Granted, both cars have evolved from their early days of pure muscle into sleek and capable sports cars. For the first few decades of their lives, both cars were good for straight-line acceleration and loud rumbling exhaust notes, but not much else. But Americans have flocked to muscle cars and customized them, raced them, modified them, and loved them since the early 1960s.
Then something happened. Rather than fading into the annals of history, the muscle car grew up and started to take on characteristics of European sports cars. By 2015, muscle cars were being compared with the likes of the BMW M3.
Then the utterly remarkable 2016 Camaro came along and officially ended the muscle car era. The new Camaro has left the Mustang reeling in a pile of obsolete dust and forced Ford to figure out how to catch up.
The Mustang has always made the Camaro feel big and sloppy. Ford’s muscle car looked more refined when the Camaro tended to make its drivers feel like kids wearing their dads’ coats. The 2016 Camaro has changed all that. Based on the Cadillac ATS, the newest Camaro is a lean, rigid, and composed machine with the speed, handling, and driving pleasure of an Audi or BMW. Get one in SS trim and you also have the engine of a Corvette.
That could explain why sales of the Mustang have dropped nearly 13 percent while the Camaro’s are up 11 percent.
Ford, of course, won’t allow Chevy to drive into the sunset with those bragging rights. The trouble for Ford is that the next Mustang update isn’t officially scheduled until 2022; but with such stiff competition from Chevrolet, it appears Ford may be moving up production of the seventh-generation Mustang.
That’s still four years away, which gives Chevy plenty of time to build on its momentum and increase its lead over the Mustang, which will be in serious catch-up mode come 2020.
Though muscle cars have evolved over time, it doesn’t appear that the debate between the Mustang and the Camaro will end anytime soon.
Which do you prefer, the Camaro or the Mustang?