Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Tale of Two Mustangs | 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible

Every product category has their own icons. In fashion you have Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Converse Sneakers. In computing, the humble Macintosh and the Goliath IBM. And in cars, the Mini, Beetle and Ford Mustang.

Named after horses that the Spanish brought across the pond, the Mustang is seen as pure muscular Americana. A powerful pony car for long trips across prairie deserts. But the truth is the Mustang is actually a fashion car.

Based off a humdrum Ford Falcon, the Ford Mustang is nothing more than a dressed-up commuter. Only it works. It is a fabulous outfit that back in the 60s took over the roadways and burned itself into mid-century mid-American culture.

Of course, like any piece of fashion, the Mustang had some rough times where it went out of style and then came back again. Like now. Because to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this icon, Ford has reimagined the Mustang with every positive aspect the badge acquired during the decades in production and leaving behind all the negative ones.

Which leads me to the convertibles I had the privilege of driving.

The Mustang convertible has always been the Californian of the lineup, suntanned and pining after girls (just watch the ads). It’s an important car, because what other car would people use to fulfill their Californian vacation dreams.

The new Mustang Convertible certainly looks the part, especially in the daisy Yellow colour. Ford made a distinct effort to maintain the muscle of the new car, but it’s much more toned compared to the bulkiness of previous generations. The creases are tighter, light clusters slimmer and everything overall is more modern.

From the Driver’s seat, you look over a long brooding hood that sprawls out from a very modern dash. I liked this dash layout on the Mustang. The brushed chrome trim is cool, and there are buttons. Yes wow! It’s something Ford has begun adopting again after the dark age of the touchy MyFordTouch days.

If you’re in the front it’s comfortable but not exactly spacious. If all passengers are small you could fit 4 people in the Mustang convertible. But if the passengers are bigger, you can only get away with 3 by moving the front passenger seat up. I did that on multiple occasions.

Now, like any Ford the Mustang can come in millions of different configurations. And I was able to try two of them. The one you choose, has more to do with money and Mustang preconceptions than you think.

The 5.0 Litre

The V8 Mustang is the real deal. Fans of the breed consider any lesser engines unworthy. Though previous Mustang V8s weren’t all that impressive, this one is.

Unlike in the 80s, the 5.0 badge actually represents the engine’s size and it produces a very intimidating 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Upon startup it makes itself known with a deep rumble.

The performance, it’s visceral. Gunning it on a freeway on-ramp can literally take your breath away. It’s feels like a quick cut montage from Requiem from a Dream. Throttle, Clutch dump, revs rise, eye dilation, clutch, shift, what? Where am I? It’s intoxicating.

The Mustang GT Convertible Premium I tested didn’t have the performance package, and that made the car feel more like a Grand Tourer. Which in a convertible like this is a good thing. The 18-inch rims meant the tires had more give for a more comfortable ride. Shifts from the 6-speed manual are meaty but not exhausting. And on a day road trip, the car happily ate the miles.

The V8 Mustang Convertible is what everyone wants. But with a base price of $48,399, it has the highest price of entry save the super fast GT350. But after driving it for week, I totally understand why someone might shell out that much money for one.

But what if that is a little too much Mustang?

The EcoBoost

Well you could always get the EcoBoost Mustang Convertible. For those who don’t know, the EcoBoost Mustang has an upgraded version of Ford’s 2.3 Litre Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Under the long hood it produces 310 hp.

That power is nothing to squawk at. It can break out the rear tires like any powerful engine. But this is not the loud gurgling Mustang you might be hoping it would be. In fact, it’s so quiet Ford has to pipe in fake sounds through the stereo just to make it sound more substantial. So really this is the Mustang to sing in.

The example I tested was equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission and painted in a bright Daffodil Yellow. Despite having the performance package, I’d describe this one as the carefree, good times, fun smiles, summertime Mustang. The one that would be used in some sort of lifestyle commercial where hands happily get thrown into the air.

If you’re not one of the muscle car faithful, and just want a slightly luxurious and stylish way of enjoying the sun with a classic nameplate, the Mustang EcoBoost is more than enough. And starting at $39,399 it’s certainly an easier price to swallow.


The Mustang does come in one more, very much cheaper option. It’s the V6 Convertible, and at $31,398 it’s very affordable. Just remember that this is the same one you will rent on your next California trip. And it’s also very basic. I didn’t have an opportunity to try it, but I’m sure when you’re distracted by new scenery the engine doesn’t matter.

Driving these Mustangs reminded me just how much I love convertibles. Even when the weather is a little brisk there’s nothing like having the top down and enjoying infinite headroom.

When you drive in a hardtop car, you’re isolated from the outside world. But in a convertible, with the top down, there is nothing to separate you. Trucks are more imposing, smells (good and bad) brisker and air fresher. The only drawbacks are that it wrecks your hairstyle, conversations with passengers are a strained and you have to blare your music super loud.

But I do recommend at the very least trying a convertible out once in your life. Whether you buy one or rent a Mustang V6 on vacation, they are somehow more fun.

And out of the two Mustang convertibles I tried I would have to say I’d get the V8. It had a better ride and the manual transmission mixed with the V8 engine is a really sweet combo.

2015 Ford Mustang Convertible

GT Premium
Price as tested (Base Price): $56,499 ($50,049) inc. Freight + PDI
Engine: 5.0 Litre V8
Power: 435 hp (6,500 rpm)  Torque: 400 lb-ft (4,250 rpm)
Transmission: 6-speed-manual

Fuel Consumption NRCan (city|hwy|combined): 15.4 | 10 | 13  L/100km (premium)

Price as tested (Base Price): $52,649 ($41,049) inc. Freight + PDI
Engine: 2.3 Litre Direct-Injected Turbocharged Inline-4
Power: 310 hp (5,500 rpm)  Torque: 320 lb-ft (3,000 rpm)
Transmission: 6-speed-automatic

Fuel Consumption NRCan (city|hwy|combined): 11.6 | 7.9 | 9.9  L/100km (premium)

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