2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test

2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Family Focus Group

May 23, 2011


Well, fuel economy probably ranks low when considering a 5.0 GT. But 17.4 average mpg isn't too shabby for mixed driving and laying into it on open roadway. Slightly better than the 16.8 month-long average we recorded in March. We managed to leg out 280 miles on this tank before stopping for 12 gallons that cost us $54.

Loaded up the wife and kid for a trip to the grandparents over the weekend. Kid's car seat went in easy like last time, although the rear lip of the base wouldn't sit flush. Yanking the latch straps to the point of mercy kept it tight and immovable, though. Unfortunately, the Missus had to sit a little more bolt upright and forward than she'd have liked. She suffered well.

"Loud, bumpy, and I'm not comfortable,"she grumbled.

"But this is a classic American muscle car,"I said. "All your heroes used to drive them"(she being quite taken with American metal bands, fronted by tattooed guys named Vince and Sebastian, as a wayward Japanese teenager). The Kid didn't need swaying, though. She raised a thumb in the rearview mirror.

Took my Dad for a quick run up and down the freeway. Pops used to have a '70 Mach 1 with the 351 Cleveland, orange with black striping. He's a fan of the new 5.0, particularly impressed with the refined engine noise and power delivery. Says the passenger lumbar support is a little too aggressive, though.

I've waxed too long on this car, so you know where I stand. There's not a car in the fleet I like better right now, although this is pending an overdue drive in the 911. I'm prepared to go weak-kneed for the 911 like everyone else; Pops also had a 911SC for awhile, and I remember as a grommet the thrill of riding shotgun in that car.

But if I needed a daily driver and worked 10-15 miles from home, the 5.0 would rank near the top of my list.

It's not perfect. Don't dig the SYNC interface. The menu logic is pretty batty. And I gotta check with Newcomb on this one, but the sat-radio quality is pretty awful. Sounds like MP3s burned at 96kbps, full of warble and artifacts. Have noticed this a couple of times recently in different cars, hoping it's not sat-radio cheaping out on its bandwidth.

Sound quality is also pretty mediocre; muddy and ill-defined bass and midrange, further swamped by the dual Shaker subwoofers. You can turn off the subs, but then the bottom end disappears.

If you're thinking about a 5.0, skip the audio system and have your local autosound place install new speakers and a single 10"on plenty of power instead.

Readers here and elsewhere have alluded to catastrophic transmission failure, but no problems with ours after 8,000 miles. It's still slick and greasy, with quick engagement and light action. We haven't exactly been soft on the gearbox, either.

Dig this car. You should get one.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Ford Mustang in VA is:

$152 per month*
* Explanation