Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2002 Ford Thunderbird VS 2002 Chevrolet Camaro Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2002 Ford Thunderbird

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VS

2002 Chevrolet Camaro

Safety Comparison

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To maximize occupant safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Thunderbird have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Chevrolet Camaro doesn’t offer pretensioners.

Over 85% of child safety seats are not correctly used, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This misuse can be caused by incompatibilities with vehicle seatbelts and puts children at increased injury risk. The Thunderbird has a universal (Isofix) mounting system to easily latch in any new, compatible child safety seat without using the vehicle’s seatbelts. The Camaro doesn’t offer Isofix mounts; they aren’t required in all new vehicles until the 2003 model year.

The Thunderbird has standard front seat tall, head-protecting side-impact airbags which act as a forgiving barrier between the passengers and the door. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases protection from broadside collisions. The Camaro doesn’t offer side-impact airbags.

Both the Thunderbird and the Camaro have standard driver and passenger side airbags, four wheel antilock brakes and available traction control.

Warranty Comparison

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The Thunderbird’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Camaro’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability Comparison

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the Thunderbird has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engines in the Camaro.

The battery on the Thunderbird is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the Thunderbird’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Camaro’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of new car owners provide the statistics which show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 21st in initial quality. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 29th.

Engine Comparison

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The Thunderbird’s 3.9 DOHC V8 produces 52 more horsepower (252 vs. 200) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 225) than the Camaro’s standard 3.8 V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Ford Thunderbird is faster than the Chevrolet Camaro V6 (automatics tested):

Thunderbird

Camaro

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

7.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.4 sec

23.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

86 MPH

Top Speed

138 MPH

114 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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The Thunderbird has 1.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Camaro (18 vs. 16.8 gallons), for longer range between fill ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The Thunderbird’s brakes have 15% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Camaro (468 vs. 407.6 square inches), so the Thunderbird has more braking power available.

The Thunderbird with its standard antilock brakes stops much shorter than the Camaro with antilock brakes:

Thunderbird

Camaro

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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The Thunderbird’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Camaro’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Thunderbird has standard 17 inch wheels. Smaller 16 inch wheels are standard on the Camaro.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For superior ride and handling, the Ford Thunderbird has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Camaro has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Thunderbird has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Camaro doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Thunderbird’s wheelbase is 6.1 inches longer than on the Camaro (107.2 vs. 101.1 inches).

The Thunderbird’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the Camaro’s (54% to 46%). This gives the Thunderbird more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability the Thunderbird’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Camaro’s (37.5 vs. 40.8 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The Thunderbird is 7.2 inches shorter than the Camaro, making the Thunderbird easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Thunderbird is 2.1 inches narrower than the Camaro, making the Thunderbird easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

The Ford Thunderbird uses a rubber mounted front suspension subframe to strengthen the chassis for better handling. The rubber mounted front subframe cradles the engine and isolates the passenger compartment from engine noise and vibration. The Chevrolet Camaro doesn’t use a front subframe.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Thunderbird is quieter than the Z28 Convertible:

Thunderbird

Camaro

At idle

45 dB

55 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

82 dB

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Thunderbird. The Camaro doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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