Mustang GT Revisited Review

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
mustang gt revisited review

The recipe for the original Ford Mustang was simple enough: a low price car with a trim, athletic body wearing the same sort of sexy, svelte sheetmetal of a contemporaneous European sports coupe. If you park a ’07 Ford Mustang GT next to its 1960’s counterpart, it’s clear that Ford missed the point by over two hundred pounds. But don't think of this retro-mobile as just another FoMoCo bloated barge; it's slim by Gran Torino standards. Think of the Mustang GT as a portly pastiche of pony cars past, present and yes, future.

For readers who remember life pre-SUV, the automobile business used to concern itself with a little something called aerodynamic design. Like the equally self-conscious Chrysler 300C, the latest Mustang's tall front fascia cheats the wind with all the finesse of a jackhammer cutting a stick of butter. One look at the truck-friendly side mirrors and it’s obvious that Ford didn’t give their Mustang DNA design a reality check.

Nor, for that matter, did Dearborn's darlings put the 'Stang on a much-needed low-carb diet. Sure, the Mustang still has tasty long hood/short deck proportions. But its obese dimensions make the grille-mounted Pony emblem a half-truth; the Budweiser Clydesdales’ harnesses would make a more fitting setting for such noble ornamentation.

Who wants a vehicle that looks like its predecessors yet displays none of their refinement (such as it was) or overall good taste? Plenty of people! And yet I can’t help but find details like the Mustang's plastichrome "gas cap" deeply offensive. Its non-functionality is proof that retro design isn't a warm reminder of past greatness; it’s de-evolution.

Aside from the upper half of the Mustang’s dash, the same desecration lies within. Hard-molded plastics and dull, flat black panels are at every corner, every turn. Options like the [new for ‘07’] stitched vinyl dash top, Technicolor gauge cluster and fake aluminum trimmings are quite dandy by themselves. Slapped on the Mustang's low-rent interior, they’re like a dorky kid dating the head cheerleader.

While the Mustang GT’s seat comfort and ergonomics are respectable, it’s clear from the intrusive center stack, shotgun-sized parking brake handle, steroid-fed speaker grilles and limited rear visibility that Ford's latest Pony Car desperately needs a personal trainer.

Under all that flab, the Mustang GT still delivers the goods. Soak up the Shaker 1000 stereo's clear and competent frequency responses (for those who care) and its prodigious twin-driver subwoofer enclosure (for those who don't). Then again, all necessary aural pleasures come from the Mustang GT’s 4.6-liter, eight-pot underhood boombox. Like the sound of Frank Bullitt's fastback on your home theater? It sounds even better underfoot.

With 320 lb-ft of twist and 300 horses in the corral, effortless acceleration is always on tap. The accurate shifter has longer throws than the buzz-cut handle implies, but it’s up to the task of full throttle power shifting. Drag Racing R Us.

The ‘Stang’s ride is firm but choppy; a genuine disappointment considering the longish 107 inch wheelbase. For a large coupe, the Mustang behaves like a small hatchback. Every disturbance the rear tires encounter (like gravel) ricochets directly into the passenger compartment. It’s an unwelcome throwback to a simpler, stupider time.

True to Pony Car form, the GT's handling places fun over finesse. The chassis serves-up an ideal balance between understeer safety and power-on oversteer hoonery. Ear-to-ear grins are just a mid-corner throttle stomp away. The GT’s live-axle suspension hugs the road better than previous ponies– far better than it ought to– while giving up none of its, um, durability.

While wheel spin is cool, enough is enough; even part throttle application saps momentum. There simply isn't enough tire to go with the modest suspension, powertrain advancements and extra weight. But even the right rubber can’t cure the uninformative turn-in due to the Mustang's extra mass. What’s worse (for the GT’s target market), the 235mm all-seasons look small against the GT’s bulky sheetmetal.

Ford has announced that this self-same chassis will provide the foundation for style-conscious sedans aimed at people who normally avoid Ford products like the plague. So the Mustang is now the official change agent for a lackluster FoMoCo. But its heft makes an upscale, quasi-lux, two portal vehicle (i.e. Mercury Cougar) completely unnecessary. Before it spawns, the Mustang must die(t).

Before the loyalists reach for their guns, let me add that I've always adored the Mustang's charms and shortcomings. Factoring in the modest asking price– $29k for a nicely loaded example– you can’t deny the fact that the Ford Mustang GT is a terrific performance car value. But this generation's extra bulk, blunt force trauma facade, choppy ride, road noise and dulled driving dynamics combine to make a vehicle no better than its 25-year-old, Fairmont-based predecessor. It’s true, and it ain’t pretty. At least not to me.

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  • Stanger Stanger on Sep 07, 2009

    Geez....pretty harsh article. I love the new mustangs...own a 2000....I think the writer misses the whole point of why those who want one buy one.

  • JohnSmithFL JohnSmithFL on Sep 09, 2017

    This particular Stang GT may not amaze me, but I dig Ford Mustangs in general. But one thing that annoys me is the wind noise. It was overwhelming until I mounted a Windblox windstop. Except for that drawback, Mustangs are cool rides.

  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"