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Old 8th February 2010, 01:14   #1
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Default 2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report

I currently own a Mustang V6 automatic which very recently turned 80,000 miles (1,28,000 Km) old and I thought I'd pen down a short report. I am not much of a writer, so please bear with me. I am also a stingy guy and don't own a digital camera (I do finally have a Panasonic ZS3 on order). So, I couldn't take pictures for you guys but I will upload some random shots that I have on my laptop from way back when.

My brother originally purchased this car new in June 2005, a few months after the then-latest S197 Mustang (S197 is the code name for the 2005-2009 Mustang body style) was launched. I was in India back then and I advised him to buy one with a manual transmission but he said that “People here prefer automatics”. I was like, “Why do you care? I thought you were an enthusiast”. He didn't relent and went ahead with the automatic. I had no idea that I would go on to own it one day. Well, at least, he didn't get a stereotype-confirming Toyota Corolla.

This particular example is a Mustang Premium, and in addition to the standard features, it came equipped with leather seats, rear spoiler, polished aluminum wheels, wheel locks, ABS (no, this was not standard in 2005), traction control, power driver seat and Mustang decals which run along the bottom on both sides. It cost $24,500 in California, out the door inclusive of taxes.

2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-img_0005.jpg

Under the long hood is a 4 liter V6 making 210 hp at 5250 rpm and 240 lb-ft (325 Nm) at 3500 rpm. The specific output of 52.5 hp/liter is only 52.5 more than that of my bed, but who cares. The 5 speed automatic propels this ~3400 pound (1550 kg) car from 0 - 60 mph (0 – 97 kph) in 6.9 seconds, through the quarter mile in the mid -15s, and from 0 – 100 mph (0 – 161 kph) in 19 seconds. Not really fast by American standards, but definitely by mine.

Anyway, fast forward to August 2006

I land at the Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ on an Air India flight and will be spending one night at my brother's place before continuing my journey the next day. We go to the parking lot at the airport with 2 big suitcases and a couple of smaller ones. It was a cool, clear summer night and there it was standing all alone in, what Ford calls, Screaming Yellow. It looked magnificent.

File photo:
2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-optimizedimg_4130.jpg

By now, it had more than 20,000 miles on and was largely stock except for the exhaust, which was replaced with a Magnaflow unit from the rear axle back. It sounded really nice when he stepped on it at every opportunity, even though it was supposed to be one of the quietest aftermarket exhausts for the Mustang (Quiet is relative, generally speaking it was pretty loud). Manufacturers of such free flow exhausts claim increases of up to 5 hp in the power output but I doubt you could feel such a tiny power increase when we are talking of 200+ hp.

That day, I learnt that the Mustang's rear seats can accommodate 2 large suitcases and a guy like me – all of 5'6” - in relative comfort. To brighten up the black dashboard, my brother bought aluminum inserts which were pre-cut for the Mustang interiors and stuck them on at various places. You can see some of it below.

2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-optimizedimg_2426.jpg

For ICE, he replaced the stock MP3 player with an Apline unit, an amplifier and twin sub-woofers in the trunk, without which the trunk can hold at least one of the previously mentioned large suitcases.

Fast forward to September 2007

I was fed up of life without a car and was contemplating suicide, when my brother, now back in California, decided to upgrade to a 335i and give me the Mustang. Awesome, you just saved my life, bro.

Before shipping me the car, the transmission and other fluids were changed, air and fuel filters were replaced and the brake rotors and pads were replaced with non-Ford units (Total: $700). By now, the car was also out of the 3yr/36000 mile warranty. The only problems my brother faced was a malfunctioning fuel tank – on rare occasions, the fuel auto shut off was getting triggered before the tank was full and Ford took care of it under warranty by replacing the fuel tank – and warped brake rotors due to normal wear and tear. He got the rotors repaired once and when the problem resurfaced again, he got the rotors changed.

After a 7 day $900 cross-country trip on an open truck, the car was delivered to my town of Raleigh, NC on September 14, 2007. I made the payment to the transporter and got in the car for the short drive home. The odometer read 43,699 miles. I remember thinking to myself - this is where my journey begins.

2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-optimizedimg_2566.jpg

I came to a semi-hard stop as I was about to take the left into my neighborhood. I got on the gas. The revs rised but there was no drive. I am all too familiar with this dreadful feeling from my Pulsar days. A false neutral. But in an automatic? After a second or two, it jammed into gear and took off with a chirp from the rear tires. I faced this a few times the next day, while taking off after harder than normal stops. I did some research online and asked a few questions on forums. It appeared that this was because of too little transmission fluid. But hey, we just got it changed! I talked to the guy in California who replaced the fluid and he recommended me a shop in NC to try and fill it up with more fluid. Our guess was right. The transmission took in almost a liter of more fluid. I took it out for a spin and braked hard enough to activate the ABS and immediately got on the gas. No problem. When the fluid level was low, it was sloshing around in the container on hard stops and the transmission was left fishing for gears when it tried to downshift.

A couple of months later, the car refused to start. I guessed this was because of a dead battery. I went to Autozone, bought a new battery for $80 and installed it. It started on first crank. 45,000 miles sounded a little too less for the life of a battery but I attributed it to the amplifier and sub-woofers.

Let me talk about the insides of the car now.

The design of the interior, just like the exterior, tries to mimic the Mustangs of yore. The shape of the speed and rev dials, the tall slightly difficult-to-read font, the dip at the top of the dashboard, the design of the steering wheel all have their roots in older Mustangs. My favorite part of the interior is the round A/C dials surrounded with chrome. They look neat and very easy to operate, when you need to change the direction of the airflow or if you want to close them.

2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-optimizedimg_2425.jpg

The driver's seat is 6-way power adjustable and coupled with the rake-adjustable steering wheel, it is easy to find a good driving position. The seats lack great lateral support but I never had any back or other pains even after 10 hour-long drives. The passenger seat is low and not adjustable for height. Shorter passengers always complain they can't look out the windshield. But I don't give a damn about passengers. I just wish they shut up and sleep. And sleeping is something that comes very easily to most of them, because America's monotonous highways coupled with the low speed limits are notorious for putting even the most ardent driving enthusiast to sleep.

Outward visibility is good and the large electrically operated rear view mirrors are terrific with almost no blind spots. If a car disappears from the mirror, you can always spot it out of the corner of the eye. But it's a good idea to check the blind spots anyway. The only negative of such large mirrors is that the one on the left blocks your view when you are trying to take a left turn onto a downhill stretch.

2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-optimizedimg_2471.jpg

The rear seats are pretty comfortable as long as you are not more than 5'9”. It is almost impossible to fit in 3 at the rear because of the transmission tunnel that runs through the middle of the floor.

Sometime in mid-2008, when the car had about 55,000 miles on the clock, I finally decided to replace the original tires – 215/65 BFGoodriches – and the original 16” wheels. I got a good deal on eBay for wheels and tires taken off from a new Mustang GT – 235/55 all season ultra-high performance Pirelli PZeros on 17” OEM wheels – all for $700 including taxes and shipping. I also sold my old 16 inch alloys for $100 to a local mechanic. The car now runs a lot quieter and has noticeably more grip – there is a sharp curve on my daily commute where my old tires started to squeal at a little under 50 mph, but the new ones didn't squeal even at 55 mph. I didn't try to go faster lest I should disappear into the trees.


Before:
2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-img_0003.jpg

Now:
2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-optimizedimg_2306.jpg

Early last year, the Magnaflow exhaust developed an incurable rattling noise at 800 rpm. This was very irritating in stop and go traffic and I replaced it with a $190 unit from Flowmaster. The new one lacks the bass of the old, but is slightly louder and meaner. I like this one better.

The drive

I absolutely adore the torque off the line and the ease with which it gathers speed from a stop on half-throttle. It is always eager to jump on throttle application in the first two gears. Upshifts on wide-open-throttle take place at the 5750 rpm redline and they are smooth and fast. You can also choose to shift manually between 1, 2, 3 and D using the gear lever. Unlike some other automatics, 3 here means just 3. It does not use first and second when in 3 (the same goes for 1 and 2). Using manual shifts, you can hit the 6000 rpm rev limit if you want to but it takes longer than ideal to shift.

2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-optimizedimg_2567.jpg

When cruising in D mode, you need to use a fair bit of the throttle pedal travel to make the tranny downshift even one gear. As a result, the engine moos like a hungry cow when you are already at speed and want to accelerate a little. And, I haven't driven many automatic cars, but this transmission got to have one of the slowest kickdowns in history. At certain speeds, it takes a full 2 seconds to kickdown from 5th to 3rd or 2nd after you go pedal to metal. This is pretty easy to get used to but it hurts you when you find yourself in the middle of a street race. The other guy invariably pulls two car lengths on you by the time you kickdown. But make no mistake, once it pulls up its skirt, it gallops, screaming all the way to its 114 mph speed governor.

A cold air intake and a tune for $600 is supposed to really wake my car up and cure the tranny of the slow responses but I was always too lazy to get this done. This summer, maybe.

The steering wheel is an inch too large for my tastes but it is fairly direct and quick. It is not as tight as a BMW's but nowhere near as light as a Camry's. The suspension seems to be tuned more for ride than handling, but again, it does not glide over potholes like a Camry, for example. But it is not too hard either and is very comfortable for long drives on America's highways. The brakes lack a little bit of initial bite but they are more than adequate for every day driving.

I have driven it in all kinds of weather and it is not even close to un-drivable in snow. I haven't driven FWDs and AWDs in snow, but I can't imagine them to be that much better in the kind of snow I get to drive on (a few inches). It always starts on the first attempt even in -10c weather. I don't even let it warm up. I start driving right away because I am always late for work.

Snow:
2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-img_0001.jpg

I will not speak too much about the looks because the pictures are plastered all over the internet (and because this review has gotten long to the point of ridiculousness). All I will say is that, as I walk to my car every morning and I approach it from the side, it always brings a smile to my face. It also gets one compliment from females about once every two months.

The only regular maintenance it receives is oil changes every 4000 miles for 30 bucks. Oh, and I almost forgot, it returns about 20 mpg on average (8.5 kpl)

2005 Mustang V6 80,000 mile report-img_0065.jpg

My baby has never been babied. Redlined at least 4 times a day, every single day, for 80,000 miles. Zero issues. I love it.

Last edited by tacho : 8th February 2010 at 01:15.
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Old 8th February 2010, 01:41   #2
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The Mustang is one of the most sturdiest car I've ever driven. It's a beauty.
Beautiful ride you've got. One of my favorite color.
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Old 8th February 2010, 02:12   #3
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Smile Wonderful review !!

Very nice review , makes me want this Pony even more now . Simply awesome machine .
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Old 8th February 2010, 06:04   #4
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Thanks guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
Very nice review , makes me want this Pony even more now . Simply awesome machine .
If you are serious about the Mustang, you should try your hardest to wait for the 2011 Mustangs. I am guessing they are no more than 6-8 months away, at least here in the US. The 305 hp Mustang V6 might very well turn out to be the fastest car in the world under $25k and the GT will be pretty close to the current GT500. But I keep reading that Ford will not keep the GT500 as is.
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Old 8th February 2010, 09:33   #5
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I used to drive 2008 Mustang (red one) AT & it had saved my life from a 18 wheeler , it makes you feel like you're lying down on the road. What I felt amazing was the sheer acceleration the moment you press the gas pedal, it never bogs down, never thinks, at any point of time & at any speed you can feel the torque. Beautiful beast.
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Old 8th February 2010, 09:47   #6
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Amazing car and great long review.

I seriously agree on your point of ridiculously boring higways as my first long drive when i was being dropped off from MD to NC i fell asleep as soon as we touched virginia! Boring!

Can mustangs be hired at the car rentals as it would be awesome!
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Old 8th February 2010, 09:54   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
Can mustangs be hired at the car rentals as it would be awesome!
Why not? I'd a rental Mustang from Hertz
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Old 26th February 2010, 01:25   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post

Can mustangs be hired at the car rentals as it would be awesome!
I have rented Mustangs with Enterprise quite a few times. However they won't rent you a convertible Mustang if you are under 25 (I was 24 when I rented a Mustang for the first time and had to settle down for a hard top).
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Old 28th February 2010, 19:40   #9
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Dude, you have a great style of writing. It's like your free-flow exhaust, smooth and flowing. Give us more!
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Old 28th February 2010, 20:07   #10
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Nice review tacho. I see two different sets of alloys. IMO, the one in the 4th pic suits the car better.
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Old 28th February 2010, 20:21   #11
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Great review from the heart of a an mustang enthusiast
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Old 1st March 2010, 00:12   #12
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From a pulsar to a Mustang you are one lucky Indian and i really envy you.Drive safe buddy and enjoy the car.Can you post pics/videos of the exhaust.
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Old 1st March 2010, 01:34   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacho View Post
My baby has never been babied. Redlined at least 4 times a day, every single day, for 80,000 miles. Zero issues. I love it.
That's the best part! I really love the Mustang for what it represents: an affordable sports car for the young at heart and young in age!
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Old 1st March 2010, 04:05   #14
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Very well written review tacho. I wish the Mustang was sold in India.. And wow what an upgrade - from a pulsar straight to a Mustang
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:39   #15
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very well written! Mustang looks so cool in that yellow, it's one of my dream cars, put some more pictures. Drive safe!
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