- Traditional V-8 power
- Improved ride and handling
- Hot new interior
- SYNC and Travel Link options
- Great performance value
- No bragging rights regarding horsepower
- Only five-speed transmissions
- Hard plastics inside
Nostalgia is still a big part of the appeal, but the 2010 Ford Mustang is now every bit a modern, refined sport coupe.
America's love affair with the Mustang continues 45 years after the original car made its debut in 1964. And the 2010 Ford Mustang is much improved, with a thorough overhaul that will help it take on the new Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro.
The 2010 Mustang has rear-wheel drive and is offered in two body styles: a 2+2 fastback coupe and a 2+2 soft-top convertible. The coupe may be had with a unique all-glass roof.
The 2010 Mustang has a thoroughly redesigned exterior and interior. At the back, the 2010 Mustang presents its tail lamps proudly on a chamfered surface. The new shape pays dividends in fuel economy and aerodynamic stability, while the details add to its attractiveness. In a slick bit of showmanship, leading into the tail, the rear fender features a distinct kick up that is much stronger and more powerful-looking than the outgoing model. Ford engineered the LED tail lamp to fire sequentially when indicating a turn. Up front, the grille and headlights of the 2010 Mustang are evolutionary, and the powerdome hood and sweeping fenders come together more artfully.
A 210-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 is the standard engine on the Mustang, but V-8 models now get a higher-output V-8 making 315 horsepower (same as the '08 Bullitt edition). Based on our previous experience, the V-6 should provide adequate but unremarkable performance, while the new V-8's throttle response is immediate and satisfying. Both engines can be had with five-speed manual or automatic transmission.
We put almost 200 miles on a 2010 Mustang GT outfitted with the manual gearbox and newly available 19-inch aluminum rims. Acceleration was immediate and ample, and the action of the five-speed's linkage was smooth; each gear change delivered a satisfying mechanical "snick." Based on past experience with Mustangs, we did not have high expectations for a smooth and quiet ride, but the 2010 Mustang benefits from new chassis bracing and a recalibrated suspension that yields a more refined ride and gives it more stick in corners.
Shoppers who might be prone to dismiss the Mustang for a lack of refinement will be surprised. The interior's additional insulation makes the cabin quiet and refined—even with the optional glass roof. Materials range from good to excellent inside, with the lone exception of the hard plastic on the doors. Mustang models outfitted with the Premium interior boast supple leather seats and door inserts that feel even better than they look. And real aluminum trim—not silver-painted plastic—is used on the GT.
Front seating is a bit tighter than other sporty coupes, and since the Mustang is a 2+2, the rear seats are still very snug and not fit for adults. As before, the Mustang is offered either as a coupe or as a convertible, with a power-folding soft top.
The 2010 Ford Mustang is offered in four basic configurations: V-6, V-6 Premium, GT, and GT Premium. Standard features include a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, air conditioning, a CD audio system that is MP3 compatible, split-folding rear seat, and power windows. Content builds from here up through the following trim levels: SE, Sport, and SEL. At the top is the GT Premium model with leather seats, power everything, SYNC, and aluminum wheels ranging from base 17-inch aluminum wheels to optional 19-inch rims on the GT. Given the Mustang's performance edge, higher-performance axles are available, including a 3.55:1 ratio.
On top of the features, the 2010 Mustang also offers the following as options (depending on model): a Shaker 1000 audio system, HID headlamps, and a voice-activated Sirius NAV system with Travel Link.
The new Mustang also delivers on safety with a standard complement of features, including ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, tire-pressure monitoring system, remote keyless entry, and four airbags. Optional safety-directed features include the rearview camera, along with 911 Assist for vehicles with SYNC. The 2010 Mustang is one of few vehicles to get five-star ratings from the federal government, across the board, even for rollover resistance.
More details are forthcoming on the newest version of the fastest GT500 Mustang, including the facts behind Ford's claim that the new GT500 may match the performance of the limited-production 2008 Shelby GT500 KR, an $80,000 car—though the GT500 is expected to cost much less.