If there's one constant in life it is change. As much as you might like that favorite sandwich at the corner deli, there will come a day when you walk in and sit at your usual spot, and when you go to order you'll get "I'm sorry, we took that off the menu last week." Sound familiar? Naturally, some people embrace change and others fear it. The same can be said about Mustang owners. Some love a certain generation and think Ford can never make a better car, while others look forward to what Ford does with each new redesign.
We'll be the first to admit that some years hold a great place in our hearts and others we look at and think, What was Ford thinking? By now you've most likely seen some online images and comments on the new 2010 Mustang. We've read them all as well. Some people think Ford went too far with the whole retro thing and others think Ford didn't do enough to the new car.
The original S197, when it arrived in 2005, was a hit straight out of the park and deep into the parking lot. The 2010 is more than a reskin. The new car has so much more technology and quality and fit and finish to it that it feels like a completely new car to us. The jump from the '05-'09 to the 2010 is akin to the '94-'98 to the '99-'04 changes. It's essentially the same car, but the progression of improvements is what makes the car ride, handle, and feel so much better.
This past December Ford invited Mustang scribes like us to California to get to know the new Mustang on several levels: From the basic walk around and technology pony show, to a day trip through the tight, winding roads of the Los Padres National Forest ending in a second day of on-track testing at Streets of Willow at Willow Springs Raceway. We've gone over every inch of the car, driven it in heavy California traffic as well as at speed, enjoyed every minute of the car's great new interior, learning about it's improved performance and handling capabilities (and the limits of our own driving), all so we could share our thoughts here in this first look. Is the 2010 Mustang all it's been hyped up to be? Keep reading to see what we found.
A Fresh Face
Upon first blush it would seem that Ford's stylists did a little tweak here and a pinch there to the Mustang's sheetmetal. In reality, the 2010 Mustang has a completely new skin. Every panel is new, designed with the Mustang's heritage in mind, except for the roof panel. The roof is the same as the current car, mainly to allow the '09 glass roof option to be available at Job 1 for the 2010. More muscle was given to the 2010 design by Chief Designer Doug Gaffka and Design Manager George Saridakis by referencing classic Mustang design. Classic Mustang fans will certainly see styling cues from several different Mustang model years: From the '69-'70 upper quarter styling to the sharper '67-'68 fender lines and hockey stick body side styling, to the new grille and headlamps. Even the Pony emblem got a redesign for 2010, with a leaner-looking horse in a dark chrome finish. "Everything we tried to do with this car's new exterior design is represented in the new Pony," said Gaffka. "It tells the whole story. It's athletic, aggressive and modern."