Ford Mustang GT vs Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE vs Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

With some very specific models to test and compare the these three that at one time helped make Detroit one of the most affluent cities in America, which is now in turmoil and bankruptcy, show off their metal against each other in a variety of comparison tests.

Why test these three against each other, mostly because they represent about the same point in each model line for the enjoyment of high speed muscle car driving for anyone to fully enjoy and appreciate.

Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang GT

Starting with the suspensions, which of course help to keep the cars firmly placed on the road without allowing them to spin out of control at high speeds. The Mustang finally (long overdue) receives an independent rear suspension to add a great deal of control to the car. This upgrade is partners with the redesigned front suspension that is supported by a lighter and stiffer subframe.

A familiar player in the Mustang is the 5.0-liter V8 engine that has a new intake manifold, heads and valvetrain which helps to bring in some amazing power at 435 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. The wheel base is longer and wider although it appears to be a narrower car which is a bit of an optic illusion. The pricing starts at $32,925 and could reach as high as $45,885 with the Performance package and adaptive cruise control added to the mix.

Challenger

Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Black

Even though the Challenger did not receive the same amount of upgrades and reworking as the Mustang it still has some very interesting new features. The Challenger receives and upgraded nose and rear fascia as well as adding the new R/T Scat Pack which is a nod to the 1968-1971 model. The power for this beast comes from the 6.4-liter V8 that reaches up to 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque which is the overall best output of the three.

The Scat Pack not only upgrades the power output, but improves the brakes and includes the new Super Track Pak. This Super Track Pak lowers the suspension a half-inch and ads Bilstein shocks and larger anti-roll bars. The Challenger R/T Scat Pack will command a base price of $39,490 making it the cheapest and most powerful of the three cars being tested.

Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

Even though this model enters the battle basically unchanged from last year it’s not a tiresome model just yet. The Camaro shows up with a 426-horsepower SS 1LE setup that is much closer to the ZL1 than many would like to think. The suspension parts, the strut-tower brace, close ratio transmission with a cooler, and the high-pressure fuel system are all from the ZL1 with the only real change being the lack of a supercharger in the 1LE. Some parts were brought in from the Z28 as well and the Camaro 1LE will command a price of $41,880.

The comparison test took place in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains just south of Pittsburgh. As the cars were tested there were some clear winners in a variety of categories. The Challenger came in to the test as the only car that weighed in over 4,000 pounds making it a lumbering car. Even with the heavier weight, the Challenger outperformed the others in the quarter mile run by having 50 more horsepower than the Mustang and 55 more lb.-ft. of torque than the Camaro. The power wasn’t the only part of the Challenger that was a high performer, the improved suspension system handles the stability with ease and took charge of the car to help make sure the car would continue to instill confidence in the driver during the hard and sharp testing.

Even with the amazing handling, the Challenger was a little rough on the turns and come in a tenth of a second behind the Camaro on the track and finished last in a slalom test. Overall, the challenge with this car is the bulk as it is the tallest, longest, widest and heaviest car in the test, requiring that added power to make it move even close to as well as the others. For these reasons the Challenger ended up faring third in this test.

Because the Camaro takes so many design and performance cues from the ZL1, the car really feels as if it belongs on a track and not being tested on a road course. Because of this feeling the Camaro feels as if it should be in a faster class than the Challenger or Mustang. The steering of the Camaro is one of the greatest features of the car, allowing it to perform and handle beautifully on the road and track. No doubt it’s easy to some cues from the Corvette as well which includes such features as the dual exhaust pipes.

Due to some of the design features inside (or lack thereof) the Camaro is tagged as a great track car, which is a nice distinction, but not the one Chevrolet is looking for. The 1LE is an awesome car and a testament to what an awesome track ready muscle car should be, but the suspension and comfort tradeoffs in this car make it a car that would not be acceptable for every day driving and is better for a weekend trip to the track where the 1LE can really show off the performance that can be enjoyed in this car. Even with the awesome track manners of the Camaro which is the best on the track, but for this test comfort and road manners matter bring it in at the number two spot.

With third and second already taken there is only one place left and that spot belongs to the Mustang GT. The Mustang has some seriously tight steering which fully responds to each and every input in the steering system. Any slack that could have been left in the car at all has been taken out and given a full tightening to the point of almost breaking, allowing for the most deft performance in the car possible.

The ride comfort in the Mustang is certainly the best of the three and it has the greatest road manners to enjoy. This makes the Mustang the most enjoyable ride with a seriously energetic ride that won’t be throwing you all over the place while trying to keep the car under control. Instead of having a stripped down interior, the Mustang is full of features that are needed to make the car a comfort cruiser for everyday driving as well as a dynamic performance beast on the weekends.

Overall, the Challenger had the best engine, the Camaro the greatest chassis, but the Mustang came to play at this party and takes home the title of the overall best car. Its adaptable to many upgrades, evident by what Shelby and others have put out already with this car and had a fantastic performance overall that was not present in the other two. Due to these differences and benefits, the Mustang receive the accolades of being Detroit’s greatest muscle car for the 2015 model year.

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