2016 Ford Mustang: Bold, wicked fast and gorgeous to boot

29 Aug 2016 | 1,687 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds   My first Mustang was a little one---as in 1:25th scale, purchased over 50 years ago. At the very bottom corner of the first ad for Mustang back in 1964, kids were invited to send in money for their own miniature Mustang. or 2016, Ford adds some more flavor, color and interest to Mustang. Me and my next door neighbor both bought them --his was baby blue and mine was beige. And mine has a place in honor inside one of six cases of scale model cars I have in my collection. Of course, that little car is worth a fortune now. And thus began my love for Mustang. So you can imagine how I felt when a 2016 bright red Mustang Coupe pulled up in front of my house.  Words can't describe it--and that's even though I also drove the then all-new generation Mustang last year. The excitement is pretty much the same no matter what Mustang you pull up in front of your house. And judging from the reaction to the car, a lot of other folks were glad to see my car of the week coming, too. Of course, there were tons of questions, stops on shopping center parking lots, and returning to my car after church services to see it surrounded by the curious. So you can imagine Ford isn't too anxious to make big changes from year to year in a car that is applauded just about everywhere. So, for 2016, changes are pretty subtle---with one very important exception: New color options make Mustang more personal than ever, with over-the-top racing stripes and black roof panel offering. The major change is that there is also an all-new SYNC® 3 with conversational voice recognition, smartphone-like touch screen and intuitive graphical interface. It operates far better than the old system, and is way easier to use and I like the graphics much better, too. This is an important development because the one piece of equipment more consumers complain about, whether it's a Fiesta or a Lincoln Navigator, is the SYNC set up. So the unveiling of a much nicer system on the Mustang is a strong sign that Ford is moving in the right direction. Another new development, according to a Ford news release is a return to hood mounted turn signals, First, you will now see secondary turn signals that are built into hood vents. For now, this is just the GT models that get this. But don't be surprised if other Mustangs get this feature too. "Fans have been clamoring for the return of hood vent-integrated turn signals for years, and in a nod to heritage Ford is honoring the request, bringing back the popular feature as standard equipment for owners of the 2016 Mustang GT, " Ford's release said. Also new for 2016 are several packages to enhance the look of Mustang. Black Accent Package, California Special and Pony Package each add a unique flair to Mustang. Our test drive sample was the 2016 2.3 liter coupe Premium, with the base price of $29,300.  It had $6,460 of options including the paint, the spoiler, limited slip axle, heated and cooled seats, aluminum wheels, the six speed automatic, an enhanced security package,  leather seats, adaptive cruise control, voice activated navigation, reverse park assist, and lots of other goodies. All of these items brought the final price to $36,660. No, it's not s cheap as the original Mustang which listed for $2,368,. But...considering what your getting--a bonafide, bad ass  four seat sports car, I think you will find the car is worth every penny and more. If you get the 2.3 liter, 310 horsepower  turbocharged Ecoboost Mustang, you will get a nicely equipped car that frankly, provides all the muscle and acceleration most people will need. We strongly suggest test driving this version before you plunk down more money for a more powerful GT. Ours was equipped that way, and it got 25 miles per gallon overall, 221 city and 32 highway.  It uses four gallons to drive 100 miles, and annual cost of gasoline a estimated at $1,800 or about $9,000 over five years. The rating is based on 15,000 miles of driving and gasoline costing $3.50 a gallon. Standard equipment includes  17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, LED taillights with sequential turn signals, a limited-slip rear differential, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, manual front seats with driver-side height adjustment, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, the Sync voice control system, Bluetooth, a 4.2-inch central display screen, MyKey parental controls (including a speed limiter, a volume limiter and geofencing), and the Track Apps performance system, which Ford says, "Real-time vehicle performance info is displayed through Track Apps™ on the in-dash LCD screen. This advanced system can help drivers of all skill levels to drive like the pros by providing excellent torque balance, grip and acceleration." Other standard equipment includes  a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and dual USB ports. Options include 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, LED fog lights and a six-way power driver seat. The EcoBoost gets those options as standard plus a unique wheel design for the mode and adds a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-way power passenger seat, aluminum dashboard trim and active noise cancellation. Options include cloth Recaro sport seats and an EcoBoost Performance package, which features 19-inch wheels with summer tires, spoiler delete, shorter gearing for more responsive acceleration, a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, a larger radiator, sport-tuned steering and stability control settings, different aluminum dash trim and additional gauges. The EcoBoost Premium, which was the model we test drove,  adds heated exterior mirrors with horse lasers, (lights that flash the much loved Mustang horse emblem on pavement at night) a rear diffuser, ambient interior lighting, selectable drive modes, aluminum and chrome interior accents, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery (front seats only), a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio and the Sync 3 infotainment system (including an 8-inch touchscreen and enhanced voice controls). The EcoBoost Premium mostly shares the regular EcoBoost's options, substituting leather Recaro sport seats, and it also offers a Premier Trim with Color Accent package (charcoal black interior, color-accented leather upholstery, unique door trim), a Pony package (19-inch wheels, unique front fascia, side stripe, pony-logo floor mats), a navigation system, adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver memory settings (not available with the Recaro seats), HD radio and a 12-speaker Shaker audio system. Want a Mustang GT? You get the 435 horsepower V-8, along with upgraded brakes, electronic line-lock ("to enable warming of the rear tires," says Ford) and launch control (manual transmission only). Pretty much the same accessories you can order  for the EcoBoost V-6 can be had on the GT with a GT Performance Package. But unlike the EcoBoost V-6, you will also get Options for the GT are similar to those for the regular EcoBoost, except for Brembo front brakes and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Also offered is a Black Accent package (19-inch black alloy wheels, black-out badges, black rear spoiler). The GT Premium comes with essentially the same standard features as the EcoBoost Premium and offers largely the same options, except for the  the California Special package (19-inch black alloy wheels, a more prominent rear spoiler and special exterior and interior trim details). Rear parking sensors are optional on all Mustangs, while the EcoBoost and GT coupes are eligible for a black-painted roof. The EcoBoost Premium and GT Premium also offer 20-inch wheels. Driving impressions? One word. Fabulous. If you can't be excited about the experience you have behind the wheel of a Mustang, you'd better check in with the coroner. First, everything is so tight and muscled, whether it's the braking, the cornering or the steering. Ford somehow managed to preserve the primal feelings and sensations of Mustangs of yore, while still bringing the brand nicely into the 21st century.  Part of that is  due to the independent rear suspension, which I am sure gives some mustang purist the chills. Sorry gang, but IRS makes the new Mustang feel a lot more planted on the ground, a lot more controllable, and a lot less jarring for passengers and driver alike on the road.  There simply is no comparison. And the ride is much improved too, but you still will find some issues with it if you can't tolerate a stiff, no holds barred jaunt around town. This is a sports car, not a Mustang Grande of days gone by or any luxury barge, and thank goodness for that.  Those of us who love to feel the responses of cars, and who want to know what the car is doing will absolutely love it. Others? Well....lots of other cars out there for you to choose from! Too, from my perspective, this generation of Mustang is just about the prettiest of  all, with the exception of the first generation ones. It has just the right stance, ,just the right assortment of traditional Mustang styling cues and a roof design with a slope that makes the car look every bit as hot as it is. The car is about 1.5 inches slower, and the steeply sloped roofline and huge tires that totally fill the wheel wells make this Mustang look like it's about to pounce. Low slung, full of brute force impressions, and that hunkered down profile intoxicated everyone who saw this car and admired it.  The fastback roof line is lower than ever before.The 2.3 liter, 310 horsepower EcoBoost turbocharged four cylinder really does the trick, giving you lot of oomph with gas mileage rating of 22/31 and 26 overall.
Way more than adequate, even for a turbocharged,2.3 liter, I4.
     I could not resist the charms of the new selective driving mode feature.  Using a toggle switch on the lower dash, you can  enjoy a drive experience that will be uniquely your  own. The settings are normal, sport plus, track and winter modes.
And there is a huge difference between the normal and sport plus modes, when shifting speeds up dramatically, the pipes roar, and the car launches and moves like a rocket on wheels. Great fun!
    There are  adjustable steering modes for the car too. And remember, this is NOT the GT model we are talking about.  I strongly encourage you to test the premium model before springing for anything further up the Mustang ladder.
By the way, the warranty covers the car for three years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper, and five year, 60,000 , mile powertrain coverage.
      Overall, this newest generation has plenty of game--and is worth a look-see by any performance enthusiast or driver.

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