2010 Ford Mustang GT - Click above for high-res image gallery

Sorry Transformers fans, but your precious Bumblebee just got his butt whooped. Color us not surprised. Because for anyone that's ever driven the Detroit Three's nouveau muscle cars (and seriously evaluated them), the 2010 Mustang GT is clearly Best of Show material. It's just too refined, too capable and let's be honest, too good. Especially when compared to the cetacean Dodge Challenger R/T. How obvious? Even Consumer Reports says so.

True, it used to be getting your sports car endorsed by Consumer Reports was kinda like Tipper Gore and Joe Lieberman banging their heads and flashing approving devil signs at your band. But somewhere about ten years back, the ad-free, subscriber-funded mag began testing cars that enthusiasts might actually want to buy. And then they began factoring in metrics like acceleration, handling and braking, while still lowering eyelids with stats on mileage and reliability (we kid, we kid).

So yeah – straight up, the 315 horsepower Ford Mustang GT got a rating of "Very Good" and 78 points, whereas the 426 hp Chevrolet Camaro SS got "Very Good" but only 71 points, whereas the 370 hp Challenger R/T received a rating of merely "Good" and just 53 points.

But wait, there's more! CR also tested the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8, Subaru WRX and Nissan 370Z. How did the evolved-but-not-revolved 'Stang stack up? Funny you should ask. Consumer Reports' press release doesn't say. Specifically, it doesn't give numeric scores for the sporty Asian cars. However, all three non-domestics got the (apparently) coveted "Very Good" rating, meaning they all finished ahead of the Challenger. And yes, the big Dodge had the six-speed manual. Part of the Challenger's problem is no doubt this sentence: "Braking is mediocre and it has a big car feel rather than a sports car." But the real question is, which car won the competition outright? All we know is that the new issue comes out today. PR posted after the jump.


Related GalleryReview: 2010 Ford Mustang GT

[Source: Consumer Reports]


PRESS RELEASE:

Ford Mustang Outpoints Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger in Consumer Reports Tests of Sports Cars and Coupes

Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Nissan 370Z, and redesigned Subaru WRX get Very Good road test scores

YONKERS, N.Y., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The freshened Ford Mustang outpointed two other reincarnated muscle cars -- the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger -- as well as the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe in Consumer Reports' tests of six sporty cars and coupes in the October issue.

The Mustang received a Very Good overall road test score of 78, outpointing the Camaro which received a Very Good 71, and the Challenger, which received a Good 53 points. CR's engineers found the Mustang's 2010 freshening makes it an even more balanced and satisfying driver's car than ever before.

"The Mustang topped this group by delivering strong acceleration, communicative steering, and the most agile handling," said David Champion, senior director of CR's Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut.

The new Camaro shares basic underpinnings with the Pontiac G8 sedan. The Challenger is based on the large Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger rear-wheel-drive sedans. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe received a Very Good test score and is distinct from the rest of the group. It is loosely based on the Genesis luxury sedan and is powered by either a turbocharged four-cylinder or V6 engine, in contrast to the muscle cars' V8s.

CR also tested the redesigned Nissan 370Z two-seat coupe, an agile sports car which received a Very Good test score, and the updated and improved 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX, which also received a Very Good test score.

Prices ranged from $38,565 for the 370Z to $26,088 for the WRX. The Mustang has average reliability and is Recommended, as is the WRX. The other models are too new to have reliability data for CR to Recommend them. CR only Recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR's Annual Car Reliability Survey of its more than seven million print and web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

Full tests and ratings of the sporty cars test group appear in the October issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale September 1. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org . Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to site for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.

In everyday driving, the Mustang corners with agility and the highway ride is civilized. The Ford Mustang GT premium, ($34,725 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price as tested) is powered by a 315-hp, 4.6-liter V8 engine that delivers strong acceleration and gets 20 mpg overall in CR's own fuel economy tests. The engine has a deep burble that is pleasing to listen to. The five-speed manual transmission shifts smoothly and accurately. Braking is Very Good. The 2010 freshening brought upgraded interior materials and better fit and finish.

The Camaro provides blistering performance and handles capably, but its girth undermines its agility. The Chevrolet Camaro 2SS ($35,425, MSRP as tested), is powered by a 426-hp, 6.2-liter, V8 engine that delivers very strong performance and 18 mpg overall. The engine sounds great when the throttle is punched. The six-speed manual transmission has a good feel. Braking is excellent. The interior is nicely finished despite gaps around the instrument panel and some cheap plastics.

With exhilarating straight-line acceleration, a brawny V8, and stock-car styling, the Challenger recaptures the character of the American muscle car. The Dodge Challenger R/T ($36,600, MSRP as tested), is powered by a 370-hp, 5.7-liter "Hemi" V8 engine that delivers strong performance and 18 mpg overall. The optional six-speed manual transmission shifts well with a pistol-like grip that fits snugly in hand. Whatever wind and road noise there is, and it's not much, is overwhelmed by the invigorating engine growl. Braking is mediocre and it has a big car feel rather than a sports car. The well-assembled interior has a nicely padded dash and nostalgic horizontal seat stitching.

The Genesis Coupe has agile handling that makes make it fun to drive, which is unusual for a Hyundai. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Grand Touring ($28,375, MSRP as tested), is powered by a 306-hp, 3.8-liter V6 engine and gets an impressive 23 mpg overall. The V6 engine smoothly hums under acceleration. However, the interaction of the six-speed manual transmission's shifter and heavy clutch make it a challenge to get smooth shifts. Braking is very good. The interior is nicely finished, although it's not luxurious like the Genesis sedan's.

The WRX's ride is taut, yet controlled and the car is steady yet compliant on the highway. The Subaru WRX ($26,088, MSRP as tested), is powered by a 265-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers very strong acceleration and gets 24 mpg overall. It's well matched to a five-speed manual transmission. In everyday driving, the WRX engine has the manners of a typical four-cylinder with mileage to match. Braking is excellent. Interior plastics are all hard, but the interior is well-assembled.

Redesigned for 2009, the two-seat 370Z is shorter and better finished than its predecessor, the 350Z. Great handling and braking are high points of the 370Z, as is abundant power. The cabin is cramped and noisy, it's hard to see out, and the stiff ride is wearing over time. The Nissan 370Z Touring ($38,565, MSRP as tested), is a real sports car with quick handling and lots of grip. It is powered by a 332-hp, 3.7-liter V6 engine that gets 23 mpg overall, but on premium fuel. The six-speed manual transmission's short-throw shifter has a good feel. Braking is excellent. The interior has exceptional fit and finish.

With more than 7 million print and online subscribers, Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site and owns and operates a 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut. The organization's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe, consumers can call 1-800-234-1645 or visit www.ConsumerReports.org.

OCTOBER 2009

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