I drive a lot of different cars, so it’s no surprise that friends and family members often ask me about my favorites. With the surprising fleet of new vehicles available today, picking a winner – one that stands out above all the rest – can be a challenge. It’s not enough to choose the quickest or most luxurious and name it the best. There’s so much more to a good car, especially for a family guy like me. If I can’t put my kids in it, I’m limited in how I can use a vehicle in everyday life. A good vehicle has to be well-rounded to even be considered. Then it has to be excellent in other ways to stand out. In the following 2014 Ford Mustang GT review, I’ll tell you why that car is among the best I’ve recently driven.
This may just be the last “classic” ‘Stang, since the 2015 model that arrives next year is likely to depart radically from the throwback design of the current generation. The new model may impress me more than this one, but that would come as a surprise to this driver. This is the swan song of the Mustang’s fifth generation, which stretches from 2005 to 2014. It will be the one that collectors want 30 years from now, thanks to styling that harks back to the original Mustang that wowed enthusiasts from its introduction in 1964 and throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. The 2014 Mustang GT is a real muscle car, a real pony car. It looks mean, sounds mean, and it hauls ass. It’s one bad machine, and everyone who sees it, car enthusiast or not, knows that at a glance.
I’m not yet sure what the next-gen Mustang will look like, although I’ll probably find out early next year when it debuts on or around the model’s 50th anniversary. But all indications suggest that its interior and exterior design will be far more modern than this 2014 model’s. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; automotive design must move forward. But I dig the old-school styling of this car, especially on the inside. The gauges use a condensed font that reminds the driver of early Mustangs. The center stack includes no touchscreen display, using knobs and buttons instead. Those touchscreen interfaces are supposed to be simple. The 2014 Mustang GT makes a case for the older way of controlling functions like audio and ventilation. No menus here. Just turn the fan down, crank up the road-trip music (may I recommend Credence Clearwater Revival?) and let the naturally-aspirated V8 rip.
And rip it does. Sure, turbochargers are cool. Squeezing 100 or more horsepower per liter from a downsized, forced-induction engine is compelling, and Ford’s EcoBoost motors do it well. But driving the 2014 Mustang GT, with its 420 horsepower and 390 lb-ft torque, is exhilarating in a way that’s increasingly rare. Power is always available. Acceleration comes quickly, almost irrespective of vehicle or engine speed. The short-throw lever for the six-speed manual transmission has excellent feel, precisely sliding from gear to gear with none of the slop that plagues other Mustangs I’ve driven. With a $2,495 optional GT Track package fitted to the test car, this Mustang handles better than any I’ve experienced, too, thanks in part to 19-inch wheels and 255-series summer rubber. Even the electrically-assisted power steering is precise. And optional Recaros fitted to the test car and priced at $1,595 keep the driver nicely planted in spirited driving.
All this for a touch over $40,000, and I can still get the kids in the back. Sure, their high-back booster seats listed toward the center in the divided rear seats. But apparently the 2014 Ford Mustang GT delivered a ride compliant enough for a nap. It’s one of the all-around best new cars I’ve driven lately. If your requirements from a car are anything like mine, consider the Mustang. But get it soon. The last classic ‘Stang won’t be around forever.