2017 Ford Mustang Review
Stuart Martin’s 2017 Ford Mustang GT Review with Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In A Nutshell: The Ford Mustang oozes appeal to all and sundry, even before the V8 has been fired up, turning heads in traffic and delivering a delightful V8 howl when the spurs have been dug in.
2017 Ford Mustang GT manual
Price $57,490 Warranty 3 years/unlimited km Safety 3 Stars EuroNCAP Engine (tested) 5.0-litre V8 Power 306kW at 6500rpm Torque 530Nm at 4250rpm Transmission 6-speed manual Drive rear-wheel drive Body 4784mm (l); 1916mm (excl. mirrors); 2080mm (incl. mirrors); 1381mm (h) Turning circle 12.2m Towing weight n/a Kerb weight 1739kg Seats 4 Fuel tank 60 litres Spare n/a Thirst 13.1L/100km combined cycle Fuel 95RON PULP
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WHEN IT COMES to the Blue Oval, there are plenty of vehicles featured elsewhere in the Ford product plan that we want – but don’t get – here.
An F-Series with a Ford Oz warranty and factory compliance plate was tried but came to a halt.
Thankfully since then, hearts over-ruled heads and a global right-hand drive build of the new Mustang has it turning up in large numbers on Australian roads.
What is the Ford Mustang?
Although the appetite for large sedans is waning, there are still plenty who like the idea of a rear-drive V8, especially in coupe form – perhaps a rebellion against the SUV brigade.
Available in auto and manual, we’ve sampled the former before and it’s a big lazy brute – the manual holds more promise of a sharper edge to the drivetrain, even if it requires the driver to truly live up to that title.
The image of this nameplate is backed by nearly 10 million in sales and decades of history – the look of the current model does plenty to keep the lust for Mustangs going strong.
Even teenagers, born when the US models had lost their way aesthetically, are taking phone camera snaps galore.
What’s the interior like?
The new ‘Stang involves plenty of its heritage in the styling, which Ford claims has aerodynamic effect as well.
It’s no shrinking violet on the road, covering plenty of bitumen, but that doesn’t translate into a cavernous cabin. It can accommodate four average sized occupants – if the driver doesn’t mind getting a little snug with the wheel and the pedals. But the rear occupants will have to watch their heads for room and sunlight as the plummeting roofline merges with the rear glass above the back seat, relying on ventilation from up the front to keep them cool as well.
The seating itself is quite comfortable and front occupants (when not hindered by having to scrunch forward for rear passengers) can stretch out nicely. Adjustment to both seat and wheel allows the driver to get well set-up behind the steering wheel, with information overload from the central trip computer, with only a digital speed readout notable by its absence. A tall driver in their ideal driving position isn’t going to have anyone with intact lower limbs behind them, but for most their time in this car, the driver isn’t going to care.
Boot space is listed at 383 litres – and that can be expanded by folding the 50:50 rear seat backs forward, but it’s a cargo capacity beaten by small hatches.
Where it’s more than up to par is features – leather trim, folding, heated and power-adjustable exterior mirrors, puddle lamps featuring the logo, LED tail lights, dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled power-adjustable front seats.
There are some worthwhile options – $1094 puts the stripes from head to tail and there are some rear spoiler options for under $1000 as well. But an extra $3584 buys an accessory exhaust system to help improve the demure noise of the standard pipes.
What’s The Infotainment Like In The Ford Mustang?
The Sync systems from Ford have improved markedly through the various incarnations and the Mustang has had versions 2 and more recently been updated to the more impressive Sync3.
Giving the user the option of using CarPlay or pairing in the more conventional Bluetooth and USB methods is welcome, as many brands give the smartphone integration systems carte blanche to over-ride everything else.
The integrated satellite navigation mapping is starting to look a little old-school and the way some of the menus and processes operate is a little hard to fathom, but most functions can be found eventually.
Once paired up or tuned into an appropriate radio station (something retro-rock we’d reckon), the nine-speaker sound system delivers a top-notch soundtrack
Reassuring given the stability control can be switched completely off and there’s a sub-standard safety rating from ANCAP hanging over its head is the emergency assistance function on offer.
Provided a phone is paired up and is connected to the network, should the Mustang end up impacting something other than the driver’s senses, it will call the emergency services and provide details of the car’s location.
The infotainment system and the car functions buried within are not too difficult to find, it’s just a question of setting as much as you can before getting under way and leaving it be.
Anything that can’t be controlled from the steering wheel – a chunky leather-wrapped unit – can wait.
The silver toggles are also old-school but could perhaps operate both ways to go back and forward rather than having to cycle through the system in question.
What’s The Ford Mustang Like On The Road?
Burbling (too) quietly through the traffic, the first surprise from behind the wheel is the ride quality – reasonably comfortable on metropolitan roads and that’s without making concessions to the handling prowess, but more on that later.
It is a big beast and it is surprisingly compliant and almost supple over the nastier lumps and dips, although it’s less enamoured with smaller ruts and imperfections that argue with the skinny 40-profile rubber that’s wrapped around the black 19-inch alloy wheels.
The front end uses a MacPherson strut double-ball-joint set-up with a tubular anti-roll bar, with the rear suspension employing an independent integral-link with coil springs, monotube dampers and a solid stabiliser bar.
The power plant is not anti-social by any stretch, which is something of a disappointment if you’ve spent money in mid-life-crisis mode to attract attention. There are options within the Ford catalogue now to improve the aural appeal but aftermarket exhausts apparently extract – if you’ll pardon the pun – a more impressive soundtrack.
The 5.0-litre V8 when directed by the six-speed manual is deceptively flexible and that’s despite peak torque of 530Nm arriving at 4250rpm which might suggest a dearth of low-end pull, but iteasily lolls along in a high gear around town.
The gearbox itself is lighter of shift than expected and has a clean and positive shift action, allowing the driver to short-shift and make the most of the torque on offer. The clutch pedal is light and takes some familiarity as the bite point and feel isn’t optimal, but once accustomed to the travel it’s a drivetrain that can be hustled quickly.
Getting the Mustang out on the less-populated roads between the paddocks its namesake enjoys, the beefy coupe runs willingly through fast sweeping bends, which are certainly more its forte than the tight, twistier stuff.
Tipping the scales at 1739kg, this is a hefty beast that demands to be driven, not merely directed.
There’s enough information coming through the steering (which has levels of adjustment but spent most of its time Normal mode) and the seat of the pants to know what the coupe is up to and just how much you have to do to keep it pointing in the intended direction is up to the driver.
The multi-stage drive modes and stability controls can snoozed, but the latter remains on duty while allowing plenty of leeway – the body roll isn’t ludicrous and it sits nicely when tipping into a corner.
But if there’s a lot of revs on board – and it’s likely given this V8’s appetite for revs and the corresponding soundtrack – ready for a roaring exit to the corner, the driver will need to be ready with the opposite lock if the right foot over indulges. There’s a limited sip differential at the rear as well, but if the tail wags it’s not panic stations to catch it, despite the considerable heft at the weigh station.
What Safety Features Does The Ford Mustang Offer?
The safety features list is not without merit but it fell well short of the mark when pummelled up against crash barriers by ANCAP, rating just two stars, numbers which all but ruled it out of contention for law enforcement agencies. It was subsequently retested after improvements were made and rated at three stars.
The GT gets four-wheel disc brakes – 380mm front discs are grabbed by six-pot Brembo front calipers and the rear stoppers are 330mm with single-pot calipers.
The brakes do a good job of bringing the large coupe to a halt during a spirited drive without complaint, although track day warriors might want to think about at least a pad upgrade.
The safety features list includes eight airbags – two front, side, curtain and front knee airbags – as well as rain sensing wipers, automatic xenon headlamps, rear LED tail lights, tyre pressure monitoring, an auto-dimming centre rear vision mirror, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, stability control (with a Sport mode) and the aforementioned Emergency Assistance function within Sync.