“The legendary Pony Car. It catapulted Carroll Shelby into legend status, and it made Steve McQueen even cooler than he already was — if such thing is even possible. As for me, the Mustang made me — Jerry from the block.”
I step into every car test-car with three goals in mind. One: to find out if I can live with that car without changing my daily routine. Two: to briefly step into the shoes of the vehicle’s target customer. Three: have fun! The Mustang made two of those very easy, but one of them took a bit of time.
Iconic cars such as the Mustang always represent a plethora of emotions and ideas to a variety of people, therefore making it very challenging to share anything original, ground-breaking, or even worth the 5 to 7 minutes you’ll spend reading this. So let me start with this: if you’re trying to learn what it’s like to drive a Mustang, you should head over to a dealership and test-drive one. If you want to know what I learned from living with a 435-horsepower, rear-wheel drive muscle car for a week — you’re in the right place!
The Allure Of The Pony Car
There’s an old lady who walks her doggy around our neighborhood about 10 to 12 times a day, and she always makes sure to let me know how much she likes (or dislikes) the test cars parked outside our house. But this time it was a little different, she saw the Mustang and actually walked over to me and asked if she could peek inside it. I kindly invited her take a seat behind the wheel, which caused an instant “Oh my”. She glanced at the interior for a minute and eventually gave me a thumbs-up, which was code for “I need help getting out of this car”, so I gave her a hand. Keep in mind at this point I’d only had the car for about 25 minutes, so I took this as a sign of things to come…
Everywhere I went the Mustang turned heads; it caused people to strain their necks in hopes of catching a longer glimpse of it. Even when I tried to fly under the radar, the low-end gurgle of the 5-liter V8 seemed to project further than I sometimes desired. If you’re looking for attention (the good kind), this is it. Take note young-studs and mid-life cris-ers.
The Driving Experience
Long hood, wide rear-end, dual exhaust, and an old-fashioned stick and clutch. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. But let’s not forget the heart of the Pony Car — the V8 under the hood. This is the American Dream.
It’s powerful, it roars, and it’s on a serious mission to chew whatever rubber is mounted to the rear wheels. The moment you push the “Engine Start” button and you hear the rumble, you know it’s bigger than you, and unless you’re a seasoned racecar driver, this Mustang can manhandle you like a Pit bull does a ragdoll.
I won’t sugar coat it and say the Mustang is easy to drive, because it isn’t. The clutch is heavy and the suspension is stiff, and since our Mustang was equipped with the optional GT Performance Package ($2,495), the Recaro sports-seats were heavily bolstered and Brembo brakes were extra-grabby. All of this added up to a leg work out, sore ribs, and my seatbelt locking up at the slightest touch of the brakes. But the kids absolutely loved the Mustang silhouette projection on the ground at night. So that makes up for it — right?
It’s at highway speeds when the Mustang feels the most civilized. When cruising at 70-80 mph it feels smooth and surprisingly quiet, as the bold but well-insulated interior allowed me to converse with Missi and the kids without having to scream at them. Though if it’s music that you’re into, the 12-speaker, Shaker Premium Sound system can easily obliterate any other sound sources at the turn of a knob.
Like most sports cars nowadays, the Mustang is equipped with selective driving modes which attempt to make life easier with high-powered sports cars like this one. Normal mode in the Mustang is about as comfortable and soft as riding a bucking horse (get it?), and Sport + and Race mode will most definitely attempt to kill you, but in a good way!
Which driving mode do you think I chose? Keep in mind my 4-year old daughter often screamed – “Faster Daddy, Faster” from the back seat.
I don’t disappoint my kids… Do you?
Can It Baby?
I claimed temporary ownership of the Mustang as I always do with every car by officially installing our car seat.
The 2015 Mustang features two sets of LATCH/Isofix anchors in the rear, as well as two top anchors located behind the rear headrests, so you can technically attach two car seats, but it’d be a really tight fit. I initially fought my way through the tight leather covers of the lower anchor openings (probably because they’ve never been used before), but within a few minutes the Mustang was ready to baby.
Although the car seat install was a bit of a pain, I can imagine the second or third time around it’d flow a bit easier. Then again, if this were my car, I’d only install the car seat once and leave it there for good. Now, if your plan is to convince your wife that a Mustang is a pretty-sweet family car, please do so. I won’t car-block, you but beware.
“How to turn a Mustang into a family car”
- Please take all of your children and car seats to the dealership for proper fitting before buying a Mustang.
- You can fit up-to two two small car seats in the back. But if you own some of the new and high end car seats which are in fact larger than the seats found in the Apollo 13 spaceship, they will not fit.
- If you’re taller than 5’2 and your car-seat-riding-toddler has legs, you can only fit them behind the seat opposite to you.
- You can fit a full size stroller or toddler bicycle in the trunk.
- Kids love Mustangs.
- Whichever way you look at it, the Mustang is not a family car. But for the love of sports cars, continue lying to yourself.
I know what you’re thinking, how did I make it work with my family?
- I fit our car seat behind the passenger seat and strapped my car-seat-riding-toddler in it, then I moved the front passenger seat forward just enough to give her decent leg room.
- Missi is 5’2, so she sat on the passenger seat and was still more than comfortable even with the reduced leg room.
- Our oldest daughter is 5ft and doesn’t require a special seat, so she can seat comfortably behind me.
- I sit on the driver’s seat and slide my seat back until I’m comfortable, but paying attention to not crush my daughter’s legs.
Now, keep in mind that if at any point Missi wanted to drive with the four of us in the car, this set up would be completely useless and we’d have to reshuffle the whole thing.
After a week of picking up my oldest from school even though she normally rides the bus, raucous engine starts in the mornings, and the occasional and unnecessary revving while pulling into the driveway; my neighbors were officially annoyed with me. They hate me cuz they ain’t me! But that’s okay, because that’s what the Mustang is — a loud, raw and somewhat obnoxious center of attention.
Some love it, some hate it. Regardless, what Ford has done with this new generation Pony Car is nothing short of admirable. It turns, brakes and handles like a fine sports car. Gone are the days of clunky, and sluggish Mustangs that could only go fast on a straight line — this model just grips, grips, grips. And that’s a good thing when you’re running late to school, work, soccer practice, etc!
In the end, could I live with the Mustang everyday? Yes. But mine would ditch the clunky, uncomfortable and expensive Recaro seats for the standard, comfy, heated and ventilated leather ones. Oh, and for the sake of conserving tires, I’d opt for an automatic as well.
Will “Jerry From The Block” ever make a comeback? Perhaps a bigger and badder GT350 could make that happen — some day…
- Power for days.
- The visual definition of muscle-car.
- Spacious trunk.
- Up to date in the latest technology and safety features.
The Not So Great:
- Very stiff clutch.
- Thirsty for fuel. (Might want to consider the Ecoboost model)
- Need a separate budget for tires.
- It will make your neighbors love/hate you.
- Starts at: $34,294
- Price as tested: $45,885