Muscle Car Vs. Hybrid?

June 30th, 2011 by GoldenGirl

2010 Camaro RS/SS

A recent USA Today article reported that in the month of May, US car buyers purchased more muscle cars than hybrids. The comparison made in the article goes something like this: the combined purchases of Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Dodge Challenger (19,476 ) were greater than the purchases of available hybrids (17,852). Availability could be the key word, since the recent disaster in Japan shut down the production of hybrids and greatly reduced the number available to purchase in American dealerships. However, it isn’t likely that buyers looking for a hybrid opted to purchase a modern muscle car instead just because there was a short supply of hybrids in their area.

It’s unclear exactly what this information is supposed to convey about US buyers. The article (here’s the link: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/06/ford-mustang-chevrolet-camaro-dodge-challenger-muscle-outsell-toyota-prius-honda-civic-hybrids/1 ) talks about the cost of gasoline reaching near $4, a concern that should turn anyone off buying a muscle car apparently. However, the six cylinder Camaro is rated at 29 miles per gallon with 312 horsepower. The SS model with automatic transmission and Active Fuel Management has 426 hp and gets 25 mpg in highway driving conditions. The Mustang V6 claims 31mpg with 305hp and the 412 hp 5.0 V8 engine gets 26 mpg. The Challenger V6 also has 305hp and gets 27 mpg on the highway while the 5.7 hemi has 379 hp and 24 mpg. Some might be tempted to scoff at these mpg ratings, but remember that the early buyers of hybrids complained that they weren’t getting the amazing 50-60mpg they expected. We can all agree that many factors can improve or decrease your actual miles per gallon. And a good guess is that no one bought a muscle car saying, “Wow, look at that gas mileage rating!”

As an aside, the Chevrolet Camaro sold more units than the Ford Mustang for the fifth month in a row. Though the Mustang has suffered a dip in sales over the past few months, it’s not likely it will continue. (The Challenger would probably do better with a convertible option and the newly re-designed Charger could use a lower price point.)

From the beginning of the year through May, GM sold over 40,000 Camaros! Whether you are a Chevy fan or love the blue oval, this is good news. The bottom line in all of these “statistics” is that people are buying American muscle cars again. We can buy one, with a great extended warranty, drive speedily eating up gas if we choose, all the while sitting in comfortable seats with modern day handling letting our navigation system tell us the best route to avoid a traffic jam.

[The 2010 Camaro RS/SS in the photo above belongs to Motortopians K1M_and_J1M]

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7 Responses to “Muscle Car Vs. Hybrid?”

  1. JerryandMary says:

    Managed muscle? It seems like we can have our cake and eat it too. A Camaro (very cool ride K1M_and_J1M) with up to 29 mpg? Why settle for less.

    Jerry

  2. rbilder says:

    August Motor Trend has articles on future performance with comments from the manufactures…. Dodge: having your cake & eat it too, 400 hp with 40 mpg.
    I just received it, so have only skimmed it. But it looks fairly promising that cars will have high performance & also get good mileage. I would assume as long as your right foot isn’t glued to the floor.

  3. CorvairJim says:

    You just don’t need a hybrid to acheive decent mileage. My sister in law drives a Civic Hybrid and averages about the same mileage I get from my Cobalt SS (mid 30′s). I just use some common sense techniques that anyone can use. Those mileage estimates for the three modern pony cars shown above are, if anything, a little low if you just know how to drive for economy in any situation where you aren’t going for all-out performance. For instance, accelerate smoothly – press on the gas pedal, don’t stomp on it. I was taught to drive like there’s an egg under the pedal; an egg can take steady pressure but step on it hard and you know what happens! Anticipate stops – if you see a traffic light a quarter mile ahead turn yellow, back off the gas or, if your car has a manual transmission, depress the clutch or take it out of gear and let it coast up to the light. I even shut the engine down if I know it’s a longish light. (If your going to be stopped for 30 seconds or more, it’s more economical to shut down than it is to idle) Let the car roll down hills, gaining some speed, and let the speed slack off some going up hills. This keeps the accelerator steady and burns less gas. In all, after nearly 300 miles on my current tank of gas, my current mileage readout on my car’s trip computer is 37 mpg (The car’s EPA rating is 28 city/35 highway). I still have roughly 1/3 of a tank left.

    (And I can still blow off stock 80′s 5.0 Mustangs and Camaros at will!)

  4. alwaysakid says:

    I have yet to see a modern day version of the Plymouth Road Runner or Chevy Nova, that is, the muscle on the cheap with few amenities. But otherwise, today’s muscle cars do seem to be good buys. The only thing that has held me back is concern over winter drivability. How about Ford making an AWD option for the Mustang?
    But I’m still not sold on the hybrids. Improving gas mileage by installing two motors instead of one just doesn’t make good sense to me. I think the auto manufacturers really need to think out of the box on this one and come up with a totally new means of propulsion.

  5. The future looks pretty promising for muscle cars.It always a good thing when you get a car that’s making 300+ HP and getting 40 mpg.

  6. carfanatic1 says:

    I thought I had left a reply to this, oh well. It’s not only very exciting to see American car sales up but especially see that Chevrolet is having success with the Camaro. I hope that continues and that Cheverolet improves the car instead of just dropping it all together like they did in 2002 (still wish there was a Firebird).

    One thing though, the blog assumes that all the hybrids come from Japan; there are several domestic ones available to include the Ford Fusion.

    Bobby

  7. TerryO says:

    We just don’t want ugly cars, we like cool cars. But my newest car and the last one I ever buy is a 88 Corvette.

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