Published: 29 Mar 2016
The Mustang: A Truly American Driving Experience
UK car buyers patiently waited for more than a year when Ford announced that right-hand-drive Mustangs would be coming to Europe in 2015. Indeed, sales in the first month of Ford's announcement were rather brisk. Car buyers were quickly plunking down deposits to get their shot at the first units as they rolled off carriers. Now that we've had a few months to actually drive the European Mustang, does it live up to the hype? That depends on what you are looking for.
Find out more about the Ford Mustang
When the Mustang first came out in 1962 as a concept car, Ford delivered it for one reason and one reason only: to beat both Chevrolet and Dodge to the market with a high-performance sports car the average American could afford. In so doing, they created a whole new class of vehicles that ended up faring very well against similar imports in post-war America.
We say all of that to say this: the new Mustang now making its way down UK roads is truly an American driving experience. If you are unwavering in your love for European sports cars, you will probably have no interest in the Mustang. However, if you are the kind of driver captivated by American muscle cars featuring raw horsepower and one-of-a-kind styling, the Mustang has a lot of appeal. Simply put, it is a love or hate kind of thing.
Excellent Power and Performance
It is fair to say that the image of the Ford Mustang has captivated the imaginations of car enthusiasts for decades. And while the exceptionally long bonnet and bulky carriage are part of the aesthetic appeal of the Mustang, what is under the bonnet is this car's strongest selling point.
UK drivers can choose either the 2.3 L turbocharged petrol or a much powerful 5.0 L V-8 powerplant. The larger engine is obviously the better choice if you are looking to experience maximum power at take-off. Of course, fuel mileage is not something the V-8 engine can boast about. Choose a smaller engine if you are willing to sacrifice power for economy.
In terms of performance, the Mustang does exceptionally well on the open road. It certainly cannot compete with the Ferrari or Porsche, but again, the Mustang was never intended to rival German sports cars. It performs well enough, with a comfortable suspension, a responsive manual transmission (the automatic transmission isn't bad either), and very impressive acceleration. Handling in the city can be cumbersome at speed, but on the open road, the Mustang is fun to drive.
Never Mind the Interior
Forced to choose the weakest link in the Mustang takes us to the interior. Unfortunately, this is where American manufacturers seem to offer the biggest disappointment. You would expect a car as iconic as the Mustang to offer an impressive interior with solid materials and a good layout. But it doesn't.
Ford has chosen to use a lot of cheap plastic for the dashboard and control systems. Not only that, they've made the mistake of trying to simulate metal parts with trim that is obviously plastic as well. Brand-new, the interior is appealing enough, but the plastic will eventually wear down and begin showing its age.
If you are after a truly American driving experience in an iconic muscle car, you'll probably find the Mustang to be just what you're looking for. An affordable price tag of just under £35,000 is pretty easy to swallow. On the other hand, don't expect great things from the Mustang if you've always preferred Porsche, Ferrari, or any of the other high-end European sports car nameplates.
Find out more about the Ford Mustang
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