2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test - Comfort

2011 Ford Mustang Long-Term Road Test

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

May 01, 2012


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 GT 5.0: The Heat

March 07, 2012

Ford Mustang GT HVAC controls.jpg

Ah, Los Angeles. People here gripe about the traffic, high cost of living, population density, freeway shootings, etc. But you can't beat the weather here. I think that SoCal has, unequivocally, the best climate in the country. And perhaps, the world.

Having said that, after several days of the usual gorgeous weather here, last night was absolutely freezing. And by freezing, I mean 50 degrees. That's 50 degrees Fahrenheit, not Kelvin.

The frigid temps were no problem for me, though. Last night I rolled in our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT. The heater in this car warms up fast. And the heat is hot -- so hot that when I run the heat, I never use the fan. I just dial down the temp after the quick warm-up. V8s seem to warm up quicker than an I4, due to the increased friction *and fuel burned. A good excuse to get a V8?

Does your car's heater warm up quickly? And where you live -- what's all the nonsense you put up with in order to enjoy whatever that best reason is to live there?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 22,042 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang: A Journey Not By Number

January 03, 2012

Ford Mustang at Eagle Castle 2.jpg

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: What If You Had To?

November 21, 2011

ford mustang kid seats

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: Get a Grip

November 09, 2011

mustang gt st wheel.jpg

Here's something else I like about the Mustang GT that shows someone at Ford did a little extra thinking outside the box. Notice how the stitching for the steering wheel's leather wrapping moves away towards the back of the wheel? Based on my hands-on testing, it's so that the main area where your thumbs grip is smoother and more comfortable.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 16,967 miles

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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.

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: The Only Thing...

September 14, 2011


... 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 5.0: Good Pedal Placement

August 18, 2011

Ford Mustang GT pedals.JPG

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: Deceptively Composed

August 17, 2011

ford mustang bw.jpg

Yesterday I got to drive the Mustang down to our track in Fontana, some 50 or so miles from my apartment. It's a great drive at that time of the morning, since traffic is going in the opposite direction and the freeway is nice and clear.

The Mustang was free as air, gliding down the road with infectious confidence. Then traffic thickened a bit and I had to tap the brakes. At that point it felt like the car was barely crawling and I worried that the slowdown would make me late to the track.

Then I glanced down at the speedometer and realized that the "slowdown"wasn't nearly as slow as I'd thought -- I was doing 60 mph.

This car goes fast and it feels like it's barely moving. High speed has zero effect on its composure -- you feel safe and secure as a baby in a cradle, with the lullaby being the low warble of that engine. What a joy to experience.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 13,156 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Bouncy

August 15, 2011

Ford Mustang GT on 101.jpg

I logged around 300 miles on our long-term 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 this past weekend, with many of those miles on SoCal freeways. And although several styling and performance properties of our Mustang are great, one thing that's not so great is the highway ride over bumpy surfaces. And by not so great, I mean horrible.

On smooth surfaces, the ride is fine. But on choppy pavement (common on America's freeways), the chassis is bouncing like it's on a pogo stick. Delicate types can get seasick in this thing.

This not only happens on freeway stretches, but also on surfaces streets if you're going above around 40mph.

Is the crappy ride a dealbreaker? No. The Mustang GT is still tremendously fun to drive. But this is certainly an area of opportunity for the next-gen Mustang.

I wonder how much the solid rear axle contrbutes to this.
Let's discuss. (Hit the jump for nausea-inducing vid.)

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 12,950 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: Nice Grip

August 03, 2011


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


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?


James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 11,544.4 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT: My Inner Monologue

March 25, 2011

Depressed in Mustang.jpg

It's Thursday night. It's raining. Traffic sucks. I'm in the Mustang GT, but at this pace, I'd be getting just as much enjoyment from our Outlander Sport. Man, that thing's slow. Geez, what should I blog about tomorrow? There's the seating position or Sync not including a podcast menu. That Mustang logo on the door trim's kinda cool. Screw that, I don't want to nitpick this thing, I want to drive it. How come we can't move the office to somewhere with 11 million fewer people? I hear people dig Provo -- we could do well there.

Yeah, traffic's opening up. Hey, third gear! Oh man this thing sounds awesome. The shifter is fantastic -- so tightly spaced. Fourth gear. Crap on a cracker, highway's stopping again. Yes Los Angeles, this light drizzle sure is terrifying. Really best to slow to 3 mph just to be on the safe side. Jerks.

This thing needs a telescoping steering wheel ... nope, not going to nitpick. Hmm, would I take this instead of the Challenger? I liked the Dodge better in traffic -- comfier, clutch is a tad easier to drive, didn't constantly remind you of how awesome it is and thus depressing you whilst stuck in traffic. I think I'd just get one of each. What, it's my inner monologue, I can't be a rich bastard in my inner monologue?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 4,769 miles

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2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: I Like Where I Sit

February 07, 2011


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


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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Past Long-Term Road Tests