THIS MAY BE YOUR MUSTANG
Published on Mon, Jan 18, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
2010 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS
By Brian Kennedy
By Brian KennedyIf this is your Mustang, buy it. I certainly have lived by these words, having owned four of the cars at this point. The one I bought brand new, a 2000GT model, still serves me well. And goodness knows, its style is polarizing. The same goes for the styling on the 2010 model, first shown a year ago and now on sale. It's not everyone's car, as far as the aesthetics go, but if you like it, you should buy it. V6 edition if you can do it - it's just enough car for just about the right price. The first time I saw a model of the generation my car shares (1999-2004) was in 1998, at a racetrack. I thought that it was a press preview car with its disguise still on - those cardboard cutouts pasted over the flanks. But no, those edges were sheetmetal. When I saw one in Sunburst Gold, a very-sixties color, at a dealership a year later, I had to have it. After cruising past the store every day for weeks, I finally went in a bought one. I love it absolutely to this day. All of this to get to the point about the 2010 model I drove for a week recently.
Ford got the Mustang's styling so right in 2005 it was scary. The car looked from a distance like a 1967-68 model, those round headlights mimicking the ones on the Steve McQueen Bullitt. They felt that that model had timed out by last year, however, and they made some changes for 2010. These include making cutouts in the taillights and adding fender lines. The rear quarters now, to my eye, look quite Camaro-esque, with their kicked-up sweep. The front of the hood and the lights and grill, likewise, have a curved downslope, very beak-like. In short, I'm not crazy about the styling. But you might be, and as the owner of a car which many people find rather odd-looking, I'm telling you, don't take my word for taste. Just go out and drive the new Mustang yourself. Chances are, if you do, you'll try to find a way to buy one. The combination of muscular size and tight engineering will surprise you if you drive old cars, and surprise you more if you drive fwd new cars, especially if you're just awakening from your long winter's "American cars suck" nap. The car is heavy as a Mustang should be. It's a pony car in the old-fashioned sense, and driving it feels throwback. This is good. It is not as loud as cars used to be though, with the engine noise transmitting itself as a kind of delayed roar rather than a sudden explosion. It's got some refinement to go with its grunt, in short. It also features loads of modern features, including good instrumentation (which changes colors if you buy the right interior package), world-beating a/c, and an easy to use radio. On the model I had, a V6 Coupe Premium, there were also steering-wheel-mounted controls for audio, cruise, and Sync (voice activation stuff). One innovative feature is the "Easy Fuel" capless filler system. There's no fuel cap - just a port that works only one way, so you just stick the nozzle in and squeeze the trigger. Also nice is the homage to the sixties of triple sequential taillights. Of course, you won't see them, but you'll think about them every time you signal a turn. The one complaint I have is the same as on the last generation Mustang. The seatback stays forward when you put it up (say to put your briefcase back there, which you'll do every day), making it necessary to use two hand to find the setting you had it at before you disturbed it. That really bugged me.
The seats themselves were firm and relatively flat, and the appointments like the touchpoints, switchgear, armrests, console, etc. are all properly done. Nothing in the car says cheap, and the way it's all screwed together, it should stay that way. Gone, in other words, are the days when you buy an American car and worry about it going kerplunk on you. Then there's the matter of the engine. The V6 offered now is a 4.0 liter getting about twenty-four mpg on the highway. The car also comes in V8 trim, as the GT. So why, as the owner of a GT (albeit an older model) myself, do I recommend the six-cylinder model? A couple of years ago, I drove a new V8 for a week. It's so fast it's too fast. Not too fast to handle. That part is fun. Too fast to do anything with on the street. The 6-speed gearbox lugs in second at 35mph, but if you give it some gas, you're fifteen miles an hour over the limit in a split second. It's a nice idea to have all that power on tap, but, and I can't quite believe I'm saying this, a bit pointless. The V6, by contrast, is fast enough to feel fast, but not so fast that you're hanging back with it all the time. In fact, put an automatic tranny in there, like was in the car I had, and you can drop it in drive, slam your foot to the floor, and fly. But you're not at sixty-five so fast you have to pull up on the reins, and around town, you're able to beat the imports off the line with a roar, but you don't have to worry about Mr. Donut Eater every time you get into the throttle. Price-wise, the car is not the bargain that a Focus is, if you're deciding between one Ford and another to commute in. (And by that, I don't mean cheap. That Focus is a great little car, with the most silky gearbox in the world.) The Mustang V6 Premium is about $24,000, plus a grand for the auto box and another for the fancy tape/spoiler/wheels package. What could you get one for in the dealership? Who knows, but if you could squeeze them down into the low $20s, you'd be getting a car that would make you feel pretty good about yourself for a lot less money than shopping elsewhere. Everyone who loves cars needs to buy a Mustang once in his/her life. Brand new. And then drive it either for a year or two until the thrill wears off (it likely won't) or forever. So for those who can pony up for new wheels in these dark days, it's best to think no more and just get out to the Ford store. Your car is sitting there, and probably for a bit of a tempting price, to boot. - Brian Kennedy
SIDEBAR COMMENT It took me a while to get used to the look of this newest Mustang. For the most part, the refinements to its design make sense - the kicked-up rear fender, a la the 1967-70 models, and the tapering front fenders to reduce the blockish appearance of the 2005-2009 model. The new taillight treatment takes a bit of getting used to, but I'm almost there. The execution may not suit everyone, but no one will mistake it for anything other than a Mustang. Curiously, the face of the new V6 actually looks more like the Shelby Mustang than does the new GT. Overall, it harkens back to the 1967-69 models, whereas the 2005-2009 design leans more toward the 1964-66 models comparatively speaking. The previous-generation Mustang was a striking statement of heritage. It was so popular, however, that even the new model lacks some of the freshness of its all-new competitors, the Camaro and Challenger. The previous-generation Mustang took a lot of heat for its plasticky interior. The new one is a vast improvement, with soft-touch surfaces and better-looking materials. All-in-all, this is the best V6 Mustang ever. So, why not buy one? Well, Ford recently informed us the 2011 V6 Mustang will have an all-new engine with 305 horsepower, get 30 miles per gallon, and even further design refinements. The rear end is available with a blacked out insert, in the manner of the 1969 Boss 302. The front of the 2011 model is given the billet grille treatment, not unlike the 1966 model. I think my money is on model-year 2011. - Roy Nakano
SUMMARY JUDGMENT It's the best V6 Mustang ever, but it's about to get even better. For more information about Ford products, go to www.fordvehicles.comÂ SPECIFICATIONS Name of model: 2010 Ford Mustang V6 Prices: $21,395 V6 $24,395 V6 Premium (includes reclining front bucket seats with six-way power adjustable driver's seat, Shaker 500 audio system with an AM/FM stereo, 6-disc CD/MP3 player and 8 speakers, SYNC® In-car Connectivity System, and Ambient interior lighting) $26,395 V6 Convertible $29,395 V6 Convertible Premium EPA fuel ratings (city/highway) 18/26 miles per gallon Engine: 4.0-liter SOHC 12-valve V6 Horsepower: 210 at 5300 rpm Torque: 240 pound-feet at 3400 rpm Transmission: T5 5-speed manual 5-speed automatic (optional) Drive configuration: Front-engined, rear-wheel drive Steering: Rack-and-pinion, power-assisted Suspension Front: MacPherson Struts with Reverse "L" Lower Control Arms, Stabilizer Bar Rear: Constant-Rate Coil Springs, 3-Link Design with Panhard Rod Brakes: Power 4-Wheel Disc; Available Anti-Lock System with Traction Control Dimensions Length: 188.1 inches Width: 73.9 inches (excluding mirrors) Height: 56.1 inches Curb weight: 3401 pounds