If you want to keep a group of car fans busy for a few hours, all you need to do is casually ask what the best pony car is. Between the fierce loyalty drivers feel toward their favourite brands and the dizzying array of models, years, and permutations classic pony cars like the Mustang, Camaro, Challenger have gone through over the past five decades, there are plenty of points to argue on every side.
But despite the strong points to be made in favour of the Camaro and Challenger, there are plenty of reasons why the Mustang, in the final analysis, takes the crown.
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Here are the top three reasons the Mustang remains the best
Pony cars are designed for high performance, but they are also designed to look good. This is where the Mustang delivers in spades. The Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger are all fairly comparable in terms of performance, with very little difference between top speeds and engine power. But when it comes to design the Mustang is clearly the superior car, with sleek good looks, an energetic profile, and a cockpit design that enhances the driving experience no end.
Over the years, Ford has showed a consistent willingness to return to the drawing board to re-imagine what the Mustang is, while always maintaining a commitment to its core values and the features that drivers have come to love. The result is a large number of Mustang options: for the 2019 year alone, there is the special edition Bullitt Mustang (inspired by the highland green 1968 Mustang Fastback driven by Steve McQueen in the cult film Bullitt), the Mustang GT, EcoBoost Fastback Premium, EcoBoost Convertible, and EcoBoost Fastback. Each of these cars is designed to meet particular needs at a range of different budgets.
This means that shoppers who want to get a deal on a new Ford Mustang have almost limitless options to choose from, and can opt either for the thrill of driving the revamped Bullitt fastback, a big, muscular GT meant to tear up drag strips and take no prisoners, or a fuel-efficient, more agile, but no less aggressive EcoBoost Fastback.
Perhaps the most compelling argument for the Mustang’s supremacy is simply its pedigree. Released in 1964, the Mustang was the first pony car, and the one that created the trend and gave it the name by which it is known. Mustang will always be the first, and there is a definite sense in which the rest of the pony cars are still playing catch up with the bold new redesign Ford initiated in the sixth generation – which is being hailed as one of the greatest pony cars of all time.
The question of which of these cars is the best is one that gets endlessly debated by fans, and every new generation of Mustangs, Challengers, and Camaros provides a new opportunity to re-litigate the pros and cons of different models. But if the Mustang can claim the title of greatest pony car on the road, it is surely due to the fact of its sheer longevity. The Mustang has been the most reliable, consistent, and beloved standard bearer for the spirit and energy of the pony car, and it is only likely to continue setting benchmarks and shaping expectations in the years to come.