The Truth About Cars » ford mustang v6 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:30:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » ford mustang v6 Ur-Turn: Confessions of a V6 Muscle Car Owner Tue, 03 Sep 2013 15:58:09 +0000 IMG_3693-550x366

TTAC reader Richard Murdocco submits his tale of doing the unthinkable…willingly buying a V6 muscle car. While TTAC has been a proponent of the most recent V6 Mustang, few are so enlightened to its performance potential.

It was early 2011, and my last car, a 2003 Infiniti I30, became intimate with a Dodge minivan. I was just starting out my professional career, and I needed a car. Weeks prior I walked the lot of a Ford dealer on Long Island, and saw it there…a 2011 Kona Blue Ford Mustang, with the tech package, brown saddle leather seats and white stripes down the rocker panels. It was beautiful. It is a V6… *Gasp!*

I read the reviews before going shopping- despite the non-muscle car reputation of a V6 Mustang, everything on paper told me that Ford’s latest offering was nasty. A game changer. The 3.7 engine produces 305 horsepower, 280 pound-feet of torque and gets around 30 mpg on the highway (I’ve found that with my driving, it’s roughly 20-25…). Not bad for a car that starts around $23,000.

There are two questions that transcend the big three brands you get when you buy a Pony Car – “Bro…is it a V8?” and it’s follow up “It’s a manual right?”.  Answer no to either (or God forbid both) and the quizzical looks start. “Why wouldn’t you buy a V8? Why wouldn’t you buy a manual? Ugh!”  For a moment, you feel a mix of shame and regret. While these questions run rampant on car forums and sites such as this, thanks to innovations and radical advances in engine performance, the question isn’t as relevant as it used to be.

Despite what anyone says, today’s V6 muscle cars are the real deal.

Each year, Car and Driver conducts their annual Lightning Lap, which tests all sorts of sports cars, from the Golf GTi to Lamborghini’s, around Virginia International Speedway. At the time of my purchase, my V6 Mustang was tossed around the track with cars faster, slower, and it’s peers. Here is where things get impressive-

The V6 Mustang, once considered a rental-fleet joke, posted a time of 3 minutes, 12.5 seconds. That lap time beat V8 muscle cars: Dodge Charger SRT 8 (3:18.2), Challenger SRT8 (3:16), Rally legends Subaru WRX STi (3.13.8) and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR (3.13.3), and a variety of other impressive contenders: BMW 335is (3.13.8), Lotus Elise SC (3:16.6), Lexus IS F (3:14), and the 2010 Mustang GT 3:13.3 (Since then, the latest iteration of the Mustang GT with the 5.0 Coyote power plant beat the V6, posting an impressive 3:08 lap time).

What does all of this mean? One, we’re experiencing a renaissance of the American muscle car- enjoy it while it lasts. Two, most people can get their hands on a pony car that is more than enough for their everyday needs at an approachable price.

In fact, with 305 horsepower, a V6 Mustang is now more powerful than 90% of all of the

Mustangs ever produced. For the sake of perspective, a 1969 Shelby GT-350 produces 290 horsepower, the Fox-bodied SVR Cobra produced 235 horsepower, the 1995 Cobra R had 300 horses, and the last generation of the Mustang GT, produced from 2005 to 2010, had 300 horsepower. It’s incredible that such performance from the big three domestic auto makers is available with upwards of 250 horsepower+ for entry-level pricing. You can now essentially buy a V6 with the performance of yesteryear’s V8 for cheap, and get it all in a safer, lighter better handling package. And the trend is continuing. Each year power specs improve and handling capability increases across the industry. It is a great time to be an auto enthusiast, regardless of how many track days you partake in or how large your car collection is.

That being said, it’s going to be exciting see how today’s Pony cars evolve in the coming years. With each generation’s V8’s dominating the conversation, their V6 little brothers are becoming contenders in their own class.

The real winners here are the consumers. Poor us- having to choose between an impressive V6 or a monstrous V8…what a terrible decision to have to make.

My Mustang at Sunset on Long Island

My Mustang at Sunset on Long Island

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Capsule Review: 2012 Ford Mustang V6 Tue, 06 Nov 2012 14:00:37 +0000

It’s hard for some people to accept change, regardless of the facts on the ground. The revised Mustang V6 with the 3.7L engine had been out for almost two years before I drove it; I avoided it only out of stupidity and prejudice, the reason that most “car guys” write off perfectly good vehicles that don’t fit their pre-conceived notion of what makes a good car or fits their image. What a terrible mistake I made.

The current Mustang V6 has as much in common with the secretary-spec ‘Stangs of the past as a Big Mac does with a filet from Morton’s.   We all know the specs by now; 305 horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual and a 0-60 time just the wrong side of 5 seconds. This one has the LSD rear end and Recaro seats, but sadly, no Brembos. That’s about as quick as a 2005-era Mustang GT with the 4.6L V8.

The 3.7L V6 isn’t melodious or soul stirring (and really, what V6 is?) – and the soundtrack is a little more 370Z than 302 – but there’s plenty of power available for everyday situations. The glorified boat anchor known as the 4.0L would never be considered a joyful experience in any galaxy, and certainly didn’t have the muscle to hustle the previous V6 ‘Stangs with the kind of pace possessed by the new one.

The real joy isn’t so much power or character of the engine, but what it allows the rest of the car to achieve. Set fairly far back in the engine bay, the lighter V6 gives the car a nimbleness not see in other Mustangs. One drive reveals a lighter nose, and a more “flickable” nature that makes the Mustang V6 a joy in its own right when it comes to corners. No, it will never be a lithe little rollerskate like a Toyobaru, but the conventional wisdom that the V6 ‘Stang is a plodding troglodyte is patently false.

On the other hand, the V6 is not the $19,995 cure-for-all-ills that its relentless advocates make it out to be. For one, the model you see above, which still lacks the Brembos needed for track work, comes in at about $27,000. The interior, without the touch-screen version of SYNC, is decidedly spartan. Someone who has grown up with Japanese cars, such as myself, with find the kinesthetics of the car to be strange; it doesn’t steer or ‘feel’ like what we’re used to, and the view out the hood, with the long, wide, snout will seem utterly alien.

Of course, there was a great big question mark when it came to the matter of exhaust noise. How can something so trivial and intangible matter so much? For myself and many others, the V8 rumble is integral to the Mustang experience. As sharp and aggressive as the six sounds the whole “I coulda had a V8!” notion lingers in the air like the world’s most unfortunate compromise. It is petty and capricious to say so, but a V6, while acceptable and welcome in something like a Hyundai Genesis Coupe, will never satisfy me in a pony car.

With that said, it would be unfair to knock the V6 Mustang for not making the right noise. Everything else; the power, the handling and certainly the price, is on point. It looks, feels and performs every bit like a real Mustang, even it doesn’t quite sound right. It’s absurd to think that such a capable car is being relegated to rental car lots across the country.

If the base V6 Mustang is this good, it’s hard to imagine what the future holds; this car with an Ecoboost would be formidable, like a Grand National with the wrong badge. It may not make the right rumble, but as a product of the import tuner heydey, wastegates and spooling noises do it for me all the same.


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Of Virtuous V6s And Crappy Raptors Wed, 30 May 2012 18:08:42 +0000

For someone who prides himself on slaughtering the sacred cows of automotive journalism, such as the irrational infatuation with the CTS-V Wagon, it was about time that I got a taste of my own medicine. The Ford Mustang V6 ended up being the bitter pill that finally bitch slapped by bloated, post-adolescent head back down to normal proportions. But just as I had swallowed the last bit of humble pie, there came another vehicle that led me to question the received wisdom propagated by enthusiast publications.

In my mind, the V6 Mustang carried an inexoribale stigma of poor moral character, prior credit delinquencies and even borderline femininity. One buys a Mustang for the booming, belligerent V8 engine. A V6, no matter how good, would never be right, and the failure of the SVO edition (yes, I know it’s a turbocharged 4-cylinder) despite its dynamic superiority was, in my mind, vindication of my idea that all Mustangs must have 8 cylinders.

Not even the critical acclaim for the 305 horsepower 2011 Mustang V6 was enough to sway me. Like a stubborn, pig-headed Car Lounge regular convinced of the inferiority of “fail-wheel drive”, I firmly supported V8 Mustang hegemony, turning down V6 Mustang press cars and doing whatever I could to book myself into the Boss 302 or Shelby GT500 versions. It was Davey G. Johnson of Autoweek who first put me on to the fact that the V6 Mustang was worth driving. “It’s great,” he said in between drags of American Spirits. “It’s lighter, there’s less weight over the front wheels, it’s still fast. It’s what I’d buy if I wanted a new ‘Stang.”

I couldn’t believe that a grown man, an auto enthusiast no less, would profess his admiration for what I thought of as mere fodder for administrative assistants and the Hertz Fort Lauderdale rental lot. I let him know as much, but Davey wasn’t having any of it.

“Dude, you’re like 7 years old. You don’t even remember when the V6 Mustang really was a secretary’s car. Yeah, the Boss is cool, but I’m telling you, the V6 is awesome.” Fast forward 7 months and I’ve been bugging the Ford fleet guys for first crack at the Boss and the upcoming 2013 Shelby GT500. I’ve just sold my Miata and my first press car since is a Mustang. A V6 Mustang. I’m hardly petulant or jaded enough to complain about my disappointment in getting a free car for a week, but I felt a certain twinge of irony when i thought about the idea of my nimble, flickable elementally pure Miata being replaced by the Mustang Low T edition – all of the weight and heft of the Ford ponycars, none of the ragining masculine essence that makes them so anti-social and fun.

This one was different. Although it conspicuously lacked the 5.0 badges that I longed for in a Mustang, it had the wonderful fabric Recaro bucket seats from the Boss. Unlike its track-focused brother, the 6-speed manual was light and crisp, the clutch easy to operate and it still made a burly burble when prodded – it just sounded more 370Z than 351 Windsor. Put the power down in a V8 Mustang, and the back-end bucks and jives, like an adolescent girl performing a racy hip-hop routine in front of her mortified parents. If the V8 is like an out of control Miley Cyrus, the V6 is like Taylor Swift, putting the power down in a demure, dignified manner with minimal histrionics.

As good as the Mustang V6 is, I’d still have to have the V8, no matter how flawed. The wart-laden driving experience (as someone used to Japanese cars, the Mustang’s seat position, vague steering and overall heft are alien to me) and price premium is all negated by the gurgling V8′s note and superior forward thrust. “Coital” is the word to describe the feeling of tearing through the gears in a 5.0 Track Pack, the ultimate street Mustang. The Boss 302 is a bit much for the daily grind. The GT500 just screams “I NEED CIALIS” and the interior looks like a brothel.

On the other hand, there is a V6 powered Ford that is unreservedly better than the much hyped V8, and it only came to light after spending some time with the F-150 SVT Raptor.

The Raptor may be the most hyped American vehicle next to the CTS-V Wagon, but unlike the two-box Caddy, which is admittedly versatile and somewhat practical, the Raptor is a single-purpose vehicle. Once you get past all the hyperbolic copy about blasting through the desert and long-travel Fox shocks, the Raptor really is an utterly miserable vehicle in 99 percent of situations that you encounter behind the wheel. In mixed driving, I got 11.4 mpg as the vaunted chassis and suspension setup did its best to make sure I knew about every frost heave and pavement patch on the road. The 6.2L V8 was full of sound and fury but all did was signify to other drivers that I was a goofy looking show-off with a noisy orange truck. Those who knew better (i.e. use trucks for manual labor jobs) mocked the short bed, and the additional 7 inches of width did not come in hand when navigating the two-lane city streets on my commute to work.

Reconciling the overwhelmingly positive reviews of the Raptor with reality seemed impossible, until I read that almost all of the test drives praising it to high heaven were conducted off-road, whether at a Ford-sponsored press event in a desert locale, or somewhere else sandy and rugged. Living with the car every day outside of those environments made the idea of setting it ablaze for an insurance payout seem favorable. The 26 gallon fuel tank would ensure a fiery death, like a Buddhist Monk protesting Burma’s military junta, and then I’d take the insurance money and buy my favorite truck, an F-150 Ecoboost Platinum. The Platinum may be a truck for someone who comes to the job site for an hour and then heads to the golf course, but it’s far more useful for me to have a cushy, leather-lined SuperCrew than a dune-bashing brotruck considering that the nearest desert is halfway across the country. Up here, the Platinum, generously equipped, is $62,000, while a loaded Raptor is about $65,000. Even a Lariat, at about $49,000, would be fine. The truly rapid acceleration of the Ecoboost combined with the reduced heft and additional creature comforts are right up my alley. The silly posturing and off-road pretensions that go along with the Raptor are not – I’m the kind of person who calls an electrician to change a light bulb. But the F-150, to me, is a Ford product where having the lesser model with a V6 is actually a benefit. But I still want to see a new Mustang SVO, with the 3.5L Ecoboost, so I can do awesome burnouts full of whistling turbos and fluttering wastegates. Maybe I’m still as immature as Davey G suggests?

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