2012 Ford Mustang GT vs. 2012 Chevy Camaro SS

2012 Ford Mustang GT vs. 2012 Chevy Camaro SS
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As two of the oldest Titans in the muscle car battle, the Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro SS have always been rivals. Similar early on in their history, the two took different directions in the early 1980s with the Mustang F-body introduction.

Camaro SS owners could always claim more horsepower, while in 1994 the fourth-gen Mustang, in all forms, claimed a new exterior and stylishly rethought cabin. Fast-forward to 2012 and the spec charts are finally evening out.

That leaves open-minded buyers with one question: which of the two old boys to choose.

Compare Specs

2012 Ford Mustang GT vs 2012 Chevy Camaro SS
Vehicle 2012 Ford Mustang GT Advantage 2012 Chevy Camaro SS
Engine Gas V8, 5.0L/302 Camaro Gas V8, 6.2L/376
Horsepower 412 @ 6500 rpm Camaro 426 @ 5900 rpm
Max. Torque 390 @ 4250 rpm Camaro 420 @ 4600 rpm
Fuel Economy 17 MPG city / 26 MPG hwy Mustang 16 MPG city / 24 MPG hwy
Curb Weight (MT) 3,603 lbs Mustang 3,849 lbs
Weight Distribution 54/46 Camaro 52/48
Head Room (front) 38.5" Mustang 37.4"
Shoulder Room (front) 55.3" Camaro 56.9"
Leg Room (front) 42.4" - 42.4"
Trunk Space (cu-ft) 13.4 Mustang 11.3
Starting Price $29,710 Mustang $31,095

After an eight-year hiatus, the Camaro SS returned with all the hell fire we remembered, but that was 2010. While it’s tough to complain about the car’s 426-hp naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8, those power ratings have been stagnant for three years.

That’s all the harder to swallow as we watch the 2012 Mustang climb closer to matching those numbers since the storied 2010 Camaro’s return to competition. At the time, the Mustang made a measly 315 hp, but bumped it up the following year to a 5.0-liter V8 making the 412 we see in the 2012 model.

2012 Ford Mustang GT

Both cars come with a standard six-speed manual, though the style versus aggression mentality still seems evident between the two while shifting. Shorter, more calculated throws categorize the Mustang, while longer, jarring shifts give birth to the Camaro’s throaty V8 roar.

Those sensibilities translate inside and out on both cars as well. Despite only being about two inches longer at 190.4 inches, the Camaro just feels bigger than the Mustang. That probably has just as much to do with the long, square body style of the Camaro as it does the Mustang’s tighter, more ergonomic cabin. The poor outward visibility on the Camaro doesn’t help either.

Regardless of which choice wins, you’re bound to notice the gobs of torque both cars have. From a stoplight, both beg to go like a dog that hasn’t been walked all day. After you’re rolling, you might appreciate optional features on the Mustang like Microsoft Sync, which will crank the music on voice command — living out that high school dream.

2012 Chevy Camaro SS

Speaking of retro moments, the Camaro SS retains its styling reminiscent of the legendary ’68, but also has a more modern overall look than the ‘Stang.

When it comes to handling, the Camaro has a more modern fully-independent rear end, though the Mustang feels surprisingly more nimble, despite it’s solid rear axle, due to a curb weight that is several hundred pounds less.

For 2012 the Camaro SS gets a backup camera built into the rear-view. Similarly, the 2012 Mustang GT is essentially a direct translation of last year’s model but with an adjustable steering effort setting. 2013 cars will come with an optional Track Apps package that will let you measure your own 0-60, ¼ mile times, braking distances and g force.

Both cars achieve the same 17 mpg during city driving but the Camaro SS is more efficient on the highway with 28 mpg versus the Mustang GT’s 26. The Camaro also has a larger fuel tank that allows for better cruising range.

Those numbers are derived from the base manual, but there is an optional six-speed automatic transmission, though it sacrifices fuel economy.

At the $29,710 base price tag, the Mustang GT doesn’t come with standard leather seating, then again the Camaro doesn’t either and it costs $31,095.

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