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2010 Ford Mustang Preview

2010 Ford Mustang Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009

Critical Knowledge:
  • Revised exterior and interior styling
  • Improved interior materials
  • More sound deadening material to reduce interior noise
  • V-8 horsepower up from 300 to 315
  • More safety features
  • New technology features
  • Improved handling
  • Standard stability control
  • On sale spring 2009
Introduction
When it was released as a 1964_ model, the Ford Mustang was the first American pony car. In fact, the term "pony car" was inspired by the Mustang's name and iconic badge. In an era when midsize and full-size cars went fast in a straight line, but didn't want to go around corners, the Mustang handled well by 1960s standards and offered V-8 power in a lightweight package. Rivals such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird and Dodge Challenger came and went, but the Mustang soldiered on without production interruptions. Now, 45 years after its debut, the Mustang once again faces a challenge from a reborn Dodge Challenger and the soon-to-be-released 2010 Chevy Camaro. Not to be left behind, Ford is updating the Mustang for 2010.

Last redesigned for the 2005 model year, the Mustang gets new exterior sheetmetal, an upgraded interior, improved ride and handling, and more power from the available V-8 engine for 2010. Coupe and convertible body styles return, as does the optional fixed glass roof panel for the coupe. Like the 2009 model, the 2010 Mustang will have 2+2 seating with a small back seat and V-6 or V-8 power. Electronic stability control becomes standard, and a rearview camera is offered for the first time.

For more information:Model Lineup
Ford has not yet announced trim levels, but consumers can expect V-6 and GT models to return, each with Deluxe or Premium trim. If history serves as an indicator, the Mustang V-6 Deluxe will come with cloth upholstery; air conditioning; tilt steering wheel; cruise control; driver's seat height adjustment; power windows/locks/mirrors; remote keyless entry; AM/FM/CD stereo; and with bigger-for-2009 17-inch alloy wheels. The GT Deluxe should add a power driver's seat, rear spoiler, fog lights and 18-inch wheels. The Premium V-6 will likely have a leather-wrapped steering wheel; power driver's seat; 6-disc CD changer; Sirius satellite radio; and an 8-speaker Shaker 500 Audio system. The GT Premium should add leather upholstery to the Premium V-6 equipment.

Ford hasn't announced if the V-6 Pony, California Special, Bullitt or Shelby GT500 models will return, but the company has revealed two new option packages. The GT Track Package will come with performance front brake pads, 3.73 axle ratio, and a recalibrated stability control system that allows more tire slip before activating, the company says. The GT Track Package II will be available after the Mustang's initial launch. It will include performance front and rear brake pads; stabilizer bars and rear lower control arms from the Shelby GT500; retuned struts and shocks; 19-inch Pirelli summer performance tires; 3.73 axle ratio with carbon plates in the differential; and new calibrations for the stability control, traction control and anti-lock braking systems. Other new-for-2009 options include a navigation system, rearview camera, and the next generation of Ford's Sync entertainment and communication system.

Design
According to Ford, the new body design will reduce the Mustang's coefficient of drag by four percent on V-6 models and seven percent on GTs. Front aerodynamic lift will also be improved by 37 percent on V-6s and 23 percent on GTs. Ford says the improvements to front aerodynamic lift will improve steering feedback and instill more driver confidence at higher speeds.

All of the Mustang's exterior sheetmetal, except for the fast-back roofline, will be new for 2010, though the overall look will be quite similar to the outgoing Mustang. Up front, the grille and front fascia will be different for V-6 and GT models. Both grilles will have a trapezoidal look, but the GT will incorporate inset fog lights and have a black trim surround. Ford says the headlight and turn signal units take on a look inspired by the 1970 Mustang, while on the sides, the rear fenders gain a rear character "hip" line that suggests forward motion. At the rear, the 2010 Mustang features a new taillight design with sequentially firing LED lamps.

Inside, the Mustang will keep a retro look while adding a new one-piece instrument panel design with a soft-touch Thermoplastic Olefin skin, aluminum-finish panels and chromed-ringed gauges. Interior noise will also be reduced thanks to additional sound-deadening material.

Hardware
Lessons learned from the Mustang Bullitt and Shelby GT programs have been applied to the base GT's V-8 engine. For 2010, the GT's 4.6-liter, single-overhead cam, 3-valve V-8 engine will make 315 hp at 6000 rpm and 325 lb.-ft. of torque at 4250 rpm versus the outgoing GT's 300 hp at 5750 rpm and 320 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm. The revised V-8's 6500-rpm redline is also 250 revolutions higher. The additional horsepower comes from a Ford Racing-inspired open-element air cleaner mounted in a sealed airbox behind the driver's side headlight. Ford says this intake takes in cooler air to help the engine create more horsepower.

By comparison, however, the Mustang's V-8 will have less power than the base V-8s offered in the Dodge Challenger and the Chevrolet Camaro. The Challenger's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 produces 376 hp when paired with a manual transmission, but the Challenger is some 10 inches longer and weighs almost 400 pounds more than the Mustang. The Camaro's 6.2-liter V-8 is expected to make 422 hp when ordered with a manual transmission, and the Chevy's size and weight should be more in line with the Mustang.

Speaking of the Camaro, its standard V-6 engine is likely to generate 300 hp, almost as much as the Mustang GT's V-8 and 90 more ponies than the 4.0-liter V-6 engine that will be under the hood of the base Mustang. With 210 hp at 5300 rpm and 240 lb.-ft. of torque at 3500 rpm, the Ford is down in power compared to the Camaro and the Challenger, the latter of which is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine making 250 hp and 250 lb.-ft. of torque.

Both of the Mustang's engines can be paired with a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Both also get half-inch larger exhaust tips, growing to 3.5 inches for the GT and 3 inches for the base V-6. Fuel-economy numbers haven't been announced, but they should be about the same as the 2009 figures for both the V-6 and GT. Those numbers are 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway for the V-6 engine with the manual transmission; 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the V-6 engine with the automatic transmission; 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the GT with the manual transmission; and 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway for the GT with the automatic transmission.

While the Mustang's platform continues unchanged, Ford says the ride quality, steering and handling will be improved thanks to retuned shocks, springs and stabilizer bars. Wheel-and-tire combinations will be one inch bigger across the board, ranging from 17 to 19 inches. Mustang GTs equipped with the 19s will also get a tower-to-tower structural brace, first used on the 2008 Mustang Bullitt, to add torsional and lateral stiffness to the chassis, Ford says.

Safety
Safety features should remain mostly unchanged for the 2010 Mustang, with the notable addition of standard electronic stability control (ESC). Other standard safety equipment should include dual front air bags; seat-mounted front side air bags; tire-pressure monitor; anti-lock brakes; traction control; and ESC. Ford says the 2010 Mustang will be engineered to maintain its current government safety ratings.

In testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Mustang coupes and convertibles have received 5-star ratings for the driver and front passenger in frontal impact tests. Both body styles have also received a 5-star side-impact rating for the driver and a 5-star rollover resistance rating. The convertible has been awarded 5 stars for rear side-impact protection, while the coupe received 4 stars in this test. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2009 Mustang convertible has earned an "Acceptable" rating for frontal offset crash protection, a "Good" rating for side-impact protection, and a "Poor" rating for rear crash protection. The IIHS has not tested the Mustang coupe.

Technology
The 2010 Ford Mustang will add an available rearview camera. It will be incorporated into the rear spoiler and will show an image of objects behind the vehicle on the navigation system screen when the car is in Reverse. Ford will also offer its MyColor lighting system, which allows drivers to pick one of 125 colors for the instrument panel and ambient lighting. Ford's next-generation Sync system adds 911 Assist and the ability to request Vehicle Health Reports (VHRs). In the event of an accident with air bag deployment, 911 Assist automatically places a call to the local 911 operator, provided a paired, operating cell phone is in the car. Drivers can cancel the call within a 10-second window and communicate with the 911 operator after the system plays a pre-recorded message. Preferences for the new Vehicle Health Reports can be set up at www.syncmyride.com, and customers can request the reports through the Sync system when a paired, operating cell phone is in the vehicle. The VHRs are sent via text message or e-mail, and customers can schedule service online. Owners can also have Sync prompt them to run VHRs at mileage intervals that coincide with their vehicles' maintenance schedules.

For more information:
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