Mustang Passes Muster

30 Mar 2016 | 02.27 pm

Mustang Passes Muster

Iconic Mustang a thrill to drive

30 Mar 2016 | 02.27 pm

The iconic Ford Mustang is brash, good-looking and a thrill to drive, writes Olive Keogh

 

The Ford Mustang ranks alongside the Big Mac and Disneyland when it comes to the roll call of iconic American brands. The original Mustang made its debut in 1964 as an affordable sports car for the masses and it has been in constant production ever since. It only became available in right-hand drive in Europe in 2015 and has just gone on sale in Ireland. In terms of size, it’s nearly the same length as a Mondeo but sits much lower to the ground and comes with distinctive tri-bar taillights.

Ford has sold more than nine million Mustangs over the last 50 years and it has made thousands of appearances in films, TV shows and music videos. So far, Ford Ireland has taken 100 orders for the car. Most are from men but its striking good looks have also caught the eye of a handful of female buyers.

The Mustang is being sold here with either a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost turbo petrol engine or a 412bhp, 5-litre V8. Roughly 85% of orders are for the 2.3-litre version, which attracts road tax of €750. Road tax probably won’t be an issue for anyone shelling out for the 5-litre, but for the record it’s €2,350 per annum. The entry EcoBoost Mustang costs €49,000.

The Mustang comes as a fastback coupe with a hard top or as a convertible, which in an Irish context is about as useful as giving a fish a bicycle. Truth to tell, the retro cabin is little brash when viewed from a European perspective but this is a bit of Americana so you have to cut the guys some glamour slack. That said, I’d be less inclined to excuse the finish around the convertible’s roof on the test car, as some of the padding was sticking out.

Throaty Roar

The Mustang is on the money where it matters. It looks great and is fun to drive. In these days of austerity, it is a real novelty to be handed the keys of anything with a five-litre engine, and if you’re a petrol head then its throaty roar will send pleasing shivers down your spine.

The V8 is fast, both in a straight line and in corners, but it’s very self-contained and the handling is good thanks to the new independent rear suspension. The body roll is controlled and the Mustang is neat in the corners.

Compared with the V8, the smaller-engine version doesn’t offer quite the same thrill but it’s still lively and entertaining and, should you care, more economical. The V8 returns a little under 20mpg. The smaller EcoBoost will manage around 30mpg, according to Ford’s figures. There’s a six-speed gearbox on board, with most of the action coming around third and fourth, while you can cruise comfortably in the upper gears.

Two things were particularly impressive: the comfort level – the seats were good with plenty of adjustment and you don’t feel hemmed in – and the Mustang’s ability to take the undulations of Irish roads in its stride. The Mustang is great on the open road, but given the limited visibility driving and parking one around town might be a bit of a drag. However, it turns tidily and the reversing camera helps.

Model: Ford Mustang
Engine: 5-litre V8
Safety: Performance brake package, four driving modes, multiple airbags, driver and passenger personal safety system
Price: €65,000
Fuel consumption: 13.5l/100km
Verdict: Head-turning fun on four wheels

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