Seat Time: 2015 Ford Mustang

September 22nd, 2014 at 10:56am

2015 Ford Mustang GT

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: John McElroy
Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company
Make: Ford
Model: Mustang
Type: 2-door coupe, convertible
Competitors: Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger
Price: $24,425 (V6), $25,995 (Ecoboost), $32,925 (GT)
Made in: Flat Rock, Michigan
Drivetrain: 2.3 L I-4 EcoBoost, 3.7 L V-6, 5.0 L V-8; 6-ATX, 6-MTX
EPA Ratings: W/automatic trans: 2.3 L = 25 mpg, 3.7 L = 22 mpg, 5.0 L = 19 mpg

Final Impression:

2015 Ford MustangWow, has Ford got a hit on its hands with the new Mustang. This is more than just a pretty new face, it’s the real McCoy. From any standpoint you want to measure it, this is the best Mustang that’s ever been produced.

Let’s start with the styling. It’s a beautiful blend of heritage and modern. The instant you see it you know it’s got to be the new Mustang, and yet it looks far more modern than any Mustang currently on the road.

The rear end and rear ¾ view are particularly handsome. In a day when so many cars have a lot of mass and dead space in the rear end design, particularly below the bumper, the Mustang looks thin and lightweight. And yet it’s a wide car, giving it a well planted look. Ford designers integrated diffuser-like segments into the lower rear fascia and that effectively breaks up the visual mass and makes the car look lithe.

The front end is also good, but not quite as daring as the rear. To keep the traditionalists within the fold 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. The door trim panels and instrument panel are well integrated with the rest of the interior and don’t look like add-ons. Gauges and controls are crisp, easy to read and well placed. Buttons and knobs feel precise and look high-tech. And as you look out the windshield, two creases running the length of the hood seem to give the car an air of purpose and performance.

The 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine is going to surprise a lot of people. Years ago, the thought of a 4-cylinder engine in a pony car would have made any enthusiast roll their eyes. But throw a turbocharger, direct injection and a bunch of cam-shifting, engine-mapping magic into the mix and suddenly this four-banger shows that it needs to be taken seriously. 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. And that is a good thing.

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. Somehow it all comes together to make this engine both warm and comforting. It brings continuity to the Mustang line. And in this topsy-turvy world we live in, with so much change and upheaval, it’s nice to know that there are certain aspects of our lives that can continue as they always have. Who knew that a V-8 could feel so reassuring?

We didn’t get a chance yet to test drive the V-6 version of the car, but we did get to sample both the 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The shift linkage in the manual is particularly good and hard core enthusiasts will be grateful that this pony car still satisfies their desire to heel-and-toe their way through their favorite turns and twisty bits. Even so, the automatic works to perfection and actually delivers better fuel efficiency.

Both the engines we did drive 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. And if you choose to go with summer tires, well, then the fun begins. 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 that essentially loosen up the stability control, quicken the throttle opening rate, and pump more engine noise into the cabin. There is also a setting (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. Yet another control allows you to choose different steering efforts.

The point is, the new Mustang is a thoroughly entertaining car. It’s pleasing to look at, comfortable to sit in (except the back seat!), and a blast to drive. Who could ask for anything more?

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