By KBB.com Editors
The 2008 Ford 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 last year 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 the 2008 Ford Mustang a properly refined version and thoroughly satisfying.You May Not Like This Car If...
Although the 2008 Ford Mustang is noticeably larger than the previous generation, it still lacks much of the practicality -- like a roomy rear seat -- some people may need.What's New for 2008
High-Intensity Discharge headlamps (HID) and an ambient interior light package are offered as options, while side airbags are made standard on all models. Two new Shelby Mustangs, the GT and GT500KR, are made available for 2008.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2008 Ford 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 an insulated ride and controlled handling. Road irregularities are less jarring than in previous generations, and the car corners more confidently. While increased power from the V6 and V8 engines is part of the Mustang's appeal, the refined suspension is the car's most valuable improvement.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 2008 Ford 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, front side airbags 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, navigation, sport bucket seats, heated seats, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with traction control, HID headlamps, ambient interior light package, rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum wheels, a 125-color instrument panel and the Warriors in Pink package, with proceeds going to help raise funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.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 it---but 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. The true powerhouse, however, is the limited-production Shelby model, which features a 500-horsepower supercharged V8.
210 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
240 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (manual), 16/24 (automatic)
300 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
320 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 (manual), 15/22 (automatic)
5.4-liter V8 Supercharged
500 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
480 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
The Mustang Deluxe V6's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $20,000, while the Premium coupe is about $1,000 more. The GT Deluxe has an MSRP of around $27,000, while the GT Premium starts close to $28,000. The Shelby models start around $44,000, but don't be surprised if demand pushes prices well above MSRP. A look at the Fair Purchase Price shows the transaction price for the Mustang V6 to be slightly below MSRP, but this may drop more 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 time. The GT version is projected to do even better, holding a significant advantage over the V6-powered car.