Review: 2014 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

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IMG_1287It’s as American as Bruce Willis watching football while eating a burger made from apple pie. The Ford Mustang has come to be the cornerstone of American auto enthusiasm. 2015 will usher in a new generation of the Mustang, so why are we focusing on the last year of an outgoing generation? Because the 2014 Ford Mustang has proven just how far the engineers at Ford can take an aging platform and keep it relevant into the second decade of the 21st century.

IMG_1278The current generation of the Ford Mustang has been around since 2004, when Ford went retro. The look went back in time, but the technology moved forward. In 2010, the Mustang went under the knife for exterior updates, followed by the upgrade to the current drivetrain in 2011. 

The 2014 Ford Mustang features an imposing and instantly recognizable exterior appearance. You may think that the bright green color found on our test model is from a custom shop, but it is actually a factory offered color. “Gotta Have It Green” is eye catching to say the least, but once you are drawn in, you can perceive the depth of the color. When the sun strikes it directly, you get touches of yellow, making it truly seem like an aftermarket paint job.

The Mustang is available as either a hardtop coupe, or a power retractible convertible, like our test model. You can also choose from the base V6 model or the uprated V-8 GT spec. Any of these combinations are available in either basic or Premium trims. Our test model of the 2014 Ford Mustang was a GT Premium Convertible. It featured a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, aluminum door accents, SYNC connectivity and a Shaker premium audio system. Oh yeah– and one hell of a drivetrain.

The base version of the 2014 Ford Mustang comes with a 3.7-liter V-6 that makes 305 horsepower. It also achieves 31 mpg city when equipped with a 6-speed automatic, setting a Guinness World Record as the first car to pull more than 300 horses and return 30 mpg. This engine is also
available with the 6-speed manual transmission, which returns 19/29 mpg.

IMG_1311The V6 is a respectable mover, but the GT version of the 2014 Ford Mustang is where the real power is at. The 5.0-liter V-8 is far more advanced than the “Five-Oh” units used in the old Fox-body Mustangs of the 80’s and early 90s. The Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 makes 420 horsepower and 390 pound feet of torque, sent to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual (getting 15/26 mpg) or a 6-speed automatic (with 18/25 mpg).

The GT features a throaty exhaust note from the V-8, and power delivery is spot-on. The clutch is rather forgiving– and actually might be a good clutch to use to teach younger drivers how to operate a manual. 

The suspension of the 2014 Ford Mustang is not exactly as responsive as an M3, but that is a good thing. It is able to cruise along all manner and condition of road without worrying about shaking out and lose fillings! You’ll want to drive it the way it looks– like an older car. Leave some room for body roll, especially when turning in acceleration, and you’ll avoid getting into trouble.

IMG_1299The convertible top requires a little help from the driver, to manually release it, and then hold down on the button the entire time it retracts. In more premium vehicles, the entire process can be automated, but that would negate the Mustang Convertible’s attainable price. Besides a convertible that requires a little bit of work is better than no convertible at all!

With the top down, you can take in the retro-inspired interior of the 2014 Ford Mustang. The interior aesthetic may take cues from the classic Pony cars, but the actual layout are more modern. That said, it has some drawbacks. This has been one of the greater areas of criticism, as there appears to be unnecessary controls, indicators of an automaker that hedged its bets on dash control of media, rather than the reality that owners really just control their music from their smartphones.

IMG_1303Like other Ford models, the Mustang has a handful of interior accent colors, but unlike economy cars such as the Fiesta, which have a toggle on the dash, you need to delve deep into the menus on the trip computer to change the interior colors. This is poorly planed and distracting. You may say to yourself, why do I need to change the interior color? But you are considering the purchase of a convertible retro-styled muscle car– flair might come into the equation. From this menu, you can also customize the gauge and bezel colors, adding to the personal touch.

The 2014 Ford Mustang also comes with the latest version of Ford’s SYNC smartphone connectivity, which is not always a good thing. The Bluetooth connection didn’t always sync up, and the USB connection was even worse. When the connection worked, the playback through the Shaker audio system was incredible, but actually getting the Microsoft-based software to pick up my iPhone was never a certain thing. 

IMG_1284The base version of the 2014 Ford Mustang is $22,510, and a V-6 Convertible starts at $27,510. If you want the power of the V-8 GT coupe, you’ll need to shell out $31,210, and the GT Convertible will have you putting down $36,210. Our test GT Premium Convertible, with options, ran up a tally of more than $45,000, which is still a solid deal for the performance you get.

For the auto journalist, the 2014 Ford Mustang might seem like an out-of-date vehicle, but we have to place this car into a special context. The look and feel of this muscle car– right down to the retro interior design– is meant to be timeless. So what if the tech is not up to par? A Mustang with a V-8 engine and a convertible top is a thing of joy. It can make the daily commute with ease, and then you put the top down on the ride home, and are instantly reminded of the freedom that owning such a Mustang will provide every day you drive it!