2015 Mustang GT: Better In Every Way - Recollections on a Time-Travel Road Trip
July 3, 2015
I had the opportunity to take a few days away from the office and decided to make a quick dash to Sedona and decompress for a bit. I thought it'd be fun to take the new Viper and log enough miles to complete the break-in cycle, but scheduling conflicts intervened. The 2015 Ford Mustang was an excellent stand-in.
According to the Mustang's nav, it was 476 miles and about seven hours to Flagstaff. That's where I'd pick up a girlfriend from two decades ago. I owned my first Mustang in the mid-1990s, so this was really a multi-level reunion of sorts.
Within the first 50 miles, I was glad I had the Mustang, not the Viper.
While I love the Viper, its harsh ride and loud cabin would've done a number on me. The Mustang was compliant enough and the cabin quiet enough to allow the music to shine and my mind to wander. And wander it did until the gas needle descended to the point where I started to worry about where I'd find the next gas station.
I stopped in at Needles, Calif., near the Arizona border to refuel. After a little more than 250 miles, the Mustang took almost 11 gallons. That figured out to 23.6 mpg, which is a new best fill for this long-termer. Not bad considering I was stuck in L.A. traffic for the first hour or so.
After a quick stop in Flagstaff to pick up my traveling companion, we made the 30-mile trek south to Sedona. Even though there was no shortage of new Mustang rentals roaming the small town, our long-termer was a big hit with the valets at the hotel. The reason? The manual transmission.
The first time we decided to leave the hotel, I handed the ticket over and said, "It's the bright orange Mustang."
"The one with the manual manual?" the valet asked.
I suppose he said it twice to differentiate it from an automated manual, which instantly made me like him.
"It's so great to see a real manual again," he added.
We chatted for a bit about how it needs to be louder, doing the typical car-dudes thing, then took off.
We had a great time cruising around at night in the Mustang. Retelling stories, listening to songs that still hold meaning for us and generally just reconnecting. The new Mustang is obviously better in every way, but for me at least, it retains the spirit that made us feel special back in 1995.
All good things must come to an end and this little getaway was no different. With the car pointed back on Interstate 40, the long haul back home began. I probably could've made it to Barstow on one tank, but decided on discretion over valor. This tank logged 294.4 miles, crushing my last record.
The Mustang proved its mettle on this trip. A surplus of power for passing, comfortable ride quality, supportive seats and a quiet cabin at speed all contributed to me rolling back into L.A. with no more fatigue than when I set out. I'd gladly roll with the Mustang again.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 10,200 miles