The new model year brings a handful of changes for the Mustang. V6 models can now get the Pony Package, which includes an upgraded suspension with larger stabilizer bars, 17-inch wheels, ABS, traction control, foglamps and unique trim. The GT gains two additional wheel options, both 18 inches in size, complemented by unique suspension tuning. An additional darker aluminum interior trim upgrade package is now available.
The Ford Mustang debuted in April of 1964 and became a national sensation. By the late 1960s, the Mustang competed against the AMC Javelin, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Plymouth Barracuda and Pontiac Firebird. But, like Elvis Presley, the Mustang had evolved from lightweight and simple into overweight and flashy. By the time the oil crisis of 1973 hit, the Mustang had lost its edge in terms of performance and appeal. Reborn for 1974, the Mustang II rode on a Pinto platform to save development costs and improve fuel economy. Emissions regulations had stifled performance, and the convertible model had disappeared from the lineup. Still, Ford wasn't ready to give up on the Mustang. In 1979, it was completely redesigned. There was even a performance model with a turbocharged 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine. The new Mustang proved popular, and by 1982, Ford had endowed it with a relatively strong (for the time) V8 engine and the GT designation that continues today. A new car arrived in 1994 wearing retro styling cues such as triple-bar taillights and a side scoop. Inside, a dual-cowl dashboard provided plenty of pizzazz. Time marched on, however, and the Mustang was in desperate need of a more modern platform by the turn of the century.
Enter the current Mustang, redesigned for 2005. The canted nose with its big grille and round headlights recalls the '67 to '69 Mustangs, while the side sculpting, fastback roofline and taillights recall those ponies of the 1965 vintage. Even the triangular side windows are reminiscent of what Carol Shelby did when he made the 1965 Mustang "2+2" (a.k.a. the fastback) into his Shelby GT 350. The Mustang's interior is unique and matches the exterior design theme. Obvious old-school influences are found in the instrument panel: A dual-hooded dash with aluminum accent panels pays obvious homage to the 1967-'68 Mustang, as do the big speedo and tach, circular air vents and plump, round steering wheel hub. Optional changeable backlighting illuminates the nostalgic instruments; at the press of a button one can select from white, blue, green and orange hues. For power, the base Mustang uses a 210-horsepower V6, while the GT packs a 300-horse, 4.6-liter V8 with variable valve timing. The suspension boasts a relatively supple ride and ultracrisp handling. Ford has done a fine job with the latest Mustang, not only in terms of styling, but also in performance, handling, ride dynamics and basic ergonomics. If you're looking for an affordable coupe or convertible that's fast and fun and comfortable enough to drive every day, this is your ride.