Winnipeg Free Press

American drop tops deliver miles of smiles

by Willy Williamson . May 17 2019
General MotorsAn entry-level 2019 Chevrolet Camaro convertible checks in at a listed price of $36,845, with the optioned RS model (above) costing more.

General Motors

An entry-level 2019 Chevrolet Camaro convertible checks in at a listed price of $36,845, with the optioned RS model (above) costing more.

Let’s be honest here, buying a convertible in Manitoba may not be the wisest financial move, as owning one pretty much guarantees you’ll require a second vehicle for the winter — but for motoring fun in the sun, it’s tough to beat the smile-per-mile ratio that dropping the top and cranking the tunes in a convertible delivers.

While there are indeed a number of new convertibles available on the market — including an assortment of pricey models from luxury automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche, and a few cheaper options including the Volkswagen Beetle convertible and the Mini Cooper convertible — if you’re looking for the best bang for the least amount of bucks, with enough room to take the kids or grandkids for an ice-cream run or haul you and a friend and your clubs to a local golf course, the good folks at Ford and Chevrolet have you covered with the always popular Mustang and Camaro.

The rivalry that exists between these two venerable vehicles is both longstanding and fierce. You’re the ultimate winner in this battle, though, as this healthy competition has resulted in a pair of excellent choices.

Now granted, you may be able to haggle with your local dealer, and there may be special factory incentives available, but our mission here was to scour the respective automakers’ websites and determine the MSRP and available features of the most bare-bones convertible models from both the Mustang and Camaro teams.

Sure, if you add a V-8 engine, automatic transmission, leather interior, advanced infotainment packages and special trim to your Mustang or Camaro, you can easily jack up the price by tens of thousands of dollars — but, thankfully, both Ford and Chevrolet are still offering affordable and fun packages clearly aimed at value-minded buyers.

With this in mind, we shopped for cars equipped with the powerful and fuel-efficient new four-cylinder turbocharged engines mated to six-speed manual transmissions. While Chevrolet continues to offer an optional six-cylinder engine, Ford no longer offers a six-banger in the Mustang, only the EcoBoost four-cylinder and the V-8 options are now available.

Don’t let the classic looks and rear-wheel-drive platforms fool you, both the Mustang and the Camaro feature convertible tops that open and close electrically with the push of a button, as well as all the latest infotainment and safety technology. The Camaro received a facelift for 2019, while the Mustang is in its second year with the new look. The exterior dimensions of both cars are nearly identical.

First up is the Camaro Turbo 1LT Convertible, with a starting price of $36,845. This bad-boy offers a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that makes 275 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is paired to a six-speed manual transmission — an eight-speed automatic is available. The Camaro Turbo promises fuel economy of 11.9L/100 km city and 8.0L/100 km on the highway.

Interior amenities include Chevrolet’s Infotainment 3 System, with an 18-centimetre diagonal colour touch-screen display; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatability; a six-speaker audio system; a high-definition rear-vision camera; air-conditioning; power windows; power seats for both the driver and front passenger; a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with cruise and audio functions; and keyless entry and keyless start.

Exterior styling includes 18-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels wrapped in 245/50R18 all-season tires plus dual outlet exhaust tips.

Meanwhile, the Mustang EcoBoost Convertible, with a starting price of $33,199, is not only less expensive than a comparable Camaro, but offers a bit more punch, performance-wise, thanks to a 2.3-litre EcoBoost that makes an impressive 310 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. The Mustang also comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while a new 10-speed automatic is available. Despite the added power, fuel consumption estimates for the EcoBoost Mustang are nearly identical to the Camaro, with 11L/100 km city and 7.7 L/100 km on the highway.

Inside, the base Mustang rag is more stripped down than the Camaro, but still offers plenty of standard creature comforts, including SYNC infotainment with a 10-centimetre touchscreen and a backup camera; a six-speaker audio system; air-conditioning; power windows; a tilt and telescopic steering wheel; intelligent access key-fob; and push-button start.

The stock wheel and tire setup on a Mustang is 17-inch silver-painted aluminum rims with 235/55R17 all-season tires, and the Mustang also features dual outlet exhaust tips as standard equipment.

So there you have it — while the Mustang is more powerful, the ride is also a bit rougher and it’s quite plain inside — which is not a bad thing. The Camaro offers a more refined ride and a plusher interior, but is also slightly more expensive.

These cars are so close in pricing and features, it really comes down to personal preference, so we will leave the final decision up to you.

That said, whether you’re a lifelong fan of Chevrolet or Ford, if you’re in the market for a fun cruiser, you owe it to yourself to book a test drive and try out the Mustang and Camaro convertibles — even in base trim they are both a riot to drive and either car will have you smiling all summer long!

willy@freepress.mb.ca

suppliedThe 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible delivers 310 horsepower and 100 highway kilometres per 7.7 litres of fuel. The entry-level model starts at a listed price of $33,199.

supplied

The 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible delivers 310 horsepower and 100 highway kilometres per 7.7 litres of fuel. The entry-level model starts at a listed price of $33,199.

General Motors2019 Camaro RS

General Motors

2019 Camaro RS