2001 Ford Mustang Photo
Quick Take
Ford's Mustang is not the newest and latest thing by any stretch — but it's no sway-backed nag... Read more »
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Things change so rapidly these days that a little continuity can be a welcome thing.

Ford's Mustang is not the newest and latest thing by any stretch — but it's no sway-backed nag, either. After 37 years on the market and the only pony car from the 1960s still solidly on its feet (the soon-to-be-discontinued Chevy Camaro/Pontiac Firebird twins being on life support), the Mustang is basically the same, conceptually, as the very first car to bear the name.

It is also still compelling — like an old friend whose good qualities and easy familiarity maintain and even strengthen his appeal.

It is a study in well-roundedness, if not absolute perfection. As a traditional, American-style sporty 2+2, the Mustang feels heavier and less nimble than true sports cars such as the Honda S2000, BMW Z3 or Mazda Miata. It's not the quickest or fastest sporty coupe, either. A Camaro Z28 (or Pontiac Firebird) will brain smash it in a drag race.

Life in the fast lane

But we don't live life a quarter-mile at a time. And GM's wonder twins are afflicted with horrible blind spots, terrible interior design (among other things, a huge lump in the floorpan on the passenger's side; it's there to make room for the catalytic converter underneath), and Judge Dredd styling that narrows their appeal to guys under 25 — and guys over 45 who think they're still 25.

And handling-wise, true sports cars like the Miata and Z3 are also of limited practical use, having two very small seats only — and less trunk space than some women's purses.

For most drivers on public roads, what matters a whole lot more than how quickly a car can dart around an autocross circuit, or how hard a car presses you into the seat when you mash the gas pedal, is how the thing feels to drive when you're just noodling around; whether the interior is comfortable and stylish; the bodywork not cartoonish or suggestive of switchblades hidden in tube socks.

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