Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mustangs aren't Mustangs Anymore!

There's no denying it, when most people think muscle cars it's likely the first image they think of is a Mustang.  That is, if they're under 40 and don't know any better.  

Oh yeah, the hallowed names of GTO, Chevelle and Challenger eventually show up in there somewhere but Ford's marketing department has done a bang up job of obscuring history with the Mustang

So is today's car the best engineered example of the breed in its 50+ year history?  Of course it is.  

The question is, can it really be called a Mustang?  In Ford's rush to globalize its offerings it seems the Mustang is destined to join the ranks of other fine examples of Ford's "world cars." [sic]  An "honor" bestowed on such legendary models like the Escort and Fiesta.  [even more sic-kening]
So is it any surprise that the 2015 redesign was so "sophisticated?"

It saw the first appearance of an independent rear suspension as standard equipment in a Mustang (except for 99-04 Cobras) which until now was a feature left to those "copycats" over at GM and Chrysler.  Coincidentally, both the Camaro and Challenger owe much of their engineering to "them civilized" folk in Australia and Europe.  European tastes won't tolerate a car with a live axle unless it's 100 years old and requires a crank handle to start it.

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against IRS ( the suspension not the tax guys) but if your buyers don't care about carving corners at the Nürburgring then who are you really trying to impress with an American coupe?

Let's not forget such "must-haves" like that center mounted touch display with GPS and smart phone integration.  A feature no self-respecting BMW or Mercedes owner would be caught dead without.

Or the price.  This one's a sin all 3 current pony cars suffer from.  Instead of being within reach of "Joe Six Pack" the entry point of these cars is more in the realm of "Joe Six Figures."  Considering the average price of a pony car with a decent V8 hovered around 3 grand in 1969, you'd come up about 10 grand short (around 25%) in today's money when you adjust for inflation.    

I'm not even going to get into the very "euro" trend of sticking a damned turbocharged 4 banger in everything.  An option now available on the Mustang!  Yeah, Ford's done it before but nobody looks on those days with nostalgia.

Finally the look. 

Sorry, but the new Mustang isn't a Mustang at all.  It's a squished ripoff of an Aston Martin Vanquish.  Think I'm nuts?  Forget the goofy stripes or hood scoops and take a close look at the two photos below then tell me who the Mustang is really being aimed at.  It sure as hell isn't the traditional pony car buyer!

Nobody should be buying a Mustang thinking they're getting a cheap Aston Martin!

I've been screaming this from the rooftops since the first photos of the redesign leaked and nobody was listening.

I'm sure it has something to do with most buyers not getting past the engine compartment and 7" touch screen in the dash.

Ford is trying to upscale Mustang's market which is a mistake for a car as iconic to middle-class America as the VW Golf is to Europe.  

Get real, nobody looking at a Bimmer is going to consider a Mustang folks.  America's population is aging meaning the people with the cash to afford the gouging won't want it for much longer.  They'll go buy a 5 series BMW sporting big puffy seats with built in butt massagers.

That leaves the target demographic populated by debt-burdened millennials enamored more with smart phones and public transportation than an overpriced European wannabe.  

Offering up a 4 banger won't help either, especially when it costs 2 grand more than the base V6! 

The idiocy of it is stunning.

In short, the 2015 Mustang is all wrong.  It's only tenuous link to the mark's heritage is a throaty sounding powerplant wrapped in the bodywork of a cheap European knockoff.  It's more Ford Focus than Ford Mustang.  In fact, side by side it's hard to tell which one's styling is influencing the other.  My money is on the Focus...

Bottom line...It's a sellout with no redeeming features outside of its power train.

Not that it's all bad.  Take that power train and stick it in an '08 Mustang GT and you might have something!  Even the 2010-2014's retained more heritage than this car.  Those were cars I wasn't wild about either but at least they weren't trying to be a Ford Ka!  

Hopefully the Camaro and Challenger will stay true to their heritage and their market.

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