Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 1, 2009
Photos By: Drew Phillips

Other upgrades to the 2010 interior include a Premium Trim with Color Accent Package that has Brick Red/Cashmere accent, Charcoal Black/Grabber Blue accent, or Charcoal Black/Cashmere accent. While we'd wish the "skunk stripe" was offered in more colors to coordinate with the exterior paint options (because the Grabber Blue accent stripe and stitching looks positively bitchin' in the Grabber Blue GT we drove), the Team Mustang people we spoke with said the logistics of it all with their materials providers would be a nightmare. But hey, we did ask.

To The Test
The press info given to us about the new car is one thing, but talking to the engineers and designers firsthand and seeing the pride and satisfaction they've experienced working on the 2010 program is another. These people may have come from various other projects within Ford, but when they were honored with being placed on Team Mustang they knew how important their jobs were and how countless Mustang enthusiasts would be putting them under a microscope. After spending two days behind the wheel of the 2010 in all sorts of driving environments, we can emphatically say they've succeeded at their jobs.

Starting off in a '09 Mustang GT to refresh our memory of the current product, we drove up PCH through Malibu, where we stopped for a technical overview with Vehicle Engineering Manager Tom Barnes and to pick up our 2010 Mustang. Of the cars available, there were several highly optioned GT coupes. We were lucky enough to grab a Grabber Blue GT Premium with 3.73 gears, a manual trans (natch), the new 19-inch wheel package, and the Shaker 500 audio system. It was perfect for our drive through the Los Padres forest and its tightly winding roads.

Heading out of Malibu, we enjoyed a bit more of PCH until we picked up the 33 (that's how they say it in Cali--no "I" before the interstate number) and wound our way north toward Ojai, where we'd stop for the night. The route took us through the mountains, where we experienced many elevation changes and tight, winding roads. The GT's revised suspension and 19-inch Pirelli's kept the car glued to the road, and we could maintain a nice conversation at regular room level while stirring the shifter to whatever gear required by the 3.73s to keep the car around 3,500 rpm for a blast through the twisties. It was a great road and a great ride that really taxed the new car's suspension, and it handled the road with aplomb.

On day two it was more of the same as we headed out of Ojai toward Willow Springs, though we did have a bit more open road to really stretch the Mustang's legs. We had our GoPro video camera mounted on the rear quarter of our GT during this part of our drive (be sure to check out our website for videos of our driving route), and even at triple-digit speeds our video was smooth and stable, a testament to the ride quality the engineers tuned into the GT.

After a nice lunch at Willow Springs, another technical presentation was given to us on the new Track Pack option. Ford had a small sample of Track Pack-equipped GTs for us to track with at Streets of Willow. We were able to try the Track Pack option with the Advance track in Normal, Sport, and Off modes, and if you had the courage and the driving skill to put the GT at its limits, you could really tell the difference. This was yet another testament to the time the engineers put into the product. More than once I could feel the Advance Track reel me in from the edge while navigating the course. Putting the GT through its paces at the same rate with the AdvanceTrac off put the car sideways through several of the turns, but the Mustang was still very controllable. Just a light lift of the throttle and some counter steer brought the steed right back in line.