Used 1997 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Convertible Review




what's new

After last year's significant underhood upgrade, the SVT folks saw no reason to make changes to the Cobra for this year.

vehicle overview

The Ford Mustang has been around for 33 years. After receiving a dramatic redesign in 1994, and the 4.6-liter modular V8 in 1996, the Mustang design team has been quietly preparing for a freshening in 1999. The SVT (Special Vehicle Team) has been pretty busy as well; the Cobra received a hand-built, four-cam, 305-horsepower just last year, and as such stands pat this year.

We think that it's a good idea for Ford to take a year off from messing with things on its little hot-rod. With all of the other changes taking place with the rest of its models, some of which haven't been well received, it seems like a good idea to follow the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rule. However, we would like to see traction control made available on the Cobra. Sure, it has Ford's "Traction-Lok" limited-slip axle, but it is still pretty darn easy to get the back end of the car pointed in the wrong direction. We think that a traction control system would make this car much friendlier in inclement weather conditions.

Speaking of friendly, we love the Mustang's interior, and think that it is the main reason that the 'Stang sells more models than Camaro and Firebird combined. The seats sit fairly high, giving drivers an outstanding view of the road; the dashboard has a nice two-toned, double bubble layout that is nicely textured; the gauges and controls are easy to view and manipulate; and the front bucket seats offer great lateral support. We won't dwell too much on the backseat, because no one in their right mind buys a sports car for rear-seat accommodations.

As you have undoubtedly read, the Mustang Cobra is a very driver-friendly car, plenty of power yet very easy to navigate around town and with a pretty forgiving ride on the freeways. We like its lively tail, but it can be disconcerting when traveling on twisty two-laners. If you are looking for a car to go canyon storming in, you may be more satisfied in a Chevy Camaro Z28. In the final analysis, though, the Cobra has the goods that most enthusiasts want -- a muscular V8 with a great exhaust note, a nice interior, supportive seats, aggressive styling and entertaining performance at a competitive price. It has long been Ford's recipe for success to provide cars that appeal to a wide range of people, and anyone looking for a fast, fun daily driver should take a look at the Cobra.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.