2013 Mustang shows refinement
By JEFF TAYLOR For Sun-Times Media June 13, 2012 5:21PM
2013 Ford Mustang
Engine: 305 horsepower 3.7-liter V-6, 420 horsepower 5.0-liter V-8
Transmission: six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with select shift
Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 19 city/31 highway- automatic V-6; 18 city/25 highway-automatic V-8
Base price: $22,895 V-6; $30,995 V-8
As tested: not available
Updated: July 18, 2012 12:33PM
As Mustang approaches its 50th anniversary the original pony car looks and performs better than ever — especially in GT guise. I recently tested the 2013 Mustangs and the changes are more refinement than revolutionary.
After the styling change for 2010, and huge performance revision for 2011, Ford elected to make some changes again. Visually, the Mustang looks very similar to the Shelby Mustang with standard LED lighting complementing HID headlights and a very Shelby-like GT500 grille.
The domed hood now features functional heat extractor vents, while the side rocker panels are now body color and there are several new wheel designs (17-inch to 19-inch). A new feature I really like are the new puddle lamps that project the Mustang horse logo on the pavement when the door is unlocked.
The biggest exterior change (for both V-6 and GT cars), are the segment exclusive sequential LED taillights that illuminate (without dot pattern) when you brake or flash sequentially when you use turn signals. The rear panel is gloss-black with body color accents that give the Mustang a more aggressive/custom look.
Pop the door open and the interior looks a bit more premium with the availability of great fitting leather or cloth Recaro sport seats and material improvements. Interior dimensions are the same from 2012 (read: rear passengers are an afterthought).
Behind the wheel you’ll notice a new 4.2-inch color display screen with nice graphics that enable you to monitor performance like g-forces, acceleration times for quarter-mile and 0-60, braking times, complete with automatic and countdown drag racing style.
For the techies there are premium audio options, and the SYNC AppLink, which is a factory-installed feature on Mustang. AppLink is the free software program that gives SYNC users voice control of apps stored on their smartphone.
The changes for 2013 are more than skin deep, as GT models get a horsepower bump from 412 to 420 hp, via some hardware and tuning borrowed from the Boss 302. Transmission choices still include a standard six-speed manual with its smooth transitions and penchant for aggressive shifts.
A majority of drivers will select the optional automatic transmission featuring Ford’s SelectShift control. The Select Shift is a cool feature, which allows you to select and hold a gear via a rocker switch located on the side of the shifter. If you select and hold a gear, a computer override shift does not kick in. I prefer the sweet manual, but the bolstered automatic is a good compromise for everyday commutes.
During one rain-slickened drive, the 2013 Mustangs I tested did not feel or behave any differently than the 2012 model — and that’s not all bad. The Mustang’s lighter weight (compared to Camaro and Challenger), permits more nimble and aggressive handling, and the around town manners are good.
If you were hoping for an IRS set up unfortunately Ford stuck with the tried-and-true three-link solid rear axle. The safety net stability control remains allowing a little slip before it kicks in — unless you switch it off.
One of the Mustang’s standout out driving features, especially for a performance car, is the selectable electronic power assist steering (EPAS) system Ford’s engineers developed. The EPS is one of the best electric steering systems available and provides plenty of feedback, the right amount of resistance in all situations and really inspires command of the road.
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