Ford Mustang vs Competitors
Sports cars will never lose their appeal, especially in American pop culture. Younger drivers crave the thrill and feel of a fast car, and more mature drivers want to relive their youth, which explains why those domestically made throwback muscle cars are so popular today. There’s simply a timeless desire for power, speed, and that satisfying purr.
One of the leading cars in the souped-up coupe segment is the ever-popular Ford Mustang. While it’s a reputable vehicle by all accounts, it still must compete alongside a few other favorites, namely the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota 86. Luckily for the Mustang, it doesn’t need to try all that hard to show that it’s a class-leading beast.
Power and Performance
The Mustang’s base engine beats out all of the other rivals in output. Specifically, the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost makes 310 horses and 350 pound-feet of torque, more than the standard engines of the Camaro (275 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque), Charger (305 hp and 268 lb.-ft. of torque), 86 (205 hp and 156 lb.-ft. of torque), and BRZ (same stats as the 86).
While the two Japanese cars in this comparison, the BRZ and 86, are limited to their 2.0-liter engines, the domestic muscle mobiles have significant upgrades in the stable. The Mustang’s 5.0-liter V8 produces 460 hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, and the special-edition Bullitt bumps the hp kick to 480. With the race-ready Shelby GT350R, though, you’ll see the Mustang at its most powerful, thanks to a hefty 5.2.-liter V8 making 526 hp and 429 lb.-ft. of torque. This supercharged Pony Car, named for early Mustang designer Carroll Hall Shelby, competes specifically with the 6.2-liter Camaro ZL1 (650 hp and 650 lb.-ft. of torque) and the 6.2-liter Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye V8 (797 hp and 707 lb.-ft.). But that particular Challenger would cost upwards of $72,000, with the Widebody version approaching $80K (the Shelby’s base price is $59,140; the ZL1 starts at $62,995).
Cargo Space and Fuel Economy
Although space for stuff is not high on most sports-coupe shoppers’ list of must-haves, some might be delighted to find that the Mustang is one of the most accommodating utility-wise in its class, with 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space. On the other hand, the Camaro provides 9.1 cu. ft., whereas both the 86 and BRZ only have 6.9 cu. ft. Even though the Challenger boasts more cargo space at 16.2 cu. ft., it has a higher starting MSRP ($28,095, nearly $2,000 more than the Mustang’s $26,395). The Mustang also betters its rivals in base fuel economy with an EPA-estimated 21 city/31 highway mpg. The base trims of the competitors are EPA rated as follows: Camaro – 20 city/30 highway, Challenger – (19 city/30 highway), BRZ – (21 city/29 highway), and 86 – (21 city/28 highway).
While all of these cars have decent interior quality, the Mustang provides some standout interior amenities. For example, a fully digital 12-inch gauge cluster can be added to the Premium and GT Premium trims, but no such feature is available on the Camaro, Challenger, 86, or BRZ. What’s more, this Ford gauge cluster is completely customizable and changes depending on which driving mode you’re in, allowing this retro dream car’s cockpit to feel truly modern.
The Mustang’s available (on all but the base) SYNC 3 infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. None of the other vehicles compared here get Alexa capability, meaning they can’t use voice commands to control things such as navigation and traffic information.