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Ford Mustang (2005 - 2013): Review, Specs, Problems

The fifth-generation Ford Mustang was the last of the rudimentary muscle car-like ‘Stangs, as the car that followed it was much more of a refined sports car. Even so, for many the previous-gen car exudes strong appeal specifically because of its simple, no-nonsense engineering... and traditional live rear axle.

Even by the standard of the mid-to-late 2000s, the Mustang’s interior, ride comfort or tech level were nothing to write home about. It made up for that through its brash, unmistakable styling (which was oh-so “retro-futuristic”), the wide array of different models, attainable nature and, of course, its performance.

The car was updated and modernized for the 2010 MY when it also gained a new and much-improved V6 engine in 2011, a base unit that could finally be recommended. New transmissions were added too and the hydraulic power steering was replaced by an electric system.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • post-facelift V6 engine
  • strong V8 engines
  • Good handling
  • Huge modification potential

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • driving position may be uncomfortable for some drivers
  • full of scratchy plastic inside
  • pre-2011 V6 engine

Stay Away From
  • pre-facelift V6
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • 2016 Recall (number 16V384000) for 2005-2011 Ford Mustang vehicles sold in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands may have faulty airbag inflators
  • 2008 Recall (number 08V082000) for 434,593 2008 Mustangs for reprogramming of the restraint module
  • 2015 Recall for certain model year 2005-2014 Mustang vehicles manufactured April 6, 2004, to June 21, 2014 whose driver airbag inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death

Car Details
Powertrain

The fifth-gen Mustang was first released with either a 4.0-liter V6 that made 210 hp or a 4.6-liter V8 with 300 hp. Prior to the car’s major overhaul of 2010, the V6 is not really recommendable as it doesn’t quite offer the poke this car needs.

The post-facelift V6, an all-new 3.7-liter that made around as much power as the old V8 (305 hp) and a new 32-valve 5.0-liter eight-cylinder with a much more respectable 412 hp.

With the 2010-2011 overhaul, the car also got new manual and automatic transmission options, both sporting six speeds; the hydraulic steering was also swapped out for the more efficient electric variety.


Handling

If you think you’re about to drive a slushy muscle car, then the Mustang will definitely surprise you. Its steering is sharp, body roll is less pronounced than you’d expect and due to its ancient rear end setup, oversteer may spontaneously initiate in some bumpy corners.

Thanks to the solid rear axle, though, you can definitely get a parking lot donut and burnout party going fairly easily.


Safety

When the IIHS tested the pre-facelift Mustang in 2010, was rated Good for the moderate overlap crash test, as well as head restraints and seats, but it only gained an acceptable rating for side protection. After the 2011-2012 overhaul, it got a good rating in all categories, yet it lacked any kind of active safety aid which by the time it was tested was mandated for a maximum safety rating.

Comfort

The front seats of all fifth-gen Mustang variants are both comfortable and supportive, but taller driver and passengers may struggle with head and leg room; the car can accommodate no more than four people.

The suspension is generally comfortable, but it is firmer than on your run of the mill family sedan. It may feel unsettled over rutted and broken roads, but as long as tarmac quality is decent, the ride will be too.


Quality

Being an early-to-mid-2000s American car, plastics inside the Mustang are rather nasty. Assembly quality is nothing to shout about either, but at least the retro-inspired interior design makes sitting inside the car bearable.


Practicality

As long as you don’t go for the convertible, whose roof eats into boot space when stowed away, its carrying capacity is more than adequate for two people traveling.


Infotainment

Post-facelift models get the Ford’s ultra laggy SYNC touchscreen system as a dealer fit option. It is a fully featured system that is not all that badly designed, but it’s let down by the screen itself which is a source of frustration.

Efficiency

The EPA quotes the post-facelift V6 (the 3.7-liter) as being able to average 23 mpg with the automatic transmission, or 22 mpg with the manual. The V8-powered GT does 20 mpg with the auto or 19 mpg with the manual.


Equipment

Back when it was new, the Mustang V6 could be had in Deluxe or Premium grades. The former came with standard features such as keyless entry, cruise control and one-touch electric windows, while Premium adds an upgraded audio system with MP3 capability.

All V8 cars also get a standard set of grille-mounted fog lights, larger 17-inch alloys (V6 cars ride on 16-inch rims as standard), while Premium V8 cars also gained Aberdeen leather bucket seats.

Some cars may have options like unique aluminum interior trim bits instead of plastic, side airbags (not standard on pre-facelift models) and there’s a whole plethora of special limited series models with unique liveries or specific go-faster bits.


Acquisition

The previous-gen Mustang is a much simpler and more pony car-like vehicle compared to the current one. Its rudimentary mechanicals don’t detract from its appeal, as not everybody fancies super complicated solutions for going fast.
It offers a good blend of everyday usability, sportiness and outright go, as long as you avoid the weedy 4.0-liter V6.

They were not that expensive when new, so picking one up second hand will probably not break the bank. A good one is around $5,000 - $7,000.


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