2008 Ford Mustang GT California Special V8 from North America
Here's an honest review
No major problems after 3,000 miles.
A few minor, yet somewhat annoying interior rattles resolved by the dealer.
Gear shift seems to have a lot of play and slop for a new car. I may buy a Hurst kit.
Clutch is not firm enough.
Transmission is occasionally hard to get into reverse after being parked for long amounts of time. I would think Ford could have resolved this after using this transmission for so long.
Some noticeable road noise, especially with rear seats folded down.
I bought this thing on a whim. I kind of wish I would have waited. It's not a bad car, but I had no idea in August that our country and the Big 3 automakers would be in so much financial trouble. If any of them will survive, it looks like it will be Ford for now.
I located a car that had nearly every option I wanted, and the right color (Vista Blue), and I couldn't resist.
If you haven't driven a 2005 or newer Mustang, I definitely recommend doing so. The ride is much smoother, and handling way more composed. The old rattle trap pickup truck-like ride and handling is gone. I can't speak for the base model, but the GT feels nearly 100% improved over the previous body styles. It is a sports car, and can still get a bit choppy over bumpy roads, but at least you won't be thrown from your seat.
What hasn't changed is that anyone over the age of 10 will be miserable riding in the back seats.
Performance is awesome to say the least. You won't find many cars in this price range that will snap you back in your seat this quickly. Fuel economy is decent, I average about 25 MPG highway driving somewhat aggressively. I may look for some slightly lower rear gears if I can find them in a limited slip. I have the 3.55 gears and in my opinion the engine is forced to run too fast above 70 MPH. When driving on 2-lane, 55 MPH country roads the car is good for nearly 29 MPG. Ford should offer a 6-speed in this car. If I want power, I can downshift. That's what an automatic transmission does too.
I've heard a lot of gripes about the solid rear axle. Most of them from people who don't own a Mustang. My response is so what? Cars had solid rear axles for 80 years and they usually outlived the car itself. Less parts means less maintenance. I can't see the axle being an issue with handling, unless maybe you try doing slaloms and autocross against a Porsche or Ferrari. I have yet to push my 'Stang to the limits, so I can't comment on the so-called "snapping noise" people complain of.
I also think Ford should have offered some reasonably priced performance upgrades, like maybe a Mach 1 package.
One thing they did get right is the factory exhaust note, turning the key and stepping on the gas is a little bit of heaven in my opinion.
The Shaker 500 will be plenty of stereo for most people, the 1000 is overkill.
The overall fit and finish is still mediocre at best. Lots of cheap, hard plastic, even with the interior upgrade package. My biggest gripe would have to be the wide design of the center console, greatly reducing legroom. I like to lean my knee to the right while driving, and the sharp edge sticks out like a sore thumb. It also seems as is Ford worked hard on the instrument cluster and took no notice of the cheap plastic and gaps in the rest of the interior. The door panels look as if they could have come from a 1992 Tempo or F-150.
The seats are very comfortable, but firm, so they may have some feeling fatigued on very long drives.
I would think that after so many years Ford would find a way to put a larger fuel tank on this car. 16 gallons for a V8? Gimme a break.
So this car is what it is. It's not a family car. It's not an econobox. If you want that go buy an Accord, Altima, Camry, Prius, or Fit. It is the only surviving muscle car. It hasn't come, left us, and tried to come back like so many others. Tried and true reliability with modern and retro styling blended nicely. Just a little rough around the edges like it always has been.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd January, 2009
3rd Jan 2009, 11:01
4th Jan 2009, 00:31
Kudos. A well-balanced review.
30th Jan 2009, 18:15
This is a very good, comprehensive and honest review of a very good car. YES, they ride rough (but not nearly as bad as the older ones). I've owned 7 Mustangs with various engine and transmission combinations. I liked them all, but the newest is definitely the best.
I DO get a kick out of the term "cheap" plastic, and would LOVE a definition of "expensive" plastic!! I rode in a co-workers Lexus a while back and was very surprised to find just as much plastic in it as in my Mustang. Whether the plastic was "cheap" or "expensive" I don't know. It didn't have the price tag on it. It was just as hard and "plasticky" as mine.