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.