By on August 9, 2009

“Life’s too short to buy the same car twice,” I always say. As the owner of a 2002 Mustang, I figured it would be my last example of the stallion. It’s not that I dislike the car, but I still haven’t checked “German” off my automotive ownership list and I’m dying to do it soon. When I showed up to the rental counter and was presented with the choice of a base Grand Caravan and a spanking new Mustang GT with the much-publicized interior upgrades, I didn’t need to blink twice. Minutes later, Montreal was fading in the background. So how did the GT fare in forcing me to re-assess my edict? The truth is, the car delighted me in all the ways you’d expect.

The burble when I turned the key was erection-inducing. The interior was a huge step up from the New Edge Mustang. But the best parts of the car, like the nostalgically long, bulging hood, the retro-styling and the torque were all present and reporting for duty. Ah, yes, the Mustang GT’s party-piece is the effortless torque it produces, almost from the get-go, to the very end.

I loved the styling on the new ‘stang, even if RF didn’t. The front lights look menacing, but retain the elegant shape of the retro Mustang. The rear lights have a few more accents, which give the car a more futuristic posterior. Who cares if you can’t see how wide the rubber is at the bottom? As long as you can smell it, it’s OK.

This is still the car that epitomizes cheap and cheerful. Yeah, I get that interior plastics are still cheap, but they look a lot better this time. And when the exhaust note is ripping up the innocent, skin-so-soft faces of the children in cars beside you, and you know that heaping mounds of torque can be summoned by flicking your ankle, who cares? Porsche drivers, I guess.

Screw it, I’ll buy a Mustang twice, even if I said I never would. I was already customizing my new Mustang in my head (I wonder if they do a red interior) before I even reached RF’s house. And then I took the exit off the Interstate. And that’s when I fell out of love.

In the narrow streets of East Providence, I took a turn on Cypress Street at an alleged 65 miles per hour. As my rear wheel hit a manhole—not even a pothole—I felt it. The car axle-hopped. The wheels spun uselessly in the air for a fraction of a second, wasting all of the power produced by the engine. I’m used to it, mind you, and I just held my course until the landing. Just like my 2002 Mustang. Live rear axle and all. Seven years later, and they still haven’t fixed that? I guess life really is too short to buy the same car twice.

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43 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2010 Ford Mustang GT...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Seven years later, and they still haven’t fixed that?

    That’s it, isn’t it? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    It’s horrible, shocking, depressing, and un-American… the way that the U.S. auto companies keep being so detached, so unknowing, so stupid about their products.

  • avatar

    I still need to find the time to drive one of these. Most reviews have been quite positive.

    Perhaps you’re counting calendar years, but if model years 2010 – 2002 = 8.

    The 2005-2009 Mustang has compiled an admirably low repair frequency on TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. Looking forward to providing results for the revised 2010.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    paulie

    When in Florida, my son and I had a chance to rent the 2010 Mustang.
    My thoughts:

    It was a six…with an automatic.
    NEVER get this combination.
    The engine and trans were at war with each other the entire trip.
    One wanted to go faster, one tried to slow down.
    Up and down, up and down…

    Back support.
    Is it asking too much to have a decent lower lumbar support?

    I don’t get this car’s following.
    Jeff could not stop laughing at the way EVERYBODY stared at this car.
    Candy apple red, it got looks and high fives from children at overpasses!
    We even got thumbs up from a utility truck along Federal Hwy.!

    Coming out from a movie I couldn’t remember where I had parked,.
    Jeff quipped…Look for the crowd staring at the car!

    Didn’t like the car, but sure is pretty.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    I really, really, have a hard time believing people actually stop and wave at Mustangs. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Mustang!

  • avatar
    Samir

    MK: Good point. Thanks for the correction.

    Toxic Roach: Not only do I get waves, people in other Mustangs will let me go first at 4-way stop sign intersection. And if you pull up beside another Mustang at Tim Horton’s (Sorry, my Canadian is showing…) late at night, a conversation ensues at least 50% of the time in my experience.

    Everyone else, read RF’s full review of the exact same car here

  • avatar
    carguy

    Samir: That was my exact initial impression. I loved the style, the sound and could live with the interior but the cornering on uneven road surfaces was just inexcusable.

    May I recommend a used 335 coupe or a Genesis Coupe?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Irvine

    This contributor will never buy anything German. 90% of his positive feedback is about the superficial attraction of the Mustang. Idle burble, color, ‘the headlights look aggressive” etc. He cares very little for engineering excellence, NVH, ride, handling, etc.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have rented a V6 Mustang and I liked it but it’s no BMW.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Wow, people stopping, staring, and high fiving about the neutered mustang?

    I’m wondering if peoples expectations have gone down a ton in a bad economy.

    Even these days, porsches are kinda meh….see them everywhere.

  • avatar
    adonasetb

    wow – one wheel hop and people say the Mustang is horrible, shocking, depressing, and un-American I can’t imagine what would be said if the wipers chattered on a dirty windscreen.

  • avatar
    paulie

    Look, this was a sweet looking candy apple red car.
    Then again, they could have been looking at the hot stud driving it.

    OK, so maybe I did have this wish for a split second.
    But the mustang has a mirror.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Good review. I can’t wait to try the 2011′s with the new powerplants. I still dislike the clutch on the GT. I wish the action was more progressive.

    The Genesis coupe is a hairdressers car. How many have they actually sold?

  • avatar
    ajla

    The biggest positive of the LRA is that it allows you to very easily launch the Mustang all day long with consistency.

    An IRS, like on a ’06 GTO I spent time with, makes the process trickier.

    When I was looking into buying a Lancer Ralliart, I checked out owner forums and read lots of threads about how you shouldn’t do a hard launch with it ever. Some people even wrote that if I want to launch my car, I should buy a Mustang GT.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I’m still not getting this obsessive distaste for the rear axle. It’s a drag racing car first, not a corner carver.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    @ajla

    Did they say why you shouldn’t launch the ralliart? The dual clutch tranny? A friend has an Evo 8 making 320 WHP. With about 80k miles on the original clutch he is putting down low 12s. On a related note I was looking at a ralliart at a nearby dealer that had five of them and the sales guy wouldn’t let my wife test drive it (mid thirties, well dressed). That was two months ago and they still have 3. No wonder Mitsu is in so much trouble.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Yeah, the Red Candy paint for 2010 looks awesome, regardless if the car is a V6 or a V8. My personal preference though is Grabber Blue, with the interior upgrade package giving the black interior a blue stripe up the middle of each seat. Or this – http://www.fordvehicles.com/the2010mustang/?id=/customizer/overview/No4616

    As far as the rear axle, well, it gives it some charm IMO. If you hit a bump midcorner you get a little surprise when the rear lands again, and its fun to guess which way the car is going to try to go.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @Detroit-Iron:

    It mostly had to do with the dual clutch tranny. To really launch the Ralliart you need to rev over 3000RPM, and it seems that will break the expensive transmission after a couple tries, even though the car goes into “SLOW DOWN” protection mode fairly quick. I did get a chance to test drive one, and it’s a fun car, I loved the transmission, but it also seems to be a fussy piece of technology.

    Launching AWD cars in general scares me though. For example, I believe the Audi S5 needs something like a 6000RPM launch. To get the fastest time in the WRX, I’ve read you want to be reving over 5500RPM. I’ve got to believe that the Rex can’t take that kind of abuse for very long.

    With AWD turbo cars, you also often have to deal with slipping the clutch, progressive throttle pressure, and other things that can mess your times up if you do it wrong.

    In contrast, the Mustang GT is just point and shoot whenever you want it. 2500RPM, drop the clutch, go WOT and you’re off. It might as well be launch control.

  • avatar

    I experienced the same thing on all my 2006 and 2010 Mustang GT test drive.

    These cars axle-hop badly, again, still, as RF would put it. The car is easily upset on uneven pavement and by small bumps. It also jiggles nervously on smooth roads. Just like old school muscle cars of yore, some may like that, but when Ford is charging $37,900 for the 2010 GT I drove I’d spend my money elsewhere on a muscle car with more modern engineering, like a new Camaro SS or G8 GXP (which you can get for substantially less now if you can find one).

    Yes, the interior is styled better but it’s still made out of the same stuff since the car bowed in 2006. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful I suppose, but it’s not as nice as what the early reviews hyped it to be. It’s also no better inside than the new Camaro or Challenger. It’s also worth pointing out that this car has a wheel that doesn’t telescope while the other two do. It also has the worst seats by far out of the three. There are no boslters and they are super-soft, designed with big fat butts in mind. The Camaro has firm chairs with decent bolstering, the Challenger cranks it up a notch higher still. The Camaro and Challenger also hold more cargo and adults will be able to tolerate an extended ride in the back, not so in the Mustang.

    The 2010 Mustang is simply a very old car underneath that Ford continually raises the price of and overlaps with much newer (and more practical and in the Camaro’s case much better driving and performing) competition.

    MSRP vs MSRP I think one would have to be mad or really love this car despite it’s faults to buy one over a new SS right now.

    It desperately needs a modern structure, IRS and a modern free-revving V8 that GM offers for the same price.

  • avatar

    Here is some truth….
    Base GT=$27995
    Base SS=$30245

    So lets stop with crying that you can get a SS less than a fully optioned Stang, you just sound stupid.

    Oh and convertible options for this year? Just sayin!

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Here is some truth….
    Base GT=$27995 315 HP
    Base SS=$30245 426 HP

    Fixed.

    Or how about this:

    300+ HP Mustang = $27,995
    300+ HP Camaro = $22,245

    Or this:

    315 HP Mustang = 16/24 MPG
    426 HP Camaro = 16/24 MPG

    The Camaro is a better car all around. While the Mustang is a bland, regurgitated look from 2005, the Camaro is, like it or not, a MUCH bigger head turner that is WORTH the money charged for it. The same cannot be said about the Mustang.

  • avatar
    1169hp

    Axle type won’t really matter when the Challenger and Camaro are dropped in a couple of years due to slow sales.

    An excersise in creative writing and exaggeration with regards to the Stang’s axle hop over “rough pavement”.

    My Mustang has never “taken off” and “landed” due to a manhole cover or other road imperfections. If the washboard roads in your area are that bad perhaps a call to your elected representative is order!

    The presence of a live rear axle is certainly old-tech, but it works for the intended purpose.

  • avatar

    My point wasn’t fixed at all. I said you can’t compare a fully loaded car to anything but a fully loaded car as someone early had done.

    If the only point was that the GT is cheaper then you’d be right, just as you’re points are also fixed. Torque anyone? Is fuel efficency even a thought for this market? It wasn’t for me. Seems like asking which one has a bigger back seat. Not considerations for “most” buyers.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I’ve had my GT for 9 years, and while at times the ride can be harsh and the rear axle do a little hop on rough corners, it’s nothing that’s been “scary” or taken me by surprise. And all those saying that the ’10 Mustang’s interior is no better than the Camaro or Chellenger, i don’t know what you’re smoking, but the Mustang’s is light years better than the other 2 in as far qualiy looking/feeling materials. The Camaro looks good, just don’t touch anything as it all feels like recycled milk jugs.

  • avatar
    Harleyflhxi

    “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Mustang!”

    I know! That always happens to me, too. Small world, eh?

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Is fuel efficency even a thought for this market? It wasn’t for me. Seems like asking which one has a bigger back seat. Not considerations for “most” buyers.…

    For most buyers of these kind of cars, mileage is defiantly not a top tier concern. But when you can have over 100 more horses for the same mileage, well, that’s just hard to ignore. If its looks or its brand is all that matters, well, it doesn’t make a difference what the competition offers, now does it?

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    @ Trishield
    > Yes, the interior is styled better but it’s still made out of the same stuff since the car bowed in 2006.

    No and no. The S197 platform was introduced in 2005, not 2006. The interior design and materials were updated in 2010 with a new polymer called thermoplastic olefin. It’s only the “same” to the extent you classify materials as metal, plastic, and leather.

    > It’s also no better inside than the new Camaro or Challenger.

    Then you’ve never been in the new Camaro or the Challenger. The Camaro feels as cheap as it looks. The Challenger interior is a morass of black plastic. Neither have the tactile feel of the Mustang’s materials.

    > It desperately needs a modern structure, IRS and a modern free-revving V8 that GM offers for the same price.

    The D2C platform of the Mustang was introduced in 2005. The only antiquated feature is the stick-axle, and that hasn’t stopped the car from outhandling the Camaro. It has the highest crash-test ratings the NHTSA gives, and subjectively, the most impressive crash videos I’ve seen since the BMW 335i.

    GM’s V8 is a pushrod design dating back over 50 years. Well-executed, but hardly modern. What Ford’s OHC design gives up on power now, it’ll get back next year when they move to a 5.0L direct injection mill.

    @ P71
    > the Camaro is a MUCH bigger head turner that is WORTH the money charged for it. The same cannot be said about the Mustang.

    Every review of the Mustang has said that it’s fun to drive. Every review of the Camaro has said that it’s fast in a straight line, but utterly uninteresting in the corners as a result of weight, poor visibility, and understeer. Every review of the Challenger describes how excellent it is at cruising to mask the sheer incompetence of the way it handles.

    The only head the car has to turn is mine. If that’s your measure of value, find yourself a green Aztek.

  • avatar
    tooling designer

    Well as someone who recently bought a, gulp, 38k (sticker) 2010 mustang what sold me was a simple as this: soul. The car just has lots of it. It cant exactly be put into words, but, it is an incredible looking/feeling car.

    I’m someone who has pretty much ignored Mustangs for the last 10 years or so as the “new edge” and s197 ‘stangs just seemed to be hood scooped and tape striped “mullet mobiles”.

    The only “real world” type of critisism I have for the ’10′s is the price. As I said mine stickered at 38k (even though I paid much less) and at that price it’s real hard to stomach buying a Mustang (mines not even a ‘vert). But, as I said, for me, there was just something about the ’10′s that was irresistable. Even knowing that the car would be way under powered compared to the 5.0 “coyote” that is coming next year.

    As far as the Camaro is concered, I feel that its a beautiful looking car but it is also waaaaaaaaay to cartoonish looking. To me, something that distinctive looking will get tiring very quickly. I’m glad GM came out with them and hope they sell a bunch of them for various reason but it’s simply not a car I could drive everyday.

    Also, considering how I drive my car and the other 99% of Mustang owners “really” drive their cars, the solid rear axle vs IRS debate is mostly irrelevant.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Every review of the Mustang has said that it’s fun to drive. Every review of the Camaro has said that it’s fast in a straight line, but utterly uninteresting in the corners as a result of weight, poor visibility, and understeer.

    The Camaro out handles the Mustang by A LOT. the ONLY Mustang that can come close to the Camaro’s handling is one that is equipped with the track pack.

    The Mustang needs…umm…special enhancements…to measure up to the Camaro.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Tell us your testing methodology P71. Inquiring minds want to know. I like my daughters Camaro a lot, but its not a handler.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    Well then. You’ve settled the issue.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    @P71_CrownVic :

    I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but…

    Mustang GT 315 hp 0-60: 5.1 seconds
    Camaro SS 426 hp 0-60: 4.8 seconds

    (According to Car and Driver)

    I have to wonder what the Mustang will accelerate like once the 5.0 with 400 hp is under the hood.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Yeah…but Justin…even the Gt500 Mustang only does 0-60 in 4.6 seconds…and that has over 200 more HP.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @ Justin Berkowitz:

    In defense of the Chevy, the Camaro SS gets a 3.41 final drive ratio and its first gear is 3.01.

    Every test I’ve seen of the 2010 Mustang GT in the buff books uses the optional 3.73 final drive ratio with a 3.38 first gear.

    This (combined with the easy launch ability from the LRA) gives the Ford a big pop out of the hole. Consequently, I bet this feature (combined with the 5-spd) is a big part of why the Mustang doesn’t get better as-tested fuel economy compared to the heavier and more powerful competition.

    If a buff book ever tests a Mustang GT with the base 3.31 axle ratio, I’m sure the Chevy (and possibly the Dodge) will roast it.

    Looking at trap speeds and something like 0-120 times, one can see that the LS3 is a lot more motor than the 4.6L.

    If the new 400hp 5.0L ends up with tamer/different gearing (I’m guessing Ford doesn’t want to get a 15 MPG rating on the new motor), there isn’t going to be a big 0-60 difference.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    P71 “The Mustang needs…umm…special enhancements…to measure up to the Camaro.”

    P 71…What special enhancements does the Mustang need…..a transmission that blows out like the one on the new Camaro ?

  • avatar
    geeber

    I test drove a Camaro at the Carlisle All-GM Nationals. I don’t know how anyone can say that the interior materials and ergonomics of the Camaro are superior to those of the Mustang. I felt as though I were sitting in a bathtub while driving the Camaro. The interior materials were certainly nothing to write home about.

    When I test drove a brand-new 1998 Camaro Z-28, my reaction was – great drivetrain, but the car will be a pain to live with on a day-to-day basis. The newest one gave me exactly the same impression.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    GS650G: I’m still not getting this obsessive distaste for the rear axle. It’s a drag racing car first, not a corner carver.

    Solid rear axles are like front drum brakes to me. Quaint. Fun in an old car. IRS has been on my “required list” when I show for a car and all of my cars since 1990 when I sold the last of my three Mustangs have had it. I don’t expect I’ll go back to solid rear axles either.

    Each to his own though…

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    “And when the exhaust note is ripping up the innocent, skin-so-soft faces of the children in cars beside you, and you know that heaping mounds of torque can be summoned by flicking your ankle, who cares? Porsche drivers, I guess.’

    Speaking on behalf of Porsche drivers (or at least those of us of the ass-backwards variety), any car that looks retro cool, has a rorty engine, a semi-useless back seat and a rear end that swings about uncontrollably is all right with us. And at a fraction of the price, the ’10 Mustang’s interior is infinitely superior to what Porsche inflicted on us with the 996 (since corrected).

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    P 71…What special enhancements does the Mustang need…..a transmission that blows out like the one on the new Camaro ?

    The GT500 uses the same transmission.

    Try again.

    The Mustang needs the “track pack” to get Camaro handling numbers.

  • avatar
    skor

    You like the Mustang looks but want an IRS as well? Stop your bitching and cough up an extra $6,871. Now you’ve got everything. What are going to bitch about now?

    http://www.mustangirs.com/products.php

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    $7K for the IRS upgrade? Are you kidding? No, plenty other cars that appeal to me with IRS and a lower price.

    I’m more into handling and brakes than raw acceleration.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Ford really asks a premium price for very old technology and cheapish interiors, which shows in the depreciation.

    IRS is any proper car, let alone ‘sports car.’

    Quit cutting such major corners, Ford.

    Just hearing the door rattle shut on a “new” Mustang makes me harken back to the early 80s {shudder}.

  • avatar
    skor

    Look, the average American fuck-wit buys a Mustang for show and go(straight line only). The average American wouldn’t know the difference between an IRS and LRA if it ran up to them, and bit them on the ass. The average American doesn’t know how to drive a car in anything but a straight line, and even that’s debatable. Fitting an IRS to the Mustang will not increase Ford’s bottom line. It’s just good business for Ford.

  • avatar
    Recluse

    From rmwill:

    I still dislike the clutch on the GT. I wish the action was more progressive.

    I don’t recall seeing this in any review of the 2010 GT, but I wholeheartedly agree: When I did a test drive, I was VERY surprised at the high and abrupt clutch engagement.

  • avatar

    Let me preface this with: my current daily driver is a BMW. It’s my third. I’ve owned musclecars, sports cars, and sport sedans from around the world. I’ve spent many years autocrossing and out on track days at road race tracks on both coasts. This is the background I’m coming from.

    I just got back from a test drive of an ’10 GT in Baltimore.

    Loved it. Love the iconic styling, as if Ford had simply evolved the original Mustangs the way Porsche has evolved the 911. It’s not retro so much as it’s simply evolutionary.

    5 speed ’10 GT, 19″ wheels, Sync, etc (never turned on the stereo). Went in looking at the Kona w/white stripes GT they have in the showroom (which is the color I want). Got to work the car over some typical Baltimore rough pavement, a couple nice twisties, and got to open it up a bit, as well. Rode better than my 7 series, and way more composed over bumps than most IRS equipped sports cars/sport sedans I’ve driven. And the track pack is supposed to be even better.

    Absolutely glorious sound. This one had the optional 3.55 limited slip rear axle, which delivered plenty of off the line punch. But, there’s a 3.73 available for the non-track pack cars (it’s standard in the track pack). The 5 speed isn’t notchy, and feels good, though it’s definitely not a Japanese feel. The shorter final drive though just made the car want to jump off the line, while still beaing very easy to drive, and the induction note piped inside (neat trick) growls nicely with every gearchange. And it has a great mischevious popping and growling on the overrun as you are decelerating.

    Steering, even without the track pack is sharp and responsive. It just wants to turn and feels really well weighted. The car feels pretty light on it’s “feet” too.

    Interior quality was good, and more than adequate for both the price point and the category. Love the styling of the interior, too. The whole car isn’t really retro, it’s more like the Mustang just kept being made in that iconic style all along and looks like what it would have looked like had they simply evolved it over the years. I’m GLAD it’s not generic Japanese or generic European.

    People complain about the livge axle being skittish over bumps, but in my epxerience over the years, any IRS equipped car that is set up to pull anywher enear 1 G will aslo be skitterish over bumps. Even my 740iL can be skitterish over bumps in corners at times. The last M3 I drove (set up for track days) definitely was. But out on the track, as well as an autocross course, a live axle and IRS will work equally well. In fact, you get no camber chage during cornering with a live axle. And as real race results have shown, the Mustangs have been doing quite well in teh US and in Europ on road race tracks against BMWs and Porsches. After driving the ’10 GT, I can see why.


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