2010 Ford Mustang Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
January 27, 2009

Nostalgia is still a big part of the appeal, but the 2010 Ford Mustang is now every bit a modern, refined sport coupe.

TheCarConnection.com has hands-on-the-wheel experience with the new 2010 Ford Mustang. Our team has also reviewed competitive write-ups on the 2010 Mustang to develop this review. This comprehensive research gives TheCarConnection.com the edge in delivering an expert opinion on how this 2+2 coupe stacks up against its competition.

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.

Review continues below

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.

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2010 Ford Mustang

Styling

The 2010 Ford Mustang mixes fresh sheetmetal and retro details for one of its better makeovers in recent years.

If ever there were an American automotive icon, the Ford Mustang would be it. With more than 9 million Ford Mustangs produced, it seems you can't go anywhere without noticing the pony car. With the 2010 Ford Mustang, Ford has given its trademark coupe and convertible a significant visual refresh while still keeping those instantly recognizable classic Mustang lines.

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com heap high praise for the new look of the 2010 Ford Mustang. Car and Driver reports that the 2010 Ford Mustang bears "a closer resemblance to the '69 Stang than the current car" thanks to its "four-light grille...and the kicked-up rear fender lines [that] come straight from the '69 car." Automobile Magazine thinks that the "freshly restyled outer shell makes the new Mustang look more compact and taut than last year's car, but it's actually half an inch longer." The two versions of the 2010 Ford Mustang, base and GT, are distinguished by "a more aggressive front fascia" on the Ford Mustang GT, according to Automobile Magazine. Jalopnik summarizes exterior changes as such: "new mirrors, hidden washer nozzles and a repositioned radio aerial...while integrated indicators, a new hood bulge (used across all models), a new grille and a more creased body combine to great effect, making the Mustang's basic shape much more lithe." Autoblog reviewers love the new looks, reporting that "the even more aggressive nose, curved rear shoulders, more contoured flanks and chamfered rear corners take it to a whole new level" on the 2010 Ford Mustang.

For the latest iteration of the Mustang, Ford also restyled much of the interior, though some reviewers still find fault with a few of the styling elements. Beginning with the criticisms, Consumer Guide mentions that the main gauges "can be partially obscured by the driver's hands on the steering wheel," while other unfortunate aspects of the interior include the fact that "manual shifting is awkward when the cupholders are in use." On the positive side, many reviewers love some of the updates for the 2010 Ford Mustang's interior. Motor Trend claims that "it's still an exercise in contrast," with the "black dash and door surfaces offset by tastefully executed aluminum panels and chromed plastic trim rings." Reviewers are split on the driver-selectable ambient interior lighting—Jalopnik is disappointed that the interior "features Ford's tacky MyColor LED lighting, most notably on the scuff plates on the door sill," but others like the color combinations that are available.

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2010 Ford Mustang

Performance

Better handling and agility make the 2010 Ford Mustang even more appealing for the driving enthusiast.

The Ford Mustang has long represented the typical American sportscar—fast in a straight line, but an underachiever once the road starts to twist. Ford clearly aims to get rid of this reputation with the 2010 Ford Mustang, which gets an upgraded suspension and improved handling characteristics.

The 2010 Ford Mustang lineup is offered with two available engines, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that both are capable performers. Consumer Guide reports that the Mustang Ford "base versions have a 210-hp 4.0-liter V-6" and "GTs have a 315-hp 4.6-liter V-8, up 15 from '09." Motor Trend deems the 2010 Ford Mustang "quick," and it will hit "60 mph in 5.2 seconds, a tenth quicker than the previous-generation GT," while "the quarter mile arrives in 13.7 seconds at 103.7 mph, two tenths quicker and 2 mph faster than the 2008 GT." Compared to last year's model, the new Ford Mustang GT, says Car and Driver, gets "a cold-air system based on that of the Bullitt Mustang," which accounts for the 15-horsepower boost.

Unlike most model lineups, the Ford Mustang offers the same transmissions on both the base and GT versions. Consumer Guide says that all Ford Mustangs "are available with manual or automatic [transmissions]," and all offer five speeds. Reviews of both transmissions are positive, especially the manual, which Consumer Guide contends "has smooth, positive shifter and clutch action." The new Ford Mustang GT is, for the most part, the same mechanically as the old Mustang Bullitt edition, although Motor Trend points out that "the Bullitt had a 3.73 final drive," while the Mustang Ford GT offers a "standard 3.31 axle ratio, which Ford expects will help add a point to both the city and highway fuel economy numbers."

EPA fuel economy figures weren't yet finalized for the 2010 Ford Mustang at the time of this review, but because the engines are largely the same, TheCarConnection.com expects the numbers to look very similar to the 2009 Mustang, with an estimated 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway for the GT and up to 26 mpg highway for the V-6.

Handling and ride quality are much improved on the latest Ford Mustang, thanks largely to an upgraded suspension. Edmunds reports that "new front suspension struts come with bigger pistons for more precise damping control, the springs are stiffer and the antiroll bars are different." The result, according to Consumer Guide, is that "GTs have nicely weighted steering, impressive dry-road grip, and modest lean that builds progressively with cornering speed." Jalopnik reviewers are particularly impressed with the new setup, proclaiming that "tight, bumpy corners are no longer the Mustang's Achilles heel, but its strong point." For those looking for even better handling, Edmunds points out that Ford will offer a "performance package that'll come with 19-inch summer tires and will carry unique suspension tuning and a 3.73:1 rear-axle ratio (previously available only on the Bullitt model)."

The one major criticism regarding the 2010 Ford Mustang's performance comes in the braking department, where Car and Driver reports that, "even with the TrackPack pads, it didn't take many laps before the stoppers started to fade." Admittedly, they're talking about racetrack time, and most buyers will find the brakes have plenty of reserves.

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2010 Ford Mustang

Comfort & Quality

Thanks to major interior changes, the 2010 Ford Mustang's cabin is a reasonably comfortable place with a quality feel.

The Ford Mustang nameplate carries a rich history and brings to mind countless images, most of which are positive. One of the resounding negatives, however, has been the interior quality, which for decades has lagged behind both expectations and the Mustang Ford's competitors. For the 2010 Ford Mustang, Ford has made a concerted effort to boost quality, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that it was a stunning success.

The seating arrangement inside the 2010 Ford Mustang is adequately comfortable, but it definitely won't be confused with a luxury coupe. Up front, Autoblog says that the Ford Mustang's "seats are comfortable and offer decent thigh support, but they could use more lateral support." Consumer Guide remarks that the front cabin offers "good headroom and legroom, but the cabin feels cozy due to low seats, a high dashtop, and tall windowsills." Edmunds notes that Ford has made an effort to improve driver comfort in Ford Mustangs equipped with the Premier package by including "a power-adjustable driver seat." Although the front is passably comfortable in the new Mustang, Ford won't pretend that the rear seats of this 2+2 are meant to boost adult carrying capacity to four. According to Consumer Guide, the rear is "inhospitable for adults with little room, an uncomfortable seat, and back-straining entry and exit."

Sports coupes like the 2010 Ford Mustang generally aren't known for their cargo capacity, with the possible exception of the Chevrolet Corvette, but the new Ford Mustang surprises with its available space. ConsumerGuide reports that "coupe cargo space is good for the class" thanks to the fact that the "trunklids open wide on non-intruding hinges." However, Consumer Guide also comments that "cabin storage is sparse, with the door map pockets being almost useless," although a "lockable console bin is a nice touch."

One of the biggest improvements for the new Ford Mustang comes in the interior, where quality is up markedly over the outgoing 2009 model. Car and Driver is impressed with the new "instrument panel that stretches from door to door and from the base of the windshield to the top of the center console," a new "thermoplastic olefin molding [that] feels squishy and looks rich." Jalopnik reviewers also like the new "big boy interior," which ConsumerGuide calls a "big step up from previous Mustangs."

All new 2010 Mustang Fords come with "soft touch plastics, greater sound deadening and shiny new instruments," according to reviewers at Jalopnik. Motor Trend also notes that "going from multipiece to single and hard plastic to TOP cures the creaks and squeaks of the previous Mustang."

Another major upgrade for the 2010 Ford Mustang comes in the form of better sound insulation, which eliminates unwanted road noise and emphasizes the roar of the engine. Combined with the improved ride quality, it makes the Mustang experience feel much more upscale than before. Autoblog says that "changes like reshaping the mirrors, moving the radio antenna from the front fender to the rear quarter and moving the windshield washer nozzles behind the trailing edge of the hood all cut wind noise inside the cabin," and the "result is that the sonic signature of the Mustang's 4.6L V8 has now been enhanced." Edmunds reports that the changes mean "wind noise is down 12 percent," making for a more comfortable cruising environment.

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2010 Ford Mustang

Safety

The 2010 Ford Mustang's new stability control brings an extra measure of safety without putting too much of a damper on the fun.

Federal government test results for the 2010 Mustang coupe are already out; they include top five-star ratings across the board, in all frontal and side tests and even rollover. Among convertibles, last year's convertible pony car earned the highest possible ratings from NHTSA in both the frontal and side impact categories. The IIHS rated the 2009 Mustang Ford convertible as "acceptable" in the frontal offset test, which is the second-highest rating from the agency. Furthermore, in the side impact test, 2009 Ford Mustang convertibles scored the highest possible rating of "good." The 2010 Ford Mustang retains much of the same body structure as the 2009 Mustang, so drivers can expect similar ratings.

The 2010 Ford Mustang refresh truly brings something new for everyone, including the safety-conscious. For the new Ford Mustang, the engineers at Ford add a "new-for-2010 antiskid system," according to Consumer Guide, that complements "available safety features [that] include ABS, traction control," and a full range of airbags. The new stability control scores well in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, with Car and Driver reporting that "the system allows substantial shenanigans before it decides to shut down the fun" and a "sport setting is even more permissive." Jalopnik also points out that "all models get traction and stability control as standard," whereas some competitors make you spend more for those features, and an "optional rear view camera" is available to aid driver visibility. Speaking of visibility, Consumer Guide quips that "outward vision is OK in coupes," while driving top-down in the convertible allows for generous sightlines in all directions.

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2010 Ford Mustang

Features

You can now pile on the useful high-tech conveniences in the 2010 Ford Mustang.

The 2010 Ford Mustang provides some impressive high-tech touches to go along with its high-performance characteristics. While the base Ford Mustang and the Ford Mustang GT both include the usual standard features, the options list provides some fun surprises that are sure to please buyers looking for a more luxurious Mustang Ford.

Motor Trend points out that all 2010 Ford Mustangs come with "the EasyFuel capless fuel-filler system," which makes the gas station ritual a bit easier. Motor Trend also appreciates that the "cruise control buttons are now joined by audio controls on the steering wheel" of the Ford Mustang, while other Ford Mustang standard features include a full CD sound system with MP3 compatibility.

In addition to the standard features, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the 2010 Ford Mustang offers some almost irresistible options. Car and Driver asserts that two of the more appealing items are the "optional nav system with a huge, eight-inch screen and the latest version of the Ford/Microsoft Sync telematic system," which includes Sirius Travel Link, a feature that provides real-time traffic data. SYNC scores particularly well with reviewers, including those at Automobile Magazine, who claim that it "has an almost supernatural ability to recognize voice commands, an ultrasharp screen, and quite possibly the best iPod and Bluetooth phone integration in the business." Automobile Magazine says that "Premium-package Mustangs also feature Ford's MyColor, which allows the driver to choose from dozens of illumination colors for the gauges, a gauge background bezel, ambient cabin lighting, and ultracool illuminated sill plates." Edmunds reports that "two different interior upgrade packages will be available" on this Mustang Ford, finding that "the Premium package brings leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with aluminum spokes, bright aluminum trim for the dash and ribbed door-panel inserts," while the "Premier package adds higher-grade leather, an aluminum shift knob for the lever of the manual transmission, and the choice of red, blue or 'Cashmere' accent colors."

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April 16, 2015
For 2010 Ford Mustang

A great car, fun to drive.

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Nothing better with so much hp, it gets a little scary. Love to drive it and show others
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Styling 8.0
Performance 8.0
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