Sunday, July 09, 2006

Automobile Review: 2006 Ford Mustang

When planning our trip to the physicist-physicist wedding and Niagara Falls, we reserved the cheapest car we could from Budget. When we arrived at the Buffalo airport, however, we discovered that they only had one car left: a 2006 Ford Mustang, which, of course, normally rents for considerably more than the rate we were paying. So, we got to test-drive a Mustang while attending the wedding activities and seeing the sights. Our Musty---I know most people like to abbreviate the model name to "'Stang," but I prefer something less self-serious---was the base model: the hardtop with the 4.0-liter V-6 engine, and it was painted a fun, lime-green color. Here are my thoughts on the car, and a few photos.

The pros:
  • I must admit that the retro-futuristic exterior styling, while surely very high-drag, has a certain charm to it.
  • The interior was also done in a retro-modern motif, which was quite attractive. Gauge visibility was good.
  • The Musty had pretty good pick-up, which you would expect with 210 horsepower.
  • The fit and finish was better than I remember for American cars, but my experience my be out of date.
The cons:
  • The car never seemed comfortable cornering. I attribute this to the high center of mass and the solid rear axle.
  • Rear head and leg room wasn't great. Granted, you have to expect this from a vehicle in this category, but I feel that, if a car has rear seats, they should be usable.
  • I had trouble finding a comfortable seating position. This problem was exacerbated by the way the seatback returns, after being flipped forward for rear-seat access, not to any vaguely useful position, but to one forward of vertical.
  • Because of the car's very high beltline, visibility out of the vehicle was poor. In particular, the triangular---OK, trapazoidal---rear three-quarter windows are nearly useless; I felt that I was constantly in danger of changing lanes into a Miata. Also, due to the high, long hood*, I could never be sure of the front bumper's location, which I found quite frustrating when parking.
  • Parking is also made difficult by the large footprint of the Musty. Given its seating capacity, it should really take up less space.
  • Fuel efficiency was not great, though admittedly, it was not as bad as I expected, given the 4-liter engine and the brick-shaped body.
Overall, I give it 5.0 out of 10.

* I suppose Ford wants the onlooker to think that the engine bay needs to be large to accommodate the engine, but that's not even true for the GT, which has a 4.6-liter V-8. Consider the Chevrolet Corvette C6; it has a 6.2-liter V-8 and a much lower hoodline. Shoot, the C6 Z06 has a 7.0-liter engine under the same hood.


  1. Anonymous7:15 PM

    If I didn't listen to Kristan's parents, I could have rented that car for next to nothing!

    Lesson to learn: never listen to your in-laws.