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Intrepidation

2010 Ford Mustang GT Full Test

45 posts in this topic

A Good Reason To Buy American

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Affordable. Powerful. Rear-wheel drive.

It's what we all want: powerslides for a low monthly payment.

But with the new Hyundai Genesis coupe grabbing headlines like a publicly intoxicated Michelle Obama, Americans seem to have forgotten that it has been the Ford Mustang supplying them with that magic formula for fun for more than 40 years.

The Ford Mustang has defined affordable performance with two smoking rear tires since back when a hybrid was an Italian-bodied car powered by an American V8. You know, way back in the groovy 1960s. Even the laughable Ford Mustang II of the mid-1970s was fast for its day.

But Americans are not known for their long-term memory. Sometimes we need a little reminding. And this slate-gray 2010 Ford Mustang GT with the optional Track Pack is tire-shredding Ginko biloba.

Track Pack and the Big Bow Wow

But affordable isn't as affordable as it used to be. These days, blowing minds at the Big Bow Wow with your V8 muscle car will cost you north of $30 grand.

Base price on this 2010 Ford Mustang GT Premium is $30,995 and its MSRP with options will hit your wallet for $34,775. And it isn't even loaded (but it's close).

Performance options? Just one. The nicely named Track Pack. For $1,500 it adds a unique set of dampers, a front strut-tower brace, a shorter 3.73:1 axle ratio, a limited-slip differential, dual-piston front calipers with performance brake pads, recalibrated stability control, a set of cast-aluminum 19-inch wheels with 255/40ZR19 Pirelli P Zero summer performance tires, plus several pieces from the current Shelby GT500, including its front and rear antiroll bars, rear lower trailing links and front upper strut mounts.

As far as comfort stuff goes, this car has the Comfort Group, which includes heated front seats and six-way power adjustment for the passenger seat, a security package and the monster 10-speaker Shaker 1,000-watt audio system (which can cause bleeding). No navigation, no sunroof, although both are available. So are several different scoop and stripe options, which honestly might be worth a little extra scratch, as our very gray tester lacked a little eye candy.

Few at the Pizza City gave it a second glance, despite the fact that every body panel but the roof is new for 2010. And most of it is successful at keeping the Mustang retro instead of so last year. Positive comments we did get centered around the cool grille lights, which were a crowd favorite on the 2005-'09 model, and the new cowl-induction-style hood. The new taillights also drew some attention, but the comments weren't always flattering.

The new interior got mixed reviews as well. Only one guy thought the color-your-gauges-to-suit-your-mood isn't just dumb, but he had neon blue lights under his Evo. More than a few thought the new dash was a bit dull, and even when we told them it was ergonomically improved they didn't seem to care.

More Suspension Control, Please

Because we've driven the 2010 Mustang before, both on the street and around the racetrack at the Streets of Willow northeast of Los Angeles, we knew what to expect.

In that earlier report we complained about the new Mustang's over-boosted steering, its soft brake pedal and the way it flops around on its suspension. We wrote, "On winding canyon roads the 2010 Ford Mustang is still too big, too soft and too vague to really toss around with any measure of precision."

The Track Pack improved things, however, and we praised the additional athleticism. We wrote, "At speed on the road course at the Streets of Willow, the improvement from the Track Pack proved noticeable almost instantly. The retuned dampers do a better job of keeping the front end under control, so the initial turn toward the apex of the corner is more immediate. There's far less body roll, and the additional cornering grip allows you to push it a little harder at the limit."

But after two weeks behind the wheel of this 2010 Ford Mustang GT, we've decided that the Track Pack doesn't take things far enough. Oh, there's plenty of grip, and the Mustang has a real ability to change direction, but its suspension still dives, squats and leans far more than it needs to (Look at all that body roll in these powerslide photos. It looks like we disconnected the sway bars.), and it doesn't deal with crests or elevation changes as well as it could.

Basically the Mustang's suspension works. This car is easy to drive very quickly on a mountain road, we'd just like it to feel more precise than it does, more tied down to the road. And we still think the steering is over-boosted, although it feels better in the hills than it does in the city, and the brake pedal is still too soft.

Make It Less Friendly, Please

And then there's the Mustang's lack of attitude around town. In the city there just isn't enough edge to the drive. Everything about the 2010 Ford Mustang feels a bit sanitized for your protection. Like somebody at Ford told the engineers that the guy's wife might have to drive it, too, so make it feel...friendly.

"But it's a Mustang GT, sir, with the Track Pack," says the middle management engineer to the suit. "Shouldn't we dial it in for a real driver? The guy who knows that a steering wheel that can be turned with one finger is a bad thing?"

"You fool. Men don't buy cars anymore. Our focus groups and overpaid consultants have made it clear that we need to expand the Mustang brand's appeal deeper into the female consumer pool," retorts the suit through stale coffee breath. "Now get back to work. We've lost millions in just the time it has taken me to call you stupid."

The result is an unfulfilling experience on anything but a straight road. Pound the 2010 Ford Mustang GT into some curves and it dances, but it's up on its tippy toes and never settles down long enough for the driver to find a rhythm.

Even the powertrain, which makes plenty of thrust for those late nights at the Connecting Highway and Cross Bay Boulevard, isn't well suited for the twisties. Despite the short 3.73 gears, the soft bottom end of the 4.6-liter V8's power curve (it only starts making real power at 4,000 rpm) and the super-tall 2nd gear in the five-speed conspire to make tight corner exits unexciting unless you're attacking the road at race pace. If you're willing to commit, however, this Mustang will fly in and out of any bend. It just takes high entry speeds, aggressive turn-in and a heavy right foot to keep the revs up.

It does very well in long fast sweepers, where the suspension can take a set and lean on those sticky 19-inch Pirellis, but even on faster open roads, this Mustang will get left for dead by a more agile 2009 Nissan 370Z, although it can pull away from a larger 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T.

Track Testing

Regardless of its shortcomings, this car is fast. In fact, this is the quickest, best handling and best stopping normally aspirated Mustang we've ever tested. Plus, it lays two big patches of Italian rubber if you shift 2nd gear like you're trying to tear the shifter from the fancy new console. We like that.

Making that power is essentially the same engine package that powered the 2009 Ford Mustang Bullitt. To the same old 4.6-liter DOHC V8, Ford has added a cold-air intake plus a reprogrammed ECU that bumps the redline to 6,500 rpm. That same computer also has two different fuel programs: for regular and premium gas. Peak output is 315 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 325 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm, just like the Bullitt.

When we arrived at our test track with the tank filled with premium and the traction and stability control systems off, the Mustang hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds (4.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip), and covered the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds at 102.9 mph. That's impressive for a car that weighs 3,572 pounds. In the slalom, this Mustang with its Track Pack hardware recorded a speed of 68.4 mph, then circled the skid pad at an eyebrow-raising 0.91g. It also stopped from 60 mph in just 107 feet.

A Good Reason To Buy American

How do those numbers compare to the performance of the rivals of the 2010 Ford Mustang GT? They kick ass.

Of course we haven't tested a new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS yet, but the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T isn't even close. The Mustang GT is quicker, faster and easily out-handles the Dodge. And that new Hyundai Genesis coupe everybody is swooning over? Well, the new Mustang GT out-performs it, too.

And so we've found that powerful rear-wheel-drive ride you crave. You know, the drift machine that can be bought on an hourly wage. And we've found it in red, white and blue.

Insideline

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I'm reminded of all the nay-sayers out there whining how going retro wasn't going to succeed. Wow, that was a while ago... and wow, that was all wrong.

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Then new Mustang pulls off the retro look better than the previous gen would have dreamed of. I really like this car.

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And it already looks 5 years old...

Compared to the Camaro, which already is 5 years old, and not on lots yet?

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looks like the last one. is what many will say; i like the updates, but many will think of it as the same as last year, in terms of overall concept. shape and metal is shaped similarly enough to convey the same thing; though i've thought mustangs were aging well it's no longer the freshest kid on the block. it isn't like the Z car whose basic proportions and metal were overhauled while still maintaing the it's tie to before. good thing this is just a refresh. have to see one in person though....or take the time to check the video out

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Compared to the Camaro, which already is 5 years old, and not on lots yet?

Never said anything about the Camaro... the Camaro certainly does not look as dated as the Mustang to my eyes.

The changes, while nice, are so subtle and hard to notice unless you're really looking. I wouldn't be surprised if the common person can't pick out the new Mustang from the old one if it was just driving down the road.

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Compared to the Camaro, which already is 5 years old, and not on lots yet?

Last time I checked 2006-2009 was 3 years and the Camaro sits on a much more modern platform.

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Just saying, the Camaro has been around for what seems like forever, the Mustang debuted a few months ago.

As for the Camaro's more modern platform, it weighs a good 500 pounds more.

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looks like the last one. is what many will say; i like the updates, but many will think of it as the same as last year, in terms of overall concept. shape and metal is shaped similarly enough to convey the same thing; though i've thought mustangs were aging well it's no longer the freshest kid on the block. it isn't like the Z car whose basic proportions and metal were overhauled while still maintaing the it's tie to before. good thing this is just a refresh. have to see one in person though....or take the time to check the video out

So, you're really going to try and pull this off? To try and say that the Mustang looks like "the last one" but the Z car in your signature bears no resemblance to what it replaced.

They're both tired designs that look almost like the car they replaced.

Just saying, the Camaro has been around for what seems like forever, the Mustang debuted a few months ago.

Can't help but agree... I'm a Camaro enthusiast and I'm already a bit tired of the design.

Then again, speaking collectively, the ONLY versions of these two cars that really please me (visually) are the GT500 and SS. I wouldn't even bother with a base Camaro or Mustang GT. (Not saying that they aren't good cars, just not my style)

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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The black plastic running around the bottom of the Mustang sucks hard. That should be a base V6 only thing.

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I think the updates on this car are great. Yes it is similar to the 05-09 but it is so much mroe refined, especially in the interior which I think blows the camaro's away. Its brake numbers and handling are way better then anyone expected, who cares about the solid rear axle. The 4.6 mod v8 may not be the most powerful but it sounds great, love my own, and with the car being 450 lbs lighter because of its lack of an IRS it is only a .3-.4 off a camaros projected acceleration.

What could really furt camaro sales is when the 3.5 ecoboost and even more importantly the 5.0 coyote v8 are put in this for 2011. The 5.0 is supposedly rated for 400 hp and 375-400 ftlbs and is at worst the same weight as the 4.6, maybe a touch lighter. You put this in the mustang and it will be crapping all over the 3900 lb camaro's 422hp when it has 400hp at 3500lbs. I'm looking for a new car in 2012 to replace my 05 mustang, which I love, and if the coyote v8 is as advertised I will be in another mustang for sure. I don't mind heavy big cars but 4000lbs for a pony car? I think not....

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Oh and as most of you know I'm not a troller or ford fanatic. I still love GM first and foremost with 4 of my 6 cars being GM in the past 7 years I've had my license. When I sold my malibu I decided I wanted a modern take on a classic Pony car and the stang is the only car that fits the discrition. I've really come around to ford's new line of cars lately.

Anyways while I have branched out from Gm a bit I will only buy domestic with a slight outside chance for a German car. Never, will I ever buy a Japanese car and support unfair traded deficits

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Just saying, the Camaro has been around for what seems like forever, the Mustang debuted a few months ago.

As for the Camaro's more modern platform, it weighs a good 500 pounds more.

True, but early reviews have also indicated that the new Camaro handles better than any Mustang could ever dream possible.

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Maybe you guys are just blind. Yes it's similar but I can see the updates a mile away. :P

I think the updates look great, and the interior is a huge leap forward. The car's shape is timeless...I never get tired of looking at it. The updates only improve it IMO. I really like what they did with the rear end.

It would seem Ford just needs to add a suspension package firmer than the Track Pack to really get the body motions in check, and work on the lifeless steering.

I'd love to own one to park next to my feature Camaro and Challenger. :D

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i think the camaro is way sexier, but the ford's interior is more livable GM will cheap out on the plastics inside.

basically for me the camaro wins by a nod because the base engine choice is better, but otherwise i would take either. you can get more trailer park young p*ssy with the camaro for now i bet. older cougars, maybe the ford.

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What I like about the Mustang is that despite the fact that the V8 only makes 315 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 325 pound-feet of torque, it can hit 60 mpg in 5.2 seconds. When Ford puts the new engines in there it'll be even faster.

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So, you're really going to try and pull this off? To try and say that the Mustang looks like "the last one" but the Z car in your signature bears no resemblance to what it replaced.

They're both tired designs that look almost like the car they replaced.

my unbridled reaction to you: did you read; are you stupid? [not personal, but based on what you're saying today] before you go talking from a place where you know nothing, do yourself a favor, view the video at the edmunds review, so that you get real perspective of the cars in motion. the mustang's only aspect that says something different is at the rear, the bend in the taillights and shape of the leading edge of the deck. it looks like a change, and that maybe something people notice. many people might also not notice the change of the z; however, that would be more a result of poor observationism, as the shape and stance say completely different things than before. the arc of the roofline is dramatic and ties into the original Z, and stylistic differences like the wheels alone or the dramatic wheel flares are enough to set it apart, again in person and in perspective. the angle i have pictured granted is not the best at showing the differences, however, it shows a good looking car, that's why i picked it.

EDIT:link to edmunds comparison Z v. Mustang

Edited by turbo200
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i suck at putting effort sometimes. no, it's that i feel it'd lose integrity and look less sharp, you seem to do real well though.

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