Iconic cars can be found in the halls of history from both Chevy and Ford, especially if you look into performance cars each manufacturer has built over the years. In fact, Chevy and Ford are two of only three manufacturers still producing vehicles dating back to the muscle car era, urging on the continued love affair of raw power from cars like the Camaro and Mustang of old. In their new form, these pony cars no longer have to be relegated to straight-line races, thanks to more finely-tuned suspensions to handle those curves. Lots of help from automated systems can also make the driver look like a pro. Go to any Chevrolet dealer and ask about performance vehicles, however, and they are likely to point you at a Corvette. Well, that’s fair.
Corvettes have their own history of performance that consistently out-drives the Camaro any day of the week, and if you haven’t checked out the new mid-engine design, you’re missing out on a marvel of modern engineering. Head to a Ford dealer and ask about performance cars, and they probably won’t bother to mention one of Ford’s most expensive vehicles: the GT. Like the Corvette, the GT is what we now call a supercar, with insane levels of horsepower and torque that shouldn’t be street legal, and yet it is. Unlike the Corvette, the GT lives in the realm of untouchable fantasy, ranging far out of the price range of most incomes on planet earth. Instead, you can expect that Ford dealer to send you toward the latest Mustang, perhaps even the GT version of that pony car. None of these cars is like the other, but they do share similarities. How do they stack up against each other in terms of affordability and power?
2022 Ford GT vs 2022 Chevy Corvette
You may be making derisive noises when you read the comparison cars, but despite the massive disparity in pricing, there are similarities between the Ford GT and Chevy Corvette. First, the differences. Ford has not consistently produced the GT over the decades like the Corvette. With model years ranging from 1966-1969, 2005-2006, and 2017-2022, production has been spotty. No matter how much time your engineers spend on those model years, without consistent production you aren’t getting the feedback from the real-world use. Certainly, Ford takes what it puts into its supercar and spreads it throughout the lineup where appropriate, but that doesn’t translate into the same kind of year-to-year feedback Chevy has gotten for the Corvette. During 60 years of production, Chevy only missed one model year in 1983. That kind of consistency means a better-tuned automobile. Period.
On the other hand, the 2022 GT offers up an engine that makes a lot more horsepower than the 2022 Corvette. If power is your main concern, the GT beats the pants off the Corvette with its twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 harnessing up to 647 hp. The Corvette’s 6.2-liter LT1 V8, no matter how much you delight in that spine-tingling whine as it races around a track, only makes 490 hp. With that said, anyone who can afford to buy a GT for half a million dollars probably doesn’t care that it only gets 14 mpg combined compared to the Corvette, which gets up to 19 mpg combined. For that price, however, a trunk would be nice. Ford gives buyers .4 cubic feet to store your stuff, so maybe your wallet will have room…empty. Chevy is at least realistic enough to give buyers both a front trunk and some space behind the engine, for up to 12.6 cubic feet of cargo room.
One last contrast between the GT and Corvette arises on the inside. Where the GT goes with a minimalist, suede-upholstered interior, the Corvette slathers every inch of the dash and seats in leather. Ford places a majority of controls onto the steering wheel like a race car, whereas Chevy slants controls toward the driver to create a cockpit like a jet’s. It may boil down to buyer preference, but the GT interior seems lacking when you look at the price tag. The infotainment screen is tiny, and the interior is unfriendly. Clearly, the focus of the GT is to be centered on the performance, not the styling of the interior. But if you plan to drive such a vehicle in the real world and not just on the track, the Corvette is the more realistic car. Then again, you don’t buy a supercar for realistic reasons.
Similarities between the GT and Corvette may come as a surprise, like the fact that 2022 models are almost the same weight. In 2020, the new Corvette mid-engine design was heavier than the 2022 models. Dry weight for the 2022 Corvette measures at 3,366 lbs, and the 2022 GT weighs only slightly less at 3,354 lbs. Both the GT and Corvette come only as automatics, with the GT engine paired to a seven-speed transmission and the Corvette married to an eight-speed automatic. When you want to leave the track and drive home, each of these sport-tuned, high-performance cars has an adaptive suspension that can make driving on the road a pleasure instead of punishment. Of course, both the Corvette and GT have been part of the racing scene for decades, and each vehicle has its special edition models designed after those that won races.
Truthfully, the GT may have more power and will come with more race-inspired equipment as standard, but the Corvette can be driven and enjoyed every day with features better-suited to daily driving needs. You can fit a golf bag or luggage for a small trip into the Corvette, but the GT is only going to be a vehicle you drive for fun. Unless you have money to burn, the GT is a fantasy car. And the Corvette can be driven with the top off no matter what body style you buy since even the coupe has a removable hardtop for open-air driving. That kind of experience matters if you care about more than just track time.
2022 Chevy Camaro vs 2022 Ford Mustang
Though the Camaro and Mustang are considered muscle cars rather than typical sports cars, they have come a long way from drag racing days. Compared to the GT and Corvette, the Camaro and Mustang switch in terms of power available from beneath the hood. With the most powerful engines equipped, the Camaro fitted with the supercharged LT1 V8 makes up to 650 hp compared to the Mustang sporting its GT V8 engine that makes up to 450 hp. That’s a fairly large gap in power, even though a lot of other aspects of the two pony cars are more like than unalike. Everybody likes options, and Chevy and Ford are smart enough to provide them. For instance, you can have an entry-level muscle car with a less powerful engine and a more affordable price.
Chevy offers the Camaro at a starting price of $25,000 for 2022 models, and Ford offers the 2022 Mustang for $27,205. Pricing is comparable at both ends of the spectrum, with upper-range models for the Mustang climbing to $72,900 for the GT500 Shelby edition, not including any extra options or the gas tax. For the uppermost ZL1 Camaro, pricing for the convertible is the most expensive you can buy at $69,000. Even so, the Camaro will save buyers a few thousand and you get more horsepower. Both muscle cars have the option of manual or automatic transmissions, can come as coupe or convertible, and offer high-performance editions at the top of the range for enthusiasts.
Where to Butter Your Bread
If your interest is in buying a performance car of any kind, the shiny new option or limited edition isn’t always the best choice. Cars with long histories tend to be more reliable and are built on feedback from drivers who provide information that engineers and designers take to the drawing board for new generations. Just because a vehicle has a high price tag doesn’t mean it’s a great car.
The Ford performance vehicles listed here are more expensive than the Chevy models with comparable stats and capability, and the GT is definitely not a daily driver. Even though the Corvette isn’t as powerful as the GT, it does offer a finely-tuned engine that lets the driver redline at 6,500 RPMs. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and the Camaro delivers excellent performance figures of its own with its more powerful engine options compared to the Mustang. Recommendation? Save your money and buy a Chevy, but test-drive everything to find the right fit.