Which modern, four-cylinder pony car: Mustang or Camaro?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Jun 4, 2021 | Chevrolet, Ford, Mustang, camaro

Both the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro can be had with turbo-four versions. Which would you rather have? 

Need help deciding? Here are some specs:

Additional reading: We recently reviewed an EcoBoost Mustang, while we have seen what the four-cylinder Camaro can do with a few go-fast parts from Chevrolet.

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350z247
350z247 Reader
6/4/21 9:56 a.m.

Neither? The Mustang has the clear numbers advantage and likely in the aftermarket support based off the Focus RS. However, if I'm getting into a Pony car, it has to have a V8. Used GT350s are under 50K now and used 2SS 1LE Camaros are even cheaper. More money than a new 4 banger, but worth it. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
6/4/21 10:05 a.m.

Daily driver:  Mustang.  I can see out of it better.

Track day car:  Camaro 1LE (although hasn't the 1LE been discontinued on all but the V8 model?)

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
6/4/21 10:08 a.m.

According the journos, I'm an Alpha chassis guy.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/4/21 10:40 a.m.

Frisbee twins.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
6/4/21 10:47 a.m.

Mustang.  I don't care about taking a car to the track and the Mustang seems like the better all-around car.  Plus I like looking at it much more than the Camaro.

67LS1
67LS1 New Reader
6/4/21 11:08 a.m.

both these new cars are WAY to heavy but I think that eco boost 4 banger would be a fantastic swap into a 65-66 Mustang.

iansane
iansane HalfDork
6/4/21 11:19 a.m.

I'm a diehard GM guy but that camaro is ooglay.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/4/21 11:27 a.m.

In reply to 67LS1 :

I second this motion. I bet you could mount it pretty far back in the engine bay.

I also wouldn't be opposed to putting one in a Mustang SVO.

350z247
350z247 Reader
6/4/21 11:35 a.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

For all the effort and expense of putting a modern engine in an early Mustang, I'd rather have an LS3 and Coyote than a 4 cylinder Ecoboost. The mild increase in weight (and huge drop over an iron block 289) is well worth the noise and being NA. It would certainly be unique though.

foshjowler
foshjowler New Reader
6/4/21 1:04 p.m.

I bought a turbo 4 Camaro for autox and daily driving. It's more than capable of keeping up with its V8 brethren at autox and in stop-and-go traffic. 

When shopping I much preferred it over the Miata and 86 twins for daily livability. The 370 is so old at this point it wasn't a real option, and I've known enough people to hate their new WRX that I wasn't interested.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/4/21 2:53 p.m.

The more I think about it, I'm leaning more towards the Mustang.

What I really want, however, is either turbo-four powertrains in some sort of four-door sedan, and I'd be sold.

secretariata (Forum Supporter)
secretariata (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/4/21 3:01 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

The more I think about it, I'm leaning more towards the Mustang.

What I really want, however, is either turbo-four powertrains in some sort of four-door sedan, and I'd be sold.

Isn't the 2.0T available in the Caddy ATS, with a manual transmission even?

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
6/4/21 3:48 p.m.
foshjowler said:

I bought a turbo 4 Camaro for autox and daily driving. It's more than capable of keeping up with its V8 brethren at autox and in stop-and-go traffic. 

When shopping I much preferred it over the Miata and 86 twins for daily livability. The 370 is so old at this point it wasn't a real option, and I've known enough people to hate their new WRX that I wasn't interested.

It won’t matter what you say on this forum, they already have their mind controlled.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/4/21 3:54 p.m.

In reply to secretariata (Forum Supporter) :

You know what, I forgot about the ATS. I should see how well a child seat fits in the back.

Dieselboss15
Dieselboss15 Reader
6/4/21 4:08 p.m.

i thought the point of pony cars was to be used at the drag strip and have big v8 muscle *hence the name, muscle car)? if i had to, i'd choose the mustang, but these wouldn't be my go to for a new muscle car

JimS
JimS Reader
6/4/21 4:08 p.m.

Mustang. I daily drove a  z28 for 9 years but I find the Camaro ugly inside and outside. 

350z247
350z247 Reader
6/4/21 5:10 p.m.

I'm just not seeing the appeal of a turbo 4 in such heavy platforms, especially when dramatically better engines are offered.

350z247
350z247 Reader
6/4/21 5:20 p.m.

Checking Ford's online configurator, an Ecoboost Mustang with the handling pack and performance pack is going to be over 39K. 39K! For less than 10K more, I could get a lightly used GT350. That's money well spent.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/4/21 6:39 p.m.

They're both great cars but they also both suffer from the availability of V8s.

P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
6/4/21 7:39 p.m.

What's missing from these numbers is some context. How much WEIGHT are they pushing around? It turns out to be about 3,600# each

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/4/21 9:39 p.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

For all the effort and expense of putting a modern engine in an early Mustang, I'd rather have an LS3 and Coyote than a 4 cylinder Ecoboost. The mild increase in weight (and huge drop over an iron block 289) is well worth the noise and being NA. It would certainly be unique though.

An LS3 might not fit without shock tower surgery, a Coyote definitely would be a no go.

 

Those Mustangs were tiny cars based around an inline six engine, and the 260/289 had its legendarily bad exhaust ports in part because of Ford's effort to cram the thing into a Fairlane.  

Nitroracer (Forum Supporter)
Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/4/21 9:49 p.m.
P3PPY said:

What's missing from these numbers is some context. How much WEIGHT are they pushing around? It turns out to be about 3,600# each

The Mustang once had the weight advantage but I think the tables have turned with the latest (last?!) Camaro chassis.  Both are a bit heavy for my liking but they are not small vehicles either.

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
6/4/21 10:00 p.m.

Try 3,350# for a 2.0t Camaro.

350z247
350z247 Reader
6/4/21 10:31 p.m.

In reply to racerfink :

That's for the base model 2.0; add more than 100 pounds for the performance packages.

P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
6/4/21 10:39 p.m.

In reply to racerfink :

I stand corrected. 3,414 is what I'm finding though from Motortrend

Revisited the pony and found it's 3,730 for the fastback manual, up to 3,932 for the convertible automatic

Honesty moment - power aside, I have no idea if 300 lbs is noticeable on the track

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/4/21 11:57 p.m.

It is an interesting comparison.  If all goes well I start a new job later this month.  After a year or so of training I will have to move to a much smaller town than DFW in various areas of the western US.  I will probably be looking at about a 1 hr commute each way after moving.  Driving my truck daily would be expensive for fuel and maintenance and wear out a truck I plan to have a long time.  I'm really looking at lower mileage used cars that can handle 30-35k miles a year on the road.  These two choices are on my thinking list, but so are an ND, a GTI, a Civic Si, an Accord sport, a Focus ST or Fiesta ST, or the twins .....  and who knows.  I really want something that reliably achieves 30+ mpg on the highway is reliable and fun to drive. 

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
6/5/21 6:03 a.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

The 2018 2.0t my dad had would get 42mpg on the highway.  My 2016 3.6L has a 50 mile avg best of 36.2, in a car that’s run 13.909 @ 100.75mph at Bradenton (knocking off my friends 4.6GT in the process).

If you’re into autocross, the 2.0t is a terror in D Street, and I’ve seen one run a 12.9 at Bradenton.  He had a cold air intake, down pipe, and E-85 tune, and it took a full second off the factory 1/4 time.

miatafan
miatafan GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/5/21 7:02 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I saw a Coyote in an early Mustang here in central MS, so I know it is possible.  

Not the same car, but it is possible.  

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/5/21 7:51 a.m.

As many of you pointed out, I sure did leave out some important information: weight

From the respective media sites for the 2021 models:

  • The Mustang (2.3-Liter High Performance Package) comes in at 3730 lbs. with the manual, 3752 lbs. with the automatic.
  • The Camaro comes in at 3627 lbs. with the manual, 3607 lbs. with the automatic.

So the Mustang is a little bit heavier than the Camaro, unless you go with the "base" EcoBoost Mustang, which weighs 3491 lbs. for the manual, 3511 lbs. for the automatic.

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
6/5/21 8:51 a.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

That 3,600# Camaro is the SS with a V8.  The base model 2.0t is approx. 3,350#.  The 2.0t 1LE is around 3,425#.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/5/21 7:33 p.m.
miatafan said:

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I saw a Coyote in an early Mustang here in central MS, so I know it is possible.  

Not the same car, but it is possible.  

And the first thing I notice is the shock towers are gone.

 

Not insurmountable, but it turns "engine swap" into "chassis fabrication/re-engineering".  An inline four looks pretty good if you don't want to go down that road.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/5/21 9:51 p.m.
racerfink said:

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

The 2018 2.0t my dad had would get 42mpg on the highway.  My 2016 3.6L has a 50 mile avg best of 36.2, in a car that’s run 13.909 @ 100.75mph at Bradenton (knocking off my friends 4.6GT in the process).

If you’re into autocross, the 2.0t is a terror in D Street, and I’ve seen one run a 12.9 at Bradenton.  He had a cold air intake, down pipe, and E-85 tune, and it took a full second off the factory 1/4 time.

My 3.6L Colorado has a 50 mile best in the high 20s I think but has an average of 19 over its 26000 mile life (mostly in town).  It gets 21 avg highway at 70-75.  A 3.6 Camaro might be high 20s at 70.  I can see that.

foshjowler
foshjowler New Reader
6/6/21 7:08 a.m.
Colin Wood said:

As many of you pointed out, I sure did leave out some important information: weight

From the respective media sites for the 2021 models:

  • The Mustang (2.3-Liter High Performance Package) comes in at 3730 lbs. with the manual, 3752 lbs. with the automatic.
  • The Camaro comes in at 3627 lbs. with the manual, 3607 lbs. with the automatic.

So the Mustang is a little bit heavier than the Camaro, unless you go with the "base" EcoBoost Mustang, which weighs 3491 lbs. for the manual, 3511 lbs. for the automatic.

I've co-drove a 2019 Camaro 2.0t at a pro-solo autocross and when it was weighed with a full tank of fuel it came in at 3340, and something like 50.5/49.5 weight balance. The Camaro has a significant weight advantage over the Mustang. There's a reason the GM guys won CAM at the autox nationals in a 2.0t Camaro.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/6/21 8:14 a.m.
foshjowler said:
Colin Wood said:

As many of you pointed out, I sure did leave out some important information: weight

From the respective media sites for the 2021 models:

  • The Mustang (2.3-Liter High Performance Package) comes in at 3730 lbs. with the manual, 3752 lbs. with the automatic.
  • The Camaro comes in at 3627 lbs. with the manual, 3607 lbs. with the automatic.

So the Mustang is a little bit heavier than the Camaro, unless you go with the "base" EcoBoost Mustang, which weighs 3491 lbs. for the manual, 3511 lbs. for the automatic.

I've co-drove a 2019 Camaro 2.0t at a pro-solo autocross and when it was weighed with a full tank of fuel it came in at 3340, and something like 50.5/49.5 weight balance. The Camaro has a significant weight advantage over the Mustang. There's a reason the GM guys won CAM at the autox nationals in a 2.0t Camaro.

Yes there is, but I'm sure having the resources of GM available on a daily basis didn't hurt.  Even in autocross budget and resources play a role.  

67LS1
67LS1 New Reader
6/6/21 9:26 a.m.
foshjowler said:
Colin Wood said:

As many of you pointed out, I sure did leave out some important information: weight

From the respective media sites for the 2021 models:

  • The Mustang (2.3-Liter High Performance Package) comes in at 3730 lbs. with the manual, 3752 lbs. with the automatic.
  • The Camaro comes in at 3627 lbs. with the manual, 3607 lbs. with the automatic.

So the Mustang is a little bit heavier than the Camaro, unless you go with the "base" EcoBoost Mustang, which weighs 3491 lbs. for the manual, 3511 lbs. for the automatic.

I've co-drove a 2019 Camaro 2.0t at a pro-solo autocross and when it was weighed with a full tank of fuel it came in at 3340, and something like 50.5/49.5 weight balance. The Camaro has a significant weight advantage over the Mustang. There's a reason the GM guys won CAM at the autox nationals in a 2.0t Camaro.

That's pretty light especially with a full tank. Was the car modified in any way, ie lighter wheels, seats, etc.

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
6/6/21 10:29 a.m.

In reply to 67LS1 :

That’s right about where I’d expect a 1LT 2.0t to be.  

foshjowler
foshjowler New Reader
6/7/21 9:00 a.m.
67LS1 said:
foshjowler said:
Colin Wood said:

As many of you pointed out, I sure did leave out some important information: weight

From the respective media sites for the 2021 models:

  • The Mustang (2.3-Liter High Performance Package) comes in at 3730 lbs. with the manual, 3752 lbs. with the automatic.
  • The Camaro comes in at 3627 lbs. with the manual, 3607 lbs. with the automatic.

So the Mustang is a little bit heavier than the Camaro, unless you go with the "base" EcoBoost Mustang, which weighs 3491 lbs. for the manual, 3511 lbs. for the automatic.

I've co-drove a 2019 Camaro 2.0t at a pro-solo autocross and when it was weighed with a full tank of fuel it came in at 3340, and something like 50.5/49.5 weight balance. The Camaro has a significant weight advantage over the Mustang. There's a reason the GM guys won CAM at the autox nationals in a 2.0t Camaro.

That's pretty light especially with a full tank. Was the car modified in any way, ie lighter wheels, seats, etc.

Probably heavier than what rolled off the factory. Wheels/tires are 305s all around, upgraded calipers, and a few extra body moldings. Mine is probably a little lighter since I just daily and autox it, and he does track things with his, so needed upgraded brakes and the extra aero helps him. Otherwise they're the same car, just different years. 

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