Stolen From General Motors - 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 Long-Term Road Test

2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test

2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Stolen From General Motors

February 11, 2011

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Initially, I thought I just sucked at shifting our longterm 2011 Ford Mustang GT. Twice it went into 4th gear when I changed up from 1st gear while driving around on city streets.

It turns out that for 2011, Ford equipped the Mustang GT with a 1-4 skip-shift, uh, feature just like that found on so many V8-equipped GM cars.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I found no mention of this system anywhere in Ford's press materials, their website, nowhere.

The idea behind the skip-shift is to plump up the city fuel economy number on the window sticker.

It's a false economy since most/all owners of cars thusly equipped either:

a. defeat the skip-shift entirely, by adding a resistor to the system, or;

b. learn to drive around the skip-shift, thereby erasing any fuel consumption benefit it would have provided.

In the Mustang, the skip-shift is slightly less obnoxious/obtrusive than in those GM cars, owing to the Ford's closer gear spacing. Still, this is too large of a ratio jump to successfully pull off, even with the torquey V8 behind it. The car bogs way down.

Proponents of the skip-shift system argue that if the system helps to reduce the gas-guzzler tax, then it's cool since it saves the customer some cash. However, the Mustang isn't even close to the gas guzzler tax threshold -- which is based on "unadjusted"mpg values rather than the window sticker mpg -- and probably still wouldn't be subject to the tax even in the absence of the skip-shift.

I can only conclude that the purpose of the skip-shift in the Mustang is that it helps alleviate Ford's CAFE requirement, and nothing more.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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