It’s okay to stare at the Ford Mustang

2016-07-06 06:00
Express editor and motoring columnist Bettie Giliomee with the Ford Mustang that she spent three thrilling days with. Photo: zeldré Strauss swanepoel

Express editor and motoring columnist Bettie Giliomee with the Ford Mustang that she spent three thrilling days with. Photo: zeldré Strauss swanepoel

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It’s okay to stare…so it says on Ford’s website underneath a photo of the new Mustang. And if there is anything that would always stay with me about test driving the Mustang for 3 days, it was THE STARES.

Stares which much more expensive cars have never elicited while I was test driving them.

Until driving the Mustang, or should I say riding, I did not realize how many car enthusiasts there are – no matter what the demographic – who stared at the Mustang. From moms at school giving me the thumbs up, to paramedics driving past in an ambulance applauding, to hawkers staring so much that they forgot to try to sell me anything.

Then there were the comments: “Hey Lady, is that car not too powerful for you?” Or “It isn’t the V8?? – that’s a sacrilege!!”

And there is sure to be plenty of stares going around with a whopping 114 Ford Mustangs being delivered to customers in South Africa in April alone – and a long list waiting for their delivery of this iconic car. The demand has been so overwhelming that as of November last year – a month before officially launching here – it was sold out through 2017.

And this with a price ranging from R699 900 to R899 900.

In South Africa there is a six-model line-up with 2.3 EcoBoost or 5.0 V8 engines, manual or automatic transmissions, as well as Fastback and Convertible body styles.

Ford says that with the new Mustang, which is for the first time ever available in right-hand drive, they did not reinvent the iconic car, just made it better and – 50 years on – have breathed new life into a legend.


It’s a design unlike any other. It has a sleek and low body and a rather bulky and long hood. At the rear the unique design is accentuated by the signature tri-bar taillights. And the front is so bulky, and visibility so difficult, that I did not dare take it on the narrow course of my favourite take-away’s drive-thru. We had to park it and go and order inside – a small inconvenience for the fun that this car is to drive.

Then there is the Mustang emblem on the front that leaves you in no doubt as to what car this is. Sometimes it is the little things that stay with you the longest when test driving a car. With the Mustang it was the shadow of a Mustang screened on the pavement when you open the doors at night. That was probably the feature I showed most people. When you open the door at night, a light from the side mirrors creates the figure of the horse on the road or pavement underneath the open door – something that has to be seen to be believed.


The design on the inside was inspired by classic airplane cockpits with a balance between analog dials and digital feedback.

There is plenty of space in the front, but in the back one would only be able to fit in small children or people eager enough to have a ride in this car no matter how uncomfortable and tight the seating in the back – such as many of my colleagues at work – who were treated to rides in the Mustang. I have never had so many requests from colleagues to experience a test car.

In contrast to the backseat, the boot space is actually quite impressive.

The front seats are very comfortable and can be moved forward and backward electrically.

The Mustang also boasts the best in infotainment technology with Ford’s Sync 2 with high resolution 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth and voice control (with which you can even control the temperature).

There are multiple connectivity options delivered via Bluetooth, USB and SD card ports.

The touch-screen also shows what the Mustang’s rearview camera sees – for up to 10 metres behind you.

Other convenience features are keyless entry and push-button start. To start her up, just put your foot on the brake, press the START/STOP button and you’re away (as long as the key is in close proximity).

The Key has MyKey technology which means that the key can be programmed to restricted driving modes that promote good habits, such as limiting vehicle top speed and decreasing audio volume.


It is difficult to describe the thrill of starting the engine and hearing that Mustang’s growl – even if it isn’t the V8 version that was test driven.

The test model was equipped with the all-new twin-scroll turbocharged 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 engine. In South Africa the Mustang is also available with a 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 engine.

According to Ford’s literature, the Mustang GT’s 5.0L engine has been expertly engineered to maximize power from every compression, while the turbocharged 2.3L EcoBoost engine gives one exhilarating performance with reduced fuel consumption.

Electric Power Assisted Steering adjusts to provide one with greater control in a range of road and weather conditions, and even crosswinds and potholes. And it activates when needed, saving fuel.

One can choose between three power-assisted steering settings, namely comfort, sport and normal.

Mustang’s SelectShift gives one the choice of driving it manually with Paddle Shifters on the steering wheel to shift gears up or down without having to use a clutch.

Using the Selectable Drive Modes, drivers are able to adjust the AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, throttle response, automatic gear-shift patterns and steering to match Normal, Sport+, Track or Snow/Wet settings.

While the Mustang V8 is thirsty as far as its fuel consumption figures goes, the 2.3 EcoBoost engine is much more fuel efficient with consumption stated at 8.0 l/100km in the combined cycle, linked to 179 g/km CO2 emissions.

Model range:

2.3 EcoBoost Manual Fastback

2.3 EcoBoost Automatic Convertible

2.3 EcoBoost Automatic Fastback

5.0 V8 GT Manual Fastback

5.0 V8 GT Automatic Convertible

5.0 V8 GT Automatic Fastback

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