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We drive the Ford Mustang V6

by Ali Arsham
Thursday, May 02, 2013

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Ford’s Mustang is a legend that is the car of dreams for many.  The Mustang is a muscle car and has a reputation of being fast when it comes to going straight.  Ford has done wonders with the Mustang GT’s suspension with the Boss 302 version’s target being the BMW M3.  Not all of us can afford to buy the Boss 302 or even the GT.  The base six cylinder Mustang has been around since the beginning and the idea has been to offer it for people that want the look of the Mustang but don’t care about performance as much.  The 2012 Mustang V6 is different though.  Ford has been working on offering a base Mustang that is fun to drive and they have done wonders. 

If you remember the 2.3 liter four cylinder or the 3.8 liter V6 Mustang of the 80’s and 90’s, you probably will never even consider buying a base Mustang.  That is too bad because the Mustang has come a long way since those dark days.  The 2012 Mustang V6 is a real performance machine that will get your blood pumping.  The heart of any performance machine has to be the engine and the V6 Mustang does not fail.  It packs a 3.7 liter all aluminum V6 that is made in Cleveland.  The DOHC engine has 24 valves and uses variable camshaft timing and 10.5:1 compression to pump out 305 hp at 6500 rpm.  Even more impressive is that the V6 only needs 87 octane fuel to make that power.

Power is nice but usually base cars get sloppy transmissions that make things even worse.  The 2012 Mustang comes standard with a six speed manual transmission with tight gates, a short throw and well placed ratios.  It has a 1:1 fifth gear and an overdrive sixth gear, just as a performance transmission should have.

Drive the Mustang and as soon as you press the clutch and put the car in first gear, you will know that this car means business.  Everything is tight and there is no slop.  Push the motor to the 6500 redline and the Mustang pulls hard, as hard as the V8 Mustangs of just a few years ago.  The only issue that we wish Ford has addressed is the sound coming from the motor.  The V6 exhaust sounds very pedestrian and does not scream performance like the rest of the car.  But that can be fixed with an aftermarket exhaust.  The sound of the engine itself is another issue.  It just does not sound like a performance engine.  That is too bad because the performance is first rate.  In fact the V6 is such a strong performer and works so well with the manual transmission that one really wonders if it is worth the extra money to buy a V8 powered GT.  While the GT is definitely faster, the V6 is plenty quick for even the most diehard enthusiasts.  The main difference is the sweet sound that the V8 offers that is missing on the V6.

Interior
Inside the Mustang is classic Mustang with the retro gauges and old fashioned dash design.  It all looks great and also appreciated are the digital auxiliary gauges that you can choose to view which are very complete and include oil temperature, oil pressure, voltage, cylinder head temperature and even air fuel ratio.  The V6 seats are very comfortable and offer a good level of support.  The only issue is with the giant head support that forces your head too far forward.  It makes it tough to find a comfortable position.  The rear seats are nice looking but there is not much room back there for adults although they can fit for short trips. 

While underway you will discover that Ford has put in a lot of overtime in developing the Mustang.  It offers a comfortable ride and there is not much wind or road noise.  Handling is a much improved over previous Mustangs but there is still not enough feedback being directed at the driver.  Consequently it is hard to feel what the car is doing.  Once you get used to it, the Pirelli P Zeros offer plenty of grip and are well suited to the car. 

After living with the car for a while, you will discover something else that Ford is very proud of.  Ford claims that the V6 Mustang is the first production car in history to deliver the combination of more than 300 horsepower and more than 30 mpg on the highway.  The manual transmission Mustang is rated at 19 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the freeway.  We averaged about 21 mpg in mixed driving which sounds bad but the car is a blast to drive and we have to admit that we were not driving in the most fuel efficient manner.

The V6 Mustang is an amazing car that most people probably will not look at seriously until they test drive it.  This car is a terrific performance machine that can put a smile on anyone’s face.  Driving it will make you forget all about the V8 powered GT.  The V6 starts out at only $22,200 while the V6 Premium model starts out at $26,200.  The GT will cost you about $8000 more with prices starting at $30,300 for the base GT or $34,300 for the GT Premium.  That is a great deal and the best part is that there is a very short options list so you have a good chance of getting a car at your price range.

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