2016 Ford Mustang V6 Convertible Rental Review

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
2016 ford mustang v6 convertible rental review

Ever since I left the city, you, you, you

You and me we just don’t get along

You make me feel like I did you wrong

Going places where you don’t belong

—Drake, “Hotline Bling”

Biloxi, Mississippi is a place where dreams go to die. Sad imitations of Vegas casinos line the coast half-filled with retirees giving away their fixed income, one pull of the lever at a time. Nobody ever wants to be there. You go to Biloxi if you can’t afford to go to Vegas, or if you can’t make time to get down the coast to Tampa Bay. Biloxi was punched directly in the gut by Hurricane Katrina, but nobody ever talks about Biloxi the way they talk about New Orleans. If Biloxi recovered, nobody noticed.

So it was appropriate that when I arrived at the Gulfport/Biloxi airport rental counter, nobody could seem to find my reservation. In my six years of renting a different car every week, that has never happened. Maybe I should have taken it as a sign to just go home, but I didn’t. After I found my reservation number on my app, the frazzled woman behind the counter apologized profusely for the delay, and whispered to me, “I’m going to give you something really nice to make up for the inconvenience.

Oh, no.

You see, I’ve been avoiding Mustangs lately. I have done a wonderful job convincing myself in the last few months that selling my Boss 302 was the smart thing to do — the right thing to do. I’ve even done a good job convincing myself that I don’t want another Mustang when the Fiesta goes to Lease Return Heaven in about 10 months. I’ve come to appreciate front-wheel drive and slight understeer. I have enjoyed having four doors. I like not being afraid of the slightest dusting of snow. I’ve cut my gasoline expenditures by 33 percent. Every intellectual, upper-left-brain thought I have had about my decision to take my talents to a dealership in Manchester, Kentucky, has been a positive one. I broke up with not just my Boss, but with the Mustang in general. It was a painful separation, to be sure, but time has healed all wounds.

So when the keys to a 2016 Mustang V6 Convertible slid their way across the counter to me, I took a deep breath, exhaled fully, and prepared to fight the visceral reaction that I knew was coming my way in the amount of time it would take me to walk to Spot Number 22.

Along with the “TAG APPLIED FOR” plate that might as well say “LICENSE TO EVADE POLICE,” I immediately noticed how easily I was able to insert my 27-inch suitcase inside the convertible’s massive (for a pony car convertible, that is) trunk. “Hmm,” I thought, “couldn’t do that with the Boss.” My laptop bag also easily slid into the trunk next to it. “Kind of practical, really,” I said aloud to nobody in particular.

Once I sat in the Mustang, I couldn’t help but notice just now improved the interior is in its newest generation. While there was a certain charm to having a spartan interior in the race-ready Boss 302, the V6 convertible is better off for having a modernized, more intuitive, ergonomically superior cabin. Since my rental was a base V6 model, it came with the most basic version of SYNC, with a small, non-touch screen for infotainment options. And you know what? It worked just fine. Shifting the Mustang into reverse meant the screen displayed a view from the optional rear-view camera, making for an easy exit from my parking space.

I connected my iPhone 6S Plus with a USB cable to the port in the center console for media purposes, and I also quickly and easily paired my phone with the standard Bluetooth functionality. I had a long drive ahead of me to Hattiesburg, but I needed to take a fairly important conference call on the way there. I had 15 minutes to swoop into the closest Chick-fil-A drive-thru lane, grab some food, and get on the road.

Naturally, I put the top down.

Putting the convertible top down is as simple as twisting a handle and pressing a button. No finicky and cumbersome latches to deal with. When the top is down, the Mustang manages to pull off a trick that few convertibles can; it actually cuts a more attractive silhouette. While I’ve gotten used to the new Mustang’s body style, I still tend to see a bit of Altima Coupe in the profile. When the top goes down, however, it becomes less Nissan and more Audi, reminding me of the S5’s stately shape.

This was not lost on the sweet young brunette, southern-belle-in-waiting who took my order at Chick-fil-A. “I love your car,” she cooed. To a teenaged girl, neither the size of the engine under the hood nor the nature of the rear suspension matter. My Mustang was a red convertible, and that was enough to make her instantly smitten. “Brian, isn’t this a cool car?” she called to an unfortunately acne-ridden co-worker. His one look in my direction was enough to let me know that he’d been trying to get her attention in any way possible for the last several weeks, and his obvious utter failure to do so, combined with her obvious immediate lust for the Mustang, made me hope that he was in no way responsible for handling my food.

With my large unsweetened tea (total sacrilege in Mississippi) nestled snugly in my cup holder and my Grilled Chicken Club sandwich on my lap, I remorsefully put the top back up and dialed into my conference call. For the next 60 minutes, nobody on the line knew that I was in a car, much less a Mustang convertible. The road noise inside the cabin at highway cruising speeds was at a mere whisper, to the point where I was able to take my phone off of mute and participate fully in the call. When I used to take calls in my 302, the most frequent comment from my fellow participants sounded something like, “BARK! PLEASE PUT YOUR PHONE ON MUTE!”

Which isn’t to say that the 3.7-liter Cyclone V6 can’t make its presence known when it wants to. One aggressive kick to the throttle, and the demeanor of the Mustang changes. While it doesn’t sound like a V8, there’s a suitably husky tone to the exhaust that reminds you that even the basest of Mustangs can still scoot. It feels every bit a five-second car, fast enough to blow the doors off of nearly everything on the road — or roughly equal to a Mustang Cobra R from 20 years ago.

Damn, if it isn’t a great time to be alive.

The back seat is, of course, utterly and completely useless — but it’s still better than the one found in the Camaro. I sat back there just long enough to determine that I could fit, and then got out. I wouldn’t recommend asking anybody that you care about to sit back there for any measurable length of time, lest you find your friendship irreparably damaged.

You might have guessed that I didn’t track my rental Mustang convertible, nor did I do any serious hooning in it — but that’s not the purpose of this car, anyway. It’s brilliant what Ford and Chevrolet have managed to do with their respective pony car platforms. There’s literally a Mustang or a Camaro for everybody. Pick the brand that you want Calvin to piss on, and buy the other one. Need to set some track records? Allow me to introduce you to the GT350 or the ZL1. Want some streetable performance that you can live with? How about a GT or an SS? Looking to drop the top at a comfortable price and still have that muscular look? Here’s your V6 convertible.

At the risk of sounding like the Ford shill that so many of you think I am, I know which I’d pick: the Mustang, all day, every day, and twice on Sundays — if only for the simple reason that you can see out of it.

In order to get your V6 convertible, optioned just like mine with an automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels, and power-adjustable driver’s seat, you’ll need to plunk down $32,735 at your nearest Ford dealer. In a day and age where the average new car transaction price is nearly exactly that number, it’s hard to argue that a genuinely quick, comfortable, stylish, and — most importantly — droptop V6 ‘Stang isn’t a tremendous value. If I were buying one, I’d cut a grand or so off of the price by opting for a manual transmission over the somewhat clunky auto.

And much like a few years ago, when I drove the last version of this car in a much more desirable locale, I can’t help but feel that, for most people, this V6 Convertible Mustang is Best Mustang. You simply can’t go any faster on a public road in a V8 than you can in this steed, so why bother with the extra two cylinders unless your manhood is genuinely threatened by their absence?

My only complaint is that Ford has made it impossible to get this V6 as pimped out as my 2013 Premium Package rental. In order to get all the creature comforts, you have to step up to the EcoBoost Mustang Convertible for an extra $6,000. I’m sure that there’s a perfectly sound business reason for that decision, but I think I’d rather have the sixer than the turbo.

Either way, as you might have guessed, spending a few days with the 2016 V6 Mustang Convertible did a great deal to reignite my passion for Ford’s iconic ride. As great as the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Focus RS are, there’s an intangible feeling that comes with driving a Mustang that a hatch can’t replicate, no matter how great it is. However, instead of getting the biggest and baddest Mustang available next year, maybe I’ll just get the one I’d enjoy the most day after day, and the one that would put much less strain on my wallet.

Welcome back to my heart, Mustang. My brain might say otherwise, but we both know that I missed you.

[Images: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars]

Join the conversation
2 of 109 comments
  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Apr 17, 2016

    I do wish Ford would change their mind about not offering a v6 performance pack option anymore. I'm fairly confident that it could equal the camaro DI v6 performance, as some mags were getting high 13's in the 1/4 with the previous generation. I suppose you could build your own with OEM ecoboost PP suspension parts but it would be cost prohibitive once you try to upgrade the brakes, wider wheels/summer tires etc. I'm pretty sure you could squeeze e46 M3 performance w/ just bolt ons/breating mods. I've seen high 12 sec. slips from s197s NA.

  • Pmirp1 Pmirp1 on Apr 17, 2016

    I love the review. What some don't understand is driving a pony car is not so much about the mundane that most associate with a review. You either connect to one or you don't. I am also in love with my Mustang, 2014 GT premium edition. No it is not the greatest ride or most sophisticated interior, but every time i start that engine, and every time I try to get that rear end loose, I know its what a car is all about. Love the reviews Bark, keep them going

  • Redapple2 My dad s buddy got a tire thru the windshield. DRT -dead right there.
  • Redapple2 Hope they fix the:1 ride. worse than a corvette2 seating position. ankles at the height of my butt is UNCOMFORTABLE .As is. Horrible truck
  • Redapple2 One time; doing time; for a long time.
  • Robert Good! Those things are hideous.
  • ScarecrowRepair Road trips by myself -- cherry tomatoes or seedless grapes. Gotcher nutrition, gotcher water, bite-sized, no sticky fingers. Light lunch, maybe; normal dinner.