Battle of the Sixes: Consumer Reports Makes Its Pony-Car Pick

2011 Ford Mustang V6

If you came to me and said, “Oh, wise tgriffith, I wish to purchase an American V6 pony car, but I’m not sure if I should get the Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger. Can you help?” I would have some passionate advice for you.

I’d tell you the V6 Dodge Challenger is woefully underpowered. I’d tell you the Chevy Camaro is a fine choice if, you know, you don’t mind owning a Camaro. Then I’d tell you that if you want downright impressive performance that borders on that of a genuine sports car, you should buy the Ford Mustang V6.

I realize many people will chide me for claiming the Mustang handles like a true sports car, but the truth is, it comes awfully close. And guess what? Consumer Reports agrees.

2010 Camaro debutThose stalwarts of aggressive consumer protection and testing have awarded the Blue Oval’s thoroughbred with a “Very Good” road-test score, while the Bowtie was handed a simple “Good” rating.

CR says opting for a V6 engine does not take away from the fun factor in driving the Mustang, as it does for the Camaro. The Ford’s new V6 engine is not only more refined than the Camaro’s, it delivered stronger acceleration and better fuel economy. Considering the Camaro weighs 300 pounds more than the Mustang, the contest is over.

According to the CR press release:

The Mustang corners well, with good steering and little body lean. The Ford Mustang V6 Premium ($28,660 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price as tested,) is powered by a 305-hp 3.7 liter V6 engine that is quick and gets 24 mpg overall in CR’s own fuel economy tests. The six-speed manual transmission shifts crisply. Braking is Very Good. The interior is well-finished and the dashboard has a retro look, reminiscent of the 1960s.

The Camaro feels relatively ungainly, with slower steering response than the Mustang and more lean. The ride is taut yet not uncomfortable. The Chevrolet Camaro 2LT ($28,195 MSRP as tested,) is powered by a 304-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine and gets 21 mpg overall. The six-speed manual transmission is rather stiff and imprecise. Braking is Very Good. The interior is well-finished, and the thick-rimmed, leather-covered steering wheel is nicer than the Mustang’s.

So there you have it, the Mustang is king. Right?

-tgriffith

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