2011 Ford Mustang GT: Thoughts On Long-Distance Driving
October 05, 2011
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.
Storage: Nope, there's not a whole lot space to put your stuff. But not many performance cars do.
Cruising Speed: With the Mustang, it's hard to stick to the speed limit. Should you find yourself above it (not that I'd know anything about that), the Mustang is turning a still quite agreeable 2,500 rpm at 80 mph.
Fuel Economy: For my most recent long-distance drive (all highway, not driving with fuel economy in mind) I averaged 20.9 mpg.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor