There is little doubt that the best time in the Chicago area for car buffs is spring. The classic and collector cars get yanked out of storage, de-winterized and detailed for the newly thawed roads and for the region's myriad car nights.
Another benefit of the warmer temps is dropping the tops on convertibles. One of my favorites, new for 2010, is the Ford Mustang
Convertible. This beautifully retooled pony car pays homage to the original 'Stang while improving some shortcomings on the previous generation launched five years ago.
That first-generation "retro" Mustang
used notable styling cues from previous Mustang
s and assembled them together into the 2005 version. There were plenty of identifiable pieces of 'Stangs past and maybe more retro feel than the general public wanted. It was successful in taking you back to the heyday of the pony car, but few modern impressions were added and little contemporary groundbreaking technology was notable.
This 2010 Ford Mustang
has a fresher approach with much more refinement and a touch of new-age pony that bodes well given the Camaro and Challenger are out there trying to gain all the pony fans they can.
, which features new, sporty headlamps, lower fascias and a power-dome hood, is a wonderful combo of new and old. The oft-criticized hoodmounted windshield washer nozzles are there no more - instead they're in the cowl area. This attention to small detail is why this new Mustang
is so good. That my tester was also a convertible just made the experience that much more fun.
Especially notable new styling cues include repositioning the Mustang
's antenna to the rear and a new LED taillamp design featuring three LED bulbs that fire sequentially from the inside bulb to the outside bulb. This type of modern infusion was missing in the previous model, but it's all here for 2010.
The unique Grabber Blue paint scheme of my Premium tester attracted tons of attention.
Topless, it was a model of distinction at every stoplight I braked at. People graciously complimented the new Mustang
; most loved the bright blue hue. It took me a couple days to warm up to the Grabber Blue, and truthfully I'd probably opt for a more traditional color, but there's no denying this electric powder blue 'Stang was an attention grabber.
With the top up, the Mustang
convertible is impressively quiet for a ragtop.
The new interior has a centerpiece instrument panel that is minimal in design while gently flowing into the center stack.
I'm a huge fan of the latest version of Ford
SYNC. It is about as easy to sync up cell phones and iPods with verbal command as it is to operate the power seats. This is the highlight of the center stack.
Fit and finish are noticeably much better than the previous model, creating a much more likable cabin. With MyColor, Mustang
buyers can create more than 125 background colors by mixing the redgreen-blue palette.
The available ambient lighting system can coordinate the gauge cluster color, front foot wells, cup holders, door map pockets and rear foot wells. Even the Mustang
logo in the aluminum doorsills can be custom colorized.
The 4.0-liter V-6 in my tester was rated at a less-than-impressive 210 horsepower.
Enthusiasts will no doubt opt for the GT's 315-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8. Although performance is light with the V-6, my tester's engine and five-speed automatic transmission were pleasingly smooth and quiet.
The grand days of the pony cars, as well as the fun they brought to generations that grew up with them, have reemerged the last couple years to show that a fresh take on an old idea often can be executed well when you take the best of what was the car and blend it with the newest technology and style. This 2010 Mustang
Convertible is a blast, though the upgrade engine option is probably going to be the way many go.2010 FORD MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE PREMIUMENGINE:
210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6TRANSMISSION:
rear-wheel driveFUEL ECONOMY:
16 city/24 highwayAS TESTED: