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The Ford Mustang has always been a leader in the sports car segment, especially for those buyers who want a great deal. It was the first car in the mid-1960s that offered a powerful V-8 engine that handled well, and was affordable to the masses. Starting 2005, the latest generation shares more than just these attributes with its predecessors.
Like the Volkswagen Beetle, and now the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford Mustang has retro styling, as well as stunning horsepower numbers not seen since the 1960s. One other holdover that separates the Ford Mustang from many other sports cars is the fact that it has a live rear axle. This is an old suspension technology, and it keeps die hard Mustang fans happy.
But Ford has also tried to appeal to the larger market by tweaking the suspension, and reviewers note that even the base model is confident over rough roads and going into turns. Since it is a sports car, while it remains composed, it can also be a bit rough on passengers. In addition, partly to reduce costs, the Ford Mustang will not win any design competitions for its interior. Ford has decided to focus on trunk space rather than interior space, with the trunk near best in class while the rear seats may squash adults.
One other problem that the Mustang has is with build quality and safety features. The lack of side curtain airbags garners it four stars out of five in government crash tests, while the convertible is actually better in both that and IIHS tests because of added rigidity. In addition, reliability scores are a bit lackluster. Comparing it to the Camaro, its most direct challenger, it has more problems staying on the road and out of a mechanic’s shop. On the other hand, the Chevy has worse fuel economy and costs more in most trims. The Dodge Challenger is another option, but it’s also more expensive, although it offers more interior space. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is more expensive still, at close to $30,000, but it has no automatic even though its engine is more powerful by a sizable margin. The strongest points in the Mustang's favor are its great fuel economy with both V6 and V8 engines compared to the competition, as well as strong power numbers. So, drivers looking at affordable muscle cars have a number of options, but Ford also offers five different trim lines to consider if you pick the Mustang.
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