a thrilling amount of force and its intense grip keeps you fully in control around any twists and turns. Add on the Carbon Fiber Track Pack and you’ll get 20” exposed carbon-fiber wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and splitter wickers for improved aerodynamics—not only giving your Mustang a cooler look, but offering even more of an advantage on the track.
Cruising Down the Highway
Both cars are available as either a coupe or a convertible, so if you like to feel the wind in your hair while you cruise down the highway, you can make it happen—no matter which performance car you go with. With the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Mustang has an EPA rating of 32 MPG for highway driving, compared to only 30 MPG in the Camaro. However, if you upgrade to the V8, the Camaro gets the advantage, with 26 MPG for highway driving instead of 24 MPG for the Mustang. Depending on which engine you get, this category could go to either car.
Both of these cars are designed to be bold and sporty, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for more mundane tasks. For most day-to-day errands, going from 0 to 60 quickly isn’t nearly as important as having a comfortable and spacious interior, with room for both cargo and passengers. If you’ll ever need to go for a grocery run in this car, the Mustang has the clear advantage, offering nearly 14 cu.ft. of cargo volume compared to the Camaro’s 9.1 cu.ft. That extra space can be the difference between easily fitting your food in the trunk and having to play a high-stakes game of Tetris in the middle of a busy parking lot.
But going shopping isn’t the only everyday activity cars are used for. You might also need to drive around with a few passengers—whether you have a carpool or you need to pick up your parents at the airport. While the Camaro technically has more passenger volume overall, the Mustang has more legroom up front and also has a wider body, offering more shoulder room than the Camaro in both the front and back rows. So while both cars definitely prioritize the driver and shotgun seats over anyone who might be sitting in the back row, the Mustang gives passengers a bit more elbow room.
While there are many reasons to get a Mustang or Camaro, you have to admit that, deep down, most of us love the idea of driving in style and impressing friends, coworkers, or even strangers passing by. So which of these cars can help you make a grand entrance wherever you go? When it comes to shape and overall style, it’s hard to see who has the advantage. Both cars are built to be aerodynamic, so they have sleek exteriors that let everyone on the road know that they’re performance cars.
On the grille, the Camaro has the iconic Chevy bowtie, which is a must for Chevrolet enthusiasts. The Mustang, however, doesn’t use the standard Ford logo, since it has one of its own. Evoking the speed and freedom of wild western horses, this symbol not only carries on a decades-old tradition of the model, but it also looks cool in its own right.
One of the most noticeable aspects of a car’s style is its color. Both the Camaro and the Mustang have a range of choices, from black to white to orange, blue, and two shades of red each. The Camaro has nine different choices, but the Mustang has twelve, including Eruption Green and Mischievous Purple, so there are even more ways you can make this performance car your own.
In Case of Emergency
While you’ll hopefully never have to find out for yourself how these cars perform in an accident, it’s certainly good to take a look at the safety data before you buy. Each one has a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll find that the Mustang scores 5s across the board, while the Camaro is rated 4 out of 5 when it comes to frontal crashes. That’s still not bad—and it does match the Mustang’s perfect scores for side crashes and rollover, but if safety is your top priority, the Mustang has the advantage.
To avoid getting into accidents in the first place, it’s important to have a good view of the road around you. Being able to see other drivers allows you to quickly react if they start to come too close. Thanks to its less obstructive design, the Mustang offers better outward visibility than the Camaro, so you’re more likely to see danger coming before it’s too late.
So, Who Wins?
Looking at all of these different categories, it’s clear that the Mustang is the more well-rounded of the two cars. While it’s still a highly-specialized speedster that’s built for performance, it has plenty of practical features that make it practical for everyday driving as well. The Camaro’s lack of interior space, subpar outward visibility, and less-than-perfect safety ratings may not be dealbreakers for all drivers, but they are worth taking into consideration. If you want a pony car that performs well everywhere—from the speedway to the highway, the Mustang is a solid choice.