The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2013 Ford Mustang Coupe Premium V6 Review By Steve Purdy

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Coupe (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Coupe


By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

We all love surprises, do we not?

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Coupe (select to view enlarged photo)

I pulled this sexy red Mustang into the garage late in the evening on the day I picked it up, grabbed my bag from the passenger seat, stepped out, closed the door and grinned as I saw projected on my garage floor in soft white light the horse in full gallop that is the Mustang logo. The image shines out from an innovative little projector under each rearview mirror. Other color-adjustable ambient light features, inside the car jump out as well, from the doorsill, cup holders and elsewhere. Nice touches all.

Our test car, this “Coupe Premium,” has the base V6 engine, which barks nicely when we start it up and automatic transmission. Standard on this one are nice leather seats with contrasting stitching, ambient lighting, LED sequential taillights, HID headlights, dual exhaust, power seats, SYNC system, and a few other extras. Optional on our test car is the automatic transmission, a security package, comfort package, panoramic glass roof, and performance package. Total price, with destination charge is $33,525.

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Coupe (select to view enlarged photo)

The entry-level car, at just over 22 grand, has the same V6 but cloth interior and no extras, though even without extras it comes quite well equipped. If you’re hunting a bargain, like a sporty car and needn’t haul folks in the back seat very often, this might be the car for you. Ten models round out the Mustang family going all the way up to the Shelby GT500 Convertible at 59 grand. That’s quite a range and includes convertibles in each category.

Even though we’re seeing previews of a dramatic full redesign coming for Mustang’s 50th anniversary next year, it still gets some styling updates for 2013. New front and rear fascia, a functional hood scoop and a few other tidbits enhance Mustang’s appearance just enough that aficionados will be able to tell the difference. Most of us won’t. Certainly no one will mistake it for anything but a Mustang.

Acceleration is good under normal use, though if we downshift the automatic transmission with the manual mode and punch it we get an impressive surge of power. The normally-aspirated 3.7-liter, V6 makes 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque garnering an EPA rating of 31-mpg on the highway and 19 in the city. We put well over a thousand miles on it this week, mostly on the highway, and managed only 25.5 overall. We tried a slow and steady drive for part of one trip and could still get just 27.0. We can usually match what sometimes seems an optimistic EPA highway number, but not this time. Our colleagues at Edmunds did some thorough independent performance testing resulting in a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds for the V6 with automatic transmission.

We found the optional ($1,195) six-speed automatic transmission a bit balky when we tried to downshift with a punch on the accelerator, but responsive enough when we used the manual mode. And, the manual mode’s rocker switch on the shifter is not nearly as cool or functional as would be paddle shifters. For the enthusiastic driver we would recommend the manual.

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Coupe (select to view enlarged photo)

Driving dynamics are excellent in terms of handling and performance with a good balance between sport and comfort. The cockpit accommodates both driver and passenger with well-designed seats, simple gauging and controls, and attractive, simple trim. The noise level inside is higher than it should be at highway speeds and the steering wheel controls are too crowded. Most inconvenient and annoying, as with many cars, is the location of the USB, iPod, plug location way back behind the driver’s elbow tucked deeply into the armrest cubby. Otherwise, we found little to complain about.

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Coupe (select to view enlarged photo)

We don’t have the navigation, infotainment and connectivity screen on this car, fortunately, so we can just enjoy the drive without distraction, and we did on two long road trips totaling probably 1,200 miles. The spacious glass roof gives the visual sense of a convertible as we glance up. We even got to watch an approaching thunder storm through it on the way home from Ohio. And, the subtle visual hints at retro styling, both inside and out, entertain us at the wheel and when we approach it in the parking lot.

Another attractive feature of this bright red Mustang is its fundamental attractiveness, particularly in bright red. It turns heads and gets many “nice car” comments. That always feels good.

Ford’s warranty covers the whole car for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Arch competitors, Camaro and Challenger,(SEE SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON) fit as nicely into the retro-muscle car/pony car genre but Mustang continues to lead in sales. These three rear-wheel drive sporty coupes do their best to bring back the ambiance of their progenitors but apply the best of modern design and technology as well. They’ve all done a fine job of that.

Yes, we do like surprises, but it was no surprise that we liked this Mustang.

ęSteve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights