Misc Articles


Sent in by Rich R.

This is a clipping from a Car and Driver article, '99 Mustang V6 vs. '99 Camaro
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How Do the V-6s Shape Up?

In this minicomparo, little things mean a lot.

If the real source of a pony car's appeal is its cheap V-8 power, you'd
think that few pony-car buyers would pass up that engine choice. But the
majority of buyers do go for the smaller powerplants. Last year, 63 percent
of Mustang buyers and 64 percent of Camaro buyers chose V-6s. The reason is
not a mystery. Forgo two cylinders, and you'll save between 20 and 45
percent on your insurance premiums, if our sample of local underwriters is
typical. You'll also shave $4400 off the price of a Mustang and $4245 from a
Camaro's sticker-hardly chump change to the frequently young buyers of these
cars.

So, to examine the pony-car class fully, we brought along the V-6
models-both equipped with five-speed manuals to maximize their entertainment
value. Editors voted, and here's how the V-6s fared.

Driveline: Ford's 3.8-liter V-6 got even more extensive enhancements than
did the revised V-8 for 1999. The block was stiffened, and a balance shaft
was added to reduce vibration. A dual-runner intake manifold and revised
heads were fitted, boosting horsepower by 40, to 190. That's still 10 shy of
the Camaro 3.8-liter V-6's 200 horses. Our Camaro, though, weighed 260
pounds more than the Mustang, and it showed at the track. The Ford's
7.1-second clocking to 60 mph whipped the Chevy by 0.6 second. In fact, the
Mustang trounced the Camaro in every one of our acceleration tests. The Ford
six-banger remains less refined than the Chevy six. Near its 5600-rpm
redline, the vibration it transmits through the shifter borders on amusing.
Both cars have clutches with very smooth takeup and five-speed gearboxes
that shift with rifle-bolt precision. All in all, it's a tossup. Advantage:
neither.

Brakes: The Camaro has the better setup, with vented discs at all four
corners working with anti-lock brakes that are standard equipment. The
Mustang has solid discs in the rear and no ABS (it is a $500 option,
however). The Mustang's binders fade more in hard use, but better pedal feel
and good front-to-rear balance allow the Mustang to virtually match the
Camaro's stopping distance from 70 mph: 184 feet to the Camaro's 182. Still,
we'll take less fade and anti-lock control any day. Advantage: Chevrolet.

Handling: The Camaro's predictable steering and the gradual breakaway of its
Goodyears at the limit are easy to warm to. The Mustang's quicker steering
requires more midcorner correction, but it gives the car a more responsive
feel. Cornering grip is 0.02 better in the Mustang, despite its smaller
tires. Advantage: Ford.

Ride: The Mustang's suspension absorbs smaller bumps better than the
Chevy's, but on rough roads, there's more bump steer and bouncy up-and-down
motion in the Ford. At 70 mph, it's 2 dBA louder inside the Mustang than in
the Camaro, too. Advantage: Chevrolet.

Value: The V-6 Camaro's $20,796 sticker includes cruise control, a powerful
Monsoon CD player, power windows and locks, and keyless entry. The Mustang's
stereo didn't sound as crisp as the Camaro's, but the Ford came with most of
its rival's features, in addition to leather front seats, for $2541 less.
Advantage: Ford.

Styling: We've always preferred the Camaro's hunkered-down, slippery shape
to the Mustang's top-heavy, bulbous contours, but this year, we're not so
sure. The Mustang's sharp-edged flanks are a vast improvement, and they say
sporty without relying on the tacked-on air-dam-and-spoiler gingerbread of
our Camaro's "sport appearance" package. Advantage: Ford.

Fun to drive: Both cars can light up their tires at stoplights and can be
driven briskly. The Camaro is the smoother handler. The Mustang doesn't have
the Camaro's composure, but it does feel more nimble, and it's significantly
faster, which makes the Mustang more fun. Advantage: Ford.

Overall rating: Go with the V-6 instead of the V-8, and we change our minds
about which car we prefer. It's a close call, but we rate the Mustang
slightly ahead of the Camaro: 88 to 87.

-Don Schroeder, Car and Driver


From Car and Driver Magazine