Ford Mustang (1997)
We tested the 4.6 liter V8 model, which had more than enough power. Infact, it had too much power...but we'll get to that in just a minute.
The car we test-drove was an ugly gold-brown color. But, once we got pastthe, uh..."earthy" color, we really started to like this car. It's speedy.It's sporty. It handles well. Oddly enough, we found the Mustang to beextremely comfortable--even at high speeds. Plus, it was quiet, which issomething of a surprise for a convertible that we otherwise would haveexpected to rattle and groan a lot. What is this car going to be like infive years? Will the roof be leaking? Will it be squeaking and rattlingdown the highway? Time will tell. (Hey, Ford...send us one in a differentcolor and we'll report back to you in five years.)
One downside: we felt like we were sitting in a hole. The seating is verylow in this car, close to the floor. Plus, it has what the cognoscenti calla high "belt line"--the dashboard and the doors are high in relation tothe driver. So, there's not much of a feeling that you have command ofthe road, and short people may have a particularly hard time gettingcomfortable in the driver's seat.
Also, if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, we'd insist that you havea second car for the winter months. You would be nuts to try to drive thisrear-wheel-drive car around Chicago in the middle of January.
But...there is something we have to mention:
Tommy thinks the Mustang is a "criminal car." He says to make a vehiclewith this much power should be against the law. Why? Because the car wasdesigned to appeal to young adults. And what will young adults do with anoverpowered, sporty car? They'll kill themselves in it! (Editor's note:Tommy has a 16-year-old son who just started driving, and he's going through teenage parental panic at the moment!)
He's right in that this car, unfortunately, encourages its driver to bereckless. Even calm, collected, sober Ray found himself driving, as he putit, "in ways that I would never drive normally." Why? Because the car iscapable of it. It's fast. It handles well. So, you start to think,"Maybe I can take that corner at 45 miles an hour." Yournatural curiosity gets the better of you. Granted, most people have enoughsense not to try such stunts when they're driving their mother-in-law'sHyundai. With a Mustang, however, the temptation is always there.
But we enjoyed driving the Mustang. It's a comfortable, fun car. It's wellput together and, for the price, it's a pretty good deal. If you're over30, aren't out to impress anyone by driving fast and think you candrive responsibly, this car could be a lot of fun to own.
View cars.com model report on this vehicle.