2015 Ford Mustang first drive review Page 3

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Grown-up stuff

The gut feeling of heft is no mirage: the Mustang rides on a 107.1-inch wheelbase, and is 188.3 inches long--almost as big as a Fusion sedan. 

With tilt and telescoping steering and well-shaped, well-bolstered seats, the Mustang can handle those guts, and tall drivers too, much better than the Camaro. In the passenger seat, a slim knee airbag frees up so much room, you can stretch all the way out for a long highway ride. Move up to the GT's optional Recaro seats and the bolstering gets tighter but even more comfortable. Most of the finishes are suited to the price, but the hard plastic on the transmission tunnel and some of the trim intersections aren't as artful as the ones on, say, the Ford Flex.

Good luck in wedging the same bigger bodies in the back seat. True, the front chairs do move up to create real knee room. But if you're more than five and a half feet tall, there's no chance you'll be able to sit upright. The seats fold down to pass through to the trunk, but the trunk itself will hold a couple of golf bags--somehow, that's become the universal gauge for acceptable storage space.

Visibility is a surprise. Sure, there are blind spots over shoulders, but turn halfway around and the big rear glass opens up the view, enough to grab a gasp of another driver when they realize it's the first '15 they've seen in the wilds of Beverly Hills.

As for fuel economy, the active grille shutters on the EcoBoost Mustang help it earn 32-mpg highway ratings with the automatic transmission. The EPA has certified the Mustang lineup as a whole, from 22/31/26 mpg for manual EcoBoost to 15/26/19 mpg for the GT manual.

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High-tech features on the new Mustang include those drive modes, launch control and line lock, as well as infotainment gear like SYNC with MyFord Touch and Shaker Pro audio. The cockpit lighting can change its colors, the side mirrors cast pony images on the ground at night, there's a standard rearview camera and a USB port, hurrah, in plain sight facing the driver on the console.

All that comes over a bigger spectrum of prices, of course. A base 2015 Mustang fastback coupe equipped with a 3.7-liter V-6 and six-speed manual transmission will set you back $24,425. The turbocharged, four-cylinder Mustang EcoBoost costs $25,995, and the V-8-powered Mustang GT runs $32,925 before that Performance Pack and any other goodies are factored in. If you still have cash to spare, the Mustang GT Premium costs $36,925. A loaded GT runs easily in the mid-$40,000s.

The mid-range Mustangs are worth the price of admission. With better room, better comfort, better bones and borderline brilliant handling, the pony car's become a sort of Motown Maserati.

Is the loaded car better than a $65,000 BMW M4? That depends. What exactly did you have in mind for the leftover $20,000 to $30,000?

Whatever you decide, know this: the Mustang you want to drive is no longer the entry-level, prosaic little pony car it once was. It's a luxury sport coupe that can wear the grand-tourer label without apology--and it's sure to be treading on sports-car status just as soon as a GT350 gets out of the gate.

For more on the Ford Mustang, read the in-depth reviews over at The Car Connection.

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