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2005 Ford Mustang Coupe

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Justin Pritchard
Familiar horse, new kick! But is the "Little One" any less a Mustang?

2005 Ford Mustang (Photo: Justin Pritchard,
When I decided to review a new Mustang for first-time car buyers, the first thing I did was drive as many old Mustangs as I could get my hands on. I thought this was appropriate after all, as this is one of a handful of cars which has been around without interruption since our parents were our age. I like driving my friends cars, too. So I drove everything from a mid 80's "five-point-oh" to a 99 GT in just one night.

I discovered something too. I'm not really been a big fan of these pony-cars. I found they were good at going fast, don't cost a whole lot, and look the part of a muscle car, but they tend to feel short on sophistication, smoothness and practicality. If you are looking for graceful power delivery, a refined engine or any other sissy-stuff, this isn't going to be how you spend your $25,000 because part of what makes a Mustang what it is is a bit of roughness, noise and grit. Because of this, it takes a special kind of person to drive one. One Mustang-owner personality trait is that they love to hang out in droves in parking lots on warm nights-hence my ease in driving 4 older ones in just a few hours. A Mustang is an enthusiast car. There are quieter coupes available for the price, as well as coupes with better mileage, and coupes with similar options and better warranties- but a Mustang fan would have none of them.

2005 Ford Mustang (Photo: Justin Pritchard,
One final issue before I got behind the wheel: My 2005 Mustang tester was missing something. Its two cylinders short of any of the others I had driven. So...a baby Mustang- but is it a calf? V6 powered Mustangs often get called rude names like "the little one" or "just-the-six". There is a market for these less radical Stangs though. Gas prices of late are one reason. Ask any farmer: it's cheaper to feed 200 horses than 300, and the new V6 gets about 37 MPG when equipped with a manual gearbox. But the challenge (and reason I chose the V6) is to see if the smaller engine makes this car any less of a Mustang.

The look is retro, and radically different looking from anything on the road right now. Cars are sometimes used to express oneself or show belonging to a group. The new Stang delivers here- I would challenge anyone to find a cooler looking, more instantly recognizable car on this side of $50,000. I was parked for a photo near a school, and a young boy came running up to the car pulling his teacher behind him with one hand and pointing with the other. A Mustang is more than a car- it's a symbol of freedom and excitement for some and even a goal for others. I know a girl who has the Mustang horse decal tattooed on her arm, though she has never owned one. "I don't know why...I just love them. Someday Ill get one I hope" she says if questioned about it.

2005 Ford Mustang (Photo: Ford of Canada)
The exterior styling goes backwards, but the interior is miles ahead of the last model. Everything is more detailed and the shifter falls perfectly into your hand when your elbow sits on the armrest- no more reaching required. Bits of chrome and aluminum brighten up the scenery, and the cloth seats in my Sonic Blue tester had adequate bolstering but weren't too firm. The power driver seat was a nice touch as well. Ford has provided standard bits of storage space, and there is even a spare power outlet in the center storage compartment so you can recharge your expensive wireless toys out of sight. In Mustangs of years gone by, I felt as though the cockpit was an afterthought once the engine and drivetrain were finished.

"Well, we have the engine...check... transmission...check... ....suspension...check... - oh wait! Where will the driver sit??!"
Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert