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Camaro beats Challenger and Mustang in a muscle-car face-off


Ah, the irony of automotive product timing....

In an era of unemployment and green-car technologies, we find Ford, Chrysler and GM offering up retro-styled, modern-day muscle cars with big engines and attitudes. It's like dangling a pricey chocolate bar in front of a recently diagnosed diabetic.

That said, any car buff worth his or her Hurst shifter is probably wondering: Which is better, the Chevy Camaro SS, the Dodge Challenger R/T or the Ford Mustang GT?

According to the testers at Edmunds.com, the Camaro is the clear winner.

Comparing the three cars by stats alone, you can see that GM made sure it could muscle its way to the top with more horsepower, but Edmunds gave the Mustang props for better handling and Challenger got points for retro attitude and styling.

The proof was on the track, where, according to Edmunds engineering editor Jason Kavanagh, the Camaro SS hit 110.9 mph in the quarter mile. That was good for a time of 13.0 seconds, "a half-second quicker than the next-quickest Mustang and nearly a full second quicker than the Challenger."

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
MSRP: $35,380, Edmunds.com True Market Value (TMV): $35,425
As tested: equipped with an eight-cylinder, 426-horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission.

2010 Ford Mustang GT
MSRP: $35,625, Edmunds.com True Market Value: $35,625
As tested: equipped with a eight-cylinder, 315-horsepower engine and five-speed manual transmission.

2009 Dodge Challenger R/T
MSRP: $36,710, Edmunds.com True Market Value: $35,324
As tested: equipped with an eight-cylinder, 376-horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission.

See the full review here.

-- Joni Gray

Photo of (from left) Challenger, Camaro and Mustang: Edmunds' Inside Line

CORRECTION -- At the time this article was published, there was a mistake in the 2010 Ford Mustang GT Edmunds.com True Market Value: $25,625. It has been corrected to reflect the actual $35,625 price.


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I had hoped we had grown out of this juvenile obsession with muscle cars. Not sure if this is a story handed to you by GM or if the author just bumped her head and forgot what year it was, but articles praising cars for the size of their engines without mentioning mpg is a little reckless. I'm sure many readers think I'm over reacting, but please remember that for decades automotive writers focused on everything but mpg and American's soon forgot about that aspect of their purchasing decision. The connection needs to be enforced for consumers to be aware of what their decisions entail.

Camaro has fully independent rear suspension. It is better than all three, but since it is the most expensive will likely not sell as many units as the Mustang.

Even in the late 69's the Camaro was a better car. 60's Mustangs had Falcon suspension. Was cr@p but because it was cheap, more Mustangs were sold that Camaros.

When it comes to kids' car, cheapness sells


They all suck.

Who cares about speed and horsepower these days?
What I need is good handling so I can swerve around the hybrids doing 40mph up the Sepulveda pass.

WHo is this Ferris guy? it's muscle cars thier talking about not hybrids you moron! Must be a communist or something....

I want the challenger. The R/T is still 376HP! Way more than most people need anyways. Plus! They failed to mention that the Challenger has an extra class SRT8 which has a 425HP 6.1L HEMI V8.

You have to remember that consumers aren't going to make their car buying decisions based on a short blog post which is referring to a full review on Edmunds. They're going to go read the full review on Edmunds. Once there, people can see all sorts of information and, most assuredly, they will look at the MPG stats.

And the post isn't what I would call an "article." It's a post. And I'm also not sure that quickly mentioning how each model was equipped as tested represents "praise."

That said, I'm not going to buy one of these cars because that's my informed choice.

Based on the average score these three have been getting in published reviews, it's:

1. Camaro (87)

2. Mustang (86)

3. Challenger (78)

Who cares about MPG? Nobody considering any of these three cars would define reckless in terms of "miles per gallon". I love the outdoors, but I love it even more when it's flying by me at 100 mph. 426 horsepower and you're crying about gas mileage? You've got to be the cheapest guy on earth!

No wonder why GM is tanking. They trot out this ugly gas hog when people need to be conserving fuel. I guess they didn't learn from the 70's. They shouldn't be bailed out.

Im glad to see the big back at it... Great cars, glad the Camaro came out on top...

In answer to Ferris:

The V-8 Camaro gets 16mpg city, 25mpg highway (which would be about 18/27 by pre-2008 EPA numbers)

The V-6 Camaro, which has 305 horsepower, gets 19/29 mpg. The V-6 will account for most of these cars sold.

The V-6 has more 30 more horsepower and a lot better fuel economy than my V-8 Pontiac Trans Am (which isn't my daily commute vehicle anyway). The V-8 versions get 4 mpg *better* mixed city/highway fuel economy with nearly 150 more horsepower (in post-2008 EPA terms). I think the V-6 version is a good compromise between fuel economy, power and handling and it'll probably be my next car if GM survives another 6 months or so.

I would like to see versions of both types of cars which use GM/BMW/Mercedes two-mode hybrid transmissions to improve city fuel economy though, which is largely a bolt-on modification. Though that would probably make them far too expensive in today's market.

The Camaro was the cheapest of the cars tested above. The base model is around $1000 more, but you get more power and better fuel economy than the competitors at that price. From what I've seen, build quality on the Camaro looks a lot better than the Mustang.


Go read through recent LA Times articles on hybrids. Sales of hybrids such as the "sacred" Prius have plunged. Hybrid don't make economic sense unless gasoline is close to $5 and the government is heavily subsidizing the purchase. Go compare the MPG for the V-6 Camaro to a V-6 Camry or Accord. They are not that far apart.

More importantly, we don't live in the Soviet Union. People should, and will, purchase cars that are more than just utilitarian transportation. If GM and Chrysler only make econo-boxes, no one will buy them because most people don't want that type of vehicle.

Did it ever occur to the MPG sticklers that perhaps some people that are looking into these cars aren't going to be driving them daily? What uses more gas in a year, a Prius that is used for commuting 40 miles a day, or a Camaro that is driven 40 miles every weekend for fun? Is it fair to punish the enthusiast who wants a powerful car for occasional use?

Ok this is the second time in a week the latimes has ran an add disguised as a story. This is disgusting and it's funny to see readers' posts' thinking that this is a legitimate article.

I've driven all three. Further that, I've driven the V6 and performance variants of these models as well.

The Mustang is the clear winner in my mind. The Camaro reeks of cheap interior and horrible handling. Power is only good if you plan on going in a straight line. The Mustang's interior refinement far exceeds the crap-box Camaro.

Why Would Every One Care About The Mpg When Gas Went Cheap!!!!!!! Now What Matter's Is HPower !!!!!!! And I Say Camaor Win's Hand's Down!!!!!!!! It Have's The Look The Speed Hpower What more Can You Ask For .........

Ely, I am gonna call you on this. You did not drive all three. Very few people have even seen a production 2010 camaro let alone drive one. Lets be real huh?

Frankenbike: Excellent post. Great info about MPG, etc.

Valerie: Seriously? The company should be allowed to fail and millions of jobs, bankruptcies and cascading vendor failures, and all the insurance agencies, doctors offices and stores these unemployed people could not pay will fail, and guess what...you get to pay for their unemployment while they try to find new jobs. You need to think it through to the end first. There are smarter alternatives to consider without just cheering for a major failure in America that will absolutely hurt millions.

And your reason...Because they produce a muscle car (aka "ugly gas hog" to satisfy all market segments (yes, there are desires out there besides your own personal choice).

I agree that efficiency is the challenge of the 21st century. But that does not mean the products need to suck. Improved engineering will produce muscle cars that waste less power than you do just walking around every day...or posting online running your power hog computer. LOL

rember people big 3 muscle cars GOOD crapy imports and hybrid's BAD im a big time GM fan glad to see CAMARO made a come back lets keep AMERICAN,AMERICAN!!

Dear Norsk, you said...I want the challenger. The R/T is still 376HP! Way more than most people need anyways. Plus! They failed to mention that the Challenger has an extra class SRT8 which has a 425HP 6.1L HEMI V8.

If you took the time to look at the price tags, you would have seen they are all around $35,000. Are you that stupid a SRT8 is about $10,000 more and if you look you still aren't at the horsepower of the camero. an extra $10,000 and your still 1 horsepower behind the camero!!!! LOL DAMN SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST THAT DUMB I GUESS!!!!!

Most people who want a 'muscle car" aren't buying them for transportation! They want them for fun! You Hybrid owners are a bunch of liberal, err, make that socialist who would rather see everyone driving the ame POS and saving the earth! Get reeaaal! America has always been about muscle! We have the right to buy whatever we earn! We have the right to spend whatever we MAKE! Stop trying to make us out to be irresponsible because we appreciate American Muscle cars! Just because most of you can't afford the gas or the car doesn't mean those of us who can are somehow wrong to want these cars! Blow it!

BTW, I own a 1995 Camaro Z28 and I LOVE IT!! It has 425 HP with a 6 Speed Manual and it did 12 second 1/4 mile at Irwindale last year. It could go faster but I can only shift so fast! I eat those rice rockets all the time. especially when I hit 3rd gear I take off like a rocket and pass them. They usually have a look of disbelief on thier faces as i shoot by them! LMAO!

Great post Jason! People like Valerie are idiots who watch too much CNN and actually think they are RIGHT! They are what is WRONG with society because they want us all to suffer together. They would rather see America FAIL and become a socialist monarchy like the Soviet Union and we all see how well that turned out!

This is not really a fair comparison. The SS is the top of the line Chevy, while the RT and GT are the middle of the road version of the Dodge and Ford. A better battle would be the SS, SRT8, and Shelby GT500. C'mon...get real.

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About the Blogger
Our Bloggers

Dan Neil is a Los Angeles Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who writes the weekly column, Rumble Seat.

Ken Bensinger is a Los Angeles Times staff writer who covers the automotive industry.

Martin Zimmerman is a Los Angeles Times staff writer who covers the automotive and finance industries.

Joni Gray is a Los Angeles Times staff writer who covers the automotive industry.


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