2nd Opinion: Ford Mustang GT
Loaded with every option, a 2005 Ford Mustang GT costs about $10,000 less than a Chevy SSR, and about $15,000 less than the Chrysler 300C SRT-8.
Value is just one of the Ford Mustang GT’s many attributes. Serving up the least expensive automobile containing 300 horsepower, Ford has ensured that the Mustang is not only a quick set of wheels, but it’s also stylish and comfortable, and costs less than some Honda Accords. Looking at the Mustang, it’s easy to see that design inspiration came from the pony cars of the 1960s. But when sitting inside, you’d swear the Mustang was a time machine. The dashboard and steering wheel look like they were ripped out of a 1964 original, except for the Shaker 1000 audio system, cruise buttons, and climate controls. But instead of an uncomfortable, flat, featureless driver’s seat with a lap belt, the 2005 version provides a very comfortable, flat, featureless, power-adjustable driver’s seat with a three-point safety belt.
Retro is not limited to the Ford Mustang’s styling. It drives like an old car, too, though is improved upon the previous-generation model in every way. Thanks to sloppy on-center steering feel and slow response; brakes that lost some power boost as the Mustang entered a turn and unloaded the inside front wheel; a suspension exhibiting plenty of dive, squat, roll, and jitter; and rather tall 55-series all-season performance tires; the Mustang is old-school to the bone. But that 4.6-liter V8 loves to rev, the exhaust note is music to any enthusiast’s ears, and the manual gearbox is a joy to row. Ford even made sure it was easy to heel-and-toe the new Mustang.
Loaded with every option, a 2005 Ford Mustang GT costs about $10,000 less than a Chevy SSR, and about $15,000 less than the Chrysler 300C SRT-8. Plus, it gets significantly better fuel economy. For most people, the Mustang is the best bet of this impressive bunch.
– Christian J. Wardlaw
Based on what new car buyers can choose from, the 2005 Ford Mustang is the clearly the best available muscle car.
Consider this: The Mustang is sold in base form with a decent V6 engine and stylish design with a starting price south of $20,000. It’s a fine car in its own right. But fit a 300-horsepower V8 engine under the hood, add a few visual tweaks like unique wheels and front fog lights, vent spent gases through a dual exhaust system that’s an audio delight, and that casual coupe gets transformed into tire smoking joy ride (for those who care, by the way, the Mustang GT easily laid the best strip of rubber among the vehicles in this roundup). Acting as the go-between for that 4.6-liter V8 and those 235/55 Pirelli tires is a five-speed manual transmission that offers short, clean shifts and an easy-effort clutch. Furthermore, the steering, though a little light, is responsive and provides plenty of feedback at all speeds, and the suspension presents an excellent balance between comfort and control; there’s enough grip to keep the 2005 Ford Mustang hanging on in tight corners, but the setup is soft enough to allow for a compliant ride around town.
Also serving as a benefit is the Mustang’s interior, which is attractive and well-designed. The dash harkens back to the original 1964 ½ version, though for 2005 model gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, optional aluminum trim, and decent, if not high-quality, plastics. The seat adjusts for a proper driving position, and the steering wheel tilts for a custom fit. Radio and climate control buttons are within easy reach, and the optional Mach1000 sound system has some serious attitude.
The 2005 Ford Mustang is comfortable, attractive, powerful, fun, and with up to 25 mpg on the highway, it borders on socially responsible. What attributes could better define a modern muscle car?
- Thom Blackett