To write this comprehensive review, TheCarConnection.com read the latest reviews on the new 2009 Ford Mustang. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove several Ford Mustang editions, including the limited edition Bullitt, and added driving impressions and details about this American pony car.

Ford marketing types have used the phrase "a steed for every need" when referring to the Mustang lineup. 2009 Mustang body styles include a 2+2 coupe and convertible. Both body styles seat two comfortably, and the rear seats are more than adequate for kids. Adults won't mind short trips stuck in back, but the operative word is "stuck."

Three main powertrains are available for the 2009 Ford Mustang: a base 4.0-liter V-6, a 4.6-liter V-8, and a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8. Automatic and manual gearboxes are available, depending on the model. And depending on which model you choose, the amount of power on tap varies tremendously. The Mustang V-6 rings in with 210 horsepower (coupe and convertible); the V-8-powered Mustang GT with 300 hp (coupe and convertible); the Bullitt V-8 coupe with 319 hp; the Shelby GT500 with 500 hp (coupe and convertible); and the limited edition Shelby GT500KR coupe with 540 hp.

If you can afford a V-8, get one. The V-6 nets you only a 1-mpg increase in the city and highway, so it's hardly worth dealing with the engine's coarseness and lack of power compared to the step-up 4.6-liter (with 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the five-speed manual transmission).

On the road, the 2009 Ford Mustang GT is the model for enthusiasts. Despite the aged solid-axle layout, the suspension does well in soaking up imperfections while keeping the tires in contact with the pavement. The Mustang GT is an easy car to drive quickly on the track because it responds to the helm and throttle with equal aplomb. The car possesses very good balance.

The interior is fun, with sporty styling cues, though the quality of materials ranks far behind that of some modern sportscar rivals. The exhaust rumble from the V-8 is pleasant. There is a fair amount of road and tire noise, but this isn't a luxury car. First made standard in '08, side airbags remain in place on all 2009 Ford Mustang models.

At the top of the Mustang lineup is the top-performance Shelby GT500. Powered by the iron-block 5.4-liter Triton V-8 with a supercharger, it churns out 500 hp through a six-speed manual gearbox. Its suspension features plenty of unique performance pieces, and the brakes are massive 14-inch, four-piston Brembos. Both front and rear brake discs are vented. The GT500 offers a completely different driving performance that lacks finesse but has more than enough power to, at least in some cases, make up for it.

The Bottom Line:

The 2009 Ford Mustang is a sport coupe that won't appeal to everyone, but some will appreciate its retro style and power-over-poise attitude.

The Car Connection

©2008 by The Car Connection™ All Rights Reserved—The Car Connection is a trademark of Car Advisory Network

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