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2007 Ford Mustang Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Ford Mustang was new.

Reviewers are impressed by the Ford Mustang's performance, finding it to be a true sports car with just enough -- but not too much -- practicality. Edmunds counsels that if you're looking for a car "that's fast and fun, yet comfortable enough to drive every day, the 2007 Ford Mustang should be on your short list of candidates." Depending on trim level, the Mustang comes with one of three engines -- a 4.0-liter V6, a 4.6-liter V8 (in the GT) or a 5.4-liter V8 (in the Shelby GT500). Automotive.com explains the differences: "The Mustang V6 models make nice, stylish cruisers. The GT is an absolute hoot to drive, making all the right sounds, hanging onto corners tenaciously, and delivering thrilling acceleration performance. The Shelby GT500 adds to the fun with its near-Corvette performance."

The Mustang receives criticism for having a solid rear axle rather than independent rear suspension, but most reviewers like its handling. The Arizona Republic says, "Despite all the hand-wringing among the sports-car crowd that Mustang continues with its archaic solid rear axle, I enjoyed the GT's nimble handling and sharp steering response." MSN reports, "Steering feels just right, and the firm-but-supple suspension and an engine set far back for the best weight distribution help provide sharp handling." Some reviewers, however, point out that the suspension setup creates problems for the Shelby GT500 at high speeds. According to AutoWeek, "The rear end jumps out when it encounters any sort of road imperfection with the steering wheel cocked, requiring extra-quick hands to keep it in line."

Acceleration and Power

The Ford Mustang comes with one of three engines -- a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 210 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque and a 5.4-liter V8 that makes 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. "The GT is neck-snapping fast with its 4.6-liter 300-horsepower V8," claims MSN, "but the Mustang is no slouch with its 4.0-liter 210-horsepower V6 either." Both engines can be paired with a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Shelby GT500, new for 2007, "kicks it up yet another notch," says Automotive.com. Its 500 horses are paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

"Enthusiasts assume that drivers of V-6 Mustangs are dental hygienists and hair stylists plotting revenge on flaky ex-husbands," quips Car and Driver. "Nowadays, however, the girly-car reputation is increasingly bogus, as the base Mustang's 4.0-liter SOHC V-6 demonstrates." A reviewer for the Orlando Sentinel argues, "The 4.0-liter V-6 will never be mistaken for the V-8, but acceleration is more than adequate, and it's a nice match to the automatic transmission." Cars.com explains, "Acceleration with the V-6 isn't so enthusiastic at startup, though it's better for passing and merging." Newsday calls it "more than adequate for ordinary driving." With a manual transmission, it gets an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, while an automatic transmission will drop those numbers by one and two mpg, respectively.

Reviewers love the 4.6-liter V8. The New York Times calls it "the model of choice for serious drivers." According to the Los Angeles Times, "You could not ask for a smoother, more tractable powertrain than this: The shifting is effortless and slick, the clutch is light and progressive, and the power -- when called upon -- comes on like a high school football team defensive line." The Arizona Republic likes the "rich burble as it lazes through traffic," which turns into "a guttural roar when the throttle goes down." Edmunds says it has "loads of torque available right off the line and an exhaust note to match." Road & Travel Magazine points out, "The only drawback is the fuel economy for the V8 could be less thirsty." With a manual, it gets an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. With an automatic, it gets 15 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.

The Shelby GT500, says the Orlando Sentinel, "is a superb package" -- an opinion shared by most reviewers. The Los Angeles Times reports, "What this car delivers best is not track-day pyrotechnics but huge, billowy gusts of super-smooth acceleration in the passing lane." Consumer Guide calls acceleration "strong at any speed," but says that the car is "not as brutally fast as other cars that claim 500 hp." AutoWeek writes, "We wouldn't mind a louder exhaust note," adding this caveat: "As is, it sounds awesome, burbling away in a satisfyingly American-V8 manner at idle and exploding at full bore. But a little more of it would be nice, perhaps accompanied by a smidge less supercharger whine, which we found fairly loud." The Shelby GT500 is only available with a six-speed manual transmission, getting an EPA-estimated 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

While the base trims have independent three-link suspensions, Ford's decision to equip the Shelby GT500with a solid rear axle draws the ire of many reviewers. The Orlando Sentinel reports: "Ford typically has done a superb job of making the Mustang's solid rear axle feel like an independent. But for some reason, on the GT500, it doesn't. Go around a tight, fast turn -- a cloverleaf on an expressway ramp, for instance -- hit a bump, and the rear of the GT500 hops to one side. It isn't dangerous, but it's annoying." In the V6 and GT, however, the independent suspension is well-liked, with Automotive.com reporting that it "greatly reduces skipping and bouncing at the back of the car."

The GT's suspension, explains Consumer Guide, is "a bit firmer" than that of the V6, but "both absorb small bumps with little shock." Newsday says, "GT models handle superbly, feeling secure up to the low triple digits, at least," and points out, "The handling of my V-6 hardtop tester was a pleasant surprise, so you might want to consider going that route if your heart isn't set on a V-8 version."

Steering feel and response are exceptional, reviewers find. The Detroit News says, "A satisfying steering feel is one of the Mustang's strong points. We appreciated the good, responsive feedback it provided." The Detroit Free Press reports, "The three-spoke steering wheel connects to a precise and responsive power rack-and-pinion steering system that invites quick maneuvers." Automotive.com calls steering "crisp, precise and confidence inspiring," while Road & Travel Magazine asserts that the "steering wheel is nimble, communicating good road feel."

The Mustang is rear-wheel drive, and is outfitted with disc brakes. Anti-lock brakes are standard on the GT and Shelby GT500, and optional on the V6. The Los Angeles Times says, "The brakes are firm and muscular." MSN singles out the anti-lock brakes, saying they "provide especially good stopping power. The pedal is a bit soft, but has a linear action." Consumer Guide judges that all models have "fine stopping control."

Performance Options

A "Pony" package is available for the V6 that equips the base model with tighter, sportier suspension, bigger wheels and tires, anti-lock brakes and traction control. Road & Travel Magazine argues: "For the V6 buyer, the Pony trim makes the most sense because it includes traction control in addition to upgraded suspension (with larger stabilizer bars), 17-inch wheels and fog lamps. Traction control enhances the road manners of this car enhancing road grip."

Review Last Updated: 5/6/08

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