THE PROS & CONS
What’s Best: The sixth-generation of the venerable Mustang is thoroughly modern, but retains some of the retro styling that has made it a popular model for all these years.
What’s Worst: The interior is much improved over previous versions, but still has a way to go to match European sports coupes.
What’s Interesting: After 50 years, Ford has moved to an independent rear suspension in the Mustang.
You know you’re getting old when….. you remember clear as day how excited you were when you first laid eyes on the new Mustang that the Ford Motor Company had just introduced to the world.
It’s hard to believe but that was more than half a century ago. When the Mustang reached the market as an early 1965 model it spawned the pony car movement.
One marvels after all these years how Ford has managed to keep the Mustang modern and up-to-date with each succeeding generation, while at the same time retaining some of the retro-styling that made it an instant success back in the day.
But that’s exactly what Ford has been able to achieve, bringing us now to the sixth-generation Mustang with the 2015 model that is the first to feature an independent rear suspension for improved ride and handling.
We had a brief opportunity to experience the 2015 Mustang GT Coupe back in the fall during the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Car of the Year testing in Niagara Falls. It was entered in the Sports/Performance Car over $50k category and finished as runner-up to the upstart Volvo V60 Polestar and ahead of the fire-breathing 707 hp Dodge Challenge Hellcat.
Now in early April, perhaps as a sign that spring has finally arrived here in Southern Ontario, we were fortunate to have a 2015 Mustang GT Convertible for an extended road test.
And while it was still less-than-perfect weather for top-down cruising, we jumped at the chance to spend a week with an eye-catching Competition Orange convertible with black leather interior.
This bright orange isn’t a paint colour that blends in with the landscape. If that’s what you want, opt for one of the silver or white finishes.
I happen to love the orange colour; others like my wife would prefer something rather more sedate. It’s all a matter of choice. But then again, I don’t think orange would work at all on a Fusion, but it seems just perfect on a sporty droptop like this Mustang.
As it enters its 50th year of continuous production with more than nine-million-plus units sold, the Mustang is no longer a North American-only car. It is going global with Ford taking it to customers in key parts of Europe and Asia.
And as has been the case for all these many years, the 2015 Mustang is available in both coupe (or fastback as Ford calls it) and convertible variants.
The fastback starts at $25,349 and the convertible is a $5k jump at $30,349. There are three engine choices: the base 3.7-litre V6, a 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder or the 435 hp 5.0-litre V8 featured in our GT Convertible.
Ford says this is the first car to offer four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines that each produce at least 300 hp. Six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are offered.
Earlier we said the Mustang started the pony car revolution and the new exterior styling of the 2015 model redefines the pony-car look with a long, sculpted hood and short rear deck.
This year marks a return of the fastback style with a sleeker profile, due in part to a more steeply raked windshield and rear glass. The car also has a lower, wider stance with a reduced roof height and wider rear fenders and track.
A key change for 2015 is the new independent rear suspension along with a new McPherson strut setup in front. It’s interesting to note that last year’s Mustang was the only rear-wheel drive car on the market that still had a solid rear axle.
Mustang aficionados will be impressed with the restyled interior. Materials have been upgraded considerably and the look is much more modern and up-to-date. Our tester had both heated and cooled leather seats.
The top is simple to operate. Turn a centre-mounted latch, press a button and the top disappears behind the rear seats in under 10 seconds.
With the top up I noticed the interior was considerably quieter than in previous versions thanks in part to better insulation in the fabric top.
Another improvement is in trunk volume, which is up 19 per cent over the outgoing model to 322 litres.
Despite all these advancements as well as improvements in the technology content, the Mustang is for all intents and purposes an impractical car.
With only two doors and a cramped back seat, it’s far from an ideal family car. Imagine having to strap in a baby seat in the back…
But, nevertheless, for millions of us, the Mustang has been a special car for all these 50 years… particularly the V8-powered GT model.
For me, it’s the styling and the music that comes from the dual exhausts when you push the start button.
There is a growl and a rumbling that stirs the senses and yet this is a docile creature until one tromps the throttle and the 435 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque kick in.
Electric steering is standard with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. Simply make your choice and toggle through them via a button at the base of the centre stack. There is also a toggle switch next to it to select drive modes— Normal, Sport, Track and Snow/Wet.
Our tester had the $1,700 50th anniversary edition package that features special trim, floor mats and 19-inch premium painted aluminum wheels with P255/40R 19 tires. Other options included navigation system ($800), reverse park assist ($350), adaptive speed control ($1,600), block heater ($150), six-speed automatic ($1,500) and upgraded 12-speaker audio system ($2,000).
With $8,200 in optional equipment, the as-tested price came in at $58,249 when you include the $1,650 destination and delivery charge.
At more than $58k, the Mustang GT Convertible is hardly an inexpensive ride. But it is an icon among American cars that is better than ever for 2015 and now set to take on the world as Ford continues its global outreach.
2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible at a glance
BODY STYLE: Two-door convertible.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 5.0-litre DOHC V8 (435 hp, 400 lb/ft of torque) with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
CARGO VOLUME: 322 litres.
FUEL ECONOMY: 15.4/10/13 L/100 km city/hwy/combined with a six-speed automatic transmission.
PRICE: $48,399, as tested $58,249 including $1,650 destination and delivery charge.
Road Trip: Toronto to Winnipeg in a 2015 Ford Mustang