The Ford Mustang has always been every car fanatic’s poster boy, specially in India because right from 1964, the muscle car didn’t get a right-hand drive model and hence wasn’t available in our market, until now! It is the first muscle car in the Indian market and amidst the crowd of German roadsters, the Mustang stands out and is the most affordable 5.0-litre V8 you can get today in our country. We drive the Pony car from Goa to Bangalore to see how practical it is on our roads and for long distance touring in India.
EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;
The Ford Mustang GT is a true blue American Muscle Car and has been ruling the popularity charts for decades together. The all-new 2016 Mustang has a sleek and streamlined design which is muscular and has the traits of earlier Mustangs as well. The long bonnet, sloping roofline and a short, beefy rear portion instantly makes one recognize that it is a Mustang. The wide trapezoidal front grille with the galloping pony logo and the sleek headlamps make the car look very mean. The fog lamps are placed lower on the front bumper.
From the side the car looks stretched and gives a feeling of being in motion even when standstill. The sloping roofline typical of a fastback, adds to the sporty character of the Mustang. The rear has back cladding with tri-bar taillamps. The black coloured multi-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels also look mean and sporty.
INTERIORS AND CABIN ;
Open the big wide doors and you are welcomed by a dashboard that seems like a modern take on the traditional Mustang cues. The twin-pod instrument cluster, three circular centre vents, toggle switches for different driving modes and the badge which says ‘Since 1964’ lets you know you are driving something with a rich history. The knurled knobs to control the music system is made of good quality too and add to the retro theme inside. You also get a touchscreen interface which is very similar to the one found on the new Endeavour and is not the most intuitive to use.
Thanks to the absence of B-pillar and large windows, visibility is fantastic and this also makes the cabin feel wide and airy. The thick rimmed steering wheel is unusually big and it is loaded with as many as 18 buttons for music system, Bluetooth, cruise control and voice command system. Though the cabin has some retro elements the ambience doesn’t look that distinct and it doesn’t make you feel special like the new Audi TT does. Although the quality is decent, some plastics lack the plush feel. We particularly didn’t like the plastics on the dash and door pads which lack soft touch and that all-important expensive feel.
The front seats are well contoured with good lateral support and are comfortable. But they are placed a bit too high for my liking. Although the Mustang is big car on the outside, space at the rear is best for kids for short stints.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
The rear-wheel-drive Mustang is offered with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Three engines are available.A 3.7-liter V6 engine with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque is standard on the base Mustang. Official EPA estimates weren’t available as of this writing, but last year’s Mustang V6 earned 21 mpg combined (17 city/28 highway) with the manual and 22 mpg combined (19/28) with the automatic.
The EcoBoost and EcoBoost Premium trims step up to a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine generating 310 hp and 320 lb-ft. Fuel economy (2016 numbers) is estimated at 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) with the manual coupe, 25 mpg combined (21/32) with the automatic coupe and 24 mpg combined (20/29) with the automatic convertible.Mustang GTs pack a 5.0-liter V8 that cranks out 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy estimates from last year stand at 19 mpg combined (15 city/25 highway) with the manual coupe, 19 mpg combined (16/25) with the automatic coupe and 18 mpg combined (15/24) with the automatic convertible.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
While we haven’t driven any of the earlier Mustangs, the current generation model is the first to ditch the solid live axle in favour of a fully independent rear suspension. Ford claims this has improved the ride and handling considerably. On our test route, the car did ride well over potholes and broken sections making it a great daily driver despite running on 19-inch wheels using low profile tyres. Ground clearance is slightly higher than the average sportscar, another positive for India. Out on the highway, the same suspension setup makes it a great tourer. However, the slightly softer setting makes it roll more than expected around corners. The car lifts up and nose dives noticeably hard acceleration and braking. While the V8 easily propels the car to high speeds without much effort, the chassis and suspension setup is better suited for laid back straight line driving. If you’re looking for a car to go break some lap records, look elsewhere. Unless you like doing that sideways. The Mustang loves kicking its tail out. Laying rubber down while power sliding out of corners is its favourite pastime. Massive grins guaranteed.
The Ford Mustang is no Mercedes-Benz when it comes to safety, but it comes with more features than the typical sports car. The standard package includes front-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger, side impact airbags for the front seats, overhead airbags that offer protection in the event of a side collision and rollover, and knee airbags. Additionally, the Mustang is equipped with anti-lock brakes, stability control, and seat belt pretensioners. The facelift brings new safety features, including Pre-Collision Assist with pedestrian detection, distance alert, and lane-departure warning. There’s also lane-keeping assist and Driver Alert System.
Absolutely! The Ford Mustang GT might not be a great track car, but with its tail happy nature and an easy to drift setup, it is probably more fun than straight lining corners and setting a quick lap. It is also relaxed when you want it to be and an absolute hoot under hard acceleration. It dispatches the 0-100kmph run is under 5 seconds, by the way; though this for the full powered near 435bhp version. The India-spec car will be a little slower. The Mustang GT then is a poser, a burnout machine, a piece of history, and one of the coolest cars one can buy in India. But, do get one in red.