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Is Ford's Mustang a Good First Car?

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2009 Ford Mustang

2009 Ford Mustang

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This won't come as a surprise to anyone who actually owns a teenager--here at TheCarConnection.com, we have the pink slip on two of them--but according to Ford itself, the most popular car for teen drivers is the Ford Mustang.

Shocked? Not really, but Ford went to the lengths of commissioning a study from a group called Teenage Research Unlimited, which also counts Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, and Adidas among its clients. TRU says when asked which new car they'd most like to buy, most teens picked the Mustang.

In part, it's because the Mustang is an omnipresent American icon--in ads, in TV shows like the new Knight Rider, and in films. In greater part, maybe it's because at around $20,000 base, "It's a little more realistic than other much more expensive sports cars," says brand manager Fritz Wilke.

Of course, that "affordable" price tag doesn't include insurance and fuel. And since only about 1.2 percent of new car buyers are under 21, it's up to teen Mustang owner wannabes to convince their parents that the Mustang is safe and affordable.

Our advice: start whining now before the first college bills come in. The 2009 Mustang's on sale now, and this year's run is a short one in anticipation of the refreshed 2010 model. While you try to con the parents, let's ask those walking checkbooks: Is the Mustang an appropriate first car? Give us your off-the-cuff answer in a comment below.
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Comments (24)
  1. One of my friends died driving his first car, a brand new Golf GTI, that he got for his HS graduation. At the time, I was driving a Renault LeCar, which supposedly had 47 hp - it was a real piece of junk but probably saved my life.
    At least insurance was cheap...
     
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  2. I'd start them on a V-6, it's safer than a 300 horsepower GT. The V-6 can still be a fun car, but if you drive it sensibly you can get close to 30 mpg. You have to watch it on wet roads, and good luck on icy roads. But a lot of cars are like that. It's a really good first car because it can be highly modified and customized, and it's decently affordable. As the owner of a 1998 Mustang with 133,000 miles, I can tell you they are extremely reliable as well.
     
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  3. Years ago I met a woman who had leased a brand new Mustang convertible for her 17 year old son. She was complaining that he was dating a 19-year old girl and was worried what the two were doing together. I was thinking the whole time, "Well, what did you expect was going to happen when you bought him a hot car?"
    Parents, don't buy your kids a brand new car in High School or even college. It spoils them. Hand down your old family sedan instead. When they graduate and can finally afford a new car it will be a bigger deal for them to buy it themselves and they will thank you in the long run.
     
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  4. 1. No high-schooler should receive a car as a gift.
    2. High-schoolers can get into trouble whether they have a V-8 sports car or an old klunker, but I'd prefer they have the klunker.
    3. A high-schooler's first car should be used, so they learn to appreciate frugality. Our culture of entitlement too often fuels new car sales, and then owners are surprised when they can't afford other the things in life and the car is repossessed. My first car (in 1980) was a 1971 Pinto that I paid for with my own 125 hard-earned dollars. Learning how to fix it (and subsequent used cars) was extremely valuable. No repair shop will ever sell me "muffler bearings".
    4. As for the Mustang, if you want a magnet for tickets and ambulances, go ahead and get one.
     
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  5. It used to be Camaros with dead 16-year olds impaled into trees and fences on the stretch of the road near where I live but it's obviously a lot more Mustangs sharing this fate now. I'd say it's the Darwinian law at work but with my family in danger I'm not sure how we could regulate it but something must be done. Drunk drivers are the biggest menace though... I'd put those mofos in jail immediately and never let them drive again.
     
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  6. One of my close high school friends bought a Honda CRX and within 6 months wrapped it around a tree at 100 mph. The thing that steams me is that he was pulled over 3 times for speeding but the cop let him off every time. Really he should have lost his license long before he killed himself. Fast cars are death traps for 16 year-olds. Rather than market Mustangs for teenagers, Ford should make a teen car. Take a Taurus and put a Focus I4 in it. Better yet offer a teen key for your family car that limits revs and speed.
     
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  7. Kids are stupid...at least when the start getting behind the wheel. My now-college-aged daughter really wanted a new Mustang when she got her license. She talked about it ad nauseum, until one day were in our Ford Focus and she uttered the last bit of common sense I've heard from her: "I shouldn't have a Mustang...I'd probably get too many tickets...or worse."
    From the mouth of babes...
    Gordon: how much are muffler bearings??? ;-)
     
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  8. It's really not what Ford could make for teenagers but it's what parents (who still have control over their 16-year olds) will buy. You get them a Mustang or any sporty car and you ask for trouble - don't be crying later. The next step is for teenagers not to be allowed to ride with other teenagers (I believe there are laws like that in some states now)
     
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  9. For a girl, a V6 Mustang isn't the worst possible choice. For a teenage guy, it'd be an idiotic choice! I know how I was at that age.
    I begged my parents to let me buy a new Honda CRX Si when I turned 16 (in 1990). My big sister had an '85 CRX for her first car, then traded up to an '85 Nissan 300ZX about a year after that. I ended up with an '86 Accord LXi instead of the CRX.
    A good friend of mine was given an '87 IROC-Z (same 5.7L V8 as the Corvette) for his 16th birthday. He and three other classmates rolled the car at 100mph about two months later. He and one passenger died and the other two are permanently disabled.
    If it was my kid, a new Civic or VW Rabbit/Jetta are about as racy as the choices would get!
     
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  10. a mustang might be a bad choice for parents who dont remember to teach their children to drive safely. But I have full confidence that I thought my son to know better as should many of the parents seen here you wont get in an accident going 55 mph as you should be here in NY and you might as well look have a good car while your at
     
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  11. Another thing to remember is that overall, Mustangs seem to be put together much better than some of the cheaper economy cars like Civic and Corolla. I was detailing and waxing a Civic for someone this weekend, and it felt like a cheap tin can compared to my Mustang. Doors were popping when opening, windows wouldn't seal shut, plastic trim falling off, and when I waxed the hood it buckled up and down by half an inch. My Mustang never does that, it's solid, and it's older than that Civic, and has more miles! Economy cars are known as "throwaway cars;" you use them up and then get rid of them. Mustangs are keepers, and are built accordingly, with better materials and assembly.
     
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  12. Yea get them a Mustang and in roll the tickets and the accidents. On the plus side new mustangs have high crash standards and are high in their class for safety. If you buy a teenager a VW rabbit or jetta you are just as likely to fill a body bag if not more likely due to the size of the vehicle and the fact that it is still sproty and they WILL be racing no matter what they tell you. I think an old 4X4 truck it the best bet. You can go do something stupid in a mud hole for fun and if a semi hits you you might live threw it. But you are less likely to speed everywhere you go in a old truck that isnt fast. I have done everything as a teenager like the time I did 180 MPH on my street bike. I should be dead probably but no matter what you teach your kids... kids will be kids be smart till they are grown up dont give them anything that can do better than 100 mph. That is the best bet. Then they can buy their death traps themselves. I just bought a 09 GT with a glass roof. So if you see me move over. My first car was a 88 civic with a 1.4 L motor didnt even have a hundred HP But I still got it up to 105. haha. I am the extreme end of the spectrum but probably alive because my parents gave me a beater honda.
     
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  13. "mustang or not?"

    I don't think that its the type of car that will get a teen in trouble. Its the attitude of the teen. If you know your child has a history of doing irrisponsible things then you should know not to get them a mustang or any car for that matter. My sister has a nissan altima and she drives like a grandma. My family is full of home bodies and nerds including myself. So if you know that your child can be trusted and won't do something reckless, you should go ahead and get the mustang.
     
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  14. "depends on both teen and parents"

    I'd say it all depends on the teen in question.
    I myself am 19 and have been driving my Mustang (albeit it is a V6) for over a year now with no tickets or accidents. I am grateful to have two very good Christian parents who have made sure I am a safe and law-abiding driver.
    I do realize however, that there are a lot of teens my age who shouldn't be trusted with a car at all. Again, I think it's all down to the individual teen and also the parents that reared him/her.
     
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  15. Like Aaron said Ford Mustangs can be a good car if kids are responsible. The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends large sedan cars that way over 3300 pounds (i.e. no honda civic) I recommend getting the 2d ford mustang, it has 5stars in every ratings and only costs $20,000. Also the car can really fit only two people so teens won;t have lots of people bugging them when they drive.
     
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  16. ow how I would like my car but also a sparrow maize dreams:)))
     
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  17. im 15 and my parents just got me a 2001 v6 mustang. im pretty responsible and like to keep my stuff in good condition. if your son/daughter is responsible then a mustang is a great first car.their fast, sporty, and very reliable.a friend of mine has a honds civic and compared to his, mine is like a ferrari. his is also newer..... its made of cheap plastic and sounds like a squealing pig when started. only get a car of a mustangs stature if you are RESPONSIBLE. not a car for punks etc.... they will wreck in it within 2 months. i gurantee it
     
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  18. We have agreed to get our son a mustang if he makes the honor roll his junior year.
    We will also be getting the my key so we can limit the speed until he is 18. We figure it is a trade off. If he gets on the A honor roll he gets scholarships so we can afford the car.LOL.
     
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  19. Ok, people need to stop saying that getting someone a mustang brings in tickets, crashes, etc. It is nottt the car it is the driver. If a kid is prone to speeding and being reckless, they are going to do it no mattter what car they are driving. My first car was a new Sebring Convertible and I got a 2010 Mustang aabout 6-7 months ago. I have neverrr had a ticket and I have never been in any kind of crash or anything. It is the driverrr not the car. Maybee parents should do a better job of setting an example for their kids, or be more strict when they do get tickets or in small crashes. I am turning 20 this year. I do know however some people have lost their children in crashes even though they were perfect drivers. So please dont mistake my comment about parents needing to set an example. It isn't meant for everyone.
     
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  20. I think I'll get my kids a used V6 Mustang when I have some. I'm thinking that I should get them a manual. Why? Because then they can't just "floor it." They will have to learn to respect the car shift through the gears. I'll keep it in my name so I can take it away if they act a fool with it.
     
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  21. Im 18 yrs and i begged my parents for a mustang. preferably 2004.. i got a 1998 at the age of 17.Mind you this was my second car. I had an 2006 dodge status that i totaled out in a bad wrack.I my opinion a musatng is a very good car for a teenager. I this because its sturdy, handles speed and is a stable car. There has been plenty of times when i had done some crazy driving and the car handled it very well. If i was in any thing else there would of definitely been an accident. PARENTS TEENS OR GOING TO TRY TO SEE WHAT THEIR CAR CAN DO WETHER ITS A BEETLE OR A VETTE. MIGHT AS WELL GET THEM SOMETHING THAT IS SAFE AND MADE FOR IT.
     
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  22. I think that a mustang is actually a pretty good first car for a teen....as long as it is the v6. I mean, if you know your child as a responsible driver, then 210 horses on a 2005-2010 or 190 horses on a 1999-2004 isnt all that bad. It really all comes down to how responsible your teen is. They can be impressively efficient if driven responsably and also quite safe. Trust me, if you compare the special edition civic coupes or si's that can go 200 hp these days, the mustang isnt so bad. I find they have stronger bodies and better reliability.
     
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  23. hey Im getting my first car at the age of 15 thats so i can fix it up then drive it. Im thinking of getting a 86 ford mustang convertable does any one have any suggestions my limit is 2500$
     
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  24. get a newer one, an 86 will break down too often.
     
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