To be called a sportscar (especially a modern-day Detroit muscle car), a vehicle has to perform admirably on the open road. The 2009 Ford Mustang, especially the top-end models, gallops on the straights and even goes around the corners with ease.
The various trim levels and versions of the 2009 Ford Mustang offer several different engine choices. Cars.com lists those options as a "4.0-liter V-6" that "produces 210 horsepower," a "4.6-liter all-aluminum V-8" that "pumps out 300 hp," and a "319 hp" version for the Shelby GT. The "supercharged Shelby GT500" offers a "500-hp rating," according to Car and Driver, and Popular Mechanics says the Shelby GT500KR comes with a "540-hp supercharged 5.4-liter V8."
The Ford Mustang's 2009 lineup offers different models that feature engine performance ranging from good to ground-shaking great. The most affordable pony car is the V-6-powered base Mustang 2009. Edmunds finds that "acceleration is respectable with the V6, regardless of whether you choose the fun-to-shift manual or the responsive automatic." With the 2009 Ford Mustang GT and its torquey V-8 engine, there is a huge improvement in acceleration, while losing only 1 mpg in both city and highway driving compared to the V-6. Kelley Blue Book feels that the "GT is clearly faster and more refined, and its V8 is one feature many male buyers wouldn't dream of sacrificing." The 2009 Shelby Mustang GT500 boasts a 500-hp engine that ConsumerGuide says is "strong at any speed, though not as brutally fast as other cars with 500 hp." Carroll Shelby and Ford have teamed up to produce the 2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR for the pony car speed merchants, which features a supercharged 540-hp model that Popular Mechanics feels "offers plenty of torque at low revs" and "gains speed with an ease that speaks of 540 horses."
Ford offers several transmissions for the daunting task of efficiently transferring the substantial power of the Ford Mustang 2009 to the road. The Shelby GT500 and GT500KR offer six-speed manual transmissions, and Edmunds adds that "all Mustangs are rear-wheel drive." Kelley Blue Book states that both the Ford Mustang coupe and convertible feature a standard "five-speed manual transmission," with an optional "five-speed automatic."
Today's Ford Mustang 2009 does have an Achilles' heel: its less than adequate fuel economy, which for the Mustang GT with manual transmission is rated at 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The six-cylinder engine on the Ford Mustang is slightly thriftier, delivering an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway. Of course, the highly prized 5.4-liter V-8 mills powering the Shelby editions drink still more petrol, which the EPA rates at 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
The high-end models of the Mustang have improved handling, earning praise from Cars.com, which says that the Ford Mustang's steering has "a satisfying, confident feel." TheCarConnection.com also applauds the Mustang's road manners. For the convertibles, Kelley Blue Book claims that "the rigid body results in far less cowl shake...giving the Mustang a real sense of solidity." The convertible suffers slightly from the increased weight associated with the folding top, but less than you might expect. Edmunds feels that the Ford Mustang boasts "reasonably precise handling through the corners and a surprisingly compliant ride," while ConsumerGuide finds that the "V6s have good cornering moves." The much more powerful GT500KR also handles well, with Popular Mechanics declaring that "the ride is surprisingly compliant" and "the steering effort has entirely tolerable levels of effort."
In terms of occupant comfort and drivability, the Mustang redeems itself somewhat. Autoblog feels that the Mustang is "easy to live with on a daily basis,” while Road & Track considers the ride to be "firm but not unpleasant" on the Bullitt-edition Mustang.