I'm with Marc on this one. In spite of the Mustang's flaws - and there are many, from the endlessly tarted-up bodywork to the low-rent interior to the positively stone-age rear axle - I can't stay away. And while I haven't driven the Shelby GT or the Bullitt edition 'Stang, I'm still more than a little in love with the base GT. So simple, so ridiculously hundred-years-ago simple. The Mustang's charm lies in its honesty, its crudeness, and its throwback personality. Sure, it's not that stable at high speed, and sure, the steering is kind of vague, and sure, the ergonomics don't work for everybody. But there's something endearing about the whole package.
That said, I'm worried for the future. If the next (2010) Mustang is just a mild rework and retouch of the current car, as it's rumored to be, then Ford is in trouble. Simple and charming only takes you so far, especially when the next Camaro and the current Challenger have the 'Stang beat six ways from Sunday where dynamics are concerned. (Not to mention looks; while I love the Ford's styling in stripped-out-and-mean Shelby or Bullitt mode, it's in need of a refresh. Especially one that consists of more than bolt-on changes and tacky styling updates.)
I was lucky enough to get some seat time in the next Camaro last week. And while the impressions from that drive are currently under embargo, I don't think I'm breaking the confidentiality agreement when I say the following: Ford should be very, very worried.
Sam Smith, Associate Editor