Auto Review: It’s Mustang convertible time

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Oct. 10, 2013
- Contributed Photo

Most of the very first automobiles didn’t feature much of a roof, but over time the enclosed automobile has become dominant. That said, we’ve seen the popularity of convertibles return a bit and now we even have “convertible hardtops” that have a folding steel roof that makes them the best of both worlds. But the cloth convertible top still has many advantages, and this time of year, regardless of what ultimately folds down to reveal the outside world, it makes for a great way to enjoy autumn in New England. When you take the convertible’s open top splendor and combine it with the new 2014 Ford Mustang chassis, you have a superb companion for leaf-peeping. Ford is celebrating the 50th year of continuous Mustang production, and with styling that creatively blends the traditional pony car look with contemporary influences, this rear-drive icon gets noticed everywhere it goes.

Our Mustang convertible was powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that, despite its modest displacement, develops a very respectable 305 horsepower. Two six-speed transmissions are offered, including a manual and a SelectShift Automatic. We tested the Automatic, and this drivetrain struck good balance between performance and fuel economy, with 60 mph arriving in around eight seconds and an observed 22 MPG. The convertible’s chassis delivers a smooth ride and secure handling, although it is subject to convertible “cowl shake” over some rougher road surfaces, which is common on convertibles that are based on coupe architecture. The convertible top is stout cloth and easy to deploy and retract with the touch of a button. Whether the top is up or down, the interior is surprisingly quiet.

The Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) provides good feedback and the new Mustang is a breeze to maneuver in traffic, while offering up decent backroad manners when pushed hard. Brakes are likewise up to the task of spirited driving, with good firm feel, and stops that averaged 113 feet from 60 mph.

But when it comes to top-down motoring, speed is not always what you’re after, as you want to slow down and soak in the scenery. Seat comfort up front is good for long days on the road, and the driver gets a new instrument cluster that – like the exterior styling – blends the old with the new with pleasing results. The latest in Ford Sync telemetrics is, of course, on board to allow voice commands as well as hands-free phone calls, and the Electronics package includes a Navigation System. The rear seats are a bit limited in terms of leg and foot room, however, they certainly suffice for short trips. The trunk space is limited to 9.6 cubic feet due to the space devoted to the convertible top when folded.

Convertibles are great for three seasons in New England, and I still think this time of year they are really at their peak. The 2014 Ford Mustang V6 Convertible Premium is EPA rated 19 MPG city/30 highway, and with options our MSRP came to $37,160.

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