Look out Texas. I’m back in the saddle.
As far as I’m concerned there are only two vehicles worthy of a Texas road trip: a truck or a sports car.
A truck makes sense because, well, it’s what everyone drives. But there’s something sexy about hauling you-know-what down the road at the generous Texas speed limits in a fabulously cool sports car like the 2016 Ford Mustang 2.3L Ecoboost Premium Coupe.
Being a Mustang girl from the start, that’s exactly what I did.
Ford Mustang is part of my personal history. On the day I graduated from high school back in 1978 (stop doing the math!), my parents gave me a card with the key to my Daddy’s ’66 Ford Mustang inside. After spending the prior few months mastering the manual transmission through the hills of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Daddy handed over the keys. I was thrilled. I LOVED that Mustang. It was white with a baby blue interior, 3-speed manual transmission, air conditioning and a radio that would tune in to any AM radio station my heart desired.
Still a Mustang, even with some amazing changes
If I’d held on to my little ’66 Mustang it would be practically an even trade for the 2016 model, which clocks in at $36,740 for the 2016 Ford Mustang 2.3L Ecoboost Premium Coupe. As hard as it would be to make that trade, the modern version wins my heart. It is loaded with anything and everything a Texas road-tripping middle-aged grandmom could want. Ever.
First, there’s the color: Available in more than 10 color choices including Platinum White and Oxford White, the model I test drove was in Competition Orange with over-the-top ebony racing stripes. And inside, the black leather seats, designed for performance driving, hug your rear end and let you feel the engine’s thrust on those long stretches of Texas highways. It was easy revisiting my ’70s music favorites, along with some country tunes thrown in for good measure, with the Shaker Pro 12 speaker audio system.
And the cabin has been so nicely sound proofed you feel and hear the engine but not the road; it’s as if the Ecoboost is humming along with you and Golden Earring. So much better than my old AM radio. Metal toggle switches at the bottom of the console give you the option to really customize your drive experience: From left to right, they are: hazard lights, traction control and advanced traction and stability control (which you can turn on or off), steering wheel modes that let you set steering for normal or more aggressive steering, and the drive modes: normal, sport, track and snow/rain. The toggles and aluminum dash accents keep that retro feel of classic Mustang styling.
Power for the open road and control around the curves
The turbocharged Ecoboost version I drove doesn’t have as much horsepower as the Mustang GT: it has 310HP, which is plenty, versus the GT’s 435HP, which is just trouble, but it’s better on gas averaging 25 mpg overall and 32 mpg on the highway. And it has plenty of acceleration. In fact, I had to reel in my lead foot tendencies while cruising along on the open roads. It was also easy to handle on the long, winding curves I traversed to reach the rim of Palo Duro Canyon in time to see the sunrise.
Who This Car Is For
- A single gal, guy or a couple who love a fun, fast sports car
- Empty nesters or anyone entertaining their mid-life crisis urge for a sports car
- Possibly a small family, but the back seat is a tight fit, so it would only be comfortable for a child (preferably one who can get in and out by herself; getting into the back to buckle a kid could be a challenge)
- Anyone who appreciates the classic muscular contours of the Mustang’s iconic style
- Drivers who want to be the envy of everyone on the road
Safety never looked so stylish
I took full advantage of the Texas back roads by testing out the adaptive cruise control. With speed limits averaging 75 mph, I could set it and forget it. If someone in a not so cool slow car got in my way, the adaptive cruise control slowed me down until I could safely pass. All the newest safety features were along for the ride including blind spot monitors, reverse park assist and a voice activated navigation system. The rain activated windshield wipers surprised me with an appearance when I passed through a light rain shower.
What I loved
- The easy fuel capless gas tank, no dirty gas cap to handle
- The VERY cool signature Mustang horse that lights up the ground by the door when you approach the car at night
- Adaptive cruise control
- Blind spot monitors (my new favorite safety feature on every car)
- The sexy, muscular Mustang style
What you need to know
- Premium gas is recommended to get the best performance from the engine
- 32 mpg on the highway, 21 mpg city; we averaged 28 mpg
- Base price is an affordable $29,300, the model I drove was $36,740
- It’s a sports car which means you’re sitting down low and consequently this middle-aged grandmom had to unfold and loosen up when exiting the car (I don’t bounce right out like I did when I was 17!)
Ford loaned me this incredibly cool Mustang for my Texas road trip. Opinions and road-trip adventures are all my own.