Reader Question: Mustang or Camaro Ragtop?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Shane asks: I recently sold my Harley and I am looking to buy a convertible car to enjoy in the summer with my wife. I have found a 2011 Camaro 3.6 liter with 49,000 miles and a 2005 Ford Mustang with a 4.6 liter and 63,000 miles and wondered which one you would recommend? Thanks again for your time.

My reply: This one is tough – because it’s an apples-oranges situation! Both cars are convertible pony cars but the Camaro is much newer with significantly less miles while the Mustang is the high-performance GT version and the Camaro is the not an SS, the performance version of the Camaro.

So, to begin with, the GT will probably feel and sound sportier – V8 growl (and low-end torque; even though the Camaro’s V6 makes about the same hp as the GT’s V8) as well as a firmer ride. The Mustang will probably have more aggressive (wider, lower-profile) tires as well as better brakes and so on.

Subjectively – this is just my opinion – the Ford has better ergonomics. Meaning, the way the interior is laid out. Visibility is better and it’s more comfortable. I suspect your wife will like the Mustang better.

But you should both take a ride in each car and see how you both like it – and this may decide the issue all by itself.

If not, if you both like both cars about the same, then the next big issue is the biggest issue with any used car: condition.

If the Ford is in better shape, then even if you like the Camaro better, the Ford would be the better choice – and the reverse.

You will want to have all the usual mechanical things checked out by someone you trust who is competent to do so – and also the convertible things. Specifically, the integrity and functionality of the top. Take both cars through a car wash – and see whether they leak. Feel (and smell) the carpets; any signs of leaking such as dampness and funky/moldy smell? Look for signs of rust under the seats and under the dashboard. A wet interior in a modern car isn’t just unpleasant; it can mean real trouble because of all the electronic components in modern cars.

The fact that the Mustang is 13 years old and has significantly higher mileage than the Camaro weighs in the Chevy’s favor. You will probably pay much less to buy the much older Ford, but you may end up paying more to maintain and repair the Ford over time. It’s something to consider unless the Ford is in really excellent shape and the difference in price is significant. Ae these private sales? If not – if these cars are being offered by dealerships – ask about extended warranties as part of the deal.

If you guys really prefer the Mustang, but the mileage/condition of this Mustang is worrisome,you could always shop for another one – newer, with lower miles.

Please let us know which one you end up buying!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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