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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A closeup shows the grille and badging on a blue 2021 Chevy Camaro SS.

Pony Up: 2021 Chevy Camaro vs 2021 Ford Mustang

Imagine yourself at the starting line, the Christmas tree lighting up one row at a time. You wring the leather-wrapped steering wheel with your hands and rev the engine, feeling the adrenaline course through your veins as you press on the gas pedal. The light turns green, you stomp the pedal to the floor, and your head snaps back into the seat. The engine roars and the tires scream as you fly off the starting line, reaching sixty miles per hour in under four seconds. Today, we’re holding a virtual drag race between two vehicles that can make this high-performance dream a reality for you: the 2021 Chevy Camaro vs 2021 Ford Mustang.

If you’re more interested in the aesthetic appeal of these two muscle-bound legends, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. From what comes under the hood to daily driving comforts and conveniences, we’ll explore everything they have to offer. Start your engines. It’s time to begin.

A Little Insight Into the Past

The fierce competition between the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang is nothing new. These legendary rivals have been at war since their inception, and they both seemed to follow a very similar trajectory over the years. Ushering in an entirely new genre of automobiles when they were first created, they each strayed so far from their roots over time that they ultimately became unrecognizable from their former selves. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that Ford and Chevy once again paid homage to the pony car style that stole the scene so many years ago.

Born in 1964, the Mustang fought many rivals over the years, but none of them stood the test of time like the Camaro. As you may or may not know, the Camaro was rushed out by Chevy in response to the Mustang’s wildly successful debut. After witnessing the Mustang hit 681,000 sales in its first year – shattering Ford’s projections by almost seven times – Chevy knew it had to come up with an answer if it didn’t want to be left in the dust. Thus, in 1966, just two short years later, the Camaro was released.

Since then, it’s been a neverending battle of horsepower, visual appeal, and legendary models like the Shelby and Z/28. Six generations later, the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang are still vying for high-performance streetcar supremacy. Who will reach the checkered flag first in 2021? Let’s find out.

A silver 2021 Chevy Camaro convertible is parked in a garage after winning the 2021 Chevy Camaro vs 2021 Ford Mustang comparison.

Going Head to Head

Pop the top of the 2021 Chevy Camaro, and you’ll find one of four monsters living under the hood:

  • 2.0L Turbo: Featuring direct injection and variable valve timing, you’ll get 275 hp, 295 lb-ft of torque, and 30 MPG on the highway out of this turbocharged four-cylinder. Go with the six-speed manual transmission, and you’ll reach 60mph in 5.4 seconds. This powertrain comes standard on the LS and LT trims.
  • 3.6L V6: If the LT trim catches your eye, you can turn up the heat with this 335 hp six-cylinder. Clocking in at 5.2 seconds for the manual version, you’ll shave valuable milliseconds off your zero to sixty times with this motor.
  • 6.2L LT1 V8: Here’s where things start to get interesting. At the heart of the LT1 and SS trims, this 455 hp eight-cylinder engine takes a full second off your zero to sixty times. Expect to get there in 4.3 seconds with the manual and just 4 seconds flat with the paddle-shift ten-speed automatic. Still not fast enough for you? Then you’ll like this next one then.
  • 6.2L LT4 Supercharged V8: If the track is your second home and you find the smell of burnt rubber soothing, this beast was made just for you. Showcasing 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, the raw power of the 1.7L Eaton supercharger will take your track performance to new heights. Reach sixty miles per hour in as little as 3.5 seconds with the automatic transmission and 3.7 seconds with the manual. Available only on the ZL1 trim, this powertrain is a true testament to the Camaro’s legendary heritage.

Switching lanes to the 2021 Ford Mustang, the competition becomes incredibly steep. Starting with the base 2.3L turbo four-cylinder, you get a little more power than the Camaro’s standard powertrain. Delivering 310 hp and 350 lb-ft torque, its zero to sixty time edges out the Camaro’s base engines at 5.0 seconds – although the entry-level Mustang also carries a higher price to match its performance.

Next up is the 460 hp 5.0L V8 to compete with the Camaro’s 6.2L LT1. But while the horsepower figure is higher, the Mustang GT only has 420 lb-ft of torque and gets you to 60mph in 4.2s. Going strictly by the numbers, the LT1 will clinch out the victory, although driver skill will certainly play a role in the real world.

Last but not least, the 2021 Mustang Shelby GT500 comes equipped with a supercharged 5.2L V8. If you’re taking on the Camaro ZL1, you’ll need this behemoth under the hood. Like the standard Mustang V8, this engine has higher horsepower and lower torque at 760 hp and 625 lb-ft. This means reaching 60 mph will take you 3.7 seconds – a hair behind the ZL1.

So, on paper, the 2021 Camaro steals the show with its impressive V8 options. But with the numbers being so close, when the rubber hits the road, anything could happen. The only question now is, which one will you choose?

High-Performance Feats, Comfortable on the Streets

Maybe the track isn’t your thing. Maybe you love taking long drives in your favorite muscle car. If zero to sixty times are the least of your worries, both the 2021 Chevy Camaro and 2021 Ford Mustang offer a suite of state-of-the-art tech features that will have you riding in style and comfort.

The Camaro features Chevy’s Infotainment 3 system, wireless functionality with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 4G WiFi hotspot, Alexa connectivity, a wireless charging pad, and an available built-in navigation system. A customizable head-up display keeps your eyes on the road by showing you MPG, rpm, fuel levels, and more in transparent color on your windshield. If you manage to hit the track, Launch Control and the Performance Data Recorder will take your experience to the next level. Customize your launch specs and record your drives to analyze the performance data for your best laps and track times.

The 2021 Mustang comes with Ford’s SYNC 3 system, featuring the same Apple, Android, and optional navigation functionality as the Camaro, with a 4G hot spot and Alexa connectivity also available. Customize your digital cluster to display whatever gauges you like, in whatever color you like, and blast your favorite songs with the premium 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. You also have Launch Control at your disposal, so if you decide to go to the track, set your launch rpm and get ready to smoke the competition. Whether you’re a seasoned track pro or a casual driver, you can dress these two modern American muscle cars up or down to fit your lifestyle.

A white and a blue 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 are rounding a corner on a track.

The All-New Mach 1

Mustang lovers rejoice! The big news for Ford this year is the return of the storied Mustang Mach 1. After almost twenty years, they’ve brought the legendary fastback coupe back to life with a 5.0L V8 engine, promising to make this the most track-capable 5.0L Mustang yet. Boasting 480 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque, and a slew of performance parts from the Mustang family, this new take on an old classic will have you smiling from ear to ear at the track.

Ford made several aerodynamic and handling upgrades to make the Mach 1 a force to be reckoned with, just like its namesake. Two new side heat exchangers, a rear axle cooling system, a lower diffuser from the Shelby GT500, and a new underbelly pan all serve to optimize the Mach 1’s aerodynamics. Handling got a massive boost from the MagneRide calibration, stiffer sway bars, a brake booster from the Mustang GT, and a stiffer steering I-shaft.

You’ll find nods to the original Mach 1 in the faux headlamps hidden behind the front grill, the classic stripe down the center of the hood, and the stylish rear spoiler. The new Mach 1’s aggressive demeanor is accentuated by its slanted headlights, giving it a fierce, intimidating look. Although there’s no word on a zero to sixty time yet, one thing’s for sure: the new Mach 1 doesn’t just talk the talk. But how will it measure up to the famed Chevy Camaro 2SS 1LE? We’ll have to wait until spring to find out.

2021 Chevy Camaro vs 2021 Ford Mustang: Who Wins?

While the 2021 Camaro boasts a lower cost of entry than the 2021 Mustang, these two titans are neck and neck in terms of performance. The 2021 Camaro pulls ahead on paper with its high-torque V8 engines, but it’s safe to say that this virtual drag race is too close to call with how similar their performance specs are. In situations like these, the difference between winning and losing usually comes down to the driver. So, who’s lane are you in, Ford or Chevy?

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