By on December 21, 2009

The pony warrior

Unless all the reviews you’ve read about the 2010 Ford Mustang appear in publications like Mustang Monthly, you probably know that the car is (a) an evolutionary improvement of the hold-over SN197 chassis and (b) still far from perfect. After a conflicting afternoon with a beautiful Red Candy Metallic 2010 Mustang GT Convertible [not pictured], I feel compelled to say something about how the Ford Mustang is currently situated in both the market and in our minds.

No doubt about it, Lee Iacocca had a great idea: building an all-new model on the inexpensive little 1960 Ford Falcon chassis, giving it Italian sports car styling cues and a galloping horse on the grille (in place of a prancing one), marketing it to the yet-to-be-catered-to Baby Boom generation – all completely brilliant. But as the market (and buyer demographics) changed, so did the Mustang’s place in it.

mustanggtvertThe first time I drove the completely redesigned 2005 model, I immediately knew that this pony was now (pun in 3…2…1…) “fording” much deeper water than ever before. Critics’ (and potential customers’) comparative statements no longer carried the distant echo of, “Wow, this car sure is a lot cooler than the Falcon.” Instead, they sounded like, “This car feels way cheaper and less refined than an Audi.”

And there’s the rub. Instead of riding fences, the Mustang now seems content to (conveniently) straddle them. Were the original formula still in place, today’s Mustang would be an el cheapo sport compact built atop a Focus platform, and everyone’s expectations would be much, much lower. As it is, the car seems to be aiming for a target that it can’t – at its current price point – profitably reach. But that depends on who you ask.

Ask my wife Becky (proud owner of a Candy Apple Red ’68 Mustang convertible…and my co-driver for the afternoon), and she’ll simply say that the new ‘Stang we drove was beautiful. And it was. The slightly dark red metallic paint contrasted beautifully with the saddle interior and 19-inch gray, five-spoke rims. Even though I don’t like the 2010 styling refresh, I still loved it (in the same way you love the looks of a perfectly preserved or restored example of a car you thought was ugly 20 years ago).

Good looks only carry a vehicle so far; once inside, you’ll immediately notice that functionality remains style’s jailhouse punk. Compared to the ’05-’09 Mustang, you’ll find even harder to decipher (but more retro than ever!) instrument faces, more restrictive (but now flip-up-door-covered!) cup holders, and an inexplicably taller (but soft to the touch!) automatic transmission shifter that obstructs climate controls more than before. Those opting for the manual transmission won’t be bothered by this last nuisance, and happily, the revised console storage bin now includes an integral lid that you won’t bump your elbow against while shifting. Unfortunately, the space inside is more awkwardly shaped (and seems smaller) than the departing binnacle – a big deal when you have to live every day with a car not known for its interior storage capacity. mustanggtvert3

One thing Mustangs are known for, though, is performance. And with more power than its predecessor, this horse seemed poised to run faster than any run-of-the-glue-factory GT ever has. Except that it didn’t. Maybe the car I drove was down on power, but after turning “off” the traction control and brake-torquing it as much as I could (to 2,300 RPM, which was as much as the brakes on my tester could hold – crazy, I know), I floored it, reeling off several tire-chirping (but not tire-spinning) sprints to sixty that – though untimed – registered as far, far slower on the seat-of-the-pants scale than the 2009 California Special I drove last year. The sonorous (thanks, engine-noise tube) 4.6-liter V8 sounded fine, and the 5R55S automatic transmission snicked off reasonably quick shifts. But even considering the tallish standard 3.31:1 final drive ratio (3.55’s and 3.73’s are optional), the acceleration was flatly disappointing.

Of course there’s more to performance than straight-line rocket-sleddery (even if the Mustang’s reputation doesn’t include much of it), and I thankfully got the chance to do the solid-axle shuffle on some decently twisty local blacktop. Overall, the chassis seemed well-balanced for its purpose. Hardcore horsepower hooligans may find it lacking after modding up more muscle from their Mustang’s modular mills (if not avidly avoiding alliteration), but as a complete package, the car’s handling capability nicely complements its stock 315 horsepower and is relatively benign as the beefy tires bite hard in corners, cooperating nicely with the much-improved steering feedback to inspire a lot more curved-road confidence than the outgoing model. Added bonus: It has a softer, quieter ride now, too. Just make sure you hit pot holes with both rear wheels.mustanggtvert1

I guess it’s fair to say that my impression of the 2010 Mustang GT Convertible and my opinion of the car are slightly different. My impression: After a fun afternoon in a beautiful drop-top, I found myself seriously disillusioned with the performance and ergonomics, but generally satisfied with everything else. My opinion: This pony is capable of playing in some rather uppity pastures, even if just barely. Still, judged in such company (A4, 3-Series, etc.), it will usually finish dead last. Compared to any previous Mustang, the 2010 is hands-down the best of the breed. But compared to other similarly-priced convertibles, it’s more of a dog.

Take it from this horse’s mouth: Ford employs some world-class bean counters, and they’ve done a swell job of assigning a plausible monetary value to nostalgia and the appeal of an iconic American image – a value that increases the Mustang GT’s price well above its true worth as a performance car. Synergy, perhaps? Uh, they only wish. For me, the bottom line is this: There are at least 40 other types of Mustangs that I’d rather spend $40,000 on.

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51 Comments on “Review: 2010 Mustang GT Convertible...”


  • avatar
    PaulieWalnut

    I spotted on Jalopnik a while back that the chassis of the 2011 convertible will be 1000% stiffer than the 2010 model. It’s also getting a new 305 bhp V6 and a 412 bhp V8. Perhaps you should take another look next year Don, provided the price doesn’t go up too much.

    Was your tester really $40k? What options did it have?

  • avatar
    NickR

    I know in Canadian dollars, which is almost at par now, $41-$42k would be the typical asking price for a GT convertible.

  • avatar

    Actually, the reviews I’ve read of the 2010 Mustang have been very positive, highlighting the improved steering and upgraded interior.
    What are these “other similarly-priced convertibles”? Even an Infiniti G37 is about $5,000 more, albeit with about $3,000 in additional features, including a hard top. So that’s probably the closest match.

    A 335i lists for nearly $15,000 more, and even adjusting for feature differences (like the hardtop) the Mustang is over $10,000 less.

    Until Chevrolet fields a Camaro convertible, there is no other 300+ horsepower convertible in the Mustang’s price range.

    To thoroughly compare prices and features:

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

    The reliability of the Mustang also tends to be quite good:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Ford&mc=92

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Michael beat me to the punch, but yes, all of the reviews I’ve read of the 2010 Mustang, including C&D, MotorTrend, and Automobile have been very positive, in fact, it beats the Camaro and the Challenger in most of them, which is the true competition for this car.
     
    A BMW 335i Convertible optioned out as closely as possible to a Mustang GT Premium Convertible (which is the one that would run around $40K with a few options checked) is hair under $58K.  For that money you could get a Shelby GT500 Convertible if performance is really your thing, still save $5K, and blow the doors off the bimmer.
     
    I also completely diagree with the interior ergonomics comments.  Yes, the cockpit is a bit snug, but that is by design as this is a performance car.  The gauges are easy to read, the HVAC and Audio controls logically laid out, and finally the Mustang has audio controls on the steering wheel as well as a 12-volt outlet cover that won’t fall off and get lost.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The gauges are easy to read?  Really?  I find the Mustang’s retro lettering on the gauges atrocious in terms of ergonomics.  Yes, maybe it was perfect in 1965, but it’s damn hard to read the numbers by modern standards.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      You find This difficult to read?
       
      The font isn’t that bad, and it’s set up with 60 on top like 90% of cars on the road.  Once you’ve spent more than a day or two in a car you hardly look at the numbers anyway, just the position of the needle.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Exactly.  It’s an old-fashioned font that’s very tall and narrow, and at a quick glance “60″ and “80″ look very similar.  It’s a concession to the retro look that has a poor payoff in my books.
       
      On other ergonomic issues, I was amazed that the steering wheel had tilt but no telescope — in a $30K car in 2010! — and the front seatbacks still don’t remember their previous position after you flip them forward to access the parcel shelf rear seat.
       
      But it’s still far better than a Chrysler interior.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Ugh!   Secretary’s car.

    Okay…..executive administrative assistant’s car (secretary’s don’t make that kind of cheddar.)

  • avatar

    After reading all the slobbering reviews for this refreshed car I decided to seriously consider one myself and test drove a few.  I was bitterly disappointed.

    You nailed it on the interior, it still blows. 

    Even in comparison to the Camaro and Challenger there are a lot of things in the Mustang that left me scratching my head.  The rear seat is virtually worthless (the other two muscle cars can accomodate adults in the back).  The seats are horrific mush with no side support whatsoever (rivaling the subpar chairs for it’s purpose) engineered for old fat people.  At least the other two cars give you some firm cushions and attempt to hold you in place.  The gauges in the Mustang are very hard to read at a glance and it doesn’t give you a big digital readout like the Camaro (whose gauges are somewhat less difficult to read) but the Challenger has them both trumped with it’s modern contrasting cluster.  If you opt for options in the Mustang you’re also greeted by a center stack festooned with buttons, enough to make Honda blush.  The pixely blue displays in the Mustang are straight out of the 1980s as well, you get modern high res iPod quality displays in the Camaro.  Finally, Ford’s wheel adjusts with detents only. The Camaro and Challenger have tilt and telescoping columns that allow you to place and lock the wheel wherever it is most comfortable. All these little things you would expect in a modern car are not present in the Mustang, but are in the Camaro or Challenger. Funny nobody in any of the magazines ever wrote about that. I guess they forgot.

    Then there’s the way the Mustang drives, oh dear.

    Anyone used to virtually any modern car will feel like they’re going back in time in a Mustang.  Way back in time.  Regardless of all the crowing about how Ford “refined” the rear suspension the car still drives like something out of the 1960s. In a bad way. The steering is fairly sharp but the rear suspension can be felt as it bobbles over even the smooth pavement here in Phoenix. It’s also easily upset in corners if it hits a pavement joint, a pothole, or is uneven.  It’s very annoying.  In contrast the Camaro and Challenger feel light years ahead and have none of the above issues. Both drive more in tune with their price tags and like the horoughly modern cars that they are. Especially the Camaro.  On the street the Camaro doesn’t give up anything to the Mustang in handling or performance either. If anything it feels much more buttoned down, I guess that’s what happens when the rear of the car isn’t jiggling away.

    Then there’s the price, Mustangs aren’t cheap.  At least not what you’ll find on dealer lots.

    One GT I drove that did not have Sync or navigation was $37,900.  Many Camaros you’ll find are less and they offer more horsepower, and independent suspension, more room in the back and a larger trunk and many nicer details on the interior and much better seats.  You also get Brembos standard.  The Camaro is a much better value than the GT is currently and that’s not going to change as long as Ford retains the solid axle and continues to sell what is basically a car they released in 2006 and cranked up the price of.  If anything it should cost less as it ages, not more. 

    I would be hard pressed to spend nearly $40 large on one of these things until Ford completely redesigns the car.  That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon. 

    If you didn’t like the Mustang before 2010, you won’t like it now.  If you liked it before, you’ll still like it.  That’s about what it boils down to.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean23

      Having driven all of the new pony cars, I still come away smiling at the pretty Horsey. It just does everything better than the heavy handed Charger and boxed in Camaro. As for seating, the Camaro may have slightly larger seats in the back, but its nearly a Baggin’s “There and Back Again” adventure for anyone who has to sit there. However, I would argue it is better to get the higher ratio rear diff and stiffer suspension package if you want the sports car instead of the boulivarder.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice review Don but I am somewhat confused by some aspects of it. Firstly, as Michael pointed out, there is not real V8 300+ HP competition for the Mustang – and that is probably one of the contributing reasons why it isn’t as perfect as some would like. The power issue is real and Ford is taking care of it in 2011 which is why Mustang sales right now are somewhat depressed (which in turn would bring the price down of your 2010 tester).
    But the main confusion is with the notion that the GT convertible is a sports car. Since when? It’s a very comfortable boulevard cruiser that makes great noises and is practical enough for daily use and the occasional road trip.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    Ford plays a losing game by keeping the EcoBoost 3.5 out of this car.  They can drop the pretense of “protecting” the iconic V8 because the wider market stopped caring about cylinder quantity over a decade ago.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I drove a hardtop 5-spd 2010 GT with the 3.73 axle, and I thought it was a blast.  However, it is cramped and even the upgraded brakes are failure prone.
     
    I have a feeling that the trio of an automatic transmission, convertible, and standard axle ratio all created a bad experience here.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    NulloModo Said:

    For that money you could get a Shelby GT500 Convertible if performance is really your thing, still save $5K, and blow the doors off the bimmer.

    Until you hit the first curve in the road.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    Nullmodo,

    Even my lowly 325ci sport package leaves Mustangs gasping for breath on the curves. Does not matter what they have done to the suspension, they cannot keep up. One of my favorite activities is to lead a Mustang into an off ramp at a high rate of speed. When they realize they are in trouble, they have two choices: lift, or go off the road. I have NEVER had one keep up with me yet. Now the straights are a different story, They basically blow my doors off. You may disagree with any of this if you wish, but if you do, you are not speaking from experience.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      So basically you get them to slow down from highway speeds at an off ramp? Do you beat them to the red lights as well?

      The Mustang beats BMW’s in the Koni series, that involves more than reckless driving.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Sometimes it’s just more than the sum of the parts.  Case in point, I have moved in lockstep with 325s through the twisties or offramps in my mildly modified Probe GT, a car more in line with the power output of the BMW than the Mustang, even admitting the “incorrect” drive wheels.  When I am in the lead, I usually can increase the gap between my car and a garden variety 3.  So, does my car handle better in an absolute sense?  I doubt it, but I do know how to drive my car very close to the limit, whereas (sorry to say) many of those bimmer drivers don’t because they bought the car for the propeller on the hood**, not the mechanical excellence.  M buyers are different; I wouldn’t try to keep up with them.  I suspect, you, too would be different as well.
       
      **At my tire shop, I asked the guy I have bought performance tires from for years about what goes on BMWs when they come in for tires.  About 2/3′s of them get lower quality “compromise” tires that put more emphasis on treadlife than the factory tire.  Sad, really…

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I just took delivery of a base model 5 spd. GT coupe several days ago and the only reason I chose it was the ridiculously low lease payment of $232 for 36 mos w/ zero down. I have only driven it about 150 miles in a MI winter so can’t comment on the handling. I do like the ride quality and the car overall at this point but it definitely needs a 6 spd trans. In city traffic the 5 spd. is really a four spd. as 5th gear is strictly an overdrive gear. This car without question needs an independent rear suspension, to me it’s ridiculous they’re still using a live rear axle. The thing I find most annoying is the exhaust noise, I know others find this a desirable feature but IMO it should be an option. As far as the 2010 styling it is my understanding that every panel except the roof is new yet to the untrained eye it looks no different than the previous model. Ford IMO made a big mistake in not substantially changing the appearance with basically all new sheet metal. They did the same thing with the previous generation XJ 8 and we all know how that turned out saleswise. The market for a Mustang for the most part is you either like it or you don’t because of the type of car it is but it certainly isn’t IMO competitive with the new Camaro in any aspect, styling, interior, ride quality and for the time being power. Ford needs to completely redo the Mustang and figure out that they’ve taken the current retro styling about as far as they can. Not that it’s not attractive just that it’s at this point outdated and completely blown away by the new Camaro. No doubt that explains current Mustang and Camaro sales numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      detlump

      That is a nice lease deal, I will have to look into that.  Any hints on where in SE MI?

    • 0 avatar
      Madlock

      In styling terms, the only competition Camaro holds water with is HotWheels. And in terms of interior material quality and fit and finish, there’s simply no comparison. I’ve never seen a vehicle so ridiculously configured than Camaro, nor one as cheaply put together, IRS be damned.

  • avatar
    Ion

    after having owned and tried to use one as a DD, I can never consider a convertible to be a performance car. Yes convertibles usually are baised off of “sporty” cars (Mustang, Z, Celica, Miata, etc) but the lack of a solid roof takes away so much from the car that you really can’t use them for anything more than a fun in the sun driver.

    Wrangler excluding of coarse.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Really?  You don’t consider any of the following to be performance cars?

      Ferrari Testa Rossa
      Ferrari 330 P
      Jaguar D Type
      Lotus 11

      Or maybe you mean modern performance cars, like:

      Caterham R500
      Ariel Atom
      Lotus Elise
      Porsche Carrera GT
      Ferrari F50

      And those are off the top of my head.  I guess I don’t understand your comment. Many classic sports and supercars were convertibles from bottom to open top.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion


      None of those are better than a comparable hardtop. A convertible requires too much chassis bracing to maintain simple structural integrity. There’s a reason race spec cars are either hardtops or they don’t have doors cut out. Also the Carrera Gt is more of a targa top and the Atom isn’t more than a frame it doesn’t have doors.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      While it is very true that the Mustang coupe has great side and rearward visibility compared to the Camaro which is a use the rearview mirrors only vehicle it’s not a point that makes much difference to potential buyers. I don’t think the current Camaro sales volumes are all pent up demand either. I think the Camaro sales are a combination of pent up demand and buyers in this segment that like the fresh Camaro appearance which is why Ford needs to completely redesign the Mustang. Especially in this segment where function is compromised by styling entirely styling is what sells. The Mustang has simply looked like the same car for too long. Any vehicle needs to be restyled on a regular cycle to continue its sales momentum and in this segment where styling is the number one purchase factor it is THE crucial differentiator. In 2011 with the higher output engines the majority of purchasers will be hard core Mustang buyers rather than those considering the Camaro. To compete with the Camaro Ford must completely restyle the Mustang.

  • avatar
    26theone

    Yeah I dont think its the bean counters holding this car back.  I dont think Ford can build a BMW quality car at any price, just dont think they have the engineering to put it together.  And I like the Mustang!  But as has been noted this car needs to be completely redone.  Look at the quality of the 370Z, or the Audi A5, or Infinity G37 the Mustang is not even in the ballpark.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      Based on my ownership experiences I highly disagree that Ford can’t build quality cars at any price. To the contrary they do build quality cars in all the price ranges they offer. That is also a proven fact by independent third party assessments.
       
      I also don’t think the typical Mustang/Camaro/Challenger buyer even considers the 370Z, A5 or G37. You’re talking apples to oranges. I’m sure Ford could produce a Mustang that would compare to those cars but I’m thinking they may well alienate their current owner base if they did. In all the years the Z and Mustang have both been on the market at the same time Ford has sold many, many more Mustangs than Datsun/Nissan has sold Z cars.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      If Ford was going to price a car in BMW territory, it could easily engineer and build it to equal or better standards than BMW.  Ford sells far far more vehicle than BMW does, and likely has a R&D department many times the size and with many times the budget of BMWs.
       
      The A5 and G37 are both luxury cars, so the Mustang isn’t even supposed to compete with them.   As far as the 370Z goes, the Mustang is every bit just as high quality of a car.
       
      In almost any metric, interior quality, reliability, horsepower/torque, features, ergonomics, styling, etc, the Mustang is just as good if not better than the 370Z.  Yes, the 370Z has a more modern rear suspension setup and probably hugs the corners better, but the Mustang has a back seat and isn’t designed to be a hard core sports car, more of a stylish coupe with plenty of power than can be plenty sporty when the driver asks for it.   Add to this that the 370Z convertible starts at roughly $4,500 more than the Mustang GT convertible, and that the coming 2011 Mustang V6 convertible will have nearly as much horsepower as the 370Z, but will be priced about $10,000 less, and the Mustang comes out as quite the value.
       
      The car doesn’t need to be comletely redone, as what is there works, and works well.  The current V8 has more power than anyone needs, and the upcoming bump is more to shut up the Camaro fans than anything else.  The current V6 does need to go, and thankfully the 3.7 liter going in next year is a great motor all around.  Compared to the Camaro the interior is nicer and higher quality, ergonomics are better, all of the gauges are in front of the driver as opposed to some odd little cluster down by the shifter, and the visibility is worlds improved – you don’t have useless rear windows or pieces of fender flare blocking your line of sight in your mirrors.
       
      Yes, the Camaro is selling better now, but that is being fueled by years of pent up demand from the Camaro faithful, and the fact that GM currently does have more powerful engines vs. Ford’s offerings.  Look at sales of the two models this time next year and see the tables turned.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Madlock

      You couldn’t be more wrong. Ford Europe, left until now up to their own devices, is very well-known for designing some of the very best driving dynamics available and working miracles with balancing ride comfort and handling.

      I do think that certain nostalgic and cultural notions surrounding Mustang keep Ford from viewing it as objectively as would be most beneficial to it. For example, failing to offer a true IRS, but offering enough additional and expensive content that more than makes-up any difference once it hits the sticker.

      The good news is that the new economy has shaken things up to such an extent that it’s the best-qualified and most willing-to-spend customers who are buying, and average transaction prices are rising as a result. This bodes well for Ford to not-so-much raise the bar, but perhaps the floor.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Ion,
    Please go drive an S2000.

     
     

    • 0 avatar
      DogoftheYear

      “If Ford was going to price a car in BMW territory, it could easily engineer and build it to equal or better standards than BMW.”

      I don’t even know where to begin to respond to this.  I would begin by directing your attention to the current state of affairs at GM – you know that reaaally large car company with a big R&D budget.

  • avatar
    v65magnafan1

    1965?  I’m sure I saw the same speedometer numbers in my dad’s 1952 Mainline wagon. I’m pretty sure those graphics were in his 1949 Woody, also.

    In fact, looking at NulloModo’s graphic gave me a brain warp. Wow. A trip through time.

  • avatar
    Don Gammill

    Thanks for the comments guys.  I knew this review would kick up just this type of discussion (i.e. what, exactly, is the Mustang’s place in the market in 2010?); that’s why I started the review off by talking about how it was “situated.”  I think it’s a more difficult question than it first appears to be.  To answer some questions (in no particular order):
     
    The SYNC/nav system/back-up cam-equipped car I drove was loaded to the gills with every available option except the 3.55 or 3.73 rear gears.  It stickered for just a tick over 42 large, which is only three thousand less than an entry-level 328i convertible and only about $850 less than an Audi TT with the optional S-Line Sport Package.
     
    There’s no mention of the 2011 updates because, when I wrote this piece, none of the 2011 details had come out yet.  In fact, if I’m not mistaken, the all-new V6/100 horse bump news hit the Net after I submitted the review.
     
    Regarding “other similarly-priced convertibles”…well, that’s a mess, isn’t it?  I guess Michael et al are right in saying that there aren’t any 300-horsepower, four-seat, $40,000-dollar convertibles to compare the 2010 Mustang GT to, but that wasn’t my criteria for saying that.
     
    Growing up in the car business, I saw a general pattern amongst convertible buyers:  it seemed as though their collective decision-making model primarily involved fun, with style, prestige, and finally, a modicum of utility also being important factors.  Performance was a factor, too, but as long as it was somewhat class-competitive, it typically took a back seat to the other priorities (remember, I’m talking about most convertible buyers – not hard core gearheads).  As the final decision was usually dictated by how much of the above a typical convertible buyer could afford, it eventually came down to price.
     
    Therefore, I simply looked at all low-40′s convertibles – A5, TT, 135i, 370Z, G37, IS250  (in whichever trim levels that would keep them at the low-40′s level) – when making that statement.  Maybe that’s not “apples-to-apples” enough for some folks (and I can see your argument there), but for me, it came down to “which apples are really important?”.
     
    As far as Ford’s ability to engineer cars in various segments to the same degree of excellence as BMW, I would offer the ill-fated Lincoln LS as proof – more or less – that they can.  The problem, I think, involves perception and marketing:  In that case, Ford went with the “5-Series at 2/3 the price” strategy because, regardless of how good it was, they probably didn’t think that a costlier, much-better-engineered “5-Series at 7/8 the price” would sell to folks who equated “Lincoln” with “Town Car.”  Relating to the Mustang, I think this goes back to “what a Mustang is” and “what a Mustang is supposed to be,” two concepts that Ford seems happy to continually cast in the broadest terms possible.
     
    Some things about the Mustang are concrete, though, and as far as me casting it as a “sports car” in the review (based, I’m guessing, on my disappointment with the car’s lackluster acceleration), I would offer the fact that a car’s contemporary reputation is something a potential buyer carries with him/her when he/she takes it for a test drive.  For those who have been reading about (and/or experiencing) ’05 and newer Mustang GT’s that reel off 0-60 times in the low-to-mid five-second range….well…those folks would be seriously disappointed after driving the car I drove.  I’m sure most Mustang GT reviews involve press cars enlivened by the performance axle ratio and a manual transmission, but regardless, to some extent, a consumer’s perception is his/her reality…and there’s a big problem when cars don’t meet an educated consumer’s realistic expectations.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If your test car was that slow it almost makes me wonder if it had something wrong with it.
       
      I’d kind of like to see you do a “take two” review of a manual transmission GT with one of the performance axles (or even a “track pack” version, if you can find one).

    • 0 avatar
      PaulieWalnut

      Dunno when you submitted the review but the 2011 v6 information came out on November 30th.
      http://jalopnik.com/5408309/2011-ford-mustang-gets-new-305-hp-v6-30-mpg

  • avatar
    Boff

    For everyone that whines that the Mustang is unrefined, has a crummy interior, does not have IRS, is too retro, is too costly, blah blah blah blah blah, I would just remind them that the American consumer had a chance to make a statement by buying the Pontiac GTO in numbers. We all know how that experiment turned out.
    Identifying a competitive set for the Mustang is as pointless as debating whether or not it is a sports car or whether BMW intenders cross-shop it. The Mustang is singular in the marketplace. Always has been. Still is. Maybe always will be.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    I’ve owned two Mustangs, a ’67 coupe and a ’97 convertible GT. Not much changed in 30 years. Ford makes nice trucks, and these two Mustangs were the nicest, most beautiful Ford trucks I ever owned. At the price of the ’97, for a few beans extra I could have had a nice used 328i – which is what I eventually had. Those that talk about a Mustang 4.6l blowing the doors off a Bimmer haven’t spent a lot of time in either vehicle. The extra finesse and engineering of a BMW goes a long way to instilling a level of confidence that the Mustang just can’t meet. I suppose the Mustang might be a match for a BMW 3 series, if you’re suicidal – because that is the only condition I could imagine wanting to push the finicky, twitchy pony to it’s limits. A e36 BMW at top speed, on the other hand, feels confident, secure, and planted. Let’s not even get into discussions of * maneuvering* at speeds that fast in the two different cars.  Driving a ’97 Mustang felt like I was *fighting* a run-away… well… Mustang. It was like a wild horse that tended to want to go where it would, not where I wanted it to go. The e36 Bimmer on the other hand was far more compliant, and therefore, confidence inspiring. When we move on to the “Fun Factor”, fighting with the Ford tractor compared to piloting the Bimmer was no competition at all. A clutch as heavy as a full sized truck, a 5 speed with a throw as long as the aforementioned tractor, and a hippity-skippity live rear axel all combined for a tiring, frustrating, and uninspiring ride. Which is exactly what this article is pointing out. At the price point that you can get a loaded Mustang, most buyers can make the stretch to something with a well engineered German pedigree, and most buyers will be more satisfied paying the extra cash and doing so.  If you can make the stretch and buy a new Mustang, save yourself the misery and buy yourself a used Bimmer or Audi. At this price range, I can’t believe Ford is still trying to pass off a car with a live-rear axle as a sport car.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean23

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Bimmer was always considered a “Luxury” Sports Car, not meant for plebs like me. The Mustang was always a “Poor-man’s” Sports Car, never to be in the same league as the BMW. I do find it interesting that we continue to argue them both together, which only adds to the Mustang’s prestige.

    • 0 avatar
      twonius

      I don’t know how much of a poor-mans car the Mustang is anymore. Even a GT hardtop with a few options quickly closes in on 30k. I remember cross shopping these when I graduated with my BSME and thinking that was a little above my pay grade. And I was definitely making above the national median wage.

  • avatar

    All the new Mustangs suffer from the same problems. Poor aerodynamics, poor suspension, and a so so auto transmission. As Rousch and Shelby have already discovered, adding more horsepower does not overcome the poor performance of the Mustangs. They tend to be the slowest muscle cars made in the world!!!

    The Nissan 370Z blows most of the Mustangs made today in the weeds. Ford will need to address these issues if they hope to keep up with Chevy and their plans for a Z28. Even the newly released information on the 400+HP motor for the Mustang will not be enough to keep up with the SS, much less the Z28.

    I am not particular to Ford, Chevy, or Chrysler, but Ford has really been asleep at the wheel and do not seem to be willing to spend the money to fix the Mustang.

  • avatar
    thesal

    I think when you’re buying into a mustang, you’re buying into Retro…this goes for pretty much all of em. I bought an 03 GT, for one simple reason, you can’t get a faster RWD price for the price ($12k CDN). Drives like vintage, skittish rear end, burbles, rattles, shakes, clunky gearbox, heavy clutch, torquey V8. If you want that raw unfiltered experience, it’s hard to beat.  And if you don’t want to beat the crap out of it, put it in 4th or 5th and idle all over the place.

    If you want a refined track instrument or a no-compromises DD, I would stay away…hehe. This coming from a guy who uses his Mustang as both. The new ones just get heavier, drove a 2010 track pack GT 5spd…don’t think I would upgrade yet. It’s a lot number than mine and didn’t feel particularly faster.

  • avatar
    detlump

    I like my 08 Gt convertible 5 speed.  No BMW or Audi sounds like it.  And I know if I keep it long term, the aftermarket will be there, and any shop can work on it.  German auto parts get scarce and crazy-expensive over time.  It’s good to lease one, then dump it before the warranty ends.   BMWs used to look good, can’t like the Bangle origami look.  Plus iDrive.  I just want simple controls.  Less to break.  I can’t even imagine the cost of repairing a quattro system when an Audi hits 100K or more. Yikes. Pretty simple to order up a new Mustang tranny or any other part from catalogs.
    The Camaro looks OK, but is hard to see out of, worse than a Magnum.  Trunk opening is terrible.  Still no convertible.  Same with Challenger.  Looks cool, but comes with Chrysler reliability(!).  Will they be like Intrepids are now? No AC, electronics failing, etc? Plus I don’t have faith in Fiat to save the day.
    At the end of the day nothing sounds like an American V8 (made in Canada).

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Were the original formula still in place, today’s Mustang would be an el cheapo sport compact built atop a Focus platform, and everyone’s expectations would be much, much lower.
    The reviled Mustang II adhered to that formula, being Pinto-based. What a pile of excrement that car looked like.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Slotting in the new 305hp 3.7 V6 into the base Mustang is a good strategy for Ford’s fleet compliance with CAFE regs. More than a few folks who would’ve opted for the 412hp V8 might now be satisfied with the 30mpg highway V6 Premium.
    I predict a marked increase in the V6/V8 sales split; more so, if the V8 gets hit by the gas guzzler tax.  Also, with the 412hp rated 5.0 V8, Ford can command more of a premium for this motor, pricing it closer to the Camaro SS.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Does anybody here know if the manual transmission is going to grow an extra gear next year?  I’d really like to have either the V6 or V8 with a 6 speed manual.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The biggest problem I have with the new 2010 Stang is the massive overly large center console which Ford seems ot be installing in everything these days including the new Taurus. It eats what little leg room was available before and I feel really confined in the drivers seat of this car with both my left leg smashed up against the door and my right up against the huge console. Makes for a very hemmed in clausterphobic feel that I could never live with on a day to day basis.

    • 0 avatar
      Beta Blocker

      ponchoman49 …. The biggest problem I have with the new 2010 Stang is the massive overly large center console …..
      I bought a new Mazda 6 several months ago and the overly large center console and its impact on leg room is the one thing about the car’s interior ergonomics that I have truly come to despise.
      I said as much on the Mazda user survey, in addition to saying that the car cries out for a six-speed manual transmission as an option for its V6 engine.
      The car is working out very well in most other respects, but if I still own this car after its warranty has run out, I will give serious consideration to cutting the left-forward section of the console out and moving the affected buttons and switches elsewhere.
      I feel that strongly about it.   If you drive a car 100 miles a day like I do, this kind of thing is a real problem.

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    My daughter (6) begged for, and got, one of those mini electric versions of a 2010 Mustang convertible for Christmas.  She sat in it all morning.  Ate breakfast in it.  Opened her other presents in it.  Later she took it outside and enjoyed the marvels of RWD, plastic wheels, and loose gravel.  The smile on her face while she spins the rear wheels is pure joy.

    In the end though, hers is pink, plastic, covered in barbie decals, and goes no more than 5-7 mph or so.  However, I get the feeling hers is better than this one.  At least it’s not trying to be something it’s not (it only cost $200 – if it were priced like a gocart we’d have problems). 

  • avatar
    manny

    I don’t think you can compare the 3 series and the Mustangs, they’re just too different.  Their purpose is also different.  The problem with the Mustang is that it’s playing with a price point where there are offerings that have more performance, luxury and quality. Seriously 40K plus……..for a Mustang!?  Id just save a bit more and get an LT1 trimmed Vette or a G37S, I just don’t see the value on this car.

  • avatar
    Jouster

    I have to say guys that I enjoyed the 2010 Mustang Convertible Review and subsequent comments so much, that I joined up just to Post a ‘Thank You’ for a real fun read!
    Cheers,


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