They say things that make you uncomfortable are really just growth opportunities, but whoever said that didn’t understand the disdain I, the editor of LSX Magazine, posses for Mustangs. Many have told me my views are short-sighted and a prime example of manufacturer bandwagoning but it is what it is. Many have similar views on the difference between lesser things, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi (you just said which is better in your head just now).
But the truth is, I’ve never even driven a Mustang. Not until Horsepower Wars: Pony Wars that is. My intense love for all things General Motors was enough to never put me behind the wheel of one in my life. Well, the guys here at Power Automedia decided that needed to change before we got to testing our 2017 Camaro SS and Mustang GT. So, I begrudgingly agreed and slid behind the wheel of my first pony.
If you’re thinking this is the part where I magically decide that my decades of bias were unfounded and I had a come-to-Jesus moment, then you’re going to be sorely mistaken. While I do, in fact, dislike Mustangs very much, I can admit that it is a capable platform and it’s V8 and American, so it can’t be all that bad. But that, unfortunately, is where my concessions end.
While I tried to set my bias aside, I found myself coming back to the things I disliked about the 2017 Mustang more often than not. The suspension seems well sorted, though soft compared to the Camaro’s magnetic ride suspension, and the power delivery was linear and smooth, if a little peaky for my taste. The seats were actually the highlight of my experience. They were well bolstered and comfortable, striking the perfect balance between sporty and comfortable. There, I said something good about it.
I found the “Ground Speed” label on the speedometer to be pretentious and the 6R80 transmission was a lumbering oaf searching for gears when power was demanded. Compared to the Camaro’s lightning-quick shifts from the 8L90, this was a serious let down for not just me but several of the Mustang crew. Visibility is superior to the Camaro and the seating position is more upright and higher in the car. This makes the car easier to drive, but I for one am not looking for something easy to drive when selecting a modern muscle machine.
I want something that makes me feel special when I sit in it. Something that feels like it demands your attention, if not a little skill, to pilot correctly. The Mustang’s steering was my biggest dislike. Even in its heaviest setting, it felt too light and made the car twitchy and erratic. The slightest input would unsettle the car and that’s not exactly what you desire in something you may be pouring through corners at triple-digit speeds in.
Overall, the experience was entirely pedestrian and about what I expected. I’m sure many of you will have qualms about what I’ve said here, but take it for what it is. I am a GM fanboy through and through and even I found a few things to like about the Mustang, so that’s got to be worth something, right? The highest compliment I find myself capable of making is that I think it will be a worthy competitor to the Camaro once we start modifying them. But here, in stock form, I think Mustang fans are in for a lot of disappointments.
I did end up doing something in the Mustang that I never thought I would, but you’re going to have to tune in to the next episode of Pony Wars when we baselines these cars to find out what that is. But let’s just say it has something to do with me driving the Mustang a second time.