The Ford Mustang is one of the world’s most iconic cars, so when the right hand drive versions were announced for Ireland it’s no surprise that there was always going to be a waiting list. The Mustang offers so much in terms of styling, but not always what Michael Moroney wanted in terms of driving experience as his report concludes.
The Mustang is without question Ford’s most iconic car. It has featured in so many American movies that once available in Europe and in Ireland in right hand drive, the car was instantly going to appeal to a certain group of car lovers.
With the new generation Mustang Ford has preserved the styling that is so much part of the car’s appeal.
You can’t help but love the car’s shape and the way the Ford designers have sculpted those style lines to make the car look modern, fast and still retain its 1960’s heritage.
Even the new special edition Ford Mustang Bullitt, launched for the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year and celebrating the 50th anniversary the legendary Bullitt film gives further fuel to the Mustang brand appeal.
With credentials like that and an iconic history, my expectations were high for my Mustang test drive.
There are two power versions of the car on the Irish market, the more affordable 2.3 litre EcoBoost version and the more powerful 5.0 litre V8 engine, both of which are petrol fuelled.
For my entry level test car, the 2.3 litre turbo-petrol car came with a 317bhp power rating that was sure to impress. With its keyless, pushbutton start, the engine was modest in terms of behaviour, while a more throaty growl could be extracted from it with more aggressive use of the right pedal.
The car was fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, which for the Mustang purists is probably the way to spec the car for a Mustang experience.
For others like myself, whose desire would be for the impressive Mustang look but without having to do too much hard work, and then the automatic version gives all of that look with an equal amount of road credibility.
You need to bring the Mustang out on the open road, or else drive around town in a gear lower than you need to, in order to get full notice in the Mustang.
Car enthusiasts will all spot the Mustang shape and style and then they listen to hear their perception of an authentic Mustang engine roar.
That’s truly reserved for the 5.0 litre V8 version, which I driven for a very short run some time back.
Hit the pedal hard and you’ll feel the 434Nm of torque push the car forward with a pace of 5.8 seconds in a 0 to 100km/hr race. That’s impressive and in fairness relatively smooth in action.
The car has electronic power-assisted steering, which is accurate and solid but heavy to drive, especially at lower speeds, cruising around town.
I found the clutch to be equally heavy and the gearbox notchy and took effort to use. These experiences took away from the pleasure of driving such an iconic looking car.
You don’t expect a car like the Mustang to offer outstanding fuel economy.
Mustang buyers don’t rate that feature in their shopping list but for the record, I found that the rated figure of 12.5km/litre (8.0/100km or 35mpg) was probably close to the real thing.
This means that you should be getting over 700km from a full tank, but then Mustang temptation comes in the way of thrift.
This new generation Mustang comes with lots of new generation Ford technology, including the Ford Synch system for mobile phone connections, new generation Sat Nav and a host of safety features.
The car has a relatively low Euro NCAP 3 star safety rating, but so do other similar cars in this category.
For those with a certain motoring image to maintain, the new Ford Mustang will deliver just that.
It’s true sports car with a hard suspension, but I’m not sure if the driving comfort will match the perception of the car which has movie heritage that will last and last.