Thursday, November 15, 2012

Test Drive: 2011 Ford Mustang V6

Two words: major disappointment.

Yes, it has more than 300 bhp.
Yes, it returns phenomenal gas mileage.
Yes, it looks great inside and out.
Yes, it costs less than $25k to start.

BUT (and this is a big but), if you are a real driver, then you, like me, will be disappointed. Why you ask? There are so many things that this car gets right and the reviews that have come back make this car seem like the best thing since sliced bread.

Now do not get me wrong, for most people, this car will work out just fine. They will enjoy the power, gas mileage, interior, and affordable cost. The motor is great - adequately torquey and strong with a smooth build-up of power. It returns an amazing 31 mpg if you get the automatic and a still surprisingly good 29mpg if you opt to shift it yourself. And this is where the first gap in this car's armor appears.

That 6-speed manual transmission is garbage. Utter and complete garbage. The shift throws are notchy, imprecise, and short all at the same time. Every effort to shift quickly resulted in the sensation of rowing a stick through a container of rusty bolts, binding with nearly every tiny bit of movement. Any attempt to shift quickly and the stick fought back every step of the way. Like I said, utter garbage. Combine that with a clutch that had no real feel and you get one of the worse transmissions I have ever experienced. Pretty sure that I have only ever driven one that was worse and that company nearly went under in the last few years.

But if you skip the manual transmission, you should be okay, right?

Well, sure, if you only drive in straight lines. But go to take a turn, and you discover that the optional Performance Package with the heavier GT's springs, have ruined the steering feel of this car. Rip a couple of turns and you will curse yourself (or Ford's suspension engineers) for even bothering with this car as there is absolutely no steering feel. It is as numb as a meth-addict after their latest hit. What should have been a great platform is completely ruined by a poor suspension choice.

So as long as you get the automatic and skip the V6 Performance Package, you should fine, right? Well sure, but then there are a number of other equally good options that you should consider, many without the retro infused interior and exterior design. There are cars that are more performance oriented and some that are more comfort oriented, but at the end of the day, there are just flat out better cars out there.