Full 2008 Ford Mustang Review
What's New for 2008
More features are added to the 2008 Ford Mustang. This includes standard front seat side airbags, available xenon headlights and, for the V6 models, 18-inch alloy wheels. Those who have a thing for pink should be thrilled with the new Warriors in Pink package that provides their ride with that color's accents inside and out. Sales of this package also help support the Susan G. Komen cancer charity.
Man O' War, Sea Biscuit, Secretariat. Along with those legendary thoroughbreds, one might include another steed famous for thrilling its fans for nearly half a century: the Ford Mustang. Through the decades, the Mustang has survived oil crises, ever-tougher emissions standards, corporate shake-ups and Americans' diminished interest in sporty coupes thanks to an infatuation with SUVs and pickup trucks. While other so-called pony car rivals have been sent to the glue factory, the original has gotten stronger and more popular.
Most recently, the Mustang's major redesign in 2005 resulted in head-spinning styling that had both old- and new-school car enthusiasts stampeding to their local dealers. Inspired by the 1965-'69 Mustangs, the current car stands out thanks to its big grille, round headlights, side sculpting, tri-bar taillights and, on the coupe, triangular quarter windows and fastback roof.
True, the 2008 Ford Mustang is lacking a bit in refinement compared to competitors such as the Nissan 350Z and Mazda RX-8. But the Mustang's style, available V8 power, respectable handling and affordable price more than make up for it. It's a recipe that obviously resonates with Americans, as it is the best-selling rear-drive sport coupe and convertible by a considerable margin. Even as Chevy and Dodge get set to re-enter the muscle car game, there's no doubt the Ford Mustang will remain a truly a legendary thoroughbred.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Ford Mustang is available as a coupe or convertible in four trim levels: V6 Deluxe, V6 Premium, GT Deluxe and GT Premium. The V6 Deluxe includes keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The V6 Premium adds a "Shaker 500" premium audio system with CD changer, upgraded wheels and a power driver seat. The convertible versions feature a power vinyl top with cloth material as an option. In addition to a rumbling V8, the GT Deluxe comes with all the V6 Deluxe features along with a rear spoiler, foglamps, 17-inch alloys and sport seats. The GT Premium adds the Shaker 500 sound system and leather seats.
Further personalization is available via a number of option packages. The V6 'stangs can be fitted with the Pony Package, which includes firmer suspension tuning, 17-inch wheels, foglamps and a unique grille. The GT Appearance Package offers chrome exhaust tips, a hood scoop and an engine cover with the pony emblem. The Bullitt package for the GT includes a cold-air induction setup, unique exhaust tuning, firmer suspension calibrations, high-performance brake pads, strut tower brace, 18-inch alloy wheels, the deletion of the foglamps and pony symbol from the grille, metallic interior accents and Highland Green or Black paint.
Also returning from long ago is the GT California Special package, which features 18-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias, a larger grille, a chin spoiler, side scoops, unique tape stripes, chrome exhaust tips and embroidered leather seats.
The Sport Appearance Package provides aluminum accents and two-tone seating, while the Comfort Package bundles heated front seats, a power front passenger seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. A new Warriors in Pink Package provides pink accents inside and out and its sales help support the Susan G. Komen cancer charity.
Major individual options include 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a Shaker 1000 sound system, satellite radio and a navigation system.
Powertrains and Performance
Behind the grille of V6 Mustangs is a 4.0-liter V6 making 210 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. The rip-snorting GT sports a 4.6-liter V8 with 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. That power gets to the ground through either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission; all Mustangs are rear-wheel drive. The GT with a manual transmission can run to 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds and clear the quarter-mile in 14.3 seconds.
Four-wheel disc brakes and front seat side airbags are standard on all Mustangs. Antilock brakes and traction control are optional on the V6 models and standard on the GT. Neither stability control nor full-length head curtain airbags are available.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2008 Ford Mustang earned a perfect five stars for front-impact protection and four stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Mustang scored "Acceptable" (the second highest of four ratings) in frontal-offset tests and a "Good" (the highest rating) for side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
With its dual-hooded dash, three-spoke steering wheel and old-school gauges, the cabin of the 2008 Mustang gives more than a nod to the past. Yet this is not an outdated, ergonomic mess -- controls are simple and the seats are comfortable, though they could use more lateral support for enthusiast drivers.
Though fit and finish are generally good, the interior has an abundance of hard, monotone plastics that would be disappointing at any price point. Springing for the Interior Upgrade Package helps somewhat, providing satin aluminum accents and color-changeable backlighting for the instruments -- at the press of a button, one can choose either white, blue, green or orange hues. Both the Mustang coupe and convertible offer seating for four, and average-size adults can sit in back with little problem.
Acceleration is respectable with the V6, regardless of whether you choose the fun-to-shift manual or the responsive automatic. The Mustang GT provides the quintessential muscle car experience, of course, with loads of torque available right off the line and an exhaust note to match. Powerful brakes rein in the Mustang in short order, as a stop from 60 mph takes less than 125 feet. Despite its switch to an all-new platform a few years ago, the 2008 Ford Mustang continues to use a rather basic solid-axle rear suspension design. This allows Ford to keep the pricing low, and careful tuning results in reasonably precise handling through the corners and a surprisingly compliant ride.