The best thing about this car is the heavy-metal exhaust note when you floor it. The round, billet-aluminum gearshift knob is pretty sweet, and its short throws are a big improvement over the last Mustang GT’s shifter. It also feels good in the hand. (Well, let me amend that: this morning it was freezing cold.)
Power delivery is impressive. I was hustling along a two-lane hilly road and thought I was doing about 70 mph but looked down to discover that the needle was hovering at the 100-mph mark.
I walked up to our test car in the darkening 8 p.m. light of our parking structure’s second floor, and the bright blue paint made it stand out like a beacon. I opened the door for more blue: the illuminated rocker-panel uses blue lighting, and the interior ambient lighting was also set to blue, including the blue cup holders. This was all very cool, even if it’s a gimmick. I also noted the blue stripe running through the black leather seats, and the blue stitching.
The brake pedal was too spongy for my tastes, although with repeated applications it seemed to warm up and pedal travel was reduced. With the live rear axle, the ride can, of course, become quite choppy, although I realize that a lot of Mustang fans love that characteristic of the car. The car hops like crazy over the speed bumps in our parking structure.
Grip is very good, although I was fairly cautious due to temperatures in the 40s and roads that were only semi-dry. Got home, got out of the car, and looked at the handsome nineteen-inch aluminum wheels, discovering that they were shod with Pirelli PZeros; if I had realized that the GT has such premium rubber, I might have pushed it a bit more. But that can wait for another day.
Overall, although the Mustang feels freshened, it still feels really old, and I suspect it’s gonna feel even older once I’ve experienced the new Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
The unusually bright blue paint ensures that NO ONE misses the Mustang GT when you drive by. That and the aforementioned exhaust note. It made the parking attendants sit up and take notice, it inspired kids on the street to give the Mustang the thumbs-up as we drove by, and it caused some dumbo in a Grand Am to dog me on the freeway for twenty miles. An engine that rattles your ribs when you rev it is a special engine indeed. The thrill of the rev is what caused me to find the speedo at 100 and beyond–I just wanted to keep the engine in full roar as much as possible. I was not interested in the fuel economy numbers during my time behind the wheel.
I love that Ford sewed in the blue leather seat stripes, rather than printed them on, and that the shift knob is a big ball of billet aluminum–at least that’s what it feels like–and I like the solid shift feel. The gauges are retro cool.
I have a fairly long drive over a variety of road surfaces, from crappy Ann Arbor city streets to crappy Michigan interstates to railroad tracks. That live rear axle would get mighty old in short order. But I have to admit that a goose of the throttle and all was forgiven.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
People are always so disappointed when I list the Ford Mustang in answer to the question, “What are the coolest cars you’ve driven while at Automobile Magazine?” They then inform me that it has a live rear axle, is a little porky, and isn’t even that powerful. That all may be true, but it doesn’t change a thing: the Mustang is one of my favorite cars to drive.
Ford designers can point out dozens of places where they nipped, tucked, and refined their pony car, but the changes are hard to appreciate unless you’re parked right alongside an old model. That’s fine. The 2009 model we had in our office last fall was a blast, and so is this one.
I did notice improved grip. This might be partially because the ground is now warm, dry, and salt-free, but the Track Pack goodies on this car clearly have some effect. I was less pleased with the brake pads, which were way too soft until they got some heat into them. That’s fine on a track, where you can warm everything up, but not in daily driving.
We’ve heard a lot recently about how the Mustang is shaking in its boots in fear of the Chevrolet Camaro and Hyundai Genesis. Somehow, I doubt that’s true. The Mustang has never been the most advanced sports car on the street, but that’s never stopped buyers from snapping them up. Ford clearly has the formula down with this car. The Mustang may not be the fastest, most comfortable car, but it is one of the most fun.
Oh, and you can make that three obscene speeding violations in our electric blue Mustang. Coming out of a sweeping turn, I nailed the throttle, grabbed fourth with that wonderfully precise, solid feeling aluminum-ball shifter, and saw the needle sweeping toward the 100-mph mark before visions of a Michigan jail cell intruded on my reverie.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Thumbs-up, waves, verbal compliments, and engine revs–I experienced all those from other motorists during my weekend stint in the Mustang GT. Ford calls this color Grabber Blue, an appropriate name given its ability to grab attention on the road. There’s no hiding in this car. An attempt to do so will quickly be spoiled once the accelerator is pressed and the 4.6L V-8 gets to sing its song.
As others have commented, the color-matched accented seats are a nice touch and complete the retro interior. I found the front seats to be a little firm for long trips; however, they offer great side support for those twisty country road encounters. The huge billet-aluminum shift knob is the first thing I noticed when I opened the driver’s door–it begs to be tossed around, and I granted its wish. The transmission feels solid. The throws are precise and short, quite different from past Mustangs. I found rear-end grip to be superb; the Pirelli rubber really compliments the Mustang power. Having said that, I was surprised to see a good amount of tread left after almost everyone on staff had their turn.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
My sincere compliments to Ford for a job well done. This is one of the more effective face-lifts I’ve experienced. The 2010 Mustang GT has the legs to run with (though not ahead of) its Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger mortal enemies. The 0-to-60-mph sprint of 5.3 seconds, combined with a quarter-mile run of 14.0 seconds at 103 mph, places Ford third in acceleration, but there are sufficient endearments – decent handling, attractive pricing, appropriate styling – to make up that difference. Considering the simplicity of its chassis, this Mustang shows commendable agility and a lovable personality. Heading my gripe list are a lazy electronic throttle and the heavy effort needed for quick 2-3 and 4-5 shifts. A lump in the floor under the accelerator pedal and headrests canted too far forward also annoy. But overall the Mustang GT is a viable alternative to not only the Camaro and the Challenger but also to Ford’s own Shelby GT500.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor
Sorry, I can’t pile on the love like my coworkers have been doing. The 2010 Ford Mustang is a car I really hoped to love, but as soon as I sat behind the wheel I knew it wouldn’t work out. Since Ford doesn’t offer a telescoping steering column, I wasn’t able to find a comfortable seating position. I spent a weekend with my knees crushed by the dashboard, and I still couldn’t get a secure grip on the wheel. I’d forgive this if I were abnormally tall or had an uncommonly long set of legs, but I’m not much over six feet and I can easily buy pants off the rack at any store. There’s no way I can enjoy my time behind the wheel if I don’t have a safe driving position.
The little idiosyncrasies associated with a live rear axle might be more endearing if I fit in the car better, but fighting with the rear end isn’t entertaining with a so-so grip on the wheel. Given the condition of the roads around here, I wasn’t even hammering the car and I still had to make a lot of corrections to keep it pointing where I wanted to go. Also, that live axle makes launching the Mustang a real pain. I know I’m spoiled by the sophisticated suspensions and launch control systems on cars like the Audi R8 and the Nissan GT-R, but the Mustang should still be able to put down the power more smoothly.
But there is still some good news for the 2010 Mustang. The interior is great now. Everything works like it should, and the layout is very simple and efficient. Sync works very well, and the ability to control everything from the radio to your cell phone with voice commands is a huge help with a car that demands both hands on the wheel most of the time. The materials used inside now feel very upscale, especially compared with the penalty box that was masquerading as an interior before.
There are enough upgrades to the car to keep Mustang fans happy, but there are a lot of other cars for $30,000+ that enthusiasts should consider. Nissan 370Z, anyone?
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
Even during my super-late-night commute home from the office, I couldn’t help but notice the extreme improvement in interior materials offered by the ’10 Mustang. Still, I think I actually prefer the previous design, which was very horizontal and very retro. The exterior face-lift has taken a similar turn for the modern, but my pangs of nostalgia are absent in this case. After observing the wild blue paint, though, the pain in my retinas was very real. Unfortunately, the bright color also pretty much ensures that you’ll have a hard time getting away with any of the shenanigans that the Mustang GT is so adept at.
Helping assist those hoonerific temptations is a supercool metallic shift knob that’s an improvement–both in feel and appearance–over those in earlier fifth-generation Mustangs. But it still doesn’t feel as intoxicatingly tight as the awesome (and sometimes Hurst) shifters in some of the ballsier Mustangs such as the Bullitt, the GT500, and assorted Roush and Saleen derivatives.
Overall, this was a very strong face-lift, but based on the early reviews of the 2010 Chevy Camaro, it’s unlikely that the refresh will keep Ford ahead of Chevy for very long.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
I most decidedly do not have a demographic profile that matches that of the Mustang buyer, so I was surprised to get in this GT and find that I kind of like it. Sure, the pay-attention-to-me color isn’t exactly a turn-on, but I can see how it might be embraced by Mustang devotees. Unless you’re a real Mustang fanatic, you might not notice the exterior changes, but once inside, you can see that the dashboard design has been modernized and the materials are a step up. The GT, with its live rear axle, doesn’t handle the pockmarked roads of Michigan as well as I might like, but the engine supplies a satisfying amount of power and sings a nice song. All in all, this is a car that isn’t for me, but I can see how it appeals to diehard pony car fans.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
My memory isn’t exactly what it used to be, but I don’t recall the last Mustang I drove – a 2008 GT coupe – to be quite as fast as this 2010 example. I know; power is up 15 hp thanks to few small tweaks underhood, but I don’t recall accidentally hitting 98 mph in third gear in the ’08. My excuse for this discovery is similar to my colleagues–that voracious roar emitted by stabbing that throttle is immensely intoxicating.
Sounds excluded, there are a number of things I really like about this revised pony. The billet shifter is a welcome improvement, as is the new interior, which coddled me in luxury while triggering flashbacks of a friends’ 1968 model. I’m also glad to see Ford has finally tossed in its Sync connectivity system, which was curiously absent in the ’09 Mustang range. I’m glad it was there–it managed to cue up the drive scene music from “Bullit” when I first fired up the car.
My adoration of this car places me in a conundrum. I think Ford has the edge in the pony car race when it comes to the interior and a few styling touches, but Chevrolet really took its time tuning the suspension on the Camaro, and it shows. When it comes to sales numbers, David Zenlea is correct: the Mustang camp will turn to Ford, while the bow-tie boys, geeked on the resurrection of the nameplate, will flock to the Camaro.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
- Base price (with destination): $31,845
- Price as tested: $34,225
- Premier trim with color accents $395
- 245/45R-19 tires no charge
- Rear spoiler delete no charge
- Security Package (wheel-locking kit, anti-theft system) $395
- 19-inch Bright Machined Aluminum Wheels $1,095
- 3.73 rear axle package $495
- Track Pack (Retro fitted, not noted on Monroney) $1,495
- Fuel economy: 16/24/19 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
- Size: 4.6L OHC V-8
- Horsepower: 315 hp @ 6000 rpm – estimated
- Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm – estimated
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Weight: 3533 lb – estimated
- Wheels/Tires: 19 x 9.5-in machined aluminum wheels
- 245/45R-19 98W Pirelli PZero tires