Muscle cars are coming back into fashion, even if they never really went away. If you live where I do, then you see more and more people cruising around in two-door fastback coupes with big wheels and loud engines. Two of the best to look at are the 2021 Ford Mustang vs 2021 Chevy Camaro. It’s like Ford and Chevy are doing a remake of Muscle Beach Party, but this time it’s Muscle Car Party. Except now, instead of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, we have a Ford Mustang and a Chevy Camaro. Depending on your perspective, this remake may be just as sexy as the original.
Most auto enthusiasts know that these two models have been going head-to-head since the late 60s, and, if anything, this rivalry has intensified. Both automakers offer their flagship muscle cars with a choice of multiple trims, several different engines, two different transmissions per engine, and a surprisingly affordable price tag. Just $27,205 will get you behind the wheel of a 2021 Ford Mustang EcoBoost, while choosing a 2021 Chevy Camaro LS will cost you an MSRP of $25,000, making these two within reach of most budgets. Both automakers are to be commended for keeping costs down while boosting performance on these two sports cars so that anyone who wants to can get to enjoy cruising around town in a muscle car. Let’s take a closer look at the 2021 Ford Mustang and the 2021 Chevy Camaro to see how they stack up and what each car has to offer for you.
Four-Cylinder Efficiency With Solid Performance
One thing you are sure to notice when comparing the 2021 Ford Mustang vs the 2021 Chevy Camaro is that the four engine choices match up fairly closely. You can see that both automakers are taking this competition at the Muscle Car Party very seriously. The base engine on the 2021 Ford Mustang EcoBoost and EcoBoost Premium is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4. Similarly, Chevy offers the 2021 Camaro 1LS, 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT with a standard 2.0-liter Turbo I-4 gas engine. Now, before you raise your eyebrows at me, you will be surprised by the performance of these two four-cylinder turbo engines.
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 on the Mustang utilizes a turbocharger with direct fuel injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing to produce 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Ford also offers a high-performance package for this engine that will boost performance to 332 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. This is the result of using a larger twin-scroll turbo compressor, active exhaust with quad tips, and a larger radiator. Both engines come with a standard 6-speed manual transmission with an optional 10-speed automatic transmission for those who don’t want to hassle with a clutch.
The Chevy 2.0-liter Turbo also has quite a few things going for it, but it is not as powerful as the one on the Ford. The Chevy Camaro’s I-4 pairs its engine with a choice of 6-speed manual transmission and 8-speed automatic transmission and uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing to produce 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. As you can see, both numbers are less than either version of the Ford Mustang I-4. This results in the Mustang having better acceleration than the Camaro.
The Ford Mustang with the I-4 can go from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds, while the best number for the Camaro with the I-4 is 5.4 seconds. The 2021 Camaro 2LT and 3LT also offer a V6 gas engine with 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque, but this still generates less acceleration than the Ford Mustang, only able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.2 or 5.4 seconds. That’s the difference between a gold medal and a silver one at a Muscle Car Party.
Eight-Cylinder Engines for Maximum Performance
In addition to the models with the EcoBoost I-4, Ford offers the 2021 Mustang with a choice of three different V-8 gas engines, each one featured on a specific model of the 2021 Mustang. For example, the Mustang GT and GT Premium have a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 engine. Ti-VCT stands for twin independent variable camshaft timing, a key feature of this engine. It also comes paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic transmission with port fuel direct injection. As a result, you can expect to get 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque from the Mustang GT and GT Premium.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 offers an engine of the same size as the one on the GT but with enhanced performance. The Mach 1 sports a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 engine with 6-speed manual transmission with rev-matching. A 10-speed automatic transmission is available as an option on this engine. It also features two side heat exchangers for improved track endurance. This engine produces 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
The largest of the three engines on the 2021 Mustang is the 5.2-liter Supercharged cross-plane crank V8 on the Shelby GT500. This comes with a TREMEC 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and is able to produce 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque.
In comparison to the Ford Mustang, Chevy only offers two V-8 gas engines on the 2021 Camaro. The Camaro LT1, 1SS, and 2SS feature a 6.2-liter LT1V8. This comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, with an available 10-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. It features direct injection and variable valve timing to produce 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. As you can see, it can’t match the horsepower of the V-8 engines on the Ford Mustang GT and Mach 1 but does have a little more torque.
The top trim of the 2021 Camaro ZL1 also features the top engine, a 6.2-liter LT4 Supercharged V8. Just like the other Camaro engine, it comes with a 6-speed manual transmission with available 10-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. In addition to direct fuel injection and variable valve timing, the Camaro ZL1’s engine features a 1.7-liter Eaton supercharger to boost performance to 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Matching this up to the top 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, you can see that it is no match for the horsepower on that engine but holds its own with respect to torque.
The measure for any sports car at Muscle Car Party is performance, and there are few better ways than to look at acceleration. The 2021 Chevy Camaro with the 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 engine can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.0 to 4.3 seconds, depending on such factors as trim level, wheel size, transmission type, and tire size. The 2021 Ford Mustang GT and GT Premium come right in the midst of this number, getting to 60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds, while the Ford Mustang Mach 1 shaves this number down to 4.1 seconds.
However, nothing can compare to the performance of the two supercharged models competing at Muscle Car Party. The 2021 Chevy Camaro ZL1, with its 6.2-liter LT4 Supercharged V-8, is able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds with an automatic transmission and 3.7 seconds with a manual transmission. While this is quite fast, it can’t match the breathtaking speed of the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 with its 5.2-liter Supercharged V-8. The Mustang Shelby GT500 will get you to 60 miles per hour in just 3.3 seconds, easily winning the gold medal for V-8 sports cars at Muscle Car Party.
Convertibles to Get You to Muscle Beach Party
If you want to take the fun from Muscle Car Party to Muscle Beach Party, there are few better ways to get there than in a convertible. Fortunately, Ford and Chevy have chosen to offer some of their models with a ragtop option for a slight premium over the hardtop trim. The 2021 Ford Mustang EcoBoost, EcoBoost Premium, and GT Premium offer an optional convertible top. Similarly, you can get the 2021 Chevy Camaro 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, and LT1 as convertibles.
Ford Mustang conquers Muscle Car Party
While the 2021 Chevy Camaro has solid performance, it just can’t match what the 2021 Ford Mustang has to offer. When comparing similar models head-to-head based on engine top, the Mustang always comes out on top with greater horsepower and acceleration. And nothing can beat speed if you are looking to impress at the Muscle Car Party.