Mustang v Camaro 5th gen: What's better for long-term reliability, low repair & maintenance cost, and far-end resale value

I’m considering buying one of a few cars, but I’m not motivated most of all by the model or brand, well only slightly; I like both Mustangs and Camaro. In fact if I were to use my whole available budget I probably would buy something entirely different like a stinger. However because of current market I’m trying to avoid overpaying by getting a cheaper, older used car to use for a year or two until it returns to normal. The ones I’m looking at are all manual transmission v6’s, and asking price ranges between $8-10k an '05 mustang premium with 38k miles, an '08 mustang with 86k miles, and a '10 camaro with 83k miles. From my own experience and bias I would say ford generally is more reliable and inexpensive to maintain/repair, and GM vehicles generally are subpar, but some sources like J.D. Power say that specifically the early model years of the 5th gen camaro are actually pretty reliable.

So, as unbiased as possible, which is the better bet for reliability/ low cost maintenance?

The unbiased answer is…This question is really impossible to answer, since you’re looking at used cars.

The biggest determinant of lifespan for any used car is how it was maintained and driven prior to your purchasing it.

And even then…you could get involved in a wreck and total the car tomorrow.

Personally… I’d go with the newer car. But the choice is really based on your own individual preferences.


Yep, you’re looking at 10+ year old cars, it all comes down to care and maintenance. That one with 38k miles would make me wonder why so low? Was maintenance kept up to date?


The 05 to 09 Mustang V6 is not a very satisfying engine. Your choices are also older than the Camaro which can be a problem if oil changes were done on mileage rather than time. And most owners change on miles no matter how much time.

Based on those criteria alone, I would recommend the Camaro.


Why do people think they can get a real answer to a question like this ? If someone was able to predict how long a used vehicle will run and what it’s future value will be they would be able to charge large fees and retire early.

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Yeah, considering how much better the 2010+ V6 is, no way I’d buy a 2009 or earlier V6.

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These are cars which were targeted to young people who will drive them hard, and often fail to properly maintain them. I wouldn’t choose any of these models, especially at today’s inflated pricing. I’d recommend a used Toyota Camry or similar type vehicle instead.

Not necessarily, there are many owners of sports cars that baby their vehicles and drive them seasonally. I have worked on many cars that have only seen 10,000 miles of sunlight during a 15 year period, these cars are not worn out or suffering from short trips.

The name of this message board is “Car Talk”, some might believe that experienced people can be reached for advice.

My gut feeling is the OP is a young person looking for some “cheap performance”… and soon we’ll be getting a post asking for “tuner recommendations”. That seems to be the pattern.

Hopefully I’m wrong.

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Thanks all for replying, clearly it seems that my question is pretty controversial and divisive… I am indeed a young guy looking for a sweet spot inbetween relative performance, reliability and style, and being inexperienced I did come here for advice without intending to offend anyone with the premise that one manufacturer has better engine & powertrain build quality than another.
Such reliability might be insignificant in difference between ford / GM, but I wouldn’t question for a second, perhaps with my more limited experience, that there is a difference in the overall industry; with Mfg. like toyota & honda being the most reliable.
Here’s the knowledge I’ve been able to compile so far: The most simple engines without forced induction, dual cam / variable valve timing / length tech, and produced for the longest times are the most reliable. Yes a more powerful engine above 200 hp may be abused more for fun and in the process wear out the engine more.

Here’s more towards what I am asking specifically. See from what I gather, Toyotas and Hondas are known for reliability because they will last forever even if they’re not completely properly maintained. That doesn’t mean I would buy a Toyota that only had 2 oil & filter changes over 100,000 miles, but it’ll probably still work for another 50-100,000 miles after that even still, whereas few other car makes would. I’ve noticed as I’ve been evaluating the service records of vehicles I’m interested in though, there is a clear difference between a well maintained car and a poorly maintained one. Looking this down-market and far-along the lifespan of vehicles, some cars barely had oil changes every 15-20,000 miles according to carfax where others reliably had them every 5000 miles. Referencing the cars I mentioned, the Camaro is the former example whereas the '08 Mustang is the latter.

Carfax is only a guide . It should not be concidered a real record of service. Shops have to pay to belong to Carfax and other sites like that . And not all even bother to report a simple oil change.

I have a vehicle that says change oil at 10000 miles or once a year and if I change it myself Carfax will never know that.

You are making this purchase way too difficult . Just find something you like , pay a shop for an inspection and hope for the best.


I didn’t think that oil changes were as important to do over time if mileage was not accumulated. I’ll look into that some.
Sure the Camaro v6 with 300+ hp would be more fun as opposed to the 2004-10 mustang v6s with only 200 hp… but I’m willing to forego the 100 hp if the engine, transmission & powertrain build quality and reliability is better, or secondarily gas mileage too (which is actually worse in this comparison haha).

Buy what you like and don’t worry about which brand is more reliable. At this point in their lifetime, finding a problem free example of either is more the issue than anything else. Get a prepurchase inspection of the car you like best and in the best condition possible for a ten year old car. At your age, you may not put a lot of miles on it anyway. Make the miles as enjoyable as possible. Don’t overpay for low mileage. If you find a car with super-low mileage, the seller might think low mileage is worth a thousand bucks, but it really isn’t. Use a car price estimator on line to see what the base price, options, and mileage differences are worth. and have these estimators, and I know there are others.

Every owners manual states xxxx miles OR xx months whichever comes FIRST. Short trips are very hard on oil as moisture and acids build up if the engine is not run long enough to fully warm the oil and drive off the moisture. Oil heats up more slowly than coolant.

The Ford V6 just isn’t all that good which is why I don’t recommend it but more significant is the age of the car. Old, low mileage cars have their own set of problems. If you intend to daily drive them after they’ve sitting most of their lives, newer is better. Rubber hardens and rots and cars have lots of rubber. Glues that hold the interior together go bad… and 05-to 09 Mustang interiors are nothing to write home about… so a younger car is preferable to an older one.

Budget $1800 for a new clutch. 80K to 100K miles would not be unlikely to need a clutch replacement. Many of us here could make one go MUCH longer but many drivers could kill one MUCH sooner!

All that said… the newest car you are considering is 11 and nearly 12 years old with over 80K miles. Reliability is ALL about how the car was treated and maintained as many here have already posted.

The best money you can spend before you buy the car, any car, is to have it inspected by YOUR mechanic before you buy it.