Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the 2009 Ford Mustang shows not only Ford's commitment to keeping alive a legendary name, but the public's love of the traditional American muscle car. The Mustang's unchallenged reign is about to come to an end, however, with the rebirth of the Dodge Challenger and next year's Chevrolet Camaro. To its credit, the Mustang is blessed with iconic good looks, a choice of V6 or V8 engines and, most importantly, a really affordable sticker price. Make no mistake, serious competition is on the way but, for now, look for Ford to continue to build on the Mustang's success as one of America's most loved performance coupes.
YOU'LL LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you're a fan of the affordable, powerful, rear-wheel-drive vehicles that have defined the American muscle car, you'll find the 2009 Ford Mustang a properly refined version and thoroughly satisfying.
YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS CAR IF...
Although the 2009 Ford Mustang is noticeably larger than the previous models, it still lacks much of the practicality – like a roomy rear seat – some people may need. The lack of an independent rear suspension may also turn off some enthusiasts.
WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THIS CAR
The Premium package on both the base car and GT receives more equipment. A panoramic fixed glass roof is a new option for 2009.
The 2009 Ford Mustang fires up with the satisfying snarl every red-blooded American expects from one of the country's most identifiable vehicles (although the growl is more pronounced with the V8). On the road, the Mustang's chassis and suspension deliver both an insulated ride and controlled handling. Road irregularities are less jarring than in previous generations, and the car corners more confidently, although the solid rear axle can still break away when pushed too hard. While a set of powerful V6 and V8 engines is part of the Mustang's appeal, the refined suspension and livable daily-driver aspect is the car's real charm.
OUR FAVORITE FEATURES
Panoramic Glass Roof
This new option allows the Mustang's cave-like interior to fill with natural light. The fixed glass panel is tinted to reduce excessive heat build up and features a layer of sound-absorbing clear vinyl sandwiched within the glass panel.
Shelby GT500 Cobra Edition
The ultimate Mustang comes equipped with a 500-horsepower, supercharged 5.4-liter engine and six-speed manual transmission.
If the 2009 Ford Mustang's exterior puts you in a retro state of mind, the interior will transport you like a time machine. A steering wheel with three metal-look spokes teams up with a speedometer and tachometer that rest deep in their own chrome-ringed wells to deliver a driver's-seat view as retro as any. On the flip side, this throwback's instrument panel features a modern illumination system, color-configurable with 125 different lighting combinations. Seating is comfortable and the new car's added exterior dimensions allow for a noticeable increase in headroom and legroom. A few less hard-edge plastic surfaces would go a long way to turning a good interior into one that's great.
By borrowing liberally from the Mustang's past, the new car's designers have created a vehicle that wholly captures the essence of the original. The long hood and short rear deck that have defined the Mustang from day one are joined by the return of round headlamps and vertical "tri-bar" taillamps especially reminiscent of the 1967 model. The Mustang V6 features nifty multi-spoke wheels with real three-point spinners and both the V6 and GT offer plenty of room for aftermarket customization.
NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
The Mustang V6 Deluxe includes a 4.0-liter SOHC V6 engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes, cloth sport bucket seats, 16-inch painted cast aluminum wheels, AM/FM stereo with CD and auxiliary input jack, manual air conditioning, one-touch up/down power windows, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, rear-window defroster, tilt steering wheel, front side airbags and cruise control. The GT Deluxe adds a 4.6-liter V8 engine, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, fog lamps, rear spoiler and 17-inch cast aluminum wheels.
Features available only on select trim levels or as stand-alone options include the Pony Package (V6 only), the GT Appearance Package and Bullitt Package (GT only), five-speed automatic transmission, 500- or 1000-watt audio system with six-disc CD/MP3 changer, leather seating, navigation, sport bucket seats, heated seats, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with traction control, HID headlamps, ambient interior lighting, rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum or premium wheels, panoramic glass roof, a 125-color instrument panel and the Warriors in Pink package, with proceeds going to help raise funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
UNDER THE HOOD
For those not bothered by the lack of V8 growl, the V6's output is more than sufficient to get your blood flowing. Originally designed for use in the Ford Explorer SUV and Ranger pickup truck, the Mustang's V6 demonstrates a noticeable amount of vibration and harshness, and the single exhaust note just doesn't quite cut it – but the performance is surprisingly peppy. The GT is clearly faster and more refined, and its V8 is one feature many male buyers wouldn't dream of sacrificing. Ford's three-valve-per-cylinder technology allows the big V8 to breathe easier, producing better low-end power without sacrificing fuel efficiency. The true powerhouse, however, is the limited-production Shelby model, which features a 500-horsepower supercharged V8.
210 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
240 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (manual), 16/24 (automatic)
300 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
320 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 (manual), 15/22 (automatic)
5.4-liter V8 supercharged
500 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
480 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
The Mustang Deluxe V6's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just around $21,000, while the Premium coupe is about $2,000 more. The GT Deluxe has an MSRP of around $27,500, while the GT Premium starts close to $29,500. The Shelby models start around $45,000, but don't be surprised if demand pushes prices well above MSRP. To avoid paying too much for your Mustang, be sure to compare pricing with the current New Car Blue Book Value, which shows what others in your area are paying for their vehicles. Kelley Blue Book expects the Mustang V6 to retain a slightly better-than-average residual value over time. The GT version is projected to do even better, holding a significant advantage over the V6-powered car.