Driving Impressions – April 2014

Broadening horizons (and save the manuals!): 2014 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe

By Greg Cavanaugh

Back in the days of the original pony cars, this V6-automatic-equipped Mustang would have been referred to as the “secretary’s car.”   It wasn’t necessarily a dig, but was certainly meant to note that the big V8 pony cars were for the male gear heads and the V6s, for women.   Well, times have changed.  Not only is this V6 Mustang likely faster than a lot of the V8 versions that came before it, it’s also civilized enough to make sense as a daily commuter.  With good fuel economy, a decent ride and a relatively affordable price, you no longer need to buy a Mustang only if you are interested in sporting performance.

Gallup Journey Mustang

While the all new 2015 Mustang (due to arrive later this year) is receiving all the buzz, that doesn’t mean the current Mustang isn’t worth any less of its own buzz.  Using Ford’s excellent 3.7-liter V6 making 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic, Ford has made good use of this powertrain in everything from the F150 to the Mustang you see here.  I liked the powertrain in an F150 I drove a year or two ago and it’s only better in the lighter, smaller Mustang.   Being that this is a new car off the lot, I can’t do a 0-60 test, but a quick Internet search shows you can hit the mile-a-minute mark in solidly less than 6 seconds.   The V6 Mustang is plenty quick both off the line and out on the open road while still returning an EPA 19 city / 31 hwy / 23 combined MPG. Opting for the 6-speed manual would greatly increase the fun factor, but unfortunately the manuals are a dying breed.  If you’re serious about a Mustang though, do yourself (and the world) a favor and have the dealer order you one with a manual!  The base Mustang is a nice blend of ride comfort and handling.  Even riding on rather tall all-season tires, the Mustang has plenty of grip for typical canyon carving and feels sporty when you start to push it just a little.  Day to day, the ride is more than tolerable, which was a pleasant surprise.

It’s not easy to forget that you’re in a 2-door coupe when driving the Mustang.  A low seating position, high beltline, squat windows and a long hood, heighten the sensation of driving a sports car.  One friend referred to the seating position as “sitting in a lazy boy.”  It’s not uncomfortable, but certainly a change from the upright seating position of today’s SUVs, CUVs and trucks.  The overall design of the interior, and the gauge cluster in particular, has a retro flair.  Storage is pretty much nonexistent except for the requisite center cup holders (which I imagine would be a bit cumbersome with the manual transmission). Given that it’s basically a 2-seater (the rear seats are mostly for show), the Mustang has a surprisingly useable and good size trunk.  If the back seats were used for storage, the Mustang would make a decent road trip car for a couple of people.

I’ve found that when it comes to the exterior styling of the Mustang, people often love it or hate it.  This tester’s optional stripes do add some flair and the window tint gives a less rental-grade appearance.  I particularly like the tail of the Mustang with its 3 vertical brake/tail/turn lights and, even without a spoiler, the abrupt cut of the rear gives an aggressive profile. Safety regulations have demanded higher and higher pedestrian safe front ends that have not been kind to sports cars.  In pictures the Mustang’s nose comes off as a bit tall and pronounced, but in the metal, it looks good.

With a base price of $22,200, and a very reasonable $2,800 in options (namely Ford’s Sync system), the as-tested price of this Mustang V6 coupe comes in at a moderate $25,880. (Given the Mustang can be priced all the way up to 60K with the GT500, this seams a steal at a third the price!) What I was most impressed by with the V6 Mustang was just how good it was at being an everyday car.  If you don’t need the practicality of a sedan, checking out the Mustang may just add some much needed sport into your everyday commute.

*As always, a big thanks to Anna, Sal, Steve and the folks at Gurley Ford for making this test drive possible*

**Check out the Mustang and other test drives in Gallup by visiting my YouTube channel: Gallup Journey Test Drives**

 

SPECIFICATIONS

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe

PRICE AS TESTED: $25,880, BASE PRICE: $22,200

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 227 cu in, 3726 cc
Power: 305 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 107.1 in
Length: 188.5 in
Width: 73.9 in Height: 55.8 in
Curb weight: 3530 lb

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway driving: 19/31 mpg (23 mpg combined)

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