Ask Bark: Which Used Mustang Is Best Used Mustang?

I’ve been writing at TTAC for nearly eight years now, longer than just about anybody here, save for Sajeev and Murilee. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go in that time, but one thing is consistent: y’all love Mustangs. My very first post was about my own Mustang, and since then, I’ve come to realize that if I want a guaranteed click winner, I can just put the word “Mustang” in the title. (Another sure winner? Anything about Accords, and not the type that were signed in Sokovia.)

As such, today’s Ask Bark feels a little like throwing a wounded hemophiliac into the Shark Encounter tank at Sea World. Nevertheless, here we go.

Our dear friend Luke writes:

Hi Bark,

I want a Mustang. I’ve had Camaros, I’ve had a Challenger, I’ve had other muscle cars and sports cars. But I’ve never had a Mustang and I want one.It has to have a V8. I’d like for my wife to drive and enjoy it too, so it probably has to have an automatic transmission. That’s okay.It will be used for some amount of commuting during the non-snow months, weekend back road drives, and maybe one to three track events per year. Not competition, just open lapping or driving schools.It will be stored during the winter. This will be a third car.I have a nice garage, tools, and some level of wrenching skill so I’m comfortable doing maintenance “bolt-on” type mechanical upgrades if necessary. This seems important in the Mustang world.The budget is $25K for the car itself. A little less would be better but $25k is the top.I’m reaching out because when I go on the web there are just so, so many used options. So many variations in trim and equipment. The car has changed a lot very quickly and I haven’t really kept up. So I put it to you…for my $25K which Mustang is best Mustang?I have thoughts.

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Bark's Bites: On Used Cars, Transparency Is A Myth

I always buy new. I know, I know.

There’s a financial wizard of the Internet around every corner, ready to pounce and scream “DEPRECIATING ASSET” at me. But the reality is that I — like most shoppers — like to get a good deal when I buy anything, and that includes five-figure investments. Also, like most car buyers, I feel that “good deal” really means “the dealer didn’t make a dime on me.” Yes, I know that car dealers need to make money on used car sales to stay in business (and to continue perpetuating the myth that they don’t make any money on new car sales), but that doesn’t mean I’m their mark. On a new car, I can know with 100-percent certainty if I got a good deal.

When one of my Twitter followers asked me why the dealer’s cost isn’t the starting point for negotiation on a car, I quickly replied (as I was walking to dinner) that “used cars have recon cost.” However, upon further reflection, I realized that’s just the tip of the iceberg and if a Twitter user didn’t know why used car costs are so nebulous, most of y’all probably don’t know either. Transparency on used cars simply doesn’t exist, and it never will. Here’s why.

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  • MaintenanceCosts Compromised safety test results and minivans do not go well together.A shame as the looks are neat (the last interesting van) and the CVT/V6 powertrain is better than a lot of people give it credit for.
  • Tassos Oh yeah! Great Catch! All my life I was looking for such an UTTER PIECE OF CRAP from the CRAPPY 70s and 80s, when ALL Cars were Crappy... at least all DOMESTIC cars were. Seriously?Maybe next time you will outdo yourself and dig up the mummy of Pharaoh Ramses the Second.
  • SCE to AUX If Lexus badge-engineered a Camry in 1977, this is what you'd get.27 HP/liter - wow... my new 2.5T has 112 HP/liter and many engines are much higher. Malaise Era, indeed.GM died by a thousand cuts, and this car is definitely one of them - 100% mediocrity.
  • CoastieLenn I like the ergonomics and the looks of this better than any other minivan of it's day, but I can hear it's CVT failing thru the pictures.
  • Tassos I'll give it a look but doubt it will even come close to the EQS.