Saturday, January 17, 2009

2005 Ford Mustang

Mustang is redesigned for 2005, getting more power, new features, and styling inspired by its 1960s ancestors. Coupe and convertible models are offered. They gain some 6 inches in wheelbase and overall length vs. the 1999-2004 generation. Weights rise about 100 lb on coupes, 275 lb on convertibles. A new underbody structure replaces one dating from 1979, but Mustang retains a solid rear axle rather than adopting independent rear suspension. Both body styles come in base V6 and GT V8 versions, and in Deluxe and Premium trim. The V6 is now a 210-hp 4.0-liter vs. a 193-hp 3.8. GTs reprise a 4.6-liter V8, but with 300 hp vs. 260. A 5-speed manual remains the standard transmission. The optional automatic has five speeds vs. the previous four. All Mustangs have 4-wheel disc brakes. ABS and traction control are standard on GTs, optional on base models. No antiskid system is available. Base versions have 16-inch wheels, GTs 17s. Among options new to Mustang are front side airbags that cover torso and head, and an Interior Upgrade Package that includes instrument lighting with 125 color choices. All Mustangs come with air conditioning and CD player. Coupes have 50/50 split folding rear seatbacks. Convertibles include a power fabric top with heated glass rear window. Leather upholstery is standard on GT Premiums, available for other models. GTs include grille-mounted fog lamps and a rear spoiler.


Consumer Guide® Automotive places each vehicle into one of 17 classes based on size, price, and market position. The Sporty/Performance Car class consists of two-seat roadsters, 4-cyl hatchbacks, and V8 muscle cars. Regardless of configuration, all have an emphasis on affordable performance.

2005 Mustang Convertible

Our Best Buys include the Mazda Miata, and Pontiac GTO. Our Recommended picks are the Acura RSX, Ford Mustang, Honda S2000, Mini Cooper, Nissan 350Z, and Scion tC.


The expected 2006 replacement for the high-performance SVT Cobra turns out to be a rather unexpected super-performance '07 called Shelby Cobra GT500. It reaches showrooms in summer of '06 with an estimated 450 hp and a $40,000 Ford-suggested starting price--a mere $5000 above the last 2004 SVT Cobra. Named for Carroll Shelby, who created the first performance Mustangs in the late 1960s, the GT500 has been previewed as a concept coupe, but a convertible version is likely down the road if Mr. Shelby has a say. Ford's SVT performance division created the new Shelby under Hau Thai-Tang, formerly lead designer for the '05 Mustang.

Though Ford is still tweaking specifications, that 450 hp should be the minimum on tap, matched by at least 450 lb-ft of torque. It's supplied by basically the same supercharged 5.4-liter V8 used in the exotic mid-engine Ford GT. The concept GT500 carried a beefed-up 6-speed manual transmission, but a heavy-duty automatic may also be available by sale time. Springs and shock absorbers are uprated, but the chassis is basically stock Mustang GT--which means a live rear axle instead of the independent rear suspension enthusiasts favor. Ford makes no apologies, saying it works just as well and lightens both the car and its price tag. To handle its thumping power, the GT500 gets uprated disc brakes with 14-inch cross-drilled rotors in front and 13s in back. Curb weight is pegged at about 3600 pounds, about 200 up on a regular Mustang GT coupe.

Visual changes are not strictly cosmetic. The hood, for example, is bulged to clear the supercharger, and the stock GT's foglamps move down to a new under-bumper fascia, leaving a larger grille for better engine cooling. A unique decklid spoiler provides 80 pounds of stabilizing downforce at 120 mph, Ford says, and there's an aerodynamic "diffuser" in a new rear bumper. Wheels will be 18-inch alloys specific to the GT500. Nostalgia buffs will note chrome snake emblems on the grille and front fenders, bright "Shelby" lettering above the taillamps, lower-body racing stripes, and wide dorsal stripes running up and over from the front chin spoiler to the back bumper. Inside, the GT500 will sport unique trim touches, upgraded materials, new seats with stiffer side bolsters, and a thick-rim 3-spoke steering wheel.

Ford says it will build as many GT500s as buyers will take, which could be a lot. But shouldn't there be something between the 450-hp Cobra and the 300-hp Mustang GT? We think so and Ford may agree, having hinted earlier at a possible new Mach 1. Don't be surprised if this shows up as a 2006 curtain-raiser for the mighty Cobra.

Meantime, mainstream Mustangs may get various tweaks aimed at improving ride comfort and reducing noise, vibration and harshness. Timing is unclear, but a leading industry trade paper recently quoted Ford officials as more or less promising some chassis "upgrades" fairly soon.

2005 Ford Mustang Road Test

Our road test for the 2005 Ford Mustang includes a full evaluation of the 2005 Ford Mustang from the inside out. We evaluate not only engine and handling performance for the 2005 Ford Mustang, but also interior cabin and cargo space. Let our comprehensive road test ratings for the 2005 Ford Mustang help you decide if a 2005 Ford Mustang is right for you.

Pros Cons

Acceleration Automatic-transmission performance (V6)

Handling/roadholding (GT) Interior materials

Rear-seat entry/exit

Rear-seat room

Consumer Guide® Road Test Ratings


Premium Base cpe w/ABS, auto. Premium Base conv w/ABS, man. GT Premium cpe, man.
7 7 8

GT Premium conv, auto. Class Average
8 6.3

V6 furnishes brisk takeoffs--test automatic-transmission coupe did 6.9 sec 0-60 mph--but suffers sluggish throttle response that dulls midrange pickup. And Mustang's automatic lacks a manual shift gate. GTs are fast--Ford says around 5.2 sec 0-60 with either transmission, though V8 needs at least 3000 rpm for true muscle feel and responds most satisfyingly with manual transmission. Convertibles weigh some 175 lb more than comparable coupes, so are a bit slower.

Fuel Economy

Test automatic-transmission base coupes averaged 19.3-20.4 mpg, convertible 19.1. Test manual-transmission GT coupes averaged 14.6-16.3 mpg, convertible 16.2-17.4 mpg. Test automatic GT coupe averaged 14.9. V6 or V8, Ford recommends regular-grade fuel.

Ride Quality

GTs only a bit firmer than base models. All absorb small bumps with little shock, but can transmit sharp pavement breaks. Base models prone to slight float over large moguls. Convertibles' impressively solid structure exhibits little quake or cowl shake.


Base Mustangs have good cornering moves, but some testers fault slower steering, more body lean than a sporty car should have. Sure-footed GTs have nicely weighted steering, impressive dry-road grip, modest lean. Fine stopping power.


Wind rush reasonably muffled, even in convertibles, but there's marked coarse-surface tire thrum and fairly loud engines. V6 growls, booms unpleasantly as revs rise. V8 has throaty muscle car tone.

Tester's Comments

Vehicle Evaluated: 2005 Ford Mustang
Trim Level: Base Premium
Arrival Date: 04/21/2005
Engine: sohc V6
Bodystyle: 2-door convertible
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Base Price: $24,695
Price as Tested: $28,695
Mileage at Beginning of Test: 1655
Mileage at End of Test: 2129
Total Measured Miles:
Total Fuel Used: 24.801 gals.

Major Options: 5-speed Auto. Transmission, Anti-Theft System, Interior Upgrade Pkg., Wheel Locking Kit, Front Seat Side Airbags, ABS, Convertible Boot Cover, Leather Trimmed Seats

Consumer Guide® Fuel Economy: 19.11 mpg

Problems During Test: None

From The Back Seat

Kirk Bell At $29K for our automatic-equipped V6 convertible, I'd much rather have a $25K GT coupe with a stick. But that's just me--someone who likes cars.

Rick Cotta I'd argue that the V6 is a much better value than we rate it. For most uses, even with automatic transmission, it provides more-than-adequate acceleration, making it a little difficult to justify the GT's $5000 premium.

Vehicle Evaluated: 2005 Ford Mustang
Trim Level: Base Premium
Arrival Date: 03/14/2005
Engine: sohc V6
Bodystyle: 2-door coupe
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Base Price: $19,370
Price as Tested: $23,185
Mileage at Beginning of Test: 3132
Mileage at End of Test: 3787
Total Measured Miles:
Total Fuel Used: 32.043 gals.

Major Options: 5-speed Auto. Transmission, Active Anti-Theft System, Interior Upgrade Pkg., Exterior Sport Appearance Pkg. (Rear Decklid Spoiler), Wheel Locking Kit, Front Seat Side Airbags, Anti-Lock Brakes, Traction Control

Consumer Guide® Fuel Economy: 20.44 mpg

Problems During Test: None

From The Back Seat

Mark Bilek With a tested price of just $23,000 this V6 Mustang remains an excellent value in a fun-to-drive package. I'd like Ford to work on a manual gate for the auto shifter and perhaps a little more engine isolation, but otherwise this is the first Mustang in nearly 10 years that I would recommend to anyone.

Rick Cotta Ford expects the V6/automatic combination to be the most popular, and I can see why. Power is sufficient and mileage acceptable, making this a good choice for style-conscious buyers on a budget.

Vehicle Evaluated: 2005 Ford Mustang
Trim Level: GT Premium
Arrival Date: 06/09/2005
Engine: sohc V8
Bodystyle: 2-door convertible
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Base Price: $30,550
Price as Tested: $34,080
Mileage at Beginning of Test: 4316
Mileage at End of Test: 5026
Total Measured Miles:
Total Fuel Used: 40.928 gals.

Major Options: Black Convertible Roof, Shaker Audio System, Active Anti-theft System, Interior Color Accent Pkg. (Crimson Red Floormats), Interior Upgrade Pkg., Wheel Locking Kit, Front Seat Side Airbags, Convertible Boot Cover, 17-inch Bright Machined Cast Aluminum

Consumer Guide® Fuel Economy: 17.35 mpg

Problems During Test: None

From The Back Seat

Chuck Giametta Ouch. A really nice car, and a great Mustang. But the $34,000-plus sticker of our test car gets you into an S2000, Z3 2.5i or 350Z Roadster--genuine sports cars. On the other hand, if you're looking for 4 seats, V8 muscle, a decent ride, and the latest head-turning styling, a Mustang GT convertible with the 5-speed manual is, somewhat by default, the place to go.

John Biel Tricked out with almost $3000 worth of options (most of that total devoted to audio and appearance goodies), this test car topped $34,000 delivered. That kind of money would buy a near-luxury-class car with lots more quality, refinement, and rear-seat room, so this particular car wasn't the best advertisement for Mustang value. If you can live without some of the frou-frou, the lively Mustang GT convertible becomes a better deal.

Mark Bilek The Mustang GT convertible is a wonderful summer car. Its rides smoothly enough and goes when you need it to. Sadly, the $34,000 price of entry is a little steep. Though there aren't many other "liveable" convertibles with this much performance at that price point.

Rick Cotta $32,000 will buy you a very nice Mustang GT convertible. Sure, the back seat is nearly useless and the trunk isn't large either, but this kind of style and performance can't be found anywhere else at anything near this price.

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