In 2005, Ford embraced its retro-roots and brought back the styling queues of the glorious 1969 Mach 1. In time, though, the large fender flares, “C-scoop”, and aggressive air dam began to look a bit “tacked on”. In 2010, Ford created a more understated and refined look, which is continued in 2011 (though with much better power plants and suspension tweaks).
The rear taillights are reminiscent of the 1971 model while the smoother flanks hearken to the 1968 variant. The result is a mash-up of the best styling attributes from the past. It truly looks better the more you look at it. As stated in the previous review, my favorite styling feature is the subtle crease that is interrupted between the door and the rear end above the rear fender.
Manual vs. Automatic?
With its vastly improved powertrain and handling to compliment last year’s styling, the 2011 Mustang indulges the performance driver with virtually no penalty for opting for the V6 over the V8. Which still leaves us with the question, which is better, the automatic or the manual?
I found the 6-speed manual to be a bit too closely spaced. It took some practice to downshift from 6th to 5th instead of 3rd. Additionally, the cupholder/console area is a bit high, so I found myself resting on it while shifting, which was a little awkward. Gas mileage was actually worse with the manual (though circumstances, as noted above, might have been the culprit). Altogether, I prefer the automatic to the manual. It better compliments the sleeper nature of the V6 variant. Your opinion may differ.
More Horses for Your Dollar
Ford now offers a more fuel efficient pony car with the V6 version that doesn’t sacrifice power and handling. And both automatic and manual versions offer a nice balance of creature comforts and performance. Drive both to decide which you’d rather live with, but for the most part, you can’t go wrong with the driving excitement and engagement that Ford now offers.