More Expert Reviews
|2010 Ford Mustang
|2010 Ford Mustang GT
- Dramatic interior quality improvements
- More attractive, stylish and aggressive exterior improvements
- Hoot-hollerin’ V8
- Intrusive arm rest
- Annoying IP illumination reflection in windshield
- Rear seats fit for a double leg amputee
Ruling: The first Mustang which might actually attract people who’ve never liked Mustangs.
Ask any enthusiast what they think the glory days were for the Mustang’s long lineage, and most will tell you 1969 or 1970. Specifically, the days of the Boss 302, the model which established its thoroughbred racing heritage. The days of Parnelli Jones, the Trans Am racing series and the epic battles between the Mustang and Camaro. These were the glory days for the Mustang, and it’s no surprise that when Ford embarked on redesigning it for 2010, their inspiration came from looking back 40 years.
While GM conducts the longest, most drawn-out and tiresome pre-production PR cock-tease campaign for the will-it-ever-be-released Camaro, Mustang enthusiasts have patiently waited in anticipation of Ford’s complete redesign of their pony car. Much to the chagrin of enthusiasts, Ford’s plans did not include a full redesign. But what they have done with the 2010 Mustang should more than satisfy the expectations of not only enthusiasts, but more importantly, non-enthusiasts.
This author would historically fall into the category of a non-enthusiast. Although I appreciate the simplistic approach of a rear-wheel drive V8 powered coupe, the Mustang has always been too uninspired and cheap, both in looks and build quality, to attract my attention. Not including the classics from the 1960′s and early 70′s, the only Mustang I ever even remotely considered was an ’88 LX 5.0 coupe, your quintessential sleeper, but the tawdry interior derailed my intentions. The desire to own a Mustang never again resurfaced, that is until a 2010 GT adorned in Grabber Blue recently rumbled into my driveway.
I had seen plenty of photos of the re-worked 2010 exterior, and the changes Ford designers made didn’t seem like much. But when you actually see it in the sheetmetal, you quickly realize that the numerous subtle design changes have added up to a far more attractive package. What’s more, I immediately rubberized some asphalt and parked it next to a 2009 Mustang, and the difference was remarkable.
It’s all in the details, like the smaller, more angular headlights, bulging hood, little kick-ups on the top end of the doors and the more rounded rear with new taillights simply make the new Mustang a far more appealing machine from the outside. But what really made an impression was the interior; specifically, the noteworthy quality improvements and stylish design cues.
What hasn’t changed on the 2010 model are the underpinnings of the Mustang. The chassis is nearly the same, with some tweaks in the suspension to reduce body roll and stiffen the ride for a more firm yet not uncomfortable road feel. The 4.6 liter V8 powerplant is the same one found in the 2009 Bullit model, albeit with a new cold air induction system which, according to Ford, boosts pony power from 300 to 315 and torque to 325 lb ft. These numbers are good for very respectable acceleration stats – 5 second flat 0-60 and 13.6 seconds at 104 mph.
But the Mustang isn’t just a straight line machine. Sure, it still has a solid rear axle, a gratifying 5-speed manual tranny and that visceral, neck-jerking kick when you floor it at 4,000 rpms – which lifts the front end like a boat under full throttle – but the suspension improvements have actually made the stock GT respectably adept in the twisties. With the stock, Mustang-specific 18″ Pirelli P-Zero Nero all-season tires, turn-in is accurate with a classic hint of understeer, which can easily be remedied to slight oversteer by throttle adjustment. There is some noticeable body roll, but overall, out-of-the-box handling is impressive, and it wouldn’t take much tweaking to make the new Mustang a track star.
On the freeway, the Mustang is a rock. Fort Knox solid. Historically, when journalists said the words “typical” and “Ford” in succession, what followed was usually either a rant, a dis or a rant littered with disses. However, Ford’s consistent focus with many of its new models to improve interior quality which hushes road noise is becoming typical. So in this case, the 2010 Mustang has that “typical Ford” interior quality which produces a serene cabin, even at triple-digit speeds.
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