Motoring: We drove the Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is a car that has stirred the emotions since it’s launch in 1965. Now into it’s sixth generation the Mustang is once again drawing many oohs and aahs from the general public and we were fortunate enough to get our hands on one, courtesy of Ford South Africa.
The Mustang has been in continuous production for five decades with the latest incarnation featuring Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment technology and everyday niceties like USB plug points. In my opinion, the Mustang was headed down a dead-end street in the 80’s and 90’s with the designers creating bland and boring cars.
Fortunately, the shape we recognise as the Mustang now, made it’s first appearance in 2005 and revived Ford’s most prestigious brand. The S-197 re-introduced styling echoes of the 1960’s muscle car and the subsequent development lead us to today’s model, which undoubtedly is one of the sexiest drop tops available.
I got to ride in one of these beauties at a Ford day a few months ago. Perhaps it’s wise they didn’t send us one of these or we might still be cruising around South Africa, refusing to return it.
There are two engine models available in South Africa. Top of the range is the 5.0 306kW V8 boasting 530Nm of torque. We drove the 2.3 turbo-charged version which develops a healthy 233 kW but still delivers a very respectable 430 Nm of torque.
How does it feel?
Right from the first time you take the Mustang out on the road you know that you’re driving a living legend. People stare. I mean they really stare. It’s as if they stop talking, walking and going about their immediate actions to watch you cruise by. And it isn’t only pedestrians. More than once a car enthusiast hung an arm out of his chariot and encouraged us to put our foot down just for them to hear the engine and see a Mustang in flight.
What about the drive?
The ecoBoost has pleasant exhaust notes but nothing that elicits too much emotion. The power is good but the vehicle is large and at close to 1.7 tons, fairly heavy. Braking is excellent and acceleration more than brisk with 0 – 100 km/h claimed at 5.2 seconds. Top speed is supposedly up near 240, well in excess of what we can use in Johannesburg legally. The 5.0 offers acceleration of 4.5 seconds and top speed in excess of 260. We’ve never driven the 5.0 and perhaps that’s the one you want to get the whole Mustang experience.
You sit extremely far back in a Mustang. It almost feels like the front seats are located júst in front of the rear wheels and consequently, it feels as if the bonnet turns well before you follow, particularly in slow corners. In normal driving like highways and motorways, this is far less noticeable. I found the seats to be extremely comfortable and was quickly able to adjust to the perfect driving position with the electric motors helping me move the seat to just the right spot. The seatbelt frustrated me though. No matter how I adjusted the seat, the belt seemed to be at an awkward height.
How’s the interior?
The seats are great. Even the back seats look great and might be comfortable if there was enough leg room for anyone taller than a hobbit. I think it’s fair to say that the Mustang, even in Fastback guise, is not designed for more than one passenger. The dash is pretty standard across the Ford range these days and indistinguishable to my eyes barring the badge on the steering wheel. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just familiar and perhaps a legendary brand like the Mustang needs something a little extra? The bluetooth and infotainment system is the latest Ford SYNC3, again, standard across the Ford model range. The SYNC3 is a great system though and the Mustang we drove came with the reversing camera fitted, something you definitely want when driving a wider and longer than normal car.
The boot is enormous. There is enough space for 4 sets of golf clubs, groceries and a suitcase! Power, performance and packing space! This may just be the perfect car to take on holiday.
What about the design?
I think the design is the highlight of the 6th generation Mustang. The long bonnet and sleek cockpit make for an eye-catching package. The Mustang is a thing of beauty. Not always practical, but beautiful. She definitely stands out in a crowd and draws attention wherever she goes. I must admit, something stirs inside me when I look at her.
It’s always difficult to give a comprehensive description of a vehicle when you only drive it for a few days compared to multiple weeks of test driving. We’re often rushed to give an all encompassing opinion on a subject that involves a lot of first impressions, emotions and is easily influenced by the weather, other road users and our own moods. Being impartial is seldom as easy as it should be, we are not robots after all. So in conclusion, I would like to say I enjoyed the time in the Mustang except for the silly seat belt strap but at the same time I wouldn’t buy one. I can’t really put my finger on the exact reason, but perhaps having everyone look at me is not my thing. Perhaps it is the moulded plastic stitching (faux stitching) surrounding the handsome brushed aluminium dash inlays in a car that costs more than R 715 000 that just irks me. Whatever my reasons, she is exhilarating to drive and a lot of fun.
Rumour has it there is a new Ford Mustang coming in 2018. I’m looking forward to it!