Camaro vs. Mustang, Round II: Consumer Reports likes Ford

They've been battling it out on the U.S. sales chart for months now, with the reincarnated Chevy muscle car ahead of Ford's pony car by more than 7,000 units year-to-date.

Now the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have gone head-to-head for Round II in the pages of Consumer Reports' October issue.

In last year's faceoff between V-8 versions of the two muscle cars, the magazine gave the nod to the Mustang -- despite its older design.

In a recent comparison, the magazine said a new V-6 engine did not dilute the “fun factor” in driving the Mustang, but it did for the Camaro.

The Mustang's new V-6 engine is not only more refined than the Camaro's; it delivered stronger acceleration and better fuel economy, the magazine said, adding that while the Camaro V-6 provided decent acceleration, it wasn't as readily available.

The Camaro rides well enough, but it's also almost 300 pounds heavier than the Mustang.

“The Mustang is the more agile and enjoyable car to drive of the two,” David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center, said in a statement.

The Mustang was priced at $28,660, and the Camaro stickered for $28,195.

The Mustang also is recommended, but the Camaro is too new for Consumer Reports to have reliability data.

Among the other Consumer Reports observations:

• The Mustang cornered well, with good steering and little body lean.

• The Camaro felt relatively ungainly, with slower steering response than the Mustang and more lean. The ride was “taut yet not uncomfortable.”

• The Mustang V-6 Premium is powered by a 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 engine that is quick and yielded 24 mpg based on the magazine's tests. The six-speed manual transmission shifted crisply, and braking was very good.

• The Camaro 2LT is powered by a 304-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 engine and generated 21 mpg overall. The six-speed manual transmission was rather stiff and imprecise, but braking was very good.

The magazine's editors liked the interior of both models, but it did rate one item on the Camaro as being better than the Mustang: The Camaro's thick-rimmed, leather-covered steering wheel was nicer than the Mustang's.

The October issues goes on sale today.

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