I remember my first spin in a Mustang. It was 1967, and I was 8 years old. My Little League baseball coach gave me a ride to practice in his little, light blue Mustang. My family drove Rambler station wagons, and it was my first experience in a car with noback doors. I thought it looked like arocket ship. The car that started the Pony car revolution in the mid-1960s is still turning heads in 2010. Josh Newman, a sales representative at Mountain View Ford, says it is that multi-generational appeal that still drives showroom traffic for Mustangs today. And true to its beginnings, the Mustang is a sports car that remains attainable for those with modest budgets, he said.
DRIVING IMPRESSIONS: Our six-cylinder test car was coated in Grabber Blue paint, a shade that flatters the Mustang's sporty lines. From behind the wheel, the enormous blue hood looks like the ocean stretching to the horizon. The V-6 delivers 210 horsepower, plenty for around-town cruising. (A 4.6 liter V-8 is also available.) The 2011 Mustangs, arriving in dealerships this spring, get major engine upgrades that promise, simultaneously, more power and better gas mileage. How does a 305-horsepower, V-6 that tops 30 miles per gallon on the highway sound?
Steering in the 2010 Mustang is taunt and responsive. Our Premium-trim tester was equipped with leather seats, upgraded stereo and Ford's slick SYNC system, which allows for seamless MP3 and cell phone compatibility with hands-free voice controls.
STYLING: The current-generation Mustang manages to blend retro-styling cues with modern, aerodynamic sheet metal. The interior is filled with quality materials, which frankly can't be said for some of Mustang's primary competitors.
Our handsome test car was equipped with an enormous glass roof, which lets the stars shine in. A power driver's seat is standard. At night, dash instruments glow in a cool blue hue. Back seat room is limited, but most mid-life Mustang buyers have an SUV in the garage for that.
BOTTOM LINE: Great financing deals on 2010s make it a great time to go Mustang shopping. If you love "horses," it might be tempting to wait for the coming engine upgrades. (There's a Mustang GT in the pipeline equipped with a 5-liter V-8 that makes 412 horsepower. Oh yeah!)
MODEL: Ford Mustang Premium.
COLOR: Grabber Blue.
ENGINE: six cylinder (210 horsepower).
TRANSMISSION: five-speed automatic.
FUEL ECONOMY: 24 mpg highway, 16 mpg city.
BASE PRICE: $23,995.
PRICE AS TESTED: $30,345.