2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Emboss Me

May 23, 2012

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I know this isn't how it works, but thinking this way is unavoidable for me.

Every time I see the hard plastic Mustang logo on the center of our GT's steering wheel I wonder if I might find it inversely embossed in my forehead should the airbag deploy.

Also, you ever wonder what happens to those people you see riding along with their feet on the dashboard in such scenarios? Can't be good.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Accidental Center Console Release

May 18, 2012

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I've got bony elbows. As a result, I find myself regularly opening the Mustang's center console unintentionally. It usually happens when I rest my elbow on the console lid, but I've also bumped the release when shifting from first to second or third to fourth.

The bony protrusion on the bottom of my elbow in combination with the placement of the release are the cuplrits. Happens nearly every time I drive the car. In fact, I quite often leave the lid open to avoid the hassle.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Power Driver Seat Commentary (Updated)

May 01, 2012

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Well, folks, it's a true face-palm moment. I'm the only editor on staff who did not realize our Mustang had two-way seat-bottom cushion tilt. I offer no excuse. So no, fordson1, we're not all sad, only yours truly.

Our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 has a six-way power driver seat, a standard item on the GT Premium trim level...

Six-way. That means you can adjust the seat forward on its track (1) and back on its track (2), and then lower the seat-bottom cushion (3) or raise the seat-bottom cushion (4), and finally, increase the lower-back lumbar support (5) or reduce lumbar oomph (6).

Not included is multi-way seat-bottom cushion tilt, i.e. the ability to raise the front half of the seat-bottom cushion separately from the rear part of the cushion. For me, this greatly improves comfort and the driving position, especially in a three-pedal car.

I'd totally give up all of the power seat adjustments (in favor of full manual adjustments) in our Mustang, if I could get two-way seat-bottom cushion tilt. Who's with me?

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 22,955 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang: Dog and Pony Show

March 26, 2012

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I nearly took the Camry this weekend because I knew I needed to take Maggie some place and she comes attached to a doggie seat for safety. Then I grew a pair and picked the Mustang.

Maggie's giant foam dog seat fit fine, but in this instance, it probably would've been just as safe if not safer to just strap her to the cinched shoulder belt. In retrospect, she seemed a little close to the front head restraint. With the seat, though, at least she could still see out.

And regardless, Maggie and Mya are safer than all those dogs who get killed or injured when their dumb owners let them ride on their laps in the driver seat.

More on Dog-Safe Driving from Edmunds.com

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 22,694 miles

(And no, Mags wasn't so happy to be back in the car for this photo shoot. I let her play after serving time as blog model).

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Worn Pedal

March 26, 2012

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Count this as another reason "sport"pedals are stupid. You know, besides the fact you get less grip when you should in fact want more. And you know, because it's an aesthetic choice in an area you can barely see.

The little rubber grippy things on our Mustang's clutch pedal are breaking apart and pulling away. When using the clutch Friday night my foot felt like it had stepped in something sticky. I checked my shoe and I hadn't. Instead, it was the adhesive from the pedal's rubber bits. This was when I discovered what the pedal actually looked like.

Oh well, at least it happened after 20,000 miles of enthusiastic driving rather than 5,000 of mundanity.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 22,694 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Mirror Adjuster

March 06, 2012

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I'm conflicted with regard to our 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0's mirror adjuster. It's quite visible: no bending over and looking around the left side of the steering wheel like on some cars. And it's very easy to use. Click the switch to the left or the right to control either mirror, then adjust the glass with the joystick. Simple.

But it doesn't feel robust, like it would break off in you hand after using it a hundred times or so. And it reminds me of another car I'm not fond of. The first time I saw this adjuster was in the new-at-the-time Ford 500. Not a fan.

I'm wondering, though, if this mirror adjust switch is so great, then why hasn't it been copied by any other major carmaker? That's what carmakers do: benchmark their competitors' features and copy the great ones.

What do you think about this mirror adjuster?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 22,030 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Storage Space

February 28, 2012

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I'm a big fan of our long-term Mustang GT 5.0. Well, I'm a big fan of driving it, anyway.

I will admit to getting a bit bothered by the lack of interior storage space when I have the Mustang over a weekend, though. I've already covered the trunk hampered by the subwoofer. No need to discuss that any further.

It's things like the tiny, near-useless door pockets, which can barely fit a notebook or a wallet, that annoy me.

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2011 Ford Mustang 5.0: A Die-Hard's Impressions

February 20, 2012

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My neighbor is a Mustang guy through and through. He's on his fifth one now, a '99 GT coupe. Along the way, he's had a '77 ("the four-cylinder,"he offered, as though no more need be said), and '84 and '85 GT's. He'd fully dialed in the latter for autocross and general hoonage, and then one night the inevitable happened. The police eventually found the shell, but not much more.

"That one was my favorite,"he said, and you could tell it still stung.

He even survived a trip through the windshield of his Cobra, after getting cut off bending around a freeway transition. The back end got loose, hit a lightpole and the world spun. He woke up in the iceplant with a nurse kneeling over him, but a few dozen stitches later, he miraculously walked away.

I wanted to hear his thoughts on our 5.0, so I took him for a quick rip up and down the freeway and some nearby side streets. No surprise, he was impressed with how unlabored the new V8 feels getting up to speed. The new Coyote design lived up to all he'd heard and read about it, especially with its quiet, cruisy manners in sixth gear.

"I could get used to this,"he said, after a few more quick bursts and a couple of cloverleaf on-ramps. I think that about sums up most of our staff sentiment toward the Mustang.

I asked about the interior. "Looks good. A little plastic, but that seems to be the trend these days. I like that everything is close to the driver and easily falls to hand."

He even liked the intake whine, the faux supercharger whistle ported into the cabin from the engine bay. I thought a die-hard Mustang guy might think it was a gimmick, but he thought it added to the visceral thrill of acceleration. I can't argue. Gimmick or not, it's a cool trick.

Would you buy it for $40,000, I asked? Forty grand buys several very good cars these days, after all.

He just looked at me as if I'd asked a very silly question.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: My Favorite Gauge Colors

January 05, 2012

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This would be my preferred gauge color scheme: white number arc with a blue halo. Again, not really surprising. Of course, using the halo at all means you have to deal with the reflections off the windshield. Maybe I'd get tired of them if I lived with it longer than a week, but for now, I'm liking how cool they look.

The fact that you have such a ridiculous selection of color scheme choices at all is pretty cool.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 19,555 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang: A Journey Not By Number

January 03, 2012

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It just seemed like something I had to do. I had the time, I had the girl and most importantly (sorry girl) I definitely had the car. Spending another two days loafing about the house just seemed so wrong.

So on Thursday, we threw a pair of overnight bags into the 2011 Ford Mustang GT and set course up the coast for someplace called Atascadero. It's just a wee bit south of Paso Robles wine country, the hotel I got a screaming deal on looked lovely and it was the right distance away for an overnight trip. Besides, one of my favorite past times is just dropping myself someplace random and exploring.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Gauge Colors

November 30, 2011

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In grandma Riches blog post about hating color in her life, long time reader Hybris said, "I don't think I have seen any pics of the Mustangs cluster being any thing but white. Care to give us some pics of the various options maybe?"

I can do one better, Hybris...I can recycle a post I made back in January when we first got the Mustang GT and recycle the video I made showing all of the gauge and halo light colors!

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: The Routine

November 30, 2011

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Here's how I know I'm becoming you-kids-get-off-my-yard old -- I go through this routine every time I drive our long-term Ford Mustang GT.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: I Love This

November 25, 2011

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It's a nice touch. There's one inside each door. I caught a glimpse of the one on the driver side as soon as I sat down, and it just felt right. Like the heritage of all the Mustangs' past there at my elbow, smiling at me and saying, "Let's ride."

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: What If You Had To?

November 21, 2011

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OK, so it's not likely that anyone buys a Mustang thinking it'll be their main kids-in-baby-seats car, but what if, one day in the future, your significant other needed the kid car for something important and you were stuck shuttling two kids in car seats (or car seat and booster, in this case) in the coupe. For three days. In intermittent rain.

Could you live through it?

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 17,563 miles

Well, yes. You can live through it, but it is brutal. I don't recommend it.

The installation of the seat wasn't bad, actually. It was the extreme yoga required to twist and hoist the 25-pound one-year-old into and out of his rear-facing seat (while I was sitting in the 5-year-old's Recaro booster, mind you, because it was raining. Thank heavens for my boyish hips.) each time we had to go somewhere, which was a lot.

On Friday alone, I got the baby in and out six times before 3pm. I actually cancelled a fun outing for all three of us because it meant I would have to get them in and out two more times.

I wish I had in-car video of my feats of gymnastics, but if I did, it would mean my husband was there to help, which would mean I wouldn't have had to take the kids in the Mustang. Just use your imagination.

One baby seat would be a whole lot easier because you can sit in the other rear seat and have more room to maneuver the little guy in his seat. A front-facing baby -- even with another kid in a booster -- would make a big difference, too, because the back-wrenching heft-and-twist would be less extreme.

As for life with a rear-facing child safety seat behind the front passenger, I didn't have a front passenger (see video note above), but I did try it out, just to see. I'm 5'8"and the seating position required was nowhere near ideal for me but it wasn't impossible. To keep my shins from touching the glovebox door, I had to keep a lot of space between my knees.

When I wasn't getting the kids in and out, though, it was super fun to drive, at least.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Lifter

November 16, 2011

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I don't like to do posts like this, but this 'deficiency' kinda caught me off guard.

Above, you can see my garage door opener, which if you happen to have an electric garage door opener, yours probably bears a close resemblance the one I have.

So where do you you usually put your garage door opener? Unless you're like most people, in which case you'll be escorted to a pleasant island near the Azores, you'll stick it to the driver's side sun visor, just like I did.

Good idea? Click through to find out.

Yeah, not so much.

Under any kind of brisk acceleration, which you are mandated to do if you buy a Mustang GT, your garage door opener will fly off the sun visor and hit you in the face. And getting hit with something in the face when you're taching past 6500 rpm is not what I'd consider a 'feature'.

Now I thought sun visors were manufactured to a basic specification; as a manufacturer, you can pick the color and the features, but all of them are roughly the same size and thickness. Wrongo. As you can see from the picture below, there is no tension on the fabric of the vsior.

It seems like a fairly minor oversight, but not being able to hold a standard garage door opener? Really? I know I'm not the only one who has a garage... nbps;

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Will The Bike Fit?

November 14, 2011

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Senior Editor Josh Jacquot called me late one night this past weekend: "Want to go riding tomorrow?"he asked. I was obviously a last-minute replacement for someone else who must've bailed. "Sure, why not,"I said, wondering right after I hung up if my mountain bike would actually fit into the Mustang GT.

I decided I'd wait until the morning to find out. Why do tonight what I can put off until tomorrow, right? I mean, the Mustang's rear seats fold down, so how hard could it be?

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Foldable Rear Headrests

October 17, 2011

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Here's a neat, simple, and not-so-sexy feature on our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: foldable rear headrests. Just press that button on the inner surface and they fall. They snap right up if you're carrying rear passengers.

When folded they improve rearward visibility (check it on the jump) and they're more convenient than yanking them out and tossing them in the trunk like on some other vehicles.

Simple, convenient, cheap. Like much of the Mustang GT 5.0.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 16,000 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Thoughts On Long-Distance Driving

October 05, 2011

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We've already used our Mustang for a few trips, most recently Mark's Kulinary Mille. I've also notched up some long drives in the Mustang as well. I figured I'd put a few thoughts together; following are observations on how well our Mustang serves for long-distance trips.

The shark: I'll get the cool part out of the way first. Our Mustang is one of the few cars we've had in the fleet over the years that fits into my category of "shark."This is just my own little description, but I totally dig cars that strike me as predators of the highway. You're the top of the chain, and other motorists are just minnows. Cars like this make it seem like you're not to be messed with. It's more than just power, though that's certainly a requirement. It's also throttle response (the ability to quickly cut through the minnows), styling/color (sinister helps), headlight design (distinctive when viewed by others) and high-speed stability.

Decent seats: Our Mustang's front seats are just OK in my opinion. They are decently supportive, but there are two things that can limit comfort. One is the head restraint design. It's a common Ford thing, but the restraint sticks forward quite a bit (to help minimize whiplash), and that can be annoying for some people. The other aspect isn't the seat so much as the lack of a telescoping steering wheel. I can still get a decent driving position, but for longer distances I'm not really happy with either my leg or arm positioning.

Noise: Our Mustang is respectably quiet in terms of wind and road noise. Based on our instrumented 70-mph cruise test, it's pretty much the same as our long-term 2009 Dodge Challenger for a decibel rating. The only thing that I find distracting is a subtle gear whine that's present when you're cruising with steady-state throttle. If you back off the throttle, it goes away. It's hard to hear, but I made a short video of driving on the highway with me breathing on and off the throttle every few seconds.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: The Style/Function Balance

September 20, 2011

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With a Human Factors background, I certainly appreciate function in a vehicle's instruments. But this should be balanced with styling, particularly in emotive cars like our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0.

The Mustang has some nice meters. The styling and font used in the speedo and tach evoke memories of Mustangs from the 60's and 70's. These type of styling details are what make the Mustang desirable -- besides that 5.0L V8, of course.

And these meters are also somewhat easy to read. Some people will slam them because they're not as legible as those on, say, our long-term 2011 Kia Optima.

So what? This isn't an Optima or Camry.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 14,470 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: The Only Thing...

September 14, 2011

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... I want out of the 2012 Mustang is a telescoping steering wheel.

Ok, so this has been covered before, but James is about 6'4"which makes him a complete freak. Either that, or he's secretly Dutch.

Anyway, being about 6'1", and with my seat adjusted so my arms are at a distance I find comfortable, my right knee, as you can see from the above picture, is just a little too close to the bottom of the dashboard for my liking. True, the part of the dash right in front of my knee is padded, but I'd rather not hit anything at all, you know?

We suffered a similar want with our Ford Flex, but Ford listened to us (They did. Really.) and rectified the situation for the next model year. Let's make it two in a row, shall we Ford?

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 14,251 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Shift Cover, Take 2

September 12, 2011

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This weekend I enjoyed two of my favorite things -- the Mustang GT and tennis. Well, sort of. I didn't play tennis due to a leg injury but watched some of the U.S. Open. But when I went to drive the 'stang on Saturday I was greeted with the hot shifter. Not really feeling the crocheted thing, I came up with this solution obviously inspired by one of my favorite sports.

Yes, it actually worked quite well. I was worried it might move around, but it didn't as it fit snug enough and the rubber inside the tennis ball helped. On the downside, the shifter's size now approached that of an '80s Camaro, which approximated a baseball. Not a problem for me, however, so I'll keep it in my gym bag for those hot days. Or for when I need inspiration before playing a few sets...

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 14,015 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Aftermarket Solution

September 06, 2011

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When I was complaining yesterday about how hot the Mustang can be on a sultry summer day, I neglected to mention the other major heat-related problem with the car. Its metal shifter could brand your hand. You'd end up looking like the villain in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

After the jump, you can see my ingenious solution.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Who's Better, Who's Best?

August 30, 2011

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For a long time, I felt the interior design of our Mustang was one of the best for the domestic "Muscle Car"group. With the Camaro entering the ring once again, Ford responded by redesigned the Mustang and upped the ante quite a bit with a great interior.

But now I think they've fallen out of the segments top ranking.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Knobs

August 29, 2011

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One of may favorite features of our Mustang, besides the powerful rubber roasting engine, is the shifter. It's simple, slick, and elegant. It's a great nod to the old Hurst hot rod design, except this one features a metal ball.

As an added, this great stick is matched to a wonderfully positive notchy shifter. I might just be cruising down a road, but feeling it click into gears as the engine growls slightly lets me know I'm in control of a mean machine. I feel cool driving our Mustang. And feeling cool, in my opinion, is a major component of any muscle car mojo.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Overhead Console

August 25, 2011

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Our long-term Ford Mustang GT 5.0 has many great performance and styling attributes. Ford did a good job styling the interior while keeping the cost down. Of course there are some slip-ups, like the short carpet under the pedals. Here are two more.

The overhead console is bland and super cheap. It looks like an afterthought, as if they used a piece of plastic that was lying around on the shop floor. And behind it is the wiring for the inner mirror. Is that electrical tape? No, but it sure looks like it.

Ford, please take care of these items the next time around. Fortunately, that 5.0 V8 and the reasonable list price more than make up for these shortcomings.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 13,300 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Stubborn Fogging

August 24, 2011

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Our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 experienced some fogging of the windshield yesterday. I've noticed this several times recently, but last night was the worst condition, so far. It was hot and unusually humid in SoCal yesterday, but cooled down quickly in the evening. The car's display said the ambient temp was 68F, but it felt at least 5 deg cooler as we were close to the ocean.

Anyway, I tried the front defroster with both A/C on and off, fan low and high, cabin temp setting at hot and cold, and of course I had the window open. But that fog patch stubbornly refused to go away. With almost every car I've driven, if I just crank the defroster with the A/C, the fogging quickly disappears.

It didn't block my view, so I didn't worry about it, although again this morning there was a small, light patch of fogging. I thought that there must be a dead area in the defrost registers, but I put my hand up there and felt the air blowing out. Huh.

Any suggestions?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 13,300 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Good Pedal Placement

August 18, 2011

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The pedals on our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 are not bad: metal finish, rubber inserts, and smooth action through the strokes. The big surprise here is the proximity of the brake relative to the accelerator -- you can actually heel-and-toe this thing.

Although the placement is not as good as some BMWs like our dearly departed 135 (perfect!), it's a lot better than some dedicated sports cars like the Nissan 370Z (awful) we had.

And who wouldn't like the sound of that 5.0L V8 zinging up on the shift? Probably some Chevy guy.

Chevy guys will also note how unfinished the carpet looks with that exposed insulation. Ugly.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ ~13,000 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Lighted Rocker Panel

August 05, 2011

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One of the styling features on our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 is the lighted rocker panels. And you can also change the color of the Mustang name just as you can change the interior ambient lighting.

It's a nice detail that you can appreciate every time you enter your Mustang.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 12,600 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Nice Grip

August 03, 2011

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It doesn't take much to design a great steering wheel. Keep it relatively simple, make the rim a reasonable diameter and thickness, add some nice trim and it's done.

Our Mustang GT's setup is a good example of this. Simple three spoke design, not overly big or small, feels substantial in your hands and doesn't have too many buttons. And check out that blue stitching. Nice.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Ford Mustang: Telescoping Wheel Please

July 19, 2011

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We bitched for a good year about our long-term Ford Flex and its tilt-only steering wheel. It was one of the cars few flaws. Then in our second year with the Flex, we stopped aformentioned bitching when Ford made the wheel a tilting and telescoping column. Wonderful, bravo, flaw corrected.

To a lesser extent, our Ford Raptor doesn't have a telescoping wheel. It was less of a problem, but nevertheless, a recent drive in a 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost revealed -- ta da! -- a telescoping wheel.

Well, in this spirit ...

Dear Ford,

The Mustang needs a telescoping steering wheel. The driving position isn't bad, but it's not great either, and verges on the weird side for a tall gent like me. In order to clear enough room for my knees, I end up with the wheel canted all the way up bus style. It's difficult for me to drive in a manner conducive to this car's hooligan tendencies.

So, please work on that and I'll buy you a cupcake, deal?

Cheers.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,544.4 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Skimpy Stowage

July 07, 2011

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I'll admit it -- I love this car and despite being a long-time F-body enthusiast ('69 Firebird convertible, '79 Trans Am, '89 GTA) I'd buy a new Mustang GT in a heartbeat were I in the market. Still, although it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, there's one thing that bugs me -- the lack of storage compartments in the cabin. There are the shallow door pockets, the cupholders and the covered center bin. That's it. No handy open cubbies around the console or built into the lower dash.

The small door pockets are good for a pack of Trident and maybe a Clif Bar each, this meant I usually stashed the cell phone and wallet in the cupholders. Well, except when they were being used. If you plan on using them and your 'stang has a manual gearbox, you best stay with the small sizes. Go "Grande"and you'll be elbowing the Starbucks like Kareem crashing the boards almost every time you grab a gear.

So even though it is located rather rearward, the console's deep, covered bin is the best place to put things. It seems as if the interior designers knew this -- unlike most of these compartments, the lid flips back far enough to remain open and thus keeps the contents easy to access.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 11,099 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Too Many Burnouts

June 16, 2011

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Too many burnouts.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT Five-Oh: Gross

June 09, 2011

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Somebody on staff set the instrument panel colors to this pukey combo of green gauge and blue halo: eeww. I reset it to white/green, which only seems right given the retro font.

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2011 Ford Mustang: New Rear Headrests

June 03, 2011

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The Ford Mustang got actual headrests in the backseat for 2011, which is a nice feature to be sure. It didn't have them before, the Challenger has the quasi-extenda-cushion kind and the Camaro doesn't have anything since heads can't actually fit back there to the point of requiring a rest.

Yet, adding such large headrests pretty much obliterates rear visibility. To counter this, pressing a button on each headrest folds it forward as if bowing to an incoming Japanese dignitary. Or readying to meet its end at the Place du Carrousel. Either way, it folds away out of sight until the rare opportunity when someone finds their way back there (which reminds me, I really must do a "Does Riswick fit?"post about the Mustang).

Now, would it be better if they folded backwards like in a Mercedes-Benz? Or if they could be dropped at the press of a dash button like a Benz or Volvo? Sure, but this is a much cheaper car and kudos to Ford for adding safety and comfort without screwing up something else along the way.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: A Macro Look at Interior Materials

May 25, 2011

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Not sure if you guys actually care about the interior materials over the performance of our 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 but here are some macro* shots of its cabin details anyway. I do like the blue contrast stitching as well as the blue stripes on the seats.

* "Macro"is photography lingo for "close-up."

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Hot Car

May 10, 2011

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Swapped another car with Brent Romans out in the Valley and got the Mustang GT back. And it reminded me why you usually see wood or plastic knobs on the shift levers of racing cars.

And that’s because the Mustang’s snappy aluminum knob was about a million degrees after the car sat in the sun-soaked parking lot at Denny’s for 45 minutes while we had lemonade and fries.

We’re going to have to pack a rag to shade the shift knob from the sun this summer. At least we don’t have to also worry so much about hot gear oil warming up the shift lever and knob like you do in a race car.

Maybe a retro-style cue ball knob might be the answer for the summer. Or asbestos gloves.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,466 miles.

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2012 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: It's The Little Things (Video)

April 26, 2012

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Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @RealScottOldham

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Blindspots

April 20, 2011

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Check out the rear view from the driver seat of the 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0. Its pretty awful. But there is a solution.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Artistic License

March 24, 2011

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Some of you may wonder why there's a picture of the Mustang's visor mirror cover here. Others will pick up on what inspired the guy in the design studio tasked with making these normally nondescript slabs of plastic visually interesting.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: No More Stubby Levers

February 21, 2011

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That's it, let's call a halt to the race to make shift levers totally stubby.

Apparently someone wants every shift lever to look and feel like it comes from a Mazda MX-5 Miata, except this Mustang's shift lever is a poster child for everything that's wrong with the whole idea.

It’s a fine thing to have a short lever and a short-throw shift linkage, but only if you’re dealing with a fairly wispy amount of torque, like from an Austin-Healey Sprite or something. (Actually the Miata’s shift action was patterned after that of a Sprite.)

When there’s a lot of torque – like the 390 lb-ft here — then the gears have to be pretty robust to withstand the forces involved as they mesh. And a short throw linkage simply makes the gears come together a little more rapidly that they might like and puts a lot of stress on the synchros besides. A short-throw linkage also inspires the unimaginative to rip the shift from first to second, and sometimes even second to third. The transmission is pretty much the most complex sub-assembly in a car, and the consequences of abuse involve digits with at least three zeroes behind them.

I’m also not a fan of a short shift lever like this because you have to move the shift lever with your hand on top of the knob, a kind of dexterity test that challenges your ability to find the next shift gate. And when I try to drop down my hand to grasp the lever from the rear, my elbow fouls the center console.

This short shift lever and short-throw shift linkage for this Getrag MT-82 transmission might seem like a good deal, but I’d rather have the shift lever and linkage of the Tremec 6060 gearbox of our former Camaro long-term test car. (Which is the only thing about the Camaro that I like better than this Mustang.)

Perhaps I’ve known too many racers from the 1950s, who have all told me that the transmission is the last place where you try to find lap time in a car. Carroll Shelby says he won lots of races in the crappy old Cad-Allard of his early days because he was smart enough to keep from abusing the Jaguar transmission.

Dan Gurney and his Riverside buddy Skip Hudson used their Ford hot rods to work out that you could take a car out of gear as fast as you wanted, but then you had to be deliberate while engaging the next gear. Gurney says that Ferrari racing cars of the late 1950s were a revelation because you could shift them as quick as you wanted, as they had been engineered to be the most robust part of the car (a reaction to the terrible reliability problems of early Ferrari transmissions).

And Bob Bondurant still teaches his students to be easy on the transmission, a lesson he learned in his early days as a Corvette racer, even though those Borg-Warner T-10s were apparently pretty good.

Every time I drive the Mustang, I think about how long the transmission is going to last.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunbds.com

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Throttle Pedal Footrest/Stop? Bad Idea.

February 18, 2011

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This thing bothers me. Turns out, I'm particular about where I put my heel when I'm driving. I like to bury it under the pedal and use ankle articulation to control the throttle. And now, with complete indifference for those who drive this way, Ford has decided that's not possible.

I'm blaming the lawyers. And here's why.

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2012 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Mark's Ford Touch

February 14, 2012

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My drive into the office gives me plenty of time to daydream. A lot of times, that's when I come up with something to blog about. This morning, I was pondering out long-term Mustang's center stack.

I think it's a bit of a mess. Without the touchscreen navigation, the whole thing looks a bit dated and cheap. I also think there are too many buttons and their placement is far from intuitive. We've already determined that MyFord Touch isn't quite ready for prime time, so instead of adding to the chorus of displeasure, I thought I'd give it a spin.

How about we replace the whole thing with a big touchscreen?

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2011 Mustang GT 5.0: Of Halos and Horns

February 14, 2011

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The gauges in our Mustang are pretty cool, but certainly not perfect. See that reflection in the top left corner of the windshield? At night, those semicircles of light can become rather distracting. It's less of a problem in the heart of the city, where you're surrounded by brightly lit buildings, but when you're out in the canyons, they become far too noticeable. But points go to Ford for giving us the option to turn off the gauge halo lights off.

I like the layout of the gauges in general, but the condensed typeface on the speedometer is hard to read at a glance. While I understand the retro style, there's something to be said for usability. Most GM cars that have come through our test lot have the ability to display the speed in the digital readout between their gauges. I think our Mustang would benefit from this setup as well.

Otherwise, my love-fest for the five-OMG continues. I can't get enough of this car. Sure, it feels a bit heavy and springy, but darned near everything else about this car brings a demonic grin to my face. What I wouldn't do to get this car on a gymkhana course.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 3,258 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: I Like Where I Sit

February 07, 2011

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I closed out last week whining about jamming my elbow against our 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0's console lid during downshifts. But that is really the only thing I don't like about this cockpit.

After a weekend in our long-term Mustang, I can say that the seating position is what makes this car for me. There are some other V8s in this class, maybe none that sound as good as this 5.0 Coyote V8, but others that are competitive in the torque department. But none of the others are mounted in a coupe that I can really and truly see out of -- and in the daily grind, the fact that I can easily look out over the Mustang's hood makes a huge difference.

It's not easy to tell in this photo, but there's a low-beltline feel in this car, too, such that it doesn't feel like the doortops are nuzzling up to your chin (as it can in the Camaro). I love this about the Mustang. It increases my confidence and makes me enjoy driving the car more.

No, the cabin design hasn't radically changed from the 2005-2009 Mustangs, but certain details have been revised to improve the seating position. The driver seat itself is better shaped, and the steering wheel is better to hold and 9-and-3. I don't know why the wheel still doesn't telescope in a car that stickered at almost $39K, but it's not bothersome for the way I sit. Moreover, the reach to the steering wheel, shifter and pedals is just about ideal -- at least for this 5-foot-10 adult.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 3,023 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Why Didn't Anybody Fix This?

February 04, 2011

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I took my first drive in our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0, and this car is as great as everybody has been saying. The 5.0 V8 has a totally different personality than the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 in the Camaro convertible I drove recently. I'm not sure I'd call it better (not this soon, and I'm not trying draw lines in the sand with this post), but it's an exciting engine for sure. Also, have others have written, the seating position in the Mustang is ridiculously good compared to the Camaro -- the beltline feels low, I can see out of the car and, if I'm having a dumb-driver day, our long-termer has a back-up camera.

It's such a nice cockpit that I simply can't understand why nobody addressed this center console -- specifically those raised corners at the front edge of the console lid. They've been bugging me since 2005.

See, they're not soft, forgiving corners. They're pointy. And the one nearest the driver seat sometimes catches my right elbow on 3-4 upshifts and 4-5 downshifts. I don't rest my arm on this console ordinarily, but the top of it is rubbery and grippy, and it's at just the right height to intercept my arm during said shifts and ensure that my elbow rams into the corner.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Outlet Placement Win

February 03, 2011

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Sure, the giant cord to my V1 falls over some of the buttons in this shot, but if the Mustang were mine, I'd ditch the giant curley thing in favor of a shorty foot-long power cable.

With most cars, you've got to run this, or the flat cable, through, over and around everything to get it plugged in and out of the way, manual trans = more routing. ( For some cars flat cable up over the sun visor, down the molding on the A-pillar and then around the panel gap for the glove box is the most convenient, out of the way place.)

But not here. Someone at Ford was thinking ahead for dash (there's a sunken area on the dash for a little more clearance dead-center) mounted electronics. Thank ya, Ford.

In unrelated news: MAN is this car fast. It's pretty quick on paper, but on the road it feels light and fast and like a sports car, not a Pony Car.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: No Heated Seats...but it's OK

February 02, 2011

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I had a whole rant ready to go about our Long Term 2011 Ford Mustang GT not having heated seats for these "cold"Los Angeles mornings...but decided that probably isn't something I should complain about right now.

All U.S. residents located north and east of St. George, Utah...never mind.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds Editor at Large

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Go...Bucks?

January 31, 2011

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(Man, that tach-sweep shot is hard.)

When you first hop into our Long Term 2011 Ford Mustang GT, there are a lot of cool details to take in. The rad metal-ball shifter is first and then, once you start 'er up, you notice the gauges. Now, they're nothing special -- the numbers are big and the needle is easy to read but small enough to be precise -- until someone goes and messes with the color adjustable gauges that come on the premium pack. Like someone here did who is a big fan of the Milwaukee Bucks and their green and purple color scheme.

Follow the jump for a video of the colors for both the gauge, trim ring and ambient lighting. (Note: my camera wasn't thrilled with these colors... they are truer to the color listed than they actually appear.)

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2011 Ford Mustang 5.0: The Perfect Knob, But ...

January 28, 2011

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It was my first drive in our Mustang 5.0 last night and even though I could tell it was bitchin' before even leaving the parking lot, I was still permanently caged in by traffic. It was like being handed a bunch of porn in church. So my full driving impressions will have to wait for another day.

Until then, let's discuss the Mustang's cue-ball shift knob. In terms of size and shape, it is absolutely perfect. It couldn't be simpler, yet this is what should be in every single car. It fits in my hand perfectly regardless of which grip I use. I love it.

BUT, there is a problem.

Its metal finish gets rather cold after sitting outside in the morning; in a winter climate, it would be like keeping your hand on a snowball. If you lived in Phoenix, I imagine it would become common to end up with a shift pattern branded into your palm. Remember Harry from Home Alone? Keeping some sort of glove (driving, batting, winter, Michael Jackson sequin) in the glovebox wouldn't be a bad idea.

There is a quick solution, though. The GT500 has an actual cue-ball like finish that is more temperature resistant (pictured below). They should make that available on the 5.0.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,008 miles

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

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