Test Drive: 2010 Ford Mustang V6

It's a Mixed Bag of New Features and Same Ole Same Ole

2010 V6 Ford Mustang
2010 V6 Ford Mustang. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

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When it comes to the Ford Mustang, the V6 model remains Ford's best seller. Why? Well, many find the car to be a better economic value than the more expensive GT and Shelby models; especially those seeking style and flair without a big V8 engine. The V6 also gets slightly better gas mileage than its GT counterpart. But how does it stack up out on the road? $20,995 base, $27,430 as tested, EPA fuel economy 16 MPG city, 24 MPG highway automatic, 18 MPG city, 26 MPG highway manual.

First Glance: Plenty of New Features for 2010

Upon first glance, the V6 Premium package Kona Blue Metallic Mustang immediately grabbed my attention. As I eased myself into the car, I noticed its Saddle Leather Interior, featuring a ton of goodies such as heated seats, Shaker 500 audio system, along with power windows, mirrors, and a 6-way power driver’s seat. No doubt, my test car was fully loaded. The ride was also equipped with Ford’s new Advancetrac traction control system, along with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a leather wrapped steering wheel, and new optional automatic headlamp controls.

As for looks, put a 2009 Mustang and a 2010 Mustang side-by-side and you’ll notice immediate differences. The 2010 model features a completely revised exterior as well as a revamped interior. New features include things like Ford’s SYNC system, a new center console, Ford’s Easy Fuel Capless Filler system, and stereo controls conveniently located on the steering wheel.

Unlike the GT model with its 15 additional horsepower, the 4.0L V6 engine goes unchanged for the new model year. According to Ford, its engine produces around 210 hp at 5,300 rpm and 240 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm. Gas mileage has improved one MPG on the manual V6 model in city driving. The previous V6 manual achieved 17 MPG, while the 2010 model pushes this number to 18.

Of note, both the GT and the V6 feature larger exhaust tips in the rear. The single exhaust on the V6 has increased from 3-inches to 3 ½ inches in length.

In the Driver's Seat: Many Interior Improvements

I’ve owned many Mustangs over the years, both V6 and V8 models. In fact, I currently have a 2008 V6 in my stable of Mustangs. No doubt, the car is dependable. That said, I feel confident saying the 2010 interior features many improvements over the previous model’s interior. I’m talking about the ability to change radio stations by simply pressing a button on the steering wheel. Even better, the voice activated SYNC system lets you call out commands without having to take your eyes off of the road. I found this to be extremely convenient while driving through rush hour traffic. It definitely adds a new layer of safety.

I also admired the Saddle Leather interior seats, which felt more comfortable than the leather seats in my 2008 V6 Mustang. Most noticeable was a reduction in interior noise. For a moment I thought I was riding in a sedan. Road noise in the 2010 V6 Mustang has definitely been reduced.

Unfortunately, rear passenger space in the back seats is just as cramped as ever (from 30.3 inches in 2009 to 29.8 inches rear-leg room in 2010).

In fact, I’d feel bad putting anyone I liked back there for more than a short jaunt to the store and back. I also found the placement of the dash display buttons a bit awkward. Previously these buttons were to the right of the display. On the 2010 model, you’ll find them on the left of the display directly below the headlight switch. Maybe it's just a matter of me getting used to them being on the opposite side.

On the Road: Road Noise is Reduced

There’s no doubt Ford’s 4.0L V6 engine has some pep to it. That said, this is not a big boy V8. If you’re looking for rumble and neck snapping acceleration, look elsewhere. If you seek a well balanced ride, the V6 should make your list.

As mentioned before, the first thing I noticed while behind the wheel of the 2010 V6 Mustang was a reduction in road noise.

The car, which happened to be a 5-speed automatic, is quieter than before.

Unfortunately, there appeared to be a bit more body roll in the 2010 V6 I tested when compared to the 2009 model. At first I thought it might be due to a change in ride height, although the 2010 model sits approximately 55.6 inches tall while the 2009 model is 55.4-inches. Let’s face it, that’s not a noticeable difference at all. Why then, did the 2010 model have more body roll? With a rear-stabilizer bar as standard equipment, I expected less body roll. In all, Ford says they have improved the suspension system on the 2010 car for a better overall ride. This is definitely noticeable in the GT model.

All-in-all, driving the V6 was enjoyable. It’s not a power horse. Then again, it wasn’t designed to be. The car did maneuver through heavy LA traffic for a week with no issues. Braking was adequate, acceleration was fast enough and, aside from the slight body roll complaint, the car handled nicely. The interior refinements inside the car also made for a truly enjoyable driving experience. What was my favorite feature? The Easy Fuel Capless Filler system which had me in and out of the gas station in less than 3 minutes (yes, I was counting).

Journey's End: Interior Refinements Made all the Difference

In the past year I've driven the 2010 GT Mustang, Shelby GT500, and now the V6. As with each model, I think Ford made some great improvements when designing the 2010 Mustang. Of these improvements, the ones that stand out most in my mind after driving the V6 are interior refinements coupled with new exterior features.

The V6's powertrain didn't have me writing home to Mom, but its interior sure did. For me it was all about the new creature comforts. Traction control is enhanced, filling up at the pump is easy, and changing stations on the radio is a cinch. Road noise was reduced, the new trunk release button is long overdue, and new available exterior and interior color options take things to a new level.

Would I trade in my 2008 V6 for the 2010 model? Sure, if the price was right. Of course, if I were to spend $27,430 (the fully equipped price of my test car), I'd likely opt for the GT model.

What I Liked About the V6 Mustang:

  • Interior Noise is Reduced
  • Plenty of New Creature Comforts
  • New Interior/Exterior Color options

What I Didn't Like:

  • Same old Powertrain with No Significant Improvements
  • Rear Passenger Area Still Tight on Space
  • Gas Mileage Still Mediocore

Who should buy the 2010 V6 Mustang:

  • Entry-level sports car buyers who are looking for an all around value vehicle
  • Buyers looking for a sports car with minimal interior noise
  • Those seeking a sports car with plenty of creature comfort options

Who should not buy the 2010 V6 Mustang:

  • Those seeking V8 style performance and power
  • Buyers who plan to transport more than two people on a regular basis

 

Details and Specs:

  • Body style: Passenger Sports Car
  • Seating capacity: 4
  • Trim levels: V6 Base, V6 Premium, V6 Convertible, V6 Glass Top Roof, V6 Pony Package, V6 Security Package, V6 Electronic Package, V6 Comfort Package
  • Price range: $20,995 to $27,430
  • Model tested/price Premium V6/$27,430
  • Base engine: 4.0 liter V6, 210 hp @ 5250 rpm, 240 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
  • Premium fuel required? No
  • Transmission: T5 5-Speed Manual, Optional 5-speed automatic
  • Driveline: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
  • EPA fuel economy estimates: 16 MPG city, 24 MPG highway automatic, 18 MPG city, 26 MPG highway manual
  • Where built: Flat Rock, Mich.
  • Standard safety equipment: Dual Front Air Bags, Driver/Passenger Side Impact Airbags, Pressure Monitoring System, LATCH System, SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft, Personal Safety System for Driver and front Passenger, Advance Trac® with Electronic Stability Control®, SOS Post Crash Alert System
  • Optional safety equipment: Active Anti-Theft, Wheel Locking Kit
  • Major standard features: 17-inch Painted Aluminum Wheels, LED Sequential Taillamps, Stainless Steel, Single Exhaust, Rear Quarter Mounted Antenna, Dual Power Black Mirrors, Remote Keyless Entry System, Rear-window Defroster, Easy Fuel™ Capless Fuel Filler System
  • Major options: Glass Roof, Lower Tape Stripe, Decklid Spoiler, 18-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels, Fog Lamps, Auto Headlamps, Unique Chrome Exhaust Tip, Voice-activated Navigation System, Heated Front Seats, Auto-dimming Rearview Mirror with Compass, Reverse Camera System

    Warranty

    • 3 years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain, 5 years/unlimited miles corrosion (Perforation only)
    • Roadside assistance/free maintenance: 5 years/60,000 miles roadside assistance

    Best Rivals

    • 2010 Chevrolet V6 Camaro
    • 2010 Dodge V6 Challenger
    • Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T