Sixth Gen Mustang GT
Growing up, we had these neighbors with a nice, sweet, elderly spaniel named Daisy. One of the younger kids in that family was obsessed with Daisy’s mortality. He’d introduce her like, “This is Daisy. She’s gonna die.” It was creepy. The thing is, he wasn’t trying to be morbid, and did not grow up to become a serial killer, as far as I know. The kid was just looking forward to getting a new dog. Daisy was a relatively boring dog, due to her advanced age.
It is the year of our Lord 2019, and I have a similar complex about my 2005 Honda Civic EX coupe (Special Edition). The Civic is just like that doe-eyed, gentle, faithful dog. Nothing in particular is wrong – she’s a real sweetheart – but 14 years in (98 in dog years), whenever I’m driving, I’m thinking a lot about what I should get next.
The preceding paragraphs (and dog picture) have all been a round-about way to say, “I’ve begun car-shopping.”
And what a great time for that, because there happens to be a stupendous app for trying cars: Turo! It’s the Air B&B of cars. This means that you don’t have to deal with rental car agencies anymore, and it also means that the variety of cars you can try is much wider. If you’d like to spend some time with a specific car, you can likely find it, and borrow it for a day. Much better than going to dealer and taking a car for a 10 minute test drive while somebody runs your credit!
As such, I have declared 2019 my Year of Car Shopping, and I’m starting my shopping at the most idiotic extreme of the spectrum of new cars I would consider: the sixth generation Ford Mustang GT. This one has a 435hp V8 paired with a manual transmission, and that is the only way I would order a Mustang.
Why I’m interested: The Mustang has rear-wheel drive, and offers the aforementioned manual transmission. That is a very rare configuration in new cars today. I also like the V8 engine, which is mostly unnecessary, but makes loud, silly noises. And the noise isn’t the inconsiderate, car alarm-triggering, “my parents neglected me as a child and deep down I’m still convinced it’s because I’m not good enough” sort of thing that you’ll hear from a Harley-Davidson. Rather, this V8 makes whimsical and enjoyable noises, which I would describe as “Chewbacca expressing a variety of emotions.”
What surprised me: A funny quirk on the Mustang is that the speedometer is not the easiest thing to see at first. It is placed out of sight-line, by speedometer standards. The car is like, “that information simply is not important.” Or maybe I just didn’t spend enough time adjusting the wheel tilt. Another surprise for me was how easy it is to see out of the car. Going from the Civic to anything is usually unpleasant in this particular respect, but for being such a low-slung, Batmobile of a car, the GT’s outward visibility could be a lot worse.
Current socio-political import: The Mustang has been building an online reputation for throwing itself at innocent bystanders. There are many videos of vicious Mustangs diving into other vehicles – or even crowds of humans – at “Cars and Coffee” amateur car-show events. Some people find this phenomenon humorous.
What’s not to like: It’s a Ford and it lets you know it. It has an exterior design that will inevitably look tacky and stale as soon as the next gen comes out. Inside, it has that intangible aura of Made-in-the-USA, Fisher-Price, mediocrity all over it.
A more obvious downside to this type of vehicle is that it has the maneuverability of a pickup truck, with none of the utility. If it were a truck, it would at least be able to haul stuff and drive on trails. Instead, the Mustang gives you a set of completely useless rear seats. Nobody could fit in those. They only waste space and add weight and length, which messes with the handling dynamics. There is no reason, whatsoever, for those “seats” to exist, other than to make the Mustang bigger and dumber.
Where did I get coffee: In homage to Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, I will get coffee with each car I try. For this test drive, I visited one of my favorite coffee shops, Cafe 1134 on beautiful Coronado island. What better way to cross the iconic Coronado bridge than in an iconic American sports car? For those of you unfamiliar with San Diego, the Coronado bridge is supposed to be where Jack Black’s character punts Ron Burgundy’s dog Baxter into the ocean. And come to think of it, the Mustang in 2019 really is the Ron Burgundy of cars! Wow, I just thought of that now. Oh, and the Cafe 1134 is great; the coffee was delicious.
Will I get one: Nope. The Mustang is, sadly, the automotive equivalent of giant, wooden, furniture-style speakers: conspicuously and recently obsolete. A 6th generation Mustang is too crude and expensive to compete with its contemporaries. This is a car with the express purpose of accelerating quickly in a straight line, and yet, the similarly priced and terribly dorky Tesla Model 3 is overwhelmingly better at that exact thing. The roar of a V8 used to signal speed, fun, and rebellion; the rebellion aspect is there as strong as ever, but it is starting to get drowned out by obsolescence and technical inferiority.