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2013 Ford Mustang V6. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2013 Ford Mustang

Manufacturer’s web site
Ford Motor Company of Canada

Review by Paul Williams
Photos courtesy Ford Motor Company

Photo Gallery:
2013 Ford Mustang

Calabogie Motorsports Park, Ottawa, Ontario – The 2013 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe has arrived in dealer showrooms with some minor exterior changes and a host of style and technology options. But what impressed me while driving one on Calabogie’s twisty racetrack was the performance this car delivers for its current price of $27,113 (which includes freight, fees, and sales taxes).

Yes, that’s an “on the road” price for the base car. All in; no other costs; pre-haggling (just so you know, it’s $22,364 without the fees and taxes).

Why is that such a big deal? Well, at that price the Mustang V6 Coupe is surely the best performance package on the market today. Look at it this way: back in 2005 when the current generation of Mustangs debuted, the 4.0L V6 made 210 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, while the 4.6L V8 made 300 hp and 320 lb-ft torque. A five-speed manual transmission was standard on both, and the Mustang V6 Coupe started at $23,995 plus fees and taxes.

Quick Spin: 2013 Ford Mustang V6 car test drives reviews ford
2013 Ford Mustang V6. Click image to enlarge

Fast-forward to 2013 and the Mustang’s sweet all-aluminum 3.7L V6 makes 305 hp and 280 lb-ft torque, and it’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission. In sheer grunt alone, this is quite an advance, and while it’s true that the V6 doesn’t give you that V8 rumble, this model has got to be a possibility even for die-hard Mustang GT wannahaves.

Fuel consumption is good, too, at 11.1/6.9 L/100 km, city/highway, and it runs on regular fuel.

True to form, this Mustang looks like it performs and it does. The 2013 design changes are subtle (more prominent grille, body colour rocker panels, rear updates with a gloss black panel connecting the “smoked appearance” taillamps) but are consistent with the character of the car.

“With this new Mustang, we are delivering a more distinctive and emotional design presence that celebrates the total performance of Mustang,” said Darrell Behmer, Mustang chief designer. “This latest Mustang design is very respectful of its heritage while continuing to look forward with a more powerful and modern look.”

Quick Spin: 2013 Ford Mustang V6 car test drives reviews ford
2013 Ford Mustang V6. Click image to enlarge

It’s certainly true that the current generation design theme continues, and indeed it is a retro look, no doubt about that either. But even if you’re not familiar with the era to which this Mustang pays homage, it works because it did from Day One (rent a copy of “Bullitt” if you want to see the original get an extreme workout, while admiring those appealing and enduring lines).

The car itself is light and agile. You can put it on a track, find your lines and have a blast. It’s got power and torque; it’ll boot it down the straights, pull strongly out of the corners, and its brakes don’t fade to nothing after a few minutes of heavy deceleration.

And low price notwithstanding, the base car has equipment. A limited slip differential, electronic power assist steering, leather wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, power door mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and remote keyless entry, tilt steering, front centre armrest, chrome interior accents, four-speaker audio system, automatic headlights, fog lights, and compass to name just some of the standard features on this model (there is a Premium V6 Coupe that adds amenities and dollars).

On the road I found the V6 Coupe comfortable and stable. True, there are some cheap-looking plastics inside, and the door pulls are black, not body colour, but everything seems to fit well and you’ve got the great Mustang looks to go with the performance.

Quick Spin: 2013 Ford Mustang V6 car test drives reviews ford
2013 Ford Mustang V6. Click image to enlarge

The interior is quiet enough when cruising and there is some raunchiness to the exhaust note under acceleration (the engineers were aware of the need for Mustang to sound good, and dialed in some aggression to the V6 stainless steel system). This car doesn’t wallow in corners, and drives smaller than it is. Given its—how shall I put it?—”traditional” rear suspension technology, the Mustang V6 Coupe handles.

The downside of this particular model is that additional packages and options aren’t available, save for the $1,400 automatic transmission and a block heater. If you’re willing to spend an extra $1,300 or so, you can get the V6 Premium Coupe for $28,458 (all taxes and fees included) and then you can order the Performance Package that includes 19-inch wheels along with special brakes and suspension modifications. Or you can select a $2,900 Equipment Group 203A and get satellite radio, rear decklid spoiler, SYNC communications system, special wheels, heated seats and a couple-of-dozen other items, most of which are admittedly desirable. Other packages are also available.

However, if you’re looking for the super value purchase—real bang for your buck—the base V6 Coupe is the way to go. Opting for the extras will boost the price by about $6,000 and then you might convince yourself you’re in base GT territory. And you know how that story goes.

Pricing: 2013 Ford Mustang V6 coupe
Base price: $22,364
A/C tax: $100
Freight: $1,500

Competitors
Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro V6
Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Dodge Challenger V6
Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Hyundai Genesis coupe

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