Review: Ford Mustang GT long-term test

Review: Ford Mustang GT long-term test
Review: Ford Mustang GT long-term test

The honeymoon period is over – but it doesn’t feel like it

The way long-term tests work for motoring websites and magazines is that the car comes in and is allocated a custodian. That person is responsible for looking after it and doing most of the write-ups on it. They’re also supposed to let other folk have shots in it.

That last bit has been proving quite difficult for Matt, the keeper of our Mustang GT. Well, be honest, would you?

Eventually, a member of the security staff managed to prise the keys out of Matt’s clenched grip. He gave them to Mitch, the video guy, fresh from an epic trip around Scotland in a Dacia Duster. A few days later Mitch returned to the office with a faraway look in his eye.

 

In his Mustang notes, he referred in a decidedly un-video guy like way to the “overarching sense of fun and ridiculousness” provided by the 5.0-litre V8 engine. He enjoyed the “ludicrous” efforts of the traction control system to contain the power. He’s right in the sense that the relaxed nature of the TCS is unusual in an age of uncompromisingly stringent systems found in other cars.

Mitch also picked up on some of the less appealing Mustang traits that Matt had already noticed, like the fact that none of the steering modes are that brilliant, so why bother choosing between them. And the daft position of the cupholders which means you have to snake your hand around your Big Gulp in order to reach the gearlever. The handbrake still being in the LHD position doesn’t help there either. Changing stations on the radio is fiddly as well, but that’s hardly unique to the Mustang. All first world problems really, and besides, there are plenty of positives to cancel out these small negatives.

For example, the fact that the display between the dials doesn’t reset when you switch off. That’s good because it allows us to keep the oil temp gauge that we found hiding in there. Again unusually, the Bluetooth and voice recognition systems have been perfect so far, and we also like the faff-free filler cap with Ford’s Easy Fuel neck, as that’s something we’ve been using quite a lot, ahem. Not that we’re complaining. We’re getting nearly 20 on the motorway. OK, so it’s about 24mpg on average. OK, so it’s less than 20 in town, but it’s a fair trade for the joyous performance.

The Mustang’s ride seemed OK too until we tried an Alpina which proved that low profile tyres and big wheels needn’t be a bar to comfort. It’s all about putting in the time and effort in the development stage, but that sort of thing costs money and we wouldn’t want to urinate on the Mustang’s value-for-money chips for the sake of ultimate comfort. There are plenty worse.

And things smooth out nicely at speed. The Mustang is actually a brilliant A-roads and/or motorway car. A four-hour round trip up and down the not-too-crowded A1 to a diner (why not?) was a beautifully relaxing experience, with the heated seat on and a CarPlay podcast-cycling session through the Shaker Pro audio.

The best bit about Mustang ownership though, apart from the noise, the style, the hooliganistic qualities and the smashing seats, is the public’s response to it. Our car has been completely debadged on the outside, but everybody immediately knows it’s a Mustang. “Cool car bruv,” noted an approving teenager. A teenager! How would he know? Must be the subconscious brand power of old-fashioned US muscle, or something.

You spend a lot of time smiling behind the wheel, because the enjoyment comes on stream from 0mph. Focus RS owners might not want to believe it, but the Mustang proves that you don’t need to be frantic to have fun.

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