Another in a series of my reviews that appeared in the online version of African Americans On Wheels, a now defunct automotive magazine that was included as an insert in the Sunday newspapers of major cities.
This was another opportunity to keep the miles off of our 1994 Nissan Sentra and drive someone else’s car from Virginia to Connecticut to visit my wife’s family. I had actually requested a GT with a five-speed manual and was a little apprehensive about driving a muscle car with a heavy clutch up and down the Northeast’s legendarily over-crowded corridor. “Don’t worry. They’re going to give you a V6 with an automatic,” said my wife confidently. At this point, the agency that handled press cars was notorious for giving me the opposite of what I requested. Sure enough, that’s what showed up in my parking lot that Monday.
My fondest memory of this Mustang was during that drive. We were on the New Jersey Turnpike and my wife was driving. A state trooper and his partner pulled up along side of us and paced us for a bit. We were doing maybe 63 in a 55 and both of us refused to turn our heads.
“What do they want?”
“I don’t know.”
“Should I slow down?”
“You’re not speeding. Just keeping pace with traffic.”
“Should we look over?”
“We might as well.”
We then looked over, and both troopers gave us a smile and a big thumbs up. I guess that’s the beauty of driving the newest Mustang, even in its most basic form.
The below review was written on February 7, 1999.
Other than the Beetle, there are few cars which bring as many smiles and fond memories of youth as the Mustang. For 1999, Ford has refreshed its legendary pony car. Fortunately or unfortunately, Ford’s New Edge styling has found its way to the Mustang. There are now more hard edges, with a heavily squared rear and jutting wheel arches (which, according to Ford, now give the Mustang “shoulders”). While controversial, the new styling should keep the Mustang fresh for several more years. On the road, our Electric Green model received lots of smiles, thumbs-up and turned heads.
The other big change is, in classic Mustang tradition, MORE POWER. The base 3.8-liter V6 receives a 40 horsepower boost to 190, the 4.6-liter V8 is up 35 to 260, and the hot Cobra is up 15 to 320 (Buy! Buy!). The V6 traces its roots back to 1982 and has trouble hiding it. With the four-speed automatic, acceleration feels lethargic and the transmission sometimes shifts harshly. Furthermore, past 3500 RPMs the overhead-valve engine seems to be saying, “Please, please, no more,” and you’re better off listening to it. The GT, with its more modern overhead-cam engine, would be a much better choice. A welcome addition to all Mustangs is an optional traction control system that can be disabled for drivers in the mood for a little fun. The upcoming Cobra model will even have an independent rear suspension. Antilock brakes are still optional.
The interior is essentially unchanged, with its classic dual pod setup and too-far-forward shifter. The new optional Mach 460 stereo system sounds terrific and is worth the extra money. The console houses nice, deep cup holders and a storage bin large enough to hold several CDs. Skip the leather seats, however, which look and feel like vinyl.
Thanks to its squarish rear, the Mustang makes good use of the tiny trunk, and the (cramped) rear seats fold for those who miss the old hatchback.
Admittedly, it’s not the most practical vehicle on the market. But it’s still inexpensive, looks damn good, and can go like hell if properly equipped.
For more information contact 1-800-446-8888
Type: 2-Door Coupe
Engine: 190-horsepower, 3.8 liter V6
Transmission: Four-speed Automatic
EPA Mileage: 20 city/27 highway
Tested Price: $20,080