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Old 5th August 2010, 20:43   #1
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Default Back-to-back drive - Chevy Camaro Auto - Ford Mustang GT Auto - Chevy Camaro Man

If you manage to be in the right place (Michigan, US) at the right time, you can attend all sorts of customer clinics. You get to test drive your dream cars for free (correction – get a few freebies) and then talk about it like you are the next Jeremy Clarkson.

I attended one such clinic this June. I won’t disclose the parties involved but instead get to the important part right away. My first ride was a Red Chevy Camaro with automatic transmission. The first thing I noticed when I got in was the dark interiors. No – the windows are nice and big – it’s the upholstery. Call me stupid but when I get into a muscle car, I don’t want to feel like I have gotten into a luxury saloon. And the all black trims in the Camaro made me feel that way. Anyway, then I cranked the engine and things started to change. The typical growl of the Camaro is back. It not only sets your pulse racing, but also makes sure that your presence in the rear-view mirror is not compromised by visuals alone.

A nice and smooth garage shift and I was on my way. I drove around in the ‘D’ mode for some time figuring out the shift logic at different throttle inputs. Soon remembered that I am not paying for the gas so tried out the pedal shifts. One more sore point caught my eye. The things which stick out of the steering wheels with + & - signs on them are not the actual shifters. They are just the indicators and the shifters are a pair of small buttons hidden behind the steering wheel spokes. They do work however, and bring the vehicle to life at that. Camaro is a performance car coming out in the era of utmost recession. So the fuel economy was not completely off the table while working on the shift logic. This shows when you compare the ‘D’ mode and the tap-up-tap-down mode. The ‘D’ mode seldom lets the engine go into its meaty zone unless you dig your right foot deep. But with the shift now in your control, you can revv that bit more which makes a lot of difference.

The steering was lively enough and so were the brakes. The seats are nice and snug and posture quite relaxed. The instrumentation is quite nice in contrast to the rest of the black interiors. Shift feel is typical Hydramatic – smooth and still exciting. I heard the 6.2L beast under the hood has got Active Fuel Management. But I am sure it did not kick in while I was driving. If it did, the caliberators have done a fantastic job of it. Overall, I absolutely loved it.
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Old 5th August 2010, 20:46   #2
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Next was a yellow Mustang GT, again with automatic transmission. Getting into it was a complete contrast to the Camaro. Bright beige interiors and chrome added here and there. It almost felt like open roof although it was a hard top version with roof on. Cranking the engine was a bit of let down as Ford has strived for refinement on the wrong car I think. I would want my neighbours know when I went out in my Mustang – won’t you

Garage shift was almost as good as Camaro’s, but the default shift logic was even mellower than the Camaro. I had to push and push on the throttle to get the downshifts while I was too scared to keep the throttle pressed to that extent on a road with signs of “Construction Zone! Kill injure a worker – get $10000 fine and 5 years in jail” rewards. Probably the engine generates enough torque to minimize the need to downshift. Probably no-one else wants the kind of acceleration I want at low throttles. But to me it felt a bit odd. Also, there was no manual mode in the Mustang

Steering was a bit more responsive than the Camaro, but the brakes felt a bit mushy. You sit slightly taller in a Mustang and that increases your confidence for road visibility if not anything else. But that also means you feel that tad roll during cornering. It’s a fitting continuation of a great legacy, but I would think twice about paying more for it than the Camaro. I hope I don’t need to coz’ I don’t know how much they cost.
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Old 5th August 2010, 20:47   #3
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Third in line was the Camaro Manual Transmission version. Externally, it was the exact same vehicle (in fact I went back thinking it was the one I drove earlier). But once you get inside, the gear shift stick is distinctly different. Also your left foot has to labor against a pretty hard clutch pedal – especially if you have a habilt like mine – de-clutch before cranking. The same engine sounded a bit harsher on cranking – maybe it wasn’t run-in as much or maybe it was a cold start as not many people were interested in driving it.

As I launched, I thought it must be the later. The clutch works for about first 20% of the total pedal travel. By the 21st percent, you are completely declutched and the rest of the pedal movement is just a foot exercise. It is like the clutch I had noticed in Hyundai i10 back home; and on the driving school cars. But for me it absolutely didn’t make sense on a Camaro where you would want to do tricks with the clutch with so much raw power on tap. Instead your body sustains a jerk at each engagement even after careful manipulation of the pedal. And this careful manipulation soon gets your foot aching.

Barring the clutch, everything else felt quite exciting as its automatic transmission sister. I did not have enough time to check on the fuel consumptions of the three cars. Camaro does give you a average mpg display. Maybe the Mustang does it as well, but I did not find it.

Summing up, my choice would be Camaro automatic closely followed by Mustang automatic. With the tap shifts available in the automatic, I won’t even consider going for the manual version of the Camaro. And yes, all in all, it was an afternoon well spent for me.
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Old 6th August 2010, 01:46   #4
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Lucky you! Sure ought to have been some fun behind those wheels.
I haven't driven a Mustang in over 6 years, the last being a minor stint with the Mach 2.The growl was good, but there was something missing overall.
Any more pics from that day?
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Old 6th August 2010, 08:24   #5
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I had the opportunity to drive a 2010 Camaro SS auto for two months in Dubai. We did about 5000+ kilometers in that car from mid June to end July. Brilliant, brilliant ride. I loved it!

Last edited by Karthik-zza : 6th August 2010 at 08:24. Reason: Typo
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Old 9th August 2010, 16:48   #6
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Hmmmm, was this the New 2011 5.0 mustang GT or the 2010 GT. There is a world of difference between the two and the only common thing are the exteriors
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Old 11th August 2010, 20:34   #7
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No this looks like the 2010 Mustang GT , which was ok. But the 2011 5.0 Mustang is a different story and something to die for. It just blows away the Camaro.

I hear the Camaro is better suited as a Weekend car while the Mustang is a daily driver car. Got complaints from friends of bad back aches driving a Camaro.
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Old 11th August 2010, 21:30   #8
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^^

We did about 120 kilometers everyday for about 2 months in our Camaro SS. I'm 6 foot 2 and had no issues driving it for long. I loved every minute of it.
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Old 12th August 2010, 12:36   #9
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I hope to do this someday. American muscle car shootout. Just listen to the rumble alllllll day
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