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Old 3rd October 2007, 04:01   #1
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Default California cruisin... Part V-The Forest, and a Mustang

On the 18th of August, I rented a car for the first time in the states. At that time the guy told me.
"I am in a good mood, so for just 25$ extra I will give you a mercedes".
Unfortunately at time I was not really confident. I was sure(rightly so) that I would take the car into the oncoming traffic, and turn left at places instead or right.
But soon things changed and after driving 3000+ miles in such a long time in a large spectrum of cars from Jeeps to hybrids, it was time to somehow get something sporty.
So as always I booked the economy car and went to the friendly rental center.
As always I get offered a free upgrade to a midsize.
Now a Ford mustang is the only sportscar in rental-scape which costs as much as a midsize car(infact its cheaper). The base version is 210bhp RWD, which in absolute terms sounds pretty puny, but then its much better than some FWD 170 Avenger, or even a 200+bhp sonata.
As luck would have it, when the rental counter lady tries the parking lot, nobody picks up the walkie talkie, so she walks to the lot.
Over there I see a couple of civics(The car which I would have taken if nothing else was there, Avengers and maybe a charger(A likely candidate, because a RWD is so much fun).
But in all this there are no mustangs.
So I stand there and I am wondering what to take while strolling.
And then there in the corner I see a red one.
Its a red mustang convertible newly washed(they even forgot wipe it after washing, leading to water marks on the windshield).
I say I will take that.
The folks at dollar even waive off the extra 5.99$ LDW, and give me the package just for the price of a "Aveo", which is probably the cheapest car you can rent in california(Actually you have to go to lousy places like Avis to be given an Aveo, most of the times you get a cobalt atleast).

So with the top still up we head over to meet some friends near central calif and then head over to the Yosemite.

To be honest, initially it feels a bit of a disappointment.
Its a 4.0L V6. And it turns out only 210bhp. though the FE is good(22mpg) you don't rent out a mustang for FE, right?
The speedo ends at just 120, though she can go faster, and 0-60mph takes a good 7-8 seconds I think.
But once you get into the twisties, its a different ball game.
Here you get to know why its different from a dodge avenger or a Civic.
So off we went into Yosemite.
At the gates we were told its a free day, so 20$ saved.

It was almost 4pm, and we had just a few hours to enjoy the ride, so why not do with the top down!

The ride was smooth and the sun was bright, but soon my ears were freezing.

First stop was the glacier point. Top was up again. Guess October is not a good month for top down in Yosemite!
Did not see the waterfalls because its the dry season, but the view from glacier point is awesome



Next was the drive to the Yosemite valley through the tunnel.
Again the tunnel viewpoint yielded excellent views



A view from the cockpit


Bridal veil falls had some water atleast

The ride at the parking


Next was the meadows near the central Yosemite valley with visitor center and all




After roaming around and having some food it was time to go back, but not before some night photography



They are some 400 sec+ exposures, should have gone to 20-25 minutes I guess!

It was 10:30 when we started from the valley, and now it was time to cover those 181 miles.
Most of these were on twisties including the Old Priest grade. I had to downshift to gear 1(Mustang is Automatic but gives you 1,2,3 for hill descents).
Even in gear 1 I had to occasionally tap the brakes. Its much much steeper than the 36 hairpin bend road. Imagine 1500+ feet in 2.7 miles!
I guess handling is much more important than pure power, and she did not dissapoint. could do with more back support though!
After a fuel stop and a food stop we were home at 2am.

What a journey. 480 miles in a day. Till date the only journies which have trumped this are the Vegas trip(1300 miles in 3 days) and the LA trip(800 miles 36 hours)!

Due to our schedule we missed most of the park, to really see Yosemite you need to be in the park at 6am, and you need 2 days to see it.
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Old 4th October 2007, 00:25   #2
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Handling and steering apart the Powertrain was a huge disappointment. Downshift happens after an eternity of sending the throttle into the floor. Response in any gear is not worth talking about. My 3.2 litre in-line 6 does better and is more telepathic in its gearchanges although a little harsh.

However regarding the pics of Yosemite, I guess it is better to visit when they still have some ice cover. Mainly early summer.
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Old 4th October 2007, 01:20   #3
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Beautiful pics!! yet another picturesque travelogue..
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Old 4th October 2007, 02:06   #4
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Handling and steering apart the Powertrain was a huge disappointment. Downshift happens after an eternity of sending the throttle into the floor. Response in any gear is not worth talking about. My 3.2 litre in-line 6 does better and is more telepathic in its gearchanges although a little harsh.

However regarding the pics of Yosemite, I guess it is better to visit when they still have some ice cover. Mainly early summer.
In the twisties its fine. Also as long as you don't really push to real insane speeds the power and downshifting is adequate. But its a Ford, expecting anything more would be foolhardy
The dodge avenger which is a midsize has quicker downshifts and can hit hundred in a similar time.
I guess you can't really match a Nissan/Toyota/Honda/Hyundai.
Have driven cars from all 4 in the US, and they were more precise and responsive than the big block ones.


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Beautiful pics!! yet another picturesque travelogue..
Thanks Nitin
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Old 4th October 2007, 07:33   #5
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Thats one great pic.
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Old 4th October 2007, 08:28   #6
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Nice pictures again. and a lovely car too.
cheers
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Old 4th October 2007, 11:42   #7
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A Mustang this time...wonder whatz coming next. Keep them coming
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Old 4th October 2007, 12:05   #8
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To be honest, initially it feels a bit of a disappointment.
Its a 4.0L V6. And it turns out only 210bhp.
I don't know if you have noticed this, but most of automatic driven rental cars tend to adjust to the driving style. I suspect there is some algorithm in the ECU which tunes according to the drivers style. So if the car has been used by a soft pedaller than during initial miles of your usage, you will feel that the car is sluggish (if you are lead footed) but later after sometime you feel that car has become more responsive.

I noticed this while I used to rent cars when in Tucson, AZ, where traffic is really slow moving and people accelerate very slowly. After some time, I was able to confirm this when one of my colleague (relatively aggressive style as compared to me) drove my car for sometime in city traffic, suddenly the car had become more responsive and I could notice it as I was using it before and after he drove. Later the car returned to its normal when I used it for few miles.

May be some of the gurus on this forum can shed some light on this thing.
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Old 4th October 2007, 22:44   #9
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Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
A Mustang this time...wonder whatz coming next. Keep them coming
Noida next

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepaktpatil View Post
I don't know if you have noticed this, but most of automatic driven rental cars tend to adjust to the driving style. I suspect there is some algorithm in the ECU which tunes according to the drivers style. So if the car has been used by a soft pedaller than during initial miles of your usage, you will feel that the car is sluggish (if you are lead footed) but later after sometime you feel that car has become more responsive.

I noticed this while I used to rent cars when in Tucson, AZ, where traffic is really slow moving and people accelerate very slowly. After some time, I was able to confirm this when one of my colleague (relatively aggressive style as compared to me) drove my car for sometime in city traffic, suddenly the car had become more responsive and I could notice it as I was using it before and after he drove. Later the car returned to its normal when I used it for few miles.

May be some of the gurus on this forum can shed some light on this thing.
She behaved the same way all the time.
Which I would say is good.
But when you see that its actually a 4L V6 which pumps out only 210bhp, you are dissapointed.
I mean if I want more horsepower, I would get a sonata V6 or a Civic.
A Ford mustang is supposed to be better than these cars in pure muscle.

That said 210 to rear wheels in unpaved parking lots is whooooooooopppppeeeee
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