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Not merely a retro reskinning, the 2005 Ford Mustang improves its performance in all areas and offers V8 enthusiasts a tempting price tag.
Solid V8 power in GT models, about as well mannered as a solid axle suspension can get, slick retro interior, much improved cabin ergonomics.
No side curtain airbags or stability control, seats could use more lateral support.
Available Mustang Coupe Models
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Available Mustang Convertible Models
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The 2005 Ford Mustang is completely redesigned.
The Ford Mustang debuted in April of 1964 and became a national sensation. By the late 1960s, the Mustang competed against the AMC Javelin, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Plymouth Barracuda and Pontiac Firebird. But, like Elvis Presley, the Mustang had evolved from lightweight and simple into overweight and flashy. By the time the oil crisis of 1973 hit, the Mustang had lost its edge in terms of performance and appeal. Reborn for 1974, the Mustang II rode on a Pinto platform to save development costs and improve fuel economy. Emissions regulations had stifled performance, and the convertible model had disappeared from the lineup. Still, Ford wasn't ready to give up on the Mustang. In 1979, it was completely redesigned. There was even a performance model with a turbocharged 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine. The new Mustang proved popular, and by 1982, Ford had endowed it with a relatively strong (for the time) V8 engine and the GT designation that continues today. A new car arrived in 1994 wearing retro styling cues such as tribar taillights and a side scoop. Inside, a dual-cowl dashboard provided plenty of pizzazz. A coupe and convertible were available, with either a V6 or V8 engine. Time marched on, however, and the Mustang was in desperate need of a more modern platform by the turn of the century. Enter the 2005 Ford Mustang. The canted nose with its big grille and round headlights recalls the '67 to '69 Mustangs, while the side sculpting, fastback roofline and taillights recall those ponies of the 1965 vintage. Even the triangular side windows are reminiscent of what Carol Shelby did when he made the 1965 Mustang "2 + 2" (a.k.a. the fastback) into his Shelby GT 350. The new Mustang's interior is unique and matches the exterior design theme. Obvious old-school influences are found in the instrument panel -- a dual-hooded dash with aluminum accent panels pays obvious homage to the 1967-'68 Mustang, as do the big speedo and tach, circular air vents and plump, round steering wheel hub. Changeable backlighting illuminates the nostalgic instruments; at the press of a button one can select from white, blue, green and orange hues. For power, the base Mustang uses a 210-horsepower V6, while the GT packs a 300-horse, 4.6-liter V8 with variable valve timing. There's also a new suspension that features lighter weight components, repositioned and lighter coil springs, a stouter rear axle with more effective control arms and bigger brakes. The result is a relatively supple ride and ultracrisp handling. Ford has done a fine job with the new 2005 Ford Mustang -- not only in terms of styling, but also in performance, handling, ride dynamics and basic ergonomics.
Two body styles, coupe and convertible, and four major trim levels are available for the 2005 Ford Mustang -- V6 Deluxe, V6 Premium, GT Deluxe and GT Premium. Standard equipment on V6 Deluxe includes keyless entry; 16-inch alloy wheels; air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; and a CD player. The V6 Premium adds a 500-watt Shaker 500 premium audio system, upgraded wheels, a power driver seat and, on convertibles, leather seating. The GT Deluxe includes the V6 Deluxe equipment, plus antilock brakes, foglamps, 17-inch alloys, sport seats with driver six-way power adjustment and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The GT Premium adds the Shaker 500 sound system and leather seats. Interesting options include a Shaker 1000 sound system with nine speakers and 1,000 watts of power, and an interior upgrade package with metallic accents, dark charcoal Aberdeen pattern door panel inserts and instruments with changeable backlighting -- at the press of a button one can select from white, blue, green and orange hues.
V6 Mustangs include a 4.0-liter V6 with 210 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Step up to the GT and you'll get a 4.6-liter V8 with 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, three valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. All Mustangs are rear-drive, and can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all Mustangs. Antilock brakes and traction control are optional on the V6 models and standard on the GT. A stability control system is not offered. Side-impact airbags for front occupants are optional on all models, but full-length head curtain airbags are not available. The 2005 Ford Mustang has not yet been crash tested.
Interior ergonomics are vastly improved over the previous Mustang. Switches and handles feel substantial, and overall materials quality is top-notch. Retro styling abounds in little touches like the large round speedometer and tach (which feature an appropriate vintage font), dual-hooded dash and a cool steering wheel with a small round airbag hub and metallic spokes. A striking color accent package features red leather seats, red door panel inserts and red floor mats all set against a dark charcoal interior.
The 2005 Ford Mustang turns crisply and eagerly into corners with a flat and composed attitude. The powerful brakes are more fade resistant than before, and control in bumpy corners is improved, despite the continued use of a solid rear axle. The comfortable cabin benefits from low wind and road noise, as well as a surprisingly compliant ride.
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