So, you’re ready for a high quality, late model, used sports coupe? There are no better choices than these two time tested symbols of American ingenuity but which one is best? Let’s face it, we all have our personal preferences, and sometimes a decision comes down to just that, but careful research and patience should yield a winner from these two hot rides. Now, let’s take a look at these two pieces of premium automotive performance history in the form of a late model used specimen like the hundreds-of-thousands found on used car websites like BestRide.com.
For this contest we will deal exclusively with late model used sports coupes from 2011 through 2014. Though both cars have undergone some changes during this period, they are similar enough for us to get a good comparison. We will also leave out the ultra-expensive (at least for me) top-end cars in both lines — so, no Z28 and no Shelby GT500. The Camaro is a four-seat sports coupe available as a convertible and so is the Mustang. While the Camaro is offered in seven trim levels (not counting the Z28) the Mustang is offered in only four, giving the nod to Chevy for diversity. The Camaro begins with the base 1LS/2LS and 1LT/2LT, then proceeds to the loftier V8 powered 1SS/2SS and high-powered ZL1. The Mustang is a little less confusing in its nomenclature, listing only the V6, V6 Premium, GT, and GT Premium.
The base Mustang V6 level starts with 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited slip differential, cruise control, air conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, tilt steering column with a leather wrapped steering wheel, xenon headlights, integrated blind spot monitoring mirrors, and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player.
The entry level 1LS Camaro lists 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, keyless entry, power recline front seats, tilting and telescoping steering column, cruise control, air conditioning, and a six speaker audio system with a CD player and Bluetooth connectivity. The 2LS adds an automatic transmission.
That round was pretty close. These cars don’t simply mimic each other’s base level features but they actually trade some blows. It is hard to find a deal breaker in this list. I like the limited slip differential offered by the Mustang, when you consider that even the base level V6 is pushing 300-horsepower in both these cars. The Mustang has the Xenon headlight (that everybody loves) but the Camaro bounces back with automatic headlamps. It is too close to call on base package options; you have to pick out what works best for you.
Base level engine performance is nearly equal, as well. The Camaro gets a 3.6-liter that pumps out 323-horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard equipment and a six-speed automatic optional. The Mustang uses a 3.7-liter engine to muster 305-horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque with an identical transmission setup to the Camaro. The Camaro narrowly edges out the Mustang in fuel efficiency, too. It gets 20 mpg combined in 1LS trim and 21 mpg in 2LS (thanks to a longer final drive gear ratio) and the Mustang gets just 19 mpg. Whoopee.