AD #1461 – First Drive: 2015 Mustang, Stop-Start Battery Drain, Hellcat’s MPG Surprise

September 19th, 2014 at 11:55am

Runtime: 7:11

- Cadillac Plans New High-End Model
- Challenger Hellcat Not a Gas Guzzler
- Stop-Start Systems Drain Batteries
- Meet the Nissan LEAF-tier
- World’s First 3D Printed Car
- Ford Mustang Driving Impressions

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In today’s show we’re test driving the new Ford Mustang, looking at 3D printing for a full-size car, and there’s yet another miracle involving the Hellcat Challenger.

Just as we were going to press, Cadillac announced it’s going to debut a new high-end model next year. The car will be positioned above the XTS with production starting at the end of 2015 at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant. Cadillac’s new chief, Johan de Nysschen says the car will be rear-drive and built on an all new platform.

Will miracles never cease? Not only does the new Dodge Challenger offer a jaw-dropping 707 horsepower, now the EPA has rated the 6.2 liter, supercharged Hellcat engine at a jaw dropping 22 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s rated at 13 in the city with a combined rating of 16 mpgs. And if you really baby it you can do better than that. I’m test driving a Hellcat right now and averaging over 18 miles per gallon combined. Well have a review of that car coming up in a Seat Time review.

Here’s something we’ll bet your were not aware of before. The battery in your car will typically last five to eight years, but not if your car has a stop-start system. That will wear the battery out in one-and-a-half to two years. That’s according to a supplier company called Maxwell Technologies that makes ultracapacitors. It says that if you combine an ultracapacitor with a conventional lead acid battery, they will last 100,000 miles or over 160,000 kilometers. This set up is already available in Europe via the supplier Continental and is available on a number of Peugeots and Citroens. And we think this technology could spread wide and far throughout the auto industry.

Have you ever wondered what would happen when you cross a Nissan LEAF with a Frontier? I didn’t think so but the folks at the company’s tech center in Arizona did and the results aren’t that bad. Looking at Sparky straight on, yes that’s its nickname, it looks like a regular LEAF but that’s about all that’s similar. At the moment, the car is only being used to haul supplies and people at the tech center. But why is Nissan’s making such a big deal of showing us this project? What do you think, should Nissan actually put Sparky into production?

For those of you who just saw the latest Autoline This Week about 3D printing, you know that the auto industry is getting solidly behind it. And just this past weekend, Local Motors made the world’s first 3D printed car at Chicago’s International Manufacturing Technology Show. Called the Strati, it took 44 hours to print and required some assembly afterwards. Of course not all parts were printed, like the mechanical components and the electric powertrain, which comes from a Renault Twizy. It’s going to be a long time before we seen automakers use 3D printing to manufacture cars in mass production. But this effort will go down in automotive history as the first full-size car that was 3D printed.

Now it’s time for the answer to one of our Barn Finds. We asked if you could name the car in these photos, which were sent in by Autoline viewer Juan Manuel Perez-Debrand who saw the car in Tokyo. Of course, this was kind of an easy one and I don’t think we got one wrong answer, you all correctly identified it as a Lotus Europa. And if you’ve got pictures of a car you want to see in Barn Finds, just send them to

Two days ago I got to test drive several versions of the all-new Mustang. Coming up next I’ll give you my impressions of this car. Here’s a hint: whoa doggie!

Wow, Ford has a hit on its hands with the new Mustang. Any way you want to measure it, this is the best Mustang that’s ever been produced.

The styling is a beautiful blend of heritage and modern. The rear end is particularly handsome, and makes the car look lightweight. The front end is also good, but not quite as daring. To keep the traditionalists happy the designers had to hold closer to the look that we’re all familiar with.

Inside, the Mustang finally looks like it’s been modernized. Gauges and controls are crisp, easy to read and well placed. Buttons and knobs feel precise and look high-tech.
The 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine is going to surprise a lot of people. The driveability is impressive at any speed. While at low speeds it still sounds like a four, once you get above 4,000 rpm and especially at wide open throttle, it sounds surprisingly throaty.

The 5.0 liter V-8 will make Mustang enthusiasts feel that all is right with the world. The power, the sound, and responsiveness are more than impressive.

Both these engines are more than capable of pushing this car to its limits. But those limits are fairly high because this car has great grip, even when equipped with all-season radial tires. This is a very neutral handling car. And you can easily transition from oversteer to understeer by using the throttle.

The Mustang gives you a choice of different performance settings. There is also a setting called Line Lock that allows you lock the front brakes and do impressive burnouts, or you can choose the launch control setting that allows you to get maximum acceleration out of the car.

The new Mustang is a thoroughly entertaining car. It’s pleasing to look at, comfortable to sit in, and a blast to drive. And that’s why I say it looks like Ford has a hit on its hands.

We’ll have even more details on this car coming next week in the Seat Time section of the Autoline website.

And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

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35 Comments to “AD #1461 – First Drive: 2015 Mustang, Stop-Start Battery Drain, Hellcat’s MPG Surprise”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Do these cars with start/stop crank for 20 seconds to restart? I would expect them to start with one cylinder through compression, like my Prius seems to do. If they start very quickly, it seems odd that the batteries would last only 1.5 to 2 years.

  2. chuck @ GM Says:

    Very interesting show on 3D printing.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s another report saying the 4 cylinder Mustang drives very well:

    The EPA combined rating is 5 mpg better for the turbo 4 than for the V6, both with manual transmissions. It will be interesting to see how that turns out when real-world mileage becomes available, but based on other “ecoboost” application, I wouldn’t be surprised it the difference between the engines is much smaller than 5 mpg. The turbo 4 might be more fun to drive, though.

  4. Jon M Says:

    Should Nissan actually put Sparky into production? Well, they put the Murano CrossCabriolet into production. But that doesn’t mean they should have. Somehow I just don’t see a mini pickup in a slow selling segment catching on right now. Maybe one day…lol!

  5. chuck @ GM Says:

    @1 – Our SS vehicles fire very quickly.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t know where this battery life span comes from, but when I lived up north, the cold weather sent my batteries to an early grave, I move to hot So. Fla and the heat does the same thing, not to mention the bad roads in other parts of the country that also do a job on batteries, so of course the addition of stop/start will do nothing but decrease battery life further and have you seen what has happened to the price of batteries in the last 2 yrs? Bacon and batteries, two of life’s necessities going through the roof!!!

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6, A big thing that really shortens the life of lead-acid batteries, is discharging them very far. Today’s cars start very quickly compared to older cars, which helps battery life. My MINI and Prius are both approaching 5 years of age, and both have the original batteries. The 12 volt battery in the Prius is only for accessories and controls. The big battery starts the gas engine.

    The most amazing battery life I’ve ever had is the one in my Honda SilverWing scooter. It still has the original battery, after 11 years. I disconnect the battery when parking the bike for 7 months over the winter, but leave it in the bike in Indiana.

  8. XA351GT Says:

    I like the new Mustang . I think it better in person than in pics and video. I may have to test drive one. I can’t afford one ,but would to take one out .

    I had wondered about stop/start not only in battery cycling ,but the starter itself. Normally a trip to work you start the car once. With stop/start and heavy rush hour traffic that could 10 to 15 times. With high cost of batteries ,starters and labor to install them ,it would be cheaper just to buy the gas.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8, I agree. The starter is the thing that would seem to have a problem, if it is a regular starter engaging the flywheel. It would get many times the use it would get a non-start stop car.

    With hybrids, including the GM “e-assist” mild hybrids, that would not be an issue, as the motor that starts the ICE is always connected to it.

  10. Drew Says:

    8 & 9, most batteries are in an easy to access location for replacement (except the new Silverado), but very few starters are in an easy access location. The labor cost will be quite a burden. Ouch!

  11. HtG Says:

    If I’m not mistaken, that was the Mustang chief engineer doing the burnout in the white car. Busted

    Thanks John, for a review that lets us know the you can steer the car with the throttle.

    Barn Find Booby Prize

    I’ll raise my hand and remind everyone I thought it was a trick question.

  12. w l simpson Says:

    The more complicated the system, the more apt to fail.
    Dash distraction is going to be on par
    with texting.
    Careless speeding could be reduced & situation awareness greatly enhanced with digidashes

  13. QuietStormX Says:

    The New Ford Mustang. Since I’ve seen it looks like three sections of cars to please everyone than a whole new advancement in design to heritage. I wonder how it would handle with the new Rear suspension up to the others now with the 5.0L DOHC wide heavy engine now? Is the handling packages adjusted for this and how much in price and parts to do it? I’m suspect of Ford in this New Mustang & IRS now. Just saying?

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Will the next gen Camaro be the first ‘pony’ (currently more ‘horsey’ than ‘pony’)to get smaller; it has been rumored for a couple of years that the next one (Camaro) would be based on the ATS (Cadillac) platform. I feel all the ‘ponies’ have gotten too big (though they still perform admirably) for their size. Time will tell (I suppose).

    I’m a little perplexed on why the battery doesn’t last in the stop/start vehicles because, as described, the on/off is supposedly seamless so I don’t see the starter as draining the battery (much); maybe ‘stop and go’ (as in major traffic jam) when the alternator doesn’t get a chance to top off the charge, but hopefully, that wouldn’t be typical. Just thinking out-loud (again).

  15. HtG Says:

    14 I read the weight in the Mustang is around 3800, which doesn’t sound it will pressure Camaro. It’s impressive that John finds the handling so good on the Mustang.

  16. HtG Says:

    Chuck, how about the FIA backtracking on the radio restrictions? Who’s wearing the clown suits now? I slowly shake my head.

  17. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    My opinion is that this supplier went to the extreme side of how start stop affects batteries because they provide a “solution” to the “problem”. That being said I am sure the life span is shortened and my guess would be that the biggest drain is all the accessories on a modern car that are running while the engine is stopped more than the actual cranking causing the issue. Just my two cents.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14, I’m looking forward to the next Camaro, as it should shrink significantly. It looks like they did a good job with the Mustang, if you can get it with basic controls, but it’s still kind of big.

    The Challenger is huge, but a friend has one, and loves it, because of the good ride and roomy back seat. I suspect rear seat room is a low priority, though, for most “pony car” buyers.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14, Maybe accessory load while the engine is stopped could drain the battery enough to shorten its life. If they had electric A/C running off a 12 volt battery, that would be significant, but to my knowledge, the only cars with electric A/C are hybrids with “big” higher voltage batteries.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Today I was waiting at a red light next to a new BMW 5 series with stop/start, every time the idiot took his foot off the brakes to inch forward, the engine re-started and then when he stopped, it would shut off again, this happened like 4 times, you have to stop doing this when you have this system in your car, or just deactivate it.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Will Caddy have to use the Corvette V8 for its new flagship? I don’t know of any other GM V8 available and there is just no time to develop a new motor.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21, The Corvette engine would work well, but I bet they’d be more likely to use the twin turbo V6 because it is “higher tech.” It’s anybody’s guess, though. That car is years away.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    OK, the show says the new Cadillac will appear next year. We shall see.

  24. BobD Says:

    Does anyone know the particulars on the “line lock” feature on the Mustang? It appears to be adjusting the brake bias 100% to the front which is fine on “burn outs”, but if you also use it for launching the car in a drag strip situation, does it reset the bias immediately after use, or do you have to manually adjust the bias back? In other words, what happens at the end of the quarter mile when you hit the brakes? Do you just get front brakes or all 4 wheels braking?

  25. Bradley Says:

    Nissan Sparky – 30 mile all electric range, $20k price, 750lb payload and yes this would meet the majority of my compact truck needs. But it has the added benefits of an EV.

    My wife and I could use it as our errand vehicle…groceries…lumber..taking the snow blower to get repaired etc.

  26. Enn Norak Says:

    Stop/Start systems of any kind that drain batteries are an abomination. I remember my Audi cars in the eighties that had an electrically driven radiator cooling fan that would stay on for 5 or 10 minutes each time I parked the car during frequent stops in the city. After many such stops imagine my fury when I returned to the parked car only to find a battery too weak to start the engine. The time lost and cost of becoming mobile again under these circumstances can be significant.

  27. Jonathan Says:

    The new mustang is very sharp looking and technically it seems well done as well. I can appreciate fords need and desire to keep mustang so close to its previous generations (in styling)

    Still by maintaining a traditional mustang look and foregoing the adventurous styling of the concept car Ford Evos……they lost conquest sales from people like me.

    Had ford produced the evos… the new mustang I would have bought my first new ford v8 in over 20 years.

    Maybe a Lincoln derivative of the mustang chassis with the Evos showcar looks and a twin turbo v6 and 8 speed automatic will come to pass. If so conquest sales will certainly save Lincoln…..

  28. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The new Caddy flagship will likely get the 4.5 V-8 TT engine (shown in the Elmiraj). I think with this upmarket entry they (Cadillac) have to reach to the stars and present top of the mark technology. (maybe a TT V-6 later)

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28, Maybe they could graft two 3.6 blocks end to end, with a long crankshaft, and make a 7.2 V12. That would be cool. Ford did something like that a few years back with one of their V6′s to make an engine for Aston Martin.

  30. HtG Says:

    Whoa. Mark Webber compares Michelin tires in LMP1 to Pirelli’s in F1. Whoa

    “There’s no contest there, Michelin is a real racing tire, Pirelli was for show business in Formula one,” Webber told

    If you ever suspected you were being treated like a mouth breather by the F1 worthies…. It’s corrupt, top to bottom.

  31. HtG Says:

    Brad Keselowski in re Mr. Stewart—it-kind-of-feels-a-little-bit-like-a-cop-out–that-stewart-case-sent-to-grand-jury-173246866.html

    I just cannot. Drive fast, shut up.

    (should have seen what I erased)

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Did Mercedes F1 sabotage Rosberg’s car to even up the title race?

  33. HtG Says:

    I doubt it. Why lose constructor’s points? That’s what the team really benefits from; $$$.

    (I’ve got to admit, listening to the race via an ‘over there’ broadcaster is quite entertaining. Expert commentary by a current F1 reserve driver was great)

  34. HtG Says:

    However, I did wonder why the safety car period was so long. I wasn’t watching the race, but my cynical mind asked if race control was trying to bunch the field and make sure everyone had lots of fuel left for the big exciting finish.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I was being facetious about the team sabotaging Rosberg, but yeah, that safety car seemed to be out there a long time for only a broken wing.