Wow, just wow. If there was any proof that Australians will accept a foreign replacement for iconic but dead in the water local hero cars it’s the Ford Mustang. A big call right? Well aside from the waiting lists and thousands on back order, it’s the public reaction when in one that leaves me in no doubt Ford has struck gold. Let’s take a look at Ford Mustang.
The 10 Minute Test Drive.
I drove the convertible 4-cylinder 2.3-litre EcoBoost and V8 models. When your first Mustang experience arrives it’s naturally a little off-putting to know the thunderous V8 is missing up front. But the little turbo unit is no slouch and to a certain point enhances the drive. The car feels lighter, more nimble and less of a handful when you really have a crack. At times it feels almost on par with the V8 when it comes down to corner to corner fanging. It also produces its own unique soundtrack, nearing a scream at full pelt with overtones of a slight turbo whistle at lower speeds.
But as with all Pony cars over the last 52 years it’s all about the V8. If you’re a real show pony you may be disappointed that the only way of telling is the 5.0 and GT badge on the rear and slightly wider rear tyre stance. The experience as you’d expect is blistering but if it wasn’t for the array of usual traction control systems it could also be quite perilous. This car simply seems loves to wag the tail irrespective of the engine choice.
If there’s a critic of the Mustang’s exterior design, I’m yet to find it. It’s almost the perfect looking car combining the best automotive superlatives. It’s stunning yet brutal looking, beautiful but with chiselled lines so it’s also masculine. It’s just a universally good-looking car.
The main drawback once you hop in is the interior, it’s cheap to be frank. But above what you’d find in a Falcon for example. I didn’t find it overly offensive with the main offenders being fake chrome switches, lower plastic panelling and the odd rattle and creak throughout the cabin. The rest is a mix of retro looking dash, vents and a red glow that permeates the cabin at night via ambient light and the instrument cluster, which glows red-hot each time you hit the rev limiter.
Ins and Outs
Ford’s EcoBoost technology is proving very popular, with models fitted with one of the variety of engines across the range selling like hot cakes. Funnily enough the 2.3-litre offering fitted to the Mustang is more powerful than the original 1964 V8 offering. 233kW and 432Nm prove that this really is a viable alternative to the big banger. But to really stir the emotions it’s the 5.0-litre V8 with 306kW and 530Nm of torque that makes this such a halo car.
While it’s mostly all good news for the Mustang, hard-core rev heads will already know it’s actually not that quick nor does the V8 have the sonorous soundtrack you may expect. The current crop of FPV and HSV and even stock standard V8’s and V6 Turbo’s can and will leave the Mustang lagging behind in a straight line. I regard a really quick car to sit in the four-second club, in the right conditions you might nail a mid five-second 0-100km/h dash in the V8 but closer to six-seconds is more likely, with the four-cylinder not all that far behind.
Both models have great stopping power, particularly the V8 with enormous Brembo brakes.
Handling is impressive but far from pin point stuff, the car feels a tad heavy at times and as I pointed out earlier the EcoBoost offering is a little more engaging with less weight over the front axle. Whether you elect for sports mode transmission and steering or just leave everything in Normal mode you are guaranteed some serious fun. Not so much on a rough road, the low ride makes life quite jarring and uncomfortable at times, mind you the roads in my area are closer to C grade.
The Tech Inside.
The Mustang is not exactly a technological marvel, but does feature a handful of handy and desirable gear. There’s keyless entry, push button start and Ford’s infotainment system SYNC2. A list of performance statistics can be accessed via Track Apps, for example lap times.
The plastic chrome looking toggles switch enable selectable drive modes, Normal, Sport + Track and Snow/Wet modes. Steering response can also be adjusted via Normal, Sport and Comfort settings. All of the above prove quite effective and provide the right balance depending on your mood and how you’d like the car to respond.
Heated and cooled seats, dual air conditioning and a complete SYNC2 package with Sat Nav and DAB radio add to a comprehensive package.
The Hip Pocket.
For one of the most individual looking cars on the planet, prices are bargain basement. Prices kick in from $45,990 for the four-cylinder and hit $66,490 for the V8 automatic convertible. Our test cars were $54,990 for the convertible automatic and $59,990 for the V8 automatic. It should be noted automatic transmissions add an extra $2500 to any model and all prices are up on last year due to the huge demand. I found fuel economy to be surprisingly good, I average 10.1L/100km in the EcoBoot model and 11.7L/100km for the V8, admittedly I mostly did highway speeds with the odd spurt on a backroad. The Mustang scores a small fuel tank however, with just a 60-litre capacity.
Service intervals sit at 12 months / 15,000 km with a warranty lasting 3 years / 100,000 km.
EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.
Driving this car for now is like walking the red carpet at the Oscars, with the paparazzi replaced by children, retirees, mums, dads and everyone in between. This will wear off sooner rather than later as more and more hit the roads. But for now we are very lucky to have scored a factory produced right-hand drive version of possibly the world’s most iconic car. It’s not perfect, and in some areas it’s below par but on the whole it’s a crowd pleaser and something many would love sitting in their driveway.
I award the Ford Mustang the EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.