Evan J. Smith
March 1, 2009
Photos By: Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Mustang. It's the quintessential performance coupe known worldwide--and for true enthusiasts, nothing is more exciting. The announcement of each new model brings great anticipation, as a fresh chapter is certain to be chiseled, first on computer, then to steel, and finally into Mustang's glorious history. And never before has Mustang's success been so important.

For 2010, Ford must produce a winner, as we're in an economic crunch, plus serious contenders are lurking. Dodge's Challenger and Chevy's Camaro will provide stiff competition on the street and on the track, but Mustang's engineers and designers know this--fortunately they put the pedal to the metal and produced what may be the best Mustang ever.

Like mustangs of the past, the 2010 will be available in a convertible.

Yes, Ford got it right. It did so using aggressive, athletic, and muscular styling to recreate (yet again), the world's most popular ponycar. What you'll find in the 2010 is that the all-important tradition of "Mustang" gallops on, albeit with a slathering of refinement in style, performance, interior appointments, ride and handling, economy, and safety.

"The advantage we have is you," states Paul Randle, Ford Motor Company's chief nameplate engineer on Mustang. "We have a fantastic resource in the enthusiasts. I may go to an event and speak for 30 to 45 minutes, but I get to listen for hours and learn what people like or don't like about the car.

There is much to be said for the 2010 interior upgrades. Ford went with a one-piece instrument panel, which looks great and cuts down dramatically on squeaks and rattles. The smoothed console is more comfortable, and blends nicely into the center stack.

"This time we had to enhance all the elements. I pulled the team and told them we need to make the base GT better than the outgoing Bullitt. We know there is competition and we wanted to kick it up two notches."

Super Stang Style
The '10 Mustang is reworked with all new sheetmetal, save for the roof skin. Even the famous running horse received a facelift, (it's only the fourth version in the vehicle's 45-year history). The new pony rides proud with a raised, forward-looking head, along with either bright chrome on the V-6, or a darkened gun-metal version on the GT. A major Mustang styling cue has always been the shapely grille, and the '10 opening is horizontally narrow and racy. GT Mustangs get in-grille foglamps, though all Stangs receive inboard turn signals fashioned from the attractive '70 Mustang.

Where the '05-'09 hood was somewhat plain, the '10 gets an aggressive power bulge (we expect the Shelby to have center-mounted ducting). Cleaning up aero, and the overall look, are washer squirters and wipers arms that are hidden neatly behind the back of the hood.

"We spent a lot of time on proportions," states Randle. "We knew we had [the proportions] right when we launched in 2005. If you extend the A-pillar, it should intersect the centerline of the front wheel. This is pleasing to the eye, and that drove us to not alter the roofline, however we will offer the glass roof option co-current with Job 1." Randle adds, "We look at the history constantly. We did the retro thing already so we didn't want to do that, but on the same note, we're not going to let the design go because that's what the customer wants."

At each corner you'll notice less-pronounced wheel openings, with a sharp, wrist-high body line running from the back of the front wheel lip through the door handle to the rear quarter panel. This is reminiscent of early Mustangs. The leading edge of each quarter sports a muscular "raised shoulder," a la '69 Mustang, that flows neatly over the rear wheels into a ducktail in the deck lid.