Test Drive Notes Library
- Fun. If you like car racing video games, you’ll love the Mustang GT. The combination of the sound, the dashboard visuals (combination of tachometer and speedometer dials with digital readouts inside of them), and the huge, 5.0 liter 460 hp V8 engine, with its linear acceleration, will remind you of your last trip around the track on iRacing (hopefully not the one in which you crashed into the grandstands). There’s definitely a lot that's fun about this car.
- Improved. While none of us at Car Talk would ever buy this car, and in fact, we we’re often embarrassed to be seen in it (if you ever feel a need to be ostracized in a Whole Foods parking lot, buy one of these in fluorescent orange….), keep in mind that we’re not really the psychographic for it. Yet we can recognize why it's appealing. It seems we drive a Mustang GT every few years, and this is certainly the best one yet. The independent rear suspension improves cornering a lot. The steering feels great. The interior is very much more upscale, up to date, and nicely designed. The front seats are very comfortable. The optional Magne-ride suspension system takes some of the punishment out of the ride and makes it a car you could live with everyday. Plus, it’s like living in a video game — except for the costs of insurance and gasoline and the dirty looks from bicyclists.
- Up to date nostalgia. Those who lived through the early days of the Mustang remember that it symbolized fun, freedom, and youth. Forget for a moment that now it symbolizes overkill, gas guzzling, and mid life crisis... at least in the GT version. And keep in mind that Mustangs also come in much more fuel efficient variants, including a well-regarded four-cylinder. The Mustang is still unique and has style, and real, yet affordable performance cred in GT trim. Ford has done a good job of keeping it up to date and modernized, without losing the cache and the instantly recognized styling that tie it to its 1960’s heyday.
- Not bad on the highway. We took the Mustang on several long highway journeys, and it proved to be a decent long distance companion. The Ford Sync 3 system is up to date and provides all necessary entertainment and connectivity options, the front seats are very comfortable, the Magne-ride keeps the suspension pliant, and, needless to say, the engine chews up the highway miles while running at less than 2,000 rpm in 6th gear and makes passing a piece of cake. In strictly highway driving, we saw 25.5 miles per gallon.
- Available safety. While our nearly $50,000 test car came without blind spot monitoring, yours shouldn’t. While visibility up front and out the driver and passenger side windows is just fine, there’s virtually no visibility out the back and to the rear sides. Instead, our tester had little, glued-on convex mirrors like your grandfather used to mail order from the J.C. Whitney catalogue. We understand the appeal of throwback, but you’ll want the blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and the automatic emergency braking (and adaptive cruise control) package that is, thankfully, available for about $1,500.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Loud and obnoxious. I’m sure the “Orange Fury” metallic paint didn’t help, but we often felt rather too conspicuous in the GT. The exhaust sound is designed to scare women. And even setting it in “Quiet” mode made it only moderately less intimidating than a Harley Hog. If you’re looking to let people know you miss your high school days, and have $50K to blow on a car now, you’re all set. If you’re not looking for constant attention, you’ll want to skip the GT package and focus on other Mustang versions.
- Clutch. Our GT came with a six-speed manual transmission, which certainly made it fun and interesting to drive. But the big, powerful engine requires a big, heavy clutch. It’s a little like driving a Mack truck. In fact, I think the diameter of my left leg is now larger than my right after working this clutch for a week. While the GT was fun and pleasant on the highway, it’s a bit of a chore around town…. certainly in the city.
- Mileage. While highway mileage was almost respectable, in mixed city and local highway driving, we could only get about 16 mpg out of it.
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