2007 Ford Mustang V-6: Plus Bonus Feature: A Tale of 2 Drivers and Mustang History
2007 Ford Mustang V-6: Bonus Feature -- A Tale of Two Drivers + Mustang Retrospective
+ High-Performance V-6 thinks it's an 8
+ Cabin is Very Driver-Oriented
+ Classic Design
- Temptation is too much!
- Not a GasSaver (in-town)
- Engine doesn't like to slow down
"A Mustang Among Colts" -- Test Location Indianapolis
Disclaimer: As you're probably aware, most GasSavers members are actually converts from the horsepower scene and have a past of driving full-tilt with no regard for fuel consumption but instead for 0-60 and quarter-mile times, being faster than the next guy at the light, or modifying the car for more FAST. Over time, the fact was realized that this behavior cannot persist and must be quelled. In fact, I suffer from a life-long conditioned referred to as "Gofastitis” and can only be treated with regular visits to GasSavers.org and by watching "An Inconvenient Truth". So with that disclaimer, I must warn
that there are actually two people generating this review: the old RH77 who loves horsepower, kicking the tail out, and driving like gas grew on trees; and
the second is the one you all know: RH77 the GasSaver. The 2 don't get along well with this car as that bad streak comes to visit now and then. Now on with the review...
Retrospective: Ford is in a lot of trouble as of this printing. Last quarter, they lost $24,000 a second. That's a well-equipped Civic Hybrid or Prius for
every Man, Woman and Child in Atlanta! (524,160 cars to be exact). So, again, Ford is in the spotlight. So, let's focus on one of their offerings... This
latest generation Mustang is a huge improvement over the last. As this was the first coupe I've driven (and with some interesting FE results to report),
besides the fact I haven't done a review in a while, a vehicle review was in order! In the past, I've driven other's Mustangs:
A 1971 Mach-I:
1979 Mustang 4-cyl:
2003 GT V-8:
…and a few 2004-2007 Mustang Convertibles. Now the competitive GM offering, the Camaro, is gone -- boy did they screw that up over time. A 1967 Camaro SS can be found in my Dad's garage, which I've driven many times. I have to say that it defines GM's excellent answer to the "Pony Car" question during that era. Over time, the design got fat, slow, and died a miserable death. Over the same time, the Mustang had the same ups and downs, but it didn't sell out entirely, and has returned with fury. The '71 Mach that I drove had a 351ci "Cleveland" V-8, which powered the sled in true Muscle Car fashion: fast in a straight line. The late 70's version frankly sucked, and merged into a platform that isn’t really imaginable. Remember the Ford Fairmont / Mercury Zephyr? That lump of a chassis, codenamed "fox", was the base of the 'Stang from the early 80's until it was recently redesigned. It was adequate, but desperately needed an update. Enter the next generation: a throwback to the era that got
The first Mustang: the 1964 and ½ :
On the Outside: The shape is reminiscent of the 60's, but adds retains the familiar, modern Mustang shape. The 3-bar tail lights, faux gas filler, and a
hood that projects over the grille take cues from the past, but with a modern flair. I like the looks of it. I would, however, improve the base-models
wheels -- too cheapy looking and often comes with the "spinner" center cap. The squared-off lines are aggressive, demands attention, and separates itself
from everything else on the road. You know it's a Mustang.
There are so many combinations available, from the entry-level V-6 to the snarling Roush Stage- III. Ford even made a special model just for Hertz: The Shelby GT-H (yup it’s souped-up and my manager wouldn’t allow the upgrade, darnit).
On the inside: Climb into the cockpit, and you're immediately back in the 60's again. Gauges, 3-spoke wheel, and low-slung seats give the air of previously
successful models. Seat height and a tilt wheel made the driving position comfortable (no lumbar, though). The gear selector and e-brake sat high on the driveline tunnel. The leather seats are a nice touch and controls are within relatively easy reach. Quirks are apparent, though. The Cruise Control
indicator in one of the gauges flickered until it finally quit working (maybe foreshadowing of the model's reliability). The wheel only had cruise control,
but no option to control the radio. Actually I shouldn't call it a radio: the "Shaker 500" with Sirius Satellite Radio was great. An option to select the
driver's seat as the focal point of sound was a nice touch. Yes, I was jammin'. The ride was a bit rough, as expected. The previous generation's Mustang SVT Cobra had an Independent Rear Suspension to make it a track killer, but all new 'Stangs get a solid live rear-axle to handle the power to its wheels, which brings me to the drive...
The drive: What a struggle! No the car handled fine, it was the driver who had some internal issues. The rumble of the engine, the surge of power, the
tail-happy demeanor, and precise steering. Oh what bliss -- NO STOP!!! RH77 you don't do that anymore -- you're a civilized GasSaver on a mission! Shame on you. So I set the cruise for 60 and motored to the Hotel. Glancing at the ScanGauge, I thought I'd be seeing sub-20's and a bad overall average upon my arrival after 30 miles (hint: that wasn't the case at all -- more on that later). The 4.0L V-6 is nearly as powerful and responsive as the previous generation's V-8, making it powerful and torquey. Sometimes, though, it feels like a tractor engine since it doesn't like to tach-back down if you're using it for compression. For example on the convertible model: While descending Mount Haleakalea in Maui, it is nearly required to use engine braking or else you'll burn the brakes and fluid into uselessness. The problem with autos and the manual, it just doesn't want to depart whatever RPM it reaches. Going down the mountain, I'd keep it in 2nd gear, and let off of the gas. At 4000 RPM, and you'd expect a lurch of compressive braking -- nope: count 3-4 seconds, then the engine decides to calm down. That really shouldn't come up all that often unless you opt for the manual, which tends to stay at higher RPM between shifts. Otherwise, the transmission is pretty good. The selector allows you to choose 1, 2, 3, D, and a button to disengage the O/D for forward gears. Gears 1-3 can actually be held via the selector, at any throttle position or speed. It's possible to start-out in 3rd gear! I don't know why, but you can. This may have some GasSaving tendencies to select the highest gear whenever you want.
This brings me back to the convertible. With the top down, the drive is even more fun, but don't expect the 2 rear passengers to have as much fun with their 3 centimeters of leg room. Expect shakes and shimmies as with most convertibles, but the attitude is nearly the same as the coupe.
Moving along, handling is crisp, clean, and rather exhilarating. I had a huge smile on my face much of the time during the "handling tests". Even the base
model bites-down and corners. Understeering? Just mash the gas and kick out the rear to correct the line. Speaking of which, I've been a bad boy. As part of every test, a 0-60+ test is run to simulate gas consumption in such a redline-shifting situation (every car gets the run-up test). From a start, full-
throttle spins the rear drive wheel, and off you go! That is with some steering inputs as the tail gets squirelly. But I found myself taking corners at
full-tilt with a throttle romp, some sideways understeerage and then point the car in the direction you want to go and the rear-end bites down and ka-pow!
Yeah! Wait, NO! That's not efficient at all! (Stay focused)...back to normal testing...
Safety is optional. No ABS, traction/stability is an option and the seatbelt isn't adjustable to height. Option "43A" gets you side impact airbags. These
items are costly but probably a good idea to get all of the above for a vehicle like this.
Efficiency: FE was "interesting". Of course when you run it up to 6000 rpm peeling out, the gas consumption is, well, not good. More conservative driving in-town produced similarly abysmal FE. But wait a second: highway mileage seems to be pretty good. From the cold start at the airport rental lot, a couple of ridiculous full-throttle highway merges, and then a conservative cruise for the rest of the trip yielded 27.8 mpg. What??? Instead of returning to the airport the next day in a hurry to see if an earlier flight was available, I headed out of Indianapolis into the countryside for additional testing (that's kinda rare). The combination of the superb radio, driving position, and spry demeanor couldn't be let go too quickly. I soon found myself out of town, on curvy roads, enjoying every minute. I was taking-in the scenery and the small towns you don't see on the Interstate. Around town, you get the usual 20-if-you're-lucky FE, but out on the highway or the open road, 30 mpg was VERY easily averaged. Speeds of 55-60 on level ground was about 30-35 mpg, 60-70 was around 30mpg, and 70mph hovered slightly below 30mpg. Anything faster and the drag quickly took its toll and pulled the average closer to 25 at speeds higher than 70.
Conclusion: Of course, it's not fuel efficient, nor does it promote fuel-efficiency. It certainly was fun to test. If you end up with one, you can have an enjoyable time and perhaps average 30 mpg+ with mostly highway driving and by forcing the transmission into a higher gear as early as you want. I ended up with a final FE of 23.7 mpg. For civilized driving (sorry), I would tack-on an MPG or 2 in mixed driving. Mid-20's isn't bad for a brick of American Iron. The 'Stang did that while the Dodge Magnum was lucky to break 20 mpg at highway speeds with a smaller engine. My guess is that the gearing and torque curve allow for better gas consumption. So fellow GasSavers, I have sinned, but I've hopefully redeemed myself by renting a Hyundai Elantra (the Kia Spectra twin). So far, so good, and more feature-laden. Expect the Elantra as the next review from the rental lot!
Model: 2007 Ford Mustang
Trim: V-6 Deluxe Coupe
Transmission: 5-speed Auto/LUTC
Engine: 4.0L, SOHC, 12-valve V-6, rated at 210 HP, and 240 lb-ft torque
Curb Weight: 3352 lb.
GasSavers Tested Mileage: 23.7 (probably closer to 25 if driven normally)
Speed Avg: 38 MPH
Time: 2.4 hours
Ambient Outside Temp: 20-30F
FE Conclusion: The City EPA estimate is correct, but the Mixed and Highway numbers can be easily beaten by at least 5 mpg, which is a pleasant surprise.
Could be emission controls preventing engine braking? Doesn't seem right but they used to do that on carb'd cars.
Newer Fords with the larger V-6s like Rangers and all newer Mustangs I've driven suffer this problem. Every one of them did it. It was really annoying on my Brother-in-law's 2004 Mach-I...you would rev it up to 2-grand in normal driving, and it would hang around up there, and create an abrupt gear enagement unless you waited a couple seconds to let the clutch out.
But thanks for the correction on the Mustang-II years. The one pictured I drove once back in High School, which was a regular 'Stang.
I love the Stang. We have a 64 1/2 coupe that was bought new and has been with a member of our clan since new. My brother has it now but I'm afraid he doesn't use it and it's dieing a slow death.
OMG those are rare. I go to vintage car shows and see lots of '66s and onward, but THE original is a rare sight. If you should ever get a hold of it, it can be made like new again, "we have the technology".
I get my "Car" genes from my Dad who used to run sanctioned drag races at the strip back. He quit racing after I came along, so he would find a classic car and keep it for a few years and then sell/trade for another for a hobby. He's a big Chevy or GM guy so lots of 1st Gen. Camaros and '55 and '57 Chevys. Restoration is a wonderful thing
Before I purchased my wonderful 2007 Yaris, I had the 2006 Mustang V6, manual tranny.
I loved the looks, the retro lines, the interior, and it handled good, not great, but good.
That is where the positives end.
The car sucked up the gas, was in the shop every other month for defects, and it's fuel injection programming was VERY crud, and lacked refinement. It bucked, and had a chronic problem with feeding fuel to the engine.
It was in the shop a lot!
Having owned this car for 18 months, it is no mystery to me why Ford is going down the tubes...their quality control is horrible...and too bad, because I loved the looks of this car....so glad when I finally got rid of it!
I am so happy with my bottom of the line tiny Yaris...it works, and it is dependable....all this trumps classy sexy body styles all day long!!! lol
The Element has some weird throttle behavior as well. The plate opens and revs up quickly, but takes some time to drop back down. I suspect that there is some kind of dashpot on it to make it close slowly, probably for emissions purposes.
lately, I have noticed that in mostly city driving, I get right at 20mpg...no matter if I get it into 5th gear (it is an auto) by 38mph or if I am being a *bit* more aggressive.
I have not done a whole lot of pure highway driving, but I have at least gotten the tires up to 45psi (max on the sidewall)...but haven't really seen any improvement. I suspect it is the computer and the throttle by wire that is getting me, and the usual techniques don't seem to apply to a car that drops rpm's when it feels like it.
I will pick it back up from Ford tomorrow...took it in and had them check it over and see what could be killing me on the FE front...car runs great otherwise. They didn't find anything that was beyond spec, and they had their shop version of a SG connected and reported 23 in mixed city/highway driving...would be nice to know what the tech was doing to get that. ;-)
Oh well...guess it is running as it should be, just not as I want yet.
McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."
O'Brien's First Corollary to McIntyre's First Law: "I don't know what the right circumstances are, either."
They have great advice on various modifications for our beasties. For example, a good aftermarket tune and a CAI is good for a couple of mpg, makes the throttle much more responsive, and generally eliminates that rpm-holding tendency the beasties have.
I've done some mild modding which has improved FE, but always wipe it out by driving like a lunatic. God, I love this car!
The engine braking thing you'll notice on any Ford equipped with throttle by wire. Even the V8 engines do this. Every company that has throttle by wire has some sort of quirk like Suzuki which has poor throttle response.
Personally, I can't wait for winter to come and go so I can get behind the wheel of an 08' GT 5-speed.
Heh, which V8 does it think it is? The early 80s Camaro with the 305? I can get away from those too ... j/k guess they must have improved them a lot.
I notice they seem to have got lighter actually, 2004 V6 auto was more like 4000lb wasn't it? Which is prolly why Marvin could get the drop on 'em. I'll explain that as Marvin having 1st generation Sperlich/Iaccoca genes and retaining hybrid vigor, while they're worn thin in 5 generations of 'stangs
I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice