HEELS ON WHEELS: 2011 Ford Mustang Review - VIDEO ENHANCED
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE 2011 FORD MUSTANG VEHICLE
First launched in 1965, the Mustang received about as much fanfare as the Model A and can partially be credited for spurning the muscle car era, with the Chevy Camaro and Plymouth Barracuda following this little pony close behind. Now in its fifth generation, Ford revised all Mustang engines and transmissions for the 2011 models with the new V6 boasting true fuel economy and female gear-heads are going to like what they see and experience.
I drove a 2011 Ford Mustang Coupe Premium with the smaller 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine. Lighter than the outgoing version, it was paired with a new 6-speed automatic transmission specially designed to deliver greater fuel economy or 31-mpg highway driving. The Mustang comes in a base V6, base V6 Convertible, V6 Premium (and V6 Premium Convertible), GT, GT Premium (and GT Convertible as well as GT Premium Convertible), and the Shelby GT500 and Shelby GT500 Convertible. My ride featured leather-trimmed seats, 6-way power driver’s seat, Shaker 500 audio system, Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, a rear decklid spoiler, V6 sport tape stripes and chrome pedals. Optional equipment included the 6-speed automatic transmission, an electronics package, dual-zone AC, the security package, a 3.31 ratio limited slip axle, HID headlights and a rear video camera. Total vehicle price came roughly to $32,900.
Don’t worry – there are meaner and bigger engines to choose from. The 2011 Ford Mustang also features a new 412-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine and 390 lb-ft of torque with a new Cam Torque-activated TiVCT (twin independent variable-cam timing). If you want even more power or stares on the street, opt for the 550-horsepower 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine with 510 lb-ft of torque.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The 2-door coupe Mustang fits four passengers comfortable with no trouble climbing in-and-out of from the rear seats. Both the chrome pedals and black leather seating with contrast white stitching pops out at you, with bucket-seating styling for both the front and second row. The design gauge features iconic styling from the 60’s, but the modern SYNC system is the real dazzler. Although sometimes cited as having an overcrowded screen, Ford offers one of the most comprehensive touch-screen (and voice-activated) media systems on the market that is able to house all your audio, climate, phone and navigation needs and should not be skipped over when pondering the optional packages.
Reliability & Safety Factor: One of the best safety features for the Mustang (or any Ford vehicle for that matter) is the MyKey system. This allows drivers to control speed and audio setting through different keys. So if you have a teen anxious to take this baby out for a joyride, you can do something to control their driving distractions or speed limits without having to sit shotgun.
Cost Issues: Overall there are ten 2011 Ford Mustang models to choose from, with the base V6 trim starts at $22,495 and the Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible topping $54,495. Of course, we haven’t factored in any of the options, which can easily tack on another $5k to the price. And with a legendary street car like this, you’re going to want to personalize it.
Activity & Performance Ability: After getting over my initial disappointment my Mustang test ride did not have a V8 engine under the hood, I was able to focus on the new and smaller V6 which I found to offer substantial rear-wheel power – a definite improvement from its predecessor due to the new 6-speed transmission. The optional Performance Package adds that 3.31 rear axle ratio to replace the standard 2.73 and borrows the suspension and brakes from the V8. Ford thought this one through with the new V6 engine, and drivers with a need for speed will feel satisfied both on the open road and at the gas pump.
The Green Concern: Ford made a real effort here to control fuel economy, even though their choice of vehicle to do it in might ruffle some speed-demon’s feathers. The V6 engine gets an EPA-estimated 19-city/31-highway driving for a combined 23-mpg. A new Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS) removes the belt driven hydraulics to help deliver improved fuel efficiency. The V8’s are a different story however, with the 412-horsepower 5.0-liter achieving 17-city/26-highway driving and the 5.4-liter supercharged V8 achieving just 15-city/23-highway driving.
Click PLAY to watch the 2011 Ford Mustang video
FINAL PARTING WORDS
If you love the idea of owning a muscle car – but don’t care for big gas-guzzling V8 engines – the Mustang with the new and smaller V6 engine will both fit your power needs and gas budget. Also, with Ford’s MyKey system, you won’t have to worry about your inexperienced teen driver trying to accelerate beyond your control.
©2011 Katrina Ramser