After ranking the S550 Mustang dead last in a three-way comparison test between the Big Three’s V8-powered pony cars, Cars.com decided to round up small-engine examples of each, pitting them against each other in yet another triple-pony contest.
Suffice it to say that things were different this time around, with the Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium beating out both the Chevrolet Camaro 1LT and the Dodge Challenger SXT Plus.
All three small-engine pony cars were tested on both public roads, and at the race track, with a mix of numerical and subjective appraisals from both settings. The Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium won largely because it has “more of a European-style coupe feel to it than outright muscle car, and that’s just fine,” according to judge and PBS Motorweek Producer Brian Robinson.
The judges praised the 2.3-liter Mustang EcoBoost engine, remarking that it doesn’t immediately feel small or turbocharged. Judge Aaron Bragman said that the engine was “plenty entertaining to drive,” and that the car felt lighter than its curb weight would have you believe. Visibility was found to be far better than in the Camaro, and the judges found plenty to love about the new SYNC 3 infotainment system – even if the Mustang EcoBoost was guilty of lackluster interior materials and visibly shoddy overall build quality.
Of course, there’s a new Chevrolet Camaro soon to hit the streets – one powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. We presume that when it launches, Cars.com will have reason to try this test again, with or without the Challenger.