• Looks - the lines, stance, and it's red and black! You can't go wrong with red and black!
    • Sound - love is defined as 'Race' mode exhaust, a tunnel, and second/third gear.
    • Roofless - can satisfy more of my senses more of the time.
    • No manual available - angers the blood to know we miss out on this in RHD world
    • Rear facing dashcams - there is no decent solution to this. None.
    • Negative associations - it's a Mustang, I've heard them all.
    Not tested

    About the Ford Mustang

    Roger the Shrubber purchased this Ford Mustang used for $78,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2023. Roger the Shrubber would buy this car again because: “I would buy this car again for two reasons: Because there are no alternatives in the new market, and because it is pretty darn good in its own right.

    My brief was for a V8 convertible with four seats (because children), and as new as was financially possible. In addition, for a long time I was adamant that I would only be getting a manual, and I actually came perilously close to a manual E93 M3, but got cold feet after some terrifying spreadsheeting of remediation costs with accompanying anecdotes of wait times on parts and repair timeframes.

    Decided that I was happy to give two pedals a try, if it meant new (or near new) reliability with warranty, along with more contemporary engine, chassis & equipment. Not interested in tinkering on weekends or paying for a mechanic’s kid’s uni degree (or investment property), I’d rather be just driving and enjoying.”

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    No issues at all. Everything has worked on every occasion, which is just as well for an essentially brand new car (only 1000km on it at purchase)!

    I’ll keep an eye on a few things over time though like seals and the auto window dip on door open etc.

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    So far so good. Has performed beautifully for each of the roles I have thrown at it so far, spanning fun weekender, post-work evening fang, occasional school bus, and a few times into the city for work to stir up my fellow middle aged wage slave colleagues.

    My two kids continue to elongate, but they still fit in it with decent comfort, and unless they end up as monsters (the boy might go close…) it will continue to be fine for them.

    The boot has also proven surprisingly capacious and practical. I put new tinting on, had the paint ceramic coated, and gave the soft top and interior a full protective treatment right from the outset. Well worth it. Early days yet in terms of ongoing dealership experience so can’t provide much commentary, only time will tell there.

    It’s not a Ranger so I run the risk of them forgetting what it is and how to service it! Also, being so new still, I’m ultra fussy where I park it or leave it out of my sight, so it’s not quite as carefree as my other car (an entirely invisible 15 year old Kluger).

    Gets a bit of attention which hasn’t been bad attention so far, and the fellow Mustang owner nods or thumbs up ceremonies are always enjoyable. Having both cars really is the best of both worlds though and I am genuinely grateful to be in a position to have them both.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    Very. Got a great deal on the car from a regional interstate dealership, which may have helped negotiations. Significantly under what they were typically going for late last year and still are now. There are very, very few late (2023) FN convertible GTs on the market and I do wonder how the greatly increased pricing of the S650 will play out for new sales volumes.

    Feature wise I think it’s well equipped, such that I’ve had no need to go down the old school path of immediately shopping for aftermarket intakes, exhausts, and sound systems to fix the typically rectal-grade OEM versions from the factory. The valved exhaust is a highlight, as is the software configurability to schedule a time window for ‘quiet mode’ on start.

    Genius idea and a big hit with my neighbours, whom I like and value – they are good eggs. Plus they’ve already suffered through a number of my past aftermarket exhaust equipped V8s, so I am glad I can give them something back now (between the configured hours of 9pm and 8am anyway!)

    The drive modes are interesting but really I only dwell in ‘Normal’ and ‘Sports+’. CarPlay is wired but faultless so far. The sound system is also surprisingly decent, to my ears at least! Did need a little tuning but end result is solid. Also loving the ventilated seats; I swore that whatever car I got next, was going to have it as an absolute non-negotiable, and in a soft-top in summer it is wondrous.

    Probably the only usability gripe is the cupholder location is idiotic, straight under your arm! Basically unusable! Rear seat room is passable in the passenger side, non-existent behind my seat, not an issue for my family of three.

    Outside of this I have changed the tail lights to aftermarket units (Raxiom Gen 2) after falling in love with their design. Was astonished at how easy it was to fit them too (3 bolts, 2 trim poppits, and the plug? Seriously?), nothing like ye olde days of needing to commission an auto-elec for a week for such a folly!

    Also means dead easy to switch back to the stock ones too, within minutes. Oh and also changed the ridiculous stock antenna over to a ‘stubby’ one, far cleaner looking now and still works fine (not that I ever listen to radio).

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    Performance is great. Strikes a very well sorted balance for road use, between go, stop, and turn. Nothing is lacking, and nothing is overdone.

    Normal mode is very much more doughy to respond than Sports+, but to be fair that’s kind of it’s job and you can drive around that as you get used to it. Sports+ is tangibly faster off the mark and through the gears, which is typically what I bump it into for the TLGP (Traffic Light Grand Prix? – Ed.) or just for funsies.

    I’d be curious to try Drag mode on a proper strip but given I’m a rubbish amateur the drive mode would not be the determining factor to my setting a time! The shift paddles are okay rather than standout, and I do use them on occasion, but I dare say that if it was actually a choice I would still have MUCH preferred three pedals.

    Economy so far has been quite a bit better than I had anticipated, averaging around 12.8L/100km if the display is to be believed, which is a far cry from my past V8s which were anywhere from 16L/100km up to 21L/100km for their running averages.

    I’m only putting 98 RON in it as well since I only feel comfortable if I’m spoiling it. At the end of the day, it’s an N/A V8 that revs to about 7500rpm! What’s not to love!

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    Sufficiently decent. As mentioned, wired CarPlay only but not a drama since I like to keep the phone well charged anyway. Phone position was a challenge at first, but I ended up just keeping it in the little recess at the bottom of the centre stack, with a very stumpy USB cord for connectivity.

    Physical buttons on the dash and steering wheel are just a joy to see and use, and gives me a warm glow each time I get in it to know that I don’t have to deal with poorly designed UI and sub-menu rage. Digital dash is pretty good overall, changes display with the drive mode of course, and you can customise it yourself in terms of the main components as well as secondary ones like digital guages or meters, as well as tyre pressures etc. Quite handy.

    Also impressed with the radar cruise control as well, it has worked very consistently, although I dare say it’s more conservative than I am in slowing down sooner approaching a car in front than I would!

    Also the FordPass app has been ok too, providing basic features like location tracking, odometer, DTE, TPS, ‘oil life’, remote start, remote lock/unlock.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    The ride comfort is a lot better than I expected, absolutely no harshness or skipping or wierdo rebound like I’ve experienced in my past fleet! (I’ve had a very diverse history of cars past, from slow hatches to hot hatches to mid-sized turd puddings to insipid SUVs to turbo Jap imports to luxo barges to V8 domestics – auto, manual, wagon, sedan).

    It’s decent in a standalone sense, and surprisingly good for a soft top. Now I don’t have the same enthusiasm for track days in my advancing Gen X years, so it doesn’t need to be as sharp as something like the Mach 1.

    During the long, painstaking months of window shopping for this, in my mind I was really wanting the Magneride adaptive suspension option, but it was super rare on convertibles (only two in ten months of window shopping, but neither of those met my other criteria!).

    Having had the car a while now, and experiencing it across the spectrum of road use, the stock setup is absolutely fine for all road use I’ve thrown at it, and only starts to get challenged a little bit when you’re REALLY having a go, which let’s be honest isn’t very often on public roads, and thus shouldn’t be done lightly! It doesn’t pitch or dive under hard braking, and loads up predictably during and following turn-in.

    That’s where I think the Magneride may have the advantage on track where you’d be seeking a bit more sharpness or aggression into the corner, but again for road use it’s realistically overkill. Tyres are staggered Michelin Pilot Sport 4S of which I am a huge fan.

    Brakes are strong and certainly no fade in road use, pedal feel quite natural and workable. TLDR; It’s an easy car to get in and go quickly with confidence.

    Do you have any additional comments about your car?

    Genuinely glad I decided a long time back to start planning and saving towards this, and to jump onto this particular beast when I did, given what’s happening with S650 pricing and availability, and beyond that the decline of enthusiast models generally, and even more broadly just the state of the world. ‘Seize the day’ and all that!

    Who knows what’s around the corner, and what that could mean to your ability to own or even physically still drive a car that brings you joy? Doesn’t matter if it’s a rat-infested paddock-basher, a hand-me-down beige special from your grandparents that is entirely unremarkable, or whatever!

    Just grab it with both hands and enjoy the hell out of it as often as you can manage! And on that unexpectedly philosophical note, that’s more than enough out of me!

    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling9
    Price & Features9
    Performance & Economy8.5
    Ownership Experience8.5