Soft, evocative, fused and masterful: What people are saying about '15 Mustang

The 2015 Ford Mustang GT.
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A roundup of what dealers, journalists and others are saying about the redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang:

"The Mustang isn't anywhere near Ford's best-seller -- Ford sells more pickups in a week than it does Mustangs in a month. But Ford says the Mustang has the highest name recognition and highest favorable opinion of any car in its lineup. And car companies count on beautiful sports cars to cast a glow over the rest of their offerings. As for sales, Ford will be happy if Mustang can become the top selling pony car in the U.S. The Chevrolet Camaro, which followed the Mustang to market in 1966 and was last redesigned in 2009, has outsold the Mustang for the last three years and is on track to do it again this year. The Mustang's first full redesign since 2005 presented Ford with a tough task: Update and freshen an icon without alienating its passionate fans. More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold since 1964, and the car has hundreds of fan clubs, including one solely for owners of yellow Mustangs. The result is a new car with plenty of cues from the old. The long hood and sloping fastback are still there, as is the trapezoid-shaped grille with the Mustang logo from the original. But the new car sits lower and wider, and the roof tapers dramatically in the front and back. The signature rounded headlights are smaller and sit back under a fierce, chiseled brow, while the traditional three-bar taillights are now three-dimensional and tucked beneath the rear deck lid."

-- Dee-Ann Durbin, Associated Press

"Ford is well aware of how much is riding on the success of the new Mustang. What you see here is the culmination of years of research and development based on a symphony of factors affecting the new car. Perhaps the most pivotal of these factors is Ford's plan to take the new Mustang into global markets. That plan touches nearly every aspect of the new pony car, from the exterior styling and interior refinement to the powertrain and suspension. While the merits of the aesthetic changes are open for debate, there's no argument that nearly every change made to the mechanicals of the new car stand to make this a significantly more engaging vehicle to drive than its predecessor. Outside, the new Mustang has clearly been developed to fall closer in line with the rest of its Ford brethren while still retaining the 'vibe' that makes a Mustang a Mustang. Whether or not Ford has accomplished that is a largely subjective exercise. You either love the new look or you don't, and while it's no surprise that some people are slow to adapt to change, the initial reaction to the redesign may have been a little more divisive than what Ford's designers had hoped for."

-- Bradley Iger, windingroad.com


"Interior volume increases, but the rear seats in the Mustang are still best enjoyed by the headless. Try not to bleed all over the place though, since the materials and finishes are much improved, with lots of soft-touch plastic, metallic trim, and better leather. There’s still plenty we don’t know. Ford has avoided answering a number of Mustang questions, the most important of which concerns curb weights. While we’d still like to believe our initial proclamation that the Mustang will drop about 200 pounds, we no longer have faith that this will come to pass. Ford emphasized that the previous-generation Boss 302 was its performance benchmark, and promises that a stock Mustang GT would be faster on the track, but those are the extent of the performance estimates save for a 155-mph top-speed claim. Pricing is also a big question mark, one which we can only address by assuming what is nearly always safe to assume -- that prices will go up."

-- Jeff Sabatini, Car and Driver

"The overall body structure is stiffer than the outgoing car -- a desirable improvement that should enable finer suspension tuning that sets the car up better to handle high-performance variations and owner-installed aftermarket modifications. The Mustang has long been criticized in some circles for its old-school, solid-axle suspension, though in recent years, Ford was able to accomplish much with this outdated, although hardy, technology. The move to an aluminum-intensive rear independent suspension should pay big handling dividends, and, Ford notes, that the specific geometry will reduce squat on acceleration and dive on braking, thereby bolstering the car’s dynamics. The exterior is decidedly evolutionary, with a bit of Ford Fusion stirred into the brew, as evidenced by the distinct trapezoidal grille shape and overall body lines. The fenders now join the hood in being crafted from weight-saving aluminum. The windshield is at a sharper rake. A nice detail is the sequential three-segment taillamps, giving a historical hat tip each time the turn signals are used. As tradition would have it, the coupe will be accompanied by a convertible. Ford says that the insulated cloth top will lower in half the previous time, and that it will tuck away neater than before."

-- Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports


"The new model hews closely to the styling that enabled Ford to sell 9 million Mustangs and made the car a star of countless movies, television shows and even postage stamps. Ford plans to take advantage of its international fame -- there’s a Mustang club even in remote Iceland -- to launch sales in Europe and Asia. Anyone seeing the car will instantly recognize it as a Mustang, with its long sculpted hood and short rear deck. The styling is most evocative of the 1969 model. The shark nose grill leans forward to give an impression of movement and aggression. The trademark tri-bar tail lamps now come in a three-dimensional configuration that lends depth to the rear. The sloping fast-back roof profile shouts Mustang more than anything else. Ford’s challenge: to honor a half-century of history while injecting the car with modern engines, technology and styling cues."

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"'Soft' is a word frequently uttered in reaction to the next Mustang, but maybe it isn't 'soft' so much as 'fused.' It morphs a Mustang coupe profile with themes from the Evos concept, shown in Frankfurt two years ago, that were brought to the road in the Fusion sedan. If you realize a big part of the global Mustang's job will be projecting attention on the Ford brand, the fusion, as it were, of brand design makes sense. When Mustang was almost exclusively a North American property, Ford never worried about incorporating themes from the rest of its line beyond badges and odds and ends. If synthesized design is the biggest cost of a global 'Stang, it might not be a bad deal."

-- J.P. Vettraino, Autoweek

"It's not subtle. When we talk to customers about imagery they associate with the car, they come up with a fist coming at you."

-- Moray Callum, Ford's incoming chief designer, in The Wall Street Journal. Early versions of the 2015 Ford Mustang were softer and more sophisticated, but those designs were abandoned in favor of a blunt nose and a car with more threatening styling, Callum said.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally sits in the driver's seat of the new Mustang in Times Square in New York on Thursday.

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

"This is the first Mustang to be produced for foreign markets, as Ford tries to turn an American icon into its global flagship. Ford executives and engineers ... found themselves straining to satisfy the demands of drivers in Europe and Asia, produce a Mustang with right-side steering for the U.K., India and Australia, while retaining the performance American customers expect. At one point the project had to be rebooted because original designs were not meeting these requirements. That cost Ford millions. The new Mustang will also have a surprise under the hood: an optional 4-cylinder, turbo-charged engine. It's a nod to Europe, where gas prices are twice those in the U.S. but also risks undercutting the Mustang's marketable heritage as a V8 power machine. Now, by producing a Mustang for sale around the globe, Ford will be extending its strategy of building so-called world cars that can be sold profitably in a wide array of markets with arguably its most recognizable brand."

-- Bill Saporiti, Time magazine

"The designers did an absolutely masterful job of bringing these almost juxtaposed positions together and making them work."

-- Beau Boeckmann, vice president of Galpin Motors, a Los Angeles-area dealership and Ford's top volume U.S. dealer, to Bloomberg. Boeckmann, who sits on Ford's dealer product-advisory committee that oversaw Mustang development, said the company faced three challenges: Maintain just-retro-enough looks to pacify fans of the original American pony car; address Chevy's Camaro, which hasn't looked back since a redesign powered it past Mustang in U.S. sales three years ago, and pushed Ford designers in the other direction; and crafting the first Mustang to be marketed globally.

 


"In another sign of the times, Ford will offer a smaller 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine along with the expected 3.7-liter V6 and “five oh” V8. With direct fuel injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger, the EcoBoost promises to deliver performance and best-in-pony-class fuel economy (25 mpg combined?), according to Ford. It’s the first turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang since the 1986 SVO, according to Car and Driver. The 4-cylinder was deemed unMustang-like and excluded from the fourth generation design of 1994. And this may tear Mustang legions apart. Maybe it’s to appeal to a broader demographic than the male American Mustang base, which, incidentally, is most popular in Texas, according to data provided by Edmunds. Maybe it’s because the marketplace has demonstrated a preference for economy and performance. Maybe it’s the whole global thing. Even though 4-cylinders have come a long way in 20 years, Ford added several safeguards to “withstand the added stresses” and placate a skeptical home crowd. The only question is if the EcoBoost can overcome preconceptions."

--

"Ford is banking on Mustang outselling GM's pony car, the Chevrolet Camaro, and Chrysler's Dodge Challenger. But a much more important goal than beating GM and Chrysler for hometown bragging rights will be establishing Mustang as a model that can gain global recognition for Ford in Shanghai, Munich, and Riyadh. In those cities, teenage boys (and quite a few girls) are more likely to dream about Audi A5s, BMW 4 Series, and Subaru WRXs. Mustang can strengthen Ford's blue oval, a brand that's still stronger at home than abroad. Sure, pony cars might be regarded as a relic of a bygone era. Yet Mustang plays a role so central to Ford's last half-century that it would seem a travesty not to modernize the car and keep it in the stable. Lots of variants are sure to follow the model's appearance in dealer showrooms this summer, such as Cobra, GT350, and others. And don't be too surprised if the lighter 2016 model catches on in some unlikely overseas locations. The prosperity of the 1960s that brought Mustang within reach of average American consumers has spread overseas."

-- Doron Levin, Fortune

 

"The few outside Ford who've seen the sixth-gen Mustang seem generally underwhelmed by its looks or impact. No one hates it. Yet, jaded reactions based on short glimpses or photographs shouldn't diminish the next Mustang's significance, because this one is the biggest deal so far -- or at least since America went crazy for the original pony in April 1964. The 2015 Mustang -- we wouldn't be be surprised if, in homage, to the '64 1/2, it is called the 2014 1/2 -- is set to compete in heretofore untested global markets with Ford adding the first right-hand drive factory variant."

-- J.P. Vettraino, Autoweek


"The 2015 is easily recognizable as a Mustang, but there are dramatic chassis, body, interior and drivetrain changes. Planners decided on evolutionary styling to appeal to traditionalists, but adventuresome enough to draw new buyers. The overall effort, according to theme boards at Ford's huge Mustang styling studio [in Dearborn, Mich.], has been to deliver a car seen as:

• "Breaking out," illustrated by a picture of a fist smashing through glass.

• Oozing "power and control," illustrated by the haunches of a muscular jungle cat.

• "Masculine and cool," portrayed on the boards by actor Steve McQueen, a Mustang icon for the chase scene in his movie Bullitt.

That last goal comes as most automakers seek more women buyers, but the masculine emphasis simply acknowledges reality."

-- James R. Healey, USA Today

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