By KBB.com Editors
The Mustang shows not only Ford's commitment to keeping alive a legendary name, but the public's underestimated love of the traditional American muscle car. Shortly after its introduction, rivals Chevrolet and Dodge were sent scrambling, spending much of 2006 showing off revitalization plans for their own muscle car greats, the Camaro and Challenger. But show cars are no cars when it comes to sales and, for the time being, the Mustang is the only game in town. Unlike the terminated Pontiac GTO, the Mustang is blessed with iconic good looks, a choice of V6 or V8 engines and, most importantly, a really affordable sticker price. Make no mistake, serious competition is on the way but, for now, look for Ford to make the most of the Mustang's solo success.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're a fan of the affordable, powerful, rear-wheel-drive vehicles that have defined the American muscle car, you'll find this properly refined version thoroughly satisfying.You May Not Like This Car If...
Although the new Mustang is noticeably larger than the model it replaces, it still lacks much of the practicalitylike a roomy rear seatsome people may need.What's Significant About This Car?
Two new packages, the California Special and GT Appearance Package, make the options list. All radios now feature auxiliary input jacks and SIRIUS Satellite Radio while heated front seats and a DVD navigation become welcome options.Driving It Driving Impressions
The Mustang fires up with the satisfying snarl every red-blooded American expects from one of the country's most identifiable vehicles (although the growl is more pronounced with the V8). On the road, the Mustang's chassis and suspension deliver both a more insulated ride and more controlled handling than the model it replaces. Road irregularities are less jarring, and the car corners more confidently. While increased power from the V6 and V8 engines is part of the new model's appeal, the refined suspension is the car's most valuable improvement. It's the first completely new Mustang in well over a decade, and the enormous improvements are nowhere more obvious than from behind the wheel.Favorite Features
With or without the GT's two additional grille-mounted headlamps, the new Mustang's front end defines it as both a modern muscle car and a tribute to the car's celebrated heritage.
The Mustang's suspension includes a newly designed solid rear axle that delivers improved ride and handling while still allowing for impressive smoky burnouts.
If the new Mustang's exterior puts you in a retro state of mind, the interior will transport you like a time machine. A steering wheel with three metal-look spokes teams up with a speedometer and tachometer that rest deep in their own chrome-ringed wells to deliver a driver's seat view as retro as any. On the flip side, this throwback's instrument panel features a modern illumination system, color-configurable with 125 different lighting combinations. Seating is comfortable and the new car's added exterior dimensions allow for a noticeable increase in headroom and legroom. A few less hard-edge plastic surfaces would go a long way to turning a good interior into one that's great.Exterior
By borrowing liberally from the Mustang's past, the new car's designers have created a vehicle that wholly captures the essence of the original. The long hood and short rear deck that have defined the Mustang from day one are joined by the return of round headlamps and vertical "tri-bar" taillamps especially reminiscent of the 1967 model. The Mustang V6 features nifty multi-spoke wheels with real three-point spinners and both the V6 and GT offer plenty of room for aftermarket customization.Notable Standard Equipment
The Mustang V6 Deluxe includes a 4.0-liter SOHC V6 engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes, cloth sport bucket seats, 16-inch painted cast aluminum wheels, AM/FM stereo with CD and auxiliary input jack, manual air conditioning, one-touch up/down power windows, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, rear-window defroster, tilt steering wheel and cruise control. The GT Deluxe adds a 4.6-liter V8 engine, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, fog lamps, rear spoiler and 17-inch cast aluminum wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Features available only on select trim levels or as stand-alone options include the Pony Package (V6 only), the California Special Package, the GT Appearance Package (GT only), five-speed automatic transmission, 500- or 1000-watt audio system with six-disc CD/MP3 changer, leather seating, sport bucket seats, heated seats, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with traction control, front side-impact airbags, rear spoiler, 17-inch aluminum wheels and 125-color instrument panel.Under the Hood
For those not bothered by the lack of V8 growl, the V6's output is more than sufficient to get your blood flowing. Originally designed for use in the Ford Explorer SUV and Ranger pickup truck, the Mustang's V6 demonstrates a noticeable amount of vibration and harshness, and the single exhaust note just doesn't quite cut itbut the performance is surprisingly peppy. The GT is clearly faster and more refined, and its V8 is one feature many male buyers wouldn't dream of sacrificing. Ford's three-valve per cylinder technology allows the big V8 to breathe easier, producing better low-end power without sacrificing fuel efficiency.
210 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
240 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 (manual), 18/26 (automatic)
300 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
320 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (manual), 17/23 (automatic)
The Mustang Deluxe V6 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,995, while the Premium coupe is $20,920. The GT Deluxe has an MSRP of $26,020, while the GT Premium starts at $27,200. As the Mustang remains a hot commodity, it is for the most part exempt from rebates and incentives. A look at the Fair Purchase Price shows the transaction price for the Mustang V6 to be around MSRP, but this may drop over time. To avoid paying too much for your Mustang, be sure to compare pricing with the current Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area are paying for their vehicles. Kelley Blue Book expects the Mustang V6 to retain a slightly better-than-average residual value over a five-year period. The GT version is projected to do even better, holding a 10-perecentage point advantage over the V6-powered car.