Comparo: Ford Mustang GT vs Dodge Challenger SRT8 vs Chevrolet Camaro SS

Comparo: Ford Mustang GT vs Dodge Challenger SRT8 vs Chevrolet Camaro SS


The 2011 Ford Mustang GT, the 2010 Dodge Challenger and the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS all have three things in common. All three are retro-styled Americans, all three are V8-powered muscle cars, and all three have more than 400 horses. Each. This comparo has been a long time coming. Everyone else has already done their armchair evaluations, simply comparing manufacturer figures, snapping a few photos and calling it a day. It took us a spread of six months to be able to drive all three of these direct competitors. We have neither the time nor the resources to pull in all three cars together. But each of these cars are so memorable that it is possible to recall every one of our test-drives, especially since we were the only ones to record local performance figures in the GCC.

Head-Turning Quotient

1st: The Dodge Challenger SRT8 easily wins this one. Style is subjective, and the Challenger definitely is the most “old” in its design, but since only the expensive SRT8 version is imported to the UAE, there are fewer around, and therefore more people stare and pull out their camera-phones for it.

2nd: The Chevrolet Camaro SS is easily the best interpretation of a retro design brought back to life in the modern world. It blends old and new perfectly, and even sacrifices practicality to achieve that chop-top look. The only reason it turns less heads than the Dodge is because everyone’s already seen enough of it, be it in the Transformers movies or in V6 trim around shopping malls.

3rd: The Ford Mustang GT is a very pretty car, but it’s been on the market in retro guise since 2005, so even with the facelift, most people have trouble picking out the upgrades over the years.

Room & Board

1st: The Dodge Challenger SRT8 easily has the best interior among the three. While it is also the most boring to look at, the Dodge’s leather-upholstered cabin makes the most use of soft-touch materials on the dash and doors, comes with the sportiest seats, is fitted with a touchscreen navigation system, and even has a useable back seat that fits adults! However, the massive boot is largely wasted by a full-size spare tyre.

2nd: The Ford Mustang GT made huge strides in cabin quality with its 2010 facelift, gaining a soft-touch dash with real aluminium trim, colour-changing gauges and supple leather upholstery. Cabin space is good up front, but cramped in the back for all but kids. The boot is shallow but still useful.

3rd: The Chevrolet Camaro SS cabin consists pretty much of hard plastics, with bits of padding for elbows. The leather-upholstered seats, mild mood lighting, multiple gauges and even the overall styling are nice, but a low roof, thick pillars, absolutely useless rear seats and a small boot opening make the Camaro an impractical pain to use for everyday errands.

Tech Talk

1st: The Dodge Challenger SRT8 wins this tech round too, with its touchscreen navigation/multimedia system that includes voice control, Bluetooth phone, USB port and even a hard drive. Our tester even had optional rear parking sensors with camera, remote start, HID headlights, starter button and a strong manual a/c.

2nd: The Ford Mustang GT comes in second with its SYNC multimedia/communications system that includes voice control, USB port and Bluetooth phone. Also available are a panoramic glass roof, colour-changing gauges, rear sequential indicator lamps, strong manual a/c and a rear camera with a display in the overhead mirror. We hear HID headlights are optional, but you still won’t get parking sensors, navigation or even a starter button.

3rd: The Chevrolet Camaro SS comes with HID headlights with ‘halo’ rings, a strong manual a/c, CD changer, USB port, rear parking sensors, sunroof and, well, mood lighting. Nothing else is available.

Angry Acceleration

1st: Those who picked style over substance are in for disappointment. The upgraded-for-2011 Ford Mustang GT, with its 412 hp 5.0-litre V8, 528 Nm of torque, and mated to a featureless 6-speed automatic in our tester, has the least juice in this powerful bunch. But we fired off a 0-100 kph time of 5.3 seconds during our late November test, with almost no wheelspin. That is way quicker than the other two, obviously because it also weighs in at “only” 1662 kg.

2nd: The Dodge Challenger SRT8 comes in second with its 425 hp 6.1-litre V8, 569 Nm of torque and basic 5-speed automatic, but only barely. During our October test, we managed a tyre-squealing 0-100 kph run of 6.2 seconds, almost a second off the pace of the Mustang due to its 1895 kg weight, the heaviest in this set.

3rd: The Chevrolet Camaro SS comes with a strong 426 hp 6.2-litre V8 and 569 Nm of torque, similar to the Challenger. However, our tester had a 6-speed manual, weighs 1755 kg and we tested it in early May. We got a screeching 0-100 kph time of 6.3 seconds, the best one in 14 attempts with perfect shifts. To say it is last would be unfair, because we had the most fun with the three-pedal Camaro. And anyway, GM claims the paddle-shiftable automatic Camaro SS is quicker on these short runs, and quicker to 200 kph than even the Ford.

Handle With Care

1st: This is not 1969 any more. Heck, it isn’t even 1999 any more. In this day and age, muscle cars are proper sports cars that can keep up with the expensive European stuff. The Ford Mustang GT wins in this group, but only by a millimetre. Like the Camaro, the Mustang grips like glue, handles totally flat and has sharp steering responses. The Mustang also benefits from solid feedback from the controls, better visibility around turns and is generally easier to toss around due to its smaller size and lighter weight, but its rear-axle hop on mid-corner bumps can be unpredictable and takes alert senses to keep in check.

2nd: The Chevrolet Camaro SS offers neck-snapping Brembo brakes, decent steering feedback, sharp responses from the controls, wider tyres for awesome grip and an independent rear suspension that makes it better-planted over bumps. It’d be better than the Mustang were it not for its limited outward visibility, weirdly-shaped steering-wheel rim and vague on-centre steering feel. As such, it is slightly more tedious to take turns in than the Mustang.

3rd: It’s not that the Dodge Challenger SRT8 handles badly. It handles rather well on the street actually. It just takes itself less seriously than the other two, erring a little more on the side of comfort than on all-out histrionics. The steering is lighter, offering mild feedback, while the suspension allows some body roll and can feel a bit floaty on bumps, though never truly unsettling.

Cushy Comfort

1st: This one is easy. The Dodge Challenger SRT8 is the most comfortable to drive, with its not-too-firm suspension and airy cabin. Still, it isn’t a luxury car by any means, with an always-audible engine and moderate wind noise.

2nd: The Chevrolet Camaro SS is only slightly firmer than the Challenger, which shows how well-tuned the suspension is. Wind noise is surprisingly low, but the limited view out the windows means you will never be at ease driving in tight spaces.

3rd: The Ford Mustang GT rides pretty firmly, while the mild drone of the engine and the moderate wind noise can get tiresome on long trips. But it is bearable if you’re used to driving more hardcore sports cars.

Fuel For Thought

1st: If you love V8 muscle cars and you love trees, you’re probably going to want the most fuel-efficient animal of the bunch. Interestingly, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 gave us the best fuel economy, at 14.9 litres/100 km, as shown on the trip computer.

2nd: The Ford Mustang GT showed us a consistent 15 litres/100 km, but the problem is its trip computer doesn’t show decimal places. For all we know, it could be burning less. Based on official specs though, this car is supposed to be the thriftiest.

3rd: Our overall figure with the Chevrolet Camaro SS was 16.8 litres/100 km, but we managed to eke out as low as 8.7 litres/100 km with some excruciatingly conservative driving. So maybe this car should be first instead.

Value For Money

1st: With a base price of Dhs 125,000 up to Dhs 160,000 for our glass-roofed “Premium” model, the Ford Mustang GT is the relative bargain of the bunch. Ironically, it offers the best performance too.

2nd: The Chevrolet Camaro SS can be had for as little as Dhs 160,000, or you can get a car like ours for Dhs 180,000, or pay even more for a factory-kitted monstrosity that costs as much as Dhs 225,000.

3rd: The Dodge Challenger SRT8 is a pricey affair, with a base price of Dhs 200,000 and possibly going up to Dhs 209,000 if you tack on a few options. At least you get a better interior and a larger car.

How To Pick The Winner

Your mind could explode trying to figure out which car is the best one here. The Ford Mustang GT is the obvious choice due to its killer price and serial-killer dynamics. But then we actually loved the celebrity status that the Dodge Challenger SRT8 offers, as well as its everyday practicality. And then there is the Chevrolet Camaro SS, a compromised car that hardly tops any category, but then again, it also balances serious track-ready abilities with proper road-worthy comfort. Would that be the winner? You decide.

Full Road Tests:
2011 Ford Mustang GT
2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8
2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the comparison. But the 2010 challenger srt8 has a 6.1L engine, not a 6.4L engine as you mentioned in this article. The 6.4L is in 2011 challenger srt8 which makes 470hp and will easily beat these three cars in both acceleration and handling tests.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      Thanks, fixed the typo. Of course, acceleration numbers seem to be completely different here than in the U.S., as seen here.

  2. brilliant effort man, thanks for this.

  3. thanks for such a well detailed comparison, no one can say “I’m confused which to pick!!” anymore

  4. Damn….. I am coming to steal those rides….. Love all of ’em…..

  5. brilliant job guys.
    this site gets better day by day.
    keep up the good work Mashfique.

  6. I played with these cars in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit LOL

    and I liked the mustang Gt500 in all terms 😀

    You can do amazing drifting with GT500 and it becomes better if you go for Shelby GT500 (750 Hp)

    However I am waiting for the new Charger SRT8 which looks better than challenger for me

    Nice post 🙂

    • I thought the SHELBYs came with 525HP.
      For those who can’t afford the Shelby has a better choice of buying the 5.0 Mustang then installing the supercharger from FORD racing which makes upto 625HP.

  7. @Mash
    Dude!! A little birdie told me (as way off subject as it is) that BMW will shift to FWD soon. How crazy / true is that?

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      No birdies, dude. BMW has pretty much confirmed a smaller FWD model below the RWD 1-Series — odd, considering they own Mini.

  8. the challenger looks fantastic. still a fan of the mustang. not too sure abot the camaro although the tail looks decent..

  9. I have a 2009 dodge challenger/classic and would not trade it 4 the camaro or mustang

  10. Sorry Domingo, I gave u a thumbs down , coz I envy you.

  11. The Camaro here is far from competetion as I think, because opting for a muscle car will go either for the styling or performance, so I would choose either the challenger of the mustange, and regarding the fuel, I believe that the mustange is better than the challenger because it is 5.0 and has 6 speed, the challenger would never beat it, and frankly it is not accurate to depend on what the computer is saying, the best way is to know how much fuel the tank takes and then see for how long the full tank will move the car.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      That would be true, except that it is not cost-effective for me to fill up the tank on a car that I get to keep for only a few days. Also, I started researching trip computers on owner forums and it seems they are fairly accurate compared to manual calculations, even in Nissans and Hondas whose speedos are way off. However, older cars beyond 2005 seem to be inaccurate. THe only issue with the Ford is its computer readout has no decimal point, making it useless.

  12. Challenger SRT8 is the best.
    Mustang GT is for people who cant afford the Challenger just like me.

    • Let’s see you afford a Mustang first. Not much of a price gap between 160 and 200. Challenger SRT8 is sluggish and a waste of money IMHO. It serves the same purpose as a Ford Crown Victoria. Mustang GT is the right choice for me which is why I’ve got one in my garage. And for the record I can afford a lot more than the Challenger, but for a Muscle car your choice can’t go wrong with a Mustang 5.0 🙂
      And for the record let’s see a challenger SRT8 beat a BMW M3 in a drag race, like a 5.0 did. Heck it probably can’t even beat my RX350. LOL
      Thumbs up for the Mustang 5.0 and Camaro SS – real sports cars unlike that POS zero value Dodge.

  13. The Challenger, Really big and comfy interior and the soft-touch plastics aswell, ensure that the interior wont deteriorate much on time. Even though its pricey, I guess a used one in the future wont cost much. Its a nice ‘Icon Car’ to keep with you.

    The camaro is really disgraceful interms of quality as it is really a good looking car and its a shame they used hell-loads of hard plastics in the interior. I believe GM really hurried up (as usual) in releasing this car to catch up with the market..

    Otherwise the Mustang is a good pick, I’d say its the most refined and well priced of all.. A manual one would definietly be a joy..

  14. 1 year left WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!! im geting the r/t classic!
    I had a question though…. Ive driven the Cammaro and the Challenger and as much as i LOVE the challenger i have to say that the cammaro seats are MUCH better, why do you think the challenger’s are better? But every thing else in the car i agree with you 100% about

  15. well yes i know and i was indeed talking about the srt8, the srt8 used soft grain while the camaro used cashew, but the seat was more comfy in the camaro..

  16. this is the best page in Drive Arabia

    cuz its full of details & simple

  17. Really nice review but the 3.6L V6 2012 dodge challenger is avaliable at a base price of only Dhs. 119,990 now!!

  18. Thumbs up for the Dodge Challenger!!!…… 🙂

  19. And let’s now include the Genesis Coupe here and see how it holds up to scrutiny.

  20. I have owned a 2008 srt8, being my first sports car, i love it. It came tuned with an exhaust out the box, was fun, but the interior got old very quickly, and i felt as though it was outdated. I was eyeing the 2013 mustang since its debut, finally had a friend who took me for a ride, and everything, styling, interior, i loved. I traded in my 2008 srt8 fora deep impact blue gt premium. Its got more goodies than the challenger by far. I got rev cam, sensors, I bought it in stick, i got a huge nav display and custom interior lighting. I think i went with the right choice and have no regrets, i love my stang! and until you go into the new ones, you cant really just say any of the other two cars is better based on looks alone.

  21. What about the 302 Boss Mustang 2013??

  22. Well..I am disappointed to see that Dodge Charger SRT8 was not included in this comparison..Had this been one of the candidate in this race…it would have won easily…I recently drove the new 2012-13 SRT8..and My God…fell in love with the car there and then…Just amazing car…

    But thanks Mushfique..its an excellent comparison..I am also looking forward for the new Chevy Caprice SS..I have heard its really good..

  23. the winner is obviously the the nissan infinity g 37

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