Review: 2011 Ford Mustang V6

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
review 2011 ford mustang v6

“Hey there!”

“Excuse me?”

“Ain’t that one of them Ay-cord koops?”

“Why, yes it is. Aren’t you sporting the hairstyle commonly referred to as a ‘mullet’?”

“I sure am! Good enough for Brian Bosworth, it’s good enough for me. Is that Ay-cord fast?”

“It has 271 horsepower.”

“Well, shucks! Mah Mustang here done got Three. Oh. Five. Guess it’s faster, cause I don’t think it weighs more than a touch ahead of what you got.”

“Well, the Accord is also rated for twenty-eight miles per gallon on the highway. Much better than that Mustang. It’s important to conserve the planet’s resources.”

“Aw, hell. Guess you’re right. I mean, I’m only GITTIN’ THIRTY-ONE! YEE HAA!” And we close with the sound of a Flat Rock-fashioned burnout. End scene.

Forget the Challenger V-6. It’s heavy, crippled by an antiquated transmission, and severely down on power. And forget the Camaro V-6; the car once

championed as the musclecar for the smart set looks distinctly porky at nearly four hundred pounds above the Mustang’s curb weight of 3,459. Ford’s after bigger game, and while the Accord Coupe was mentioned early and often during the media briefing, I suspect the real target of this stalking horse is the Hyundai Genesis.

The Genesis has proven to be rather popular with young people who don’t much care for the eight-cylinder engine and its attendant social baggage. It’s the ponycar for the twenty-first century, as important to some people as the original Mustang was in 1964. Except, of course, for the fact that this new Mustang is superior in virtually every respect, from interior quality to high-speed handling.

Oh, yes. I would disappoint the fine readers of TTAC if I didn’t run out to America’s mean streets for a bit of the old ultraviolence, and I do not mean to disappoint. I aim to misbehave. And I certainly did, aided by a six-speed manual, a 7000-rpm redline, and a limited-slip differential.

The results were more than surprising. After forty-plus years of being a consolation prize, the six-cylinder Mustang has finally found its voice. No, it’s not a charming engine, at least not compared to the bellowing five-liter with which it will share showroom-floor space, but it revs with abandon and chirps the rear wheels in third gear. Triple digits are less than fourteen seconds away at any moment.

When it’s time to slow the car, I’d recommend using your time machine and going back in time to choose the Performance Pack, which adds the suspension and brake pads from last years’s Mustang GT Track Pack. No car at this price level ($22,995, since you asked) will have brakes that are truly good enough. If you want twenty fade-free laps of VIR, I’d suggest purchasing a Boxster 2.7. Just be careful when you see the Mustang behind you on the long back straight., because you won’t have the pull to hold it off.

Through the infamous canyon roads surrounding Los Angeles, I regularly stretched out my perception and ran this Civic-priced Mustang at a pace traditionally reserved for the likes of BMW’s 335i. It’s plenty fast, and the light nose makes it a subtle handler. Ford’s introduced EPAS this year in the Mustang, and while some of the wannabes in the press will no doubt criticize the feel at the wheel, there’s enough information to do fast work.

Through undulating high-speed sweepers, I identified the pony’s biggest problem: lack of rebound damping. It’s so damned fast, and the front end bites so well, that it’s possible to really unsettle the rear and send it skyward. It’s not the fault of the axle, because the five-liter doesn’t suffer from the same issue. Come to think of it, the Performance Package car, which I couldn’t drive under identical conditions, might not have the problem

either. On the positive side, the car rides well enough.

To get the most from your Mustang, you will want to punch the option chads until you clear the $30,000 mark. Doing that will obtain such goodies as Bimmer-style brown leather seating, a full aluminum interior which would probably cost five grand in a 911, and Ford’s sublime SYNC system. Thirty Gs for a six-cylinder Mustang? It sounds crazy, but the Hyundai isn’t much cheaper, and a similarly equipped Camaro actually costs more.

This car is not everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s ridiculous to think that the emotional needs of Accord Coupe buyers can be met by a snorting pony. Still, for those willing to look beyond the stereotypes, the Mustang is rapid, economical, and amusing to drive. It’s worth a look for almost any $25,000 import intender out there. If your neighbors worry that you’ve become Joe Dirt, show ‘em the EPA sticker and explain that you’ve become, ahem, Al Green.

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2 of 136 comments
  • HollowScar HollowScar on Aug 24, 2010

    I think Ford has been strong with good tactics. It will survive. When it comes to the 2005 Mustang, it was a mini revolution because it attracted buyers who were more into looks, than performance. They stopped the Cobra version, and kept the puny V6 version. They did not have to make significant changes in power until the Camaro came out. Remember that the Camaro already made appearance in a big blockbuster movie, and seemed to be a better looker than the Mustang which lost its uniqueness due to huge number of cars on the road. The Camaro looked more mean, and certainly came with a lot of power back then. Ford immediately took action. However, the Camaro had several problems. Too many blind spots, cave like interior, interior quality, and so forth made it seem like a car of appeal, but not a car of value. Compared to the new Mustang, Camaro need heavy refining to do. My vote is still for the VW GTi.

  • Onlyrock Onlyrock on Nov 05, 2011

    This is my favorite V6 Mustang review. AND NOT just because of the awesome Clockwork Orange Reference ("America’s mean streets for a bit of the old ultraviolence"). I Can't believe nobody else has picked up on that.

  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂