2015 Ford Mustang GT: Okay, I'll Drive It - All Day Long!
June 18, 2015
The first new car I bought myself was a 1967 Mustang GT 2+2. I've got a 1965 coupe in my garage. I may be Edmunds's green-car editor, but I still do love me a V8 on occasion. So it was only right that I pick our 2015 Ford Mustang GT for a recent 1,500-mile California road trip.
I'd been a bit worried after a few of my fellow editors poked at the pony for being a bit bloated with, as Josh Sadlier put it, a bulbous hood and the overall feel of a fatsuit, not to mention Kurt's rant against its color and habit of pogoing on concrete freeways and over Southern California's increasingly deteriorating surface streets.
But it turned out to be a great ride for a long trip up the middle of the state, to the coastal redwood forests and wineries of Sonoma County and back.
First off, I agree with Kurt's take on orange. It isn't the greatest of all colors for a car that can exceed the maximum freeway speed limit with three of its six gears left to go. It shouts "hey, chase me down" to every would-be road racer and highway patrol officer within hearing distance of the exhaust's muted rumble. Makes it easy to spot other members of the herd on the road though, like the 2015 Mustang convertible we played tag with on the last 260 miles of our trip.
Speaking of highway patrol officers, we got a few glances from the CHP, but setting cruise control at just a bit above the posted speed limit when I was passing through regions known for heavy traffic enforcement kept me on the good side of the law. I blew off steam accelerating up freeway on-ramps after gas, pit and meal stops and the GT's 435 ponies and short-throw, six-speed manual made ramp-running quite a thrill.
The jouncy-bouncy ride on bad asphalt or ridged concrete surfaces at lower speeds does get a bit wearing. Either pass on the Performance Pack and its stiff suspension or get some decent aftermarket shocks for your non-track days if you decide to park a 2015 Mustang GT in your garage.
But big? Oversized? Bloated? No way.
The sheet metal swells in a few places, but the 2015 GT isn't any bigger than the '05 and stretches only a few inches beyond the dimensions of my old '67. Per Ford's data sheets for the '67 Mustang and 2015 Mustang, the new GT's 107.1-inch wheelbase is actually 0.9 inches shorter, while overall length is 4.7 inches more, width is up 4.5 inches and the car has grown 2.8 inches taller.
The 2015 Mustang is a lot bigger than its original forebear, though. The '65 2+2 was almost 7 inches shorter and narrower, and topped out with 3.2 inches less height. Mass is up a lot as well. Curb weight for our 2015 Mustang GT is 1,099 pounds more than a '65 fastback. That's a 42 percent boost over 50 years.
Come to think of it, perhaps that's why the 2015 GT doesn't feel all that big to me. I've also piled-on pounds, and a few inches of girth, in the past five decades.
Still, horsepower in the 2015 GT is 60 percent more than the 271-hp rating for a '67 hi-po GT, which ought to help equalize the weight difference. That power and the accompanying torque certainly combine to help make the '15 Mustang GT an easy ride in heavy traffic.
In standard shuffle-and-go freeway crawl, where speeds bounce around between 5 and 40 mpg, just leave it in third. No need to shift unless you come to a complete halt. At cruising speeds, stay in fifth (at the cost of about two miles per gallon) so you can add a quick burst of speed for passing without having to work the clutch. In sixth, the Mustang all but falls asleep at 75 mph, loping along at around 2,100 rpm and taking forrrreverrrr to accelerate without a downshift.
Shiftless driving like this also helps avoid right-leg fatigue when you've engaged the adaptive cruise control in heavy traffic on long, dull stretches of highway.
The interior of the 2015 Ford Mustang GT fits a 6'2, 250-pounder just fine, with plenty of head- and legroom. Even the optional Recaro seats wrapped around my frame like they'd been custom fitted. I had to slide the driver seat all the way back in its tracks to make smooth exits or entry over the tall bolster on the seat bottom though, and the high seat backs with fixed head restraints make it difficult to toss stuff into — or pull stuff out of — the Mustang's miniscule back seats.
Outward vision, despite Josh's bulbous hood, was excellent. The field of view through the raked windshield is better today than back when the Mustang launched in mid 64.
Thank the powers that be, though, for the 2015 GT's rearview camera. I didn't notice the rear and rear-side blind spots much when driving, but doing 12-point turnarounds in the tightly-packed parking lots of Sonoma County's myriad wineries would have been pretty dicey without that camera.
On the fuel efficiency front, the 2015 Mustang GT delivered 19.1 mpg overall on the trip, with a best tank of 22.3 mpg.
My verdict after 1,500 miles in our 2015 Mustang GT? It might be a car that gets young blood racing, but at $45k and change, it's a car that better fits the pocketbooks of generations that remember the Ford Pony Car before the era of the tiny, tinny, underpowered and generally ugly Mustang II.
Go ahead and buy the super-prepped Performance Package and Recaro seats if you plan to limit your driving to the track. But stick with the standard GT Premium trim if you're looking for a daily driver with muscle and a pile of standard equipment. And then drive it. Even in Competition Orange.
That paint and the exhaust tone may say "wild and wooly," but on our long road trip the 2015 Mustang GT proved to be a pretty well-mannered trail horse.
John O'Dell, Senior Editor