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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, 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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