by Peter Dushenski
It’s hard to imagine a more awkward-sounding displacement than 379 cubic inches. This description fails on several levels because not only does it fail to recall the glory days of Detroit and its synonymous muscle cars, it also begs the question: What the hell is a cubic inch?
Long gone are the days when we measures an engine size by this anachronistic American standard, even if we still use the Almighty Inch to measure penises, plywood, and TV screens. Metric is the new standard and we now measure engines by the number of milliliters, or cubic centimeters, they displace. This puts everyone in the world on a level playing field, including today’s competitors.
In this edition of the CarEnvy MegaFair™ Comparison Test, 6210cc plays 6162cc as the 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew faces off against the Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible. They’re both American, both unnecessary, and both attention-grabbing fun machines.
Responses to this unusual experiment will undoubtedly range from “Compare apples to apples, idiots”, “GM rulz, Ford drulz”, but we can hardly confine ourselves to such pedantic logic. We have to think BIG! Besides, didn’t you see the part of the title that says “MegaFair”? We wouldn’t write that if it weren’t true. Plus, if you can afford the $54,000 Camaro SS, chances are that you could stretch the ol’ budget to include the $65,000 Raptor. Also, they both have 6-speed automatics inextricably intertwined with 6.2 Litres of USDA Approved Grunt. So which of these two gas-swilling, grin-inducing, hunks of steel and plastic should earn your money? We’ve devised 5 distinct tests to determine exactly that.
1. Smoke The People What They Want
The burnout is as American as the corporate bailout. And like the corporate bailout, you might not agree with it, but you sure as hell don’t want to live in a world without it. Trust us. So we held the Traction Control Off switches on each vehicle for 10 seconds, left-footed the brake, and right-footed the gas until the rear tires broke loose in a celebration of pungent rubber and acrid smoke. As expected, the Camaro SS made this as easy and enjoyable as cooking Kraft Dinner. The Raptor was less willing to party, it’s knobby tires preferring to grip rather than slip. The Raptor’s hesitancy can be chalked up to a Traction Control that can’t be fully defeated. Even with the gas floored, the Ford 6.2L refused to give more than 1500 revs with the brake applied. Given the off-road ability and pretense of the Raptor, the SVT engineers undoubtedly had their reasons, but those reasons will have to soak up their salty tears because they’ve just lost the first point to the Camaro!
Camaro: 1 – Raptor:0
2. Approval Rating
As we near another US Presidential election, approval ratings are on everyone’s mind. But this comparison test has nothing to do with jobs data and international wars, rather with waves, smiles, compliments, and requests for passenger rides. Alberta, being the Canadian Texas that it is, looooves its trucks. The bigger, the brasher, the better. And they don’t come much bigger and brasher than a Ford F-150 that’s been lifted by 2 inches, widened by 7, and painted basketball orange. You should’ve seen the looks of adoration and approval that Albertans have for this truck. One cute construction worker even worked up the courage to let us know that the Raptor was a “sexy ass truck”. Other drivers extended courtesies normally reserved for members of the holier-than-thou Edmonton Oilers. Want to merge? No problem! Arrived at a stop sign at the same time? You first! Not once did another motorist honk in anger at the Off-Road Express. The Camaro SS, painted Bumblebee yellow with Transformers-appropriate black stripe package, simply lucked out with the weather. Every single day we had it was a day with the top down. Positive attention is positively guaranteed when your dapper author pulls up in a yellow muscle car convertible. It’s just that simple. The Camaro can’t compete with the Raptor on pure size, nor road presence, but it more than made up for it with requests for passenger rides. Everyone wants to go for a spin a new convertible, especially when it has a thunderous V8 and angular retro styling. The Camaro snagged a total of six different passengers in one week compared to only three in the Raptor. In the end, we have to say that these two American beauties tied this category.
Camaro: 1.5 – Raptor: 0.5
3. Owling: The Cool Kids Are Doing It
Planking is so last month. Right now, the kids are all about owling. And the higher the owl, the better the owl. The Raptor’s Fox Racing shocks and 12” suspension travel give it a naturally higher perch, but the Camaro’s convertible top exacerbated the difference further yet. It’s all tied up!
Camaro: 1.5 – Raptor: 1.5
4. Driving Range: Fore!
All tied up a one-and-a-half apiece. Crunch time! Driving anything with a 6.2L V8 is going to rack up those Esso Extra points, so for this category we’re going to divide the size of each vehicle’s fuel tank by our observed mileage to come up with an approximate driving range. After all, fueling up takes time, is generally annoying, and painfully reminds you that gas prices aren’t going down anytime soon. The longer the range, the better!
Camaro: 71L ÷ 19.7L/100km = 360km
Raptor: 98L ÷ 20.1L/100km = 488km
This one, amazingly, came down to tank size. You’d think that the lighter Camaro SS would’ve been able to distance itself from the Raptor on observed fuel economy, but even with the L99’s cylinder deactivation technology, we observed almost identical numbers using similar driving styles (i.e. as much fun as possible without getting ticketed).
Camaro: 1.5 – Raptor: 2.5
5. Headrest Plushness: Relax, Don’t Do it
The Raptor has crept up from behind to take the lead! The Camaro will need to win this category outright in order to salvage some pride for the Bowtie. If not, the Blue Oval (conspicuously absent from the Raptor’s grille) will take the W. With each 6.2L making in excess of 400hp (ok, the Camaro makes exactly 400), your head is going to be launched rearward on a regular basis. This makes it imperative that your head has a pillowy soft headrest to catch it, lest you want to end up concussed like Sid the Kid. The Camaro’s headrest is comfortably firm, with a healthy amount of resistance that will keep your noodles propped up, but far from feeling as if you’ve fallen into a ball pit full of down feathers and kittens. The Raptor, on the other hand, feels exactly like you’ve fallen into a ball pit full of down feathers and kittens. It’s plush like the Fairmont Banff Springs, velvety like Chinese silk, and gentle like the rain. When 411 horsepower show up at the front door, the Raptor cushions the blow like no other.
FINAL: Camaro: 1.5 – Raptor: 3.5
There you have it! With a come-from-behind attack befitting the bird of prey for which it’s named, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has taken CarEnvy’s MegaFair™ Comparison Test trophy home, where it’s sure to fill it up with 87 octane and drink straight from the cup like the champion it is.
See you next time for another heart-warming (and flame-fanning) edition of CarEnvy’s MegaFair™ Comparison Test.
*™ pending with Royal Canadian Trademark Office