A driver's review of the 2018 Ford Mustang convertible

December 21st, 2018

The fellow at the car rental place in Las Vegas was an amazing salesman, not only complimenting my wife, but also suggesting an upgrade to that bad boy out front for only $25.

It was a good upgrade. Otherwise I'd have been kicking around in a Kia Soul.

The 2018 Ford Mustang is a pretty car. It looks badass. The interior was nice, leather, and tricked out with all the usual options like conditioned seats, navigation, Bluetooth, massive cupholders and a dizzying array of buttons on the steering wheel.

There were eighteen, count them, eighteen buttons on the steering wheel. Nineteen if you count the horn. Even after 600 miles of driving the Mustang, I couldn't figure out what half of them did.

We settled into the car and began our Great American Roadtrip. It was a long day of driving, from Las Vegas out into the desert, all the way over to California for a swing through Death Valley, then driving through small half-abandoned desert towns before going all the way up to the middle of Nevada to the Extraterrestrial Highway, which is actually just one long 100-mile stretch of road with absolutely nothing to see except cows and desert scrub. Not even a gas station. Only 2 or 3 cars passed us going the opposite direction in that whole 100-mile stretch.

I digress, though. I liked the interior of the car when I first settled into it early in the morning. It felt nice. But as the day grew on I was less happy with the seats. They were downright bad for my back, actually. And the gas pedal was awkwardly positioned: in most cars, you can kind of rest the side of your foot on the console. But the pedal was out in the open, abandoned like one of those dilapidated sheds we saw out in the desert, nothing to hold it up. So your foot got tired, fast.

Leaving Las Vegas in stop-and-go traffic, I immediately tried to figure out the transmission. Something felt different. It wasn't until I got to highway speeds that I figured out it's a 10-speed automatic - probably the first one of those I've ever driven. But it was clunky, and any quick throttle changes would make it bog like a teenager trying to drive a stickshift.

We put the top down during our jaunt through Death Valley. It was loud and blustery. It was still fun, but my hair blew around too much.

Going into greater detail about my driving experiments in the 2018 Ford Mustang would probably get me banned from life from a certain car rental company, so I'll just make a blanket statement that the car was electronically limited at 122 mph. The acceleration was also slow. The official specs are a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds but I think that's too generous.

I'm comparing this car to my daily driver, a 14-year-old BMW 530i, which is an old man sedan. It is also quieter, stiffer, smoother, snappier, and faster. My car at 140 mph feels cleaner than the Ford at 90 mph. Did I mention it's 14 years old and worth maybe 1/5th what this brand new Mustang sells for?

I will have to give credit to Ford for one particular aspect, however. It sounds amazing. It has a loud, meaty growl when you push down the pedal. Unfortunately it just barks, doesn't bite, since it doesn't really do anything when you floor it.

The Mustang is a nice car. For a day, I would rather drive it than a Ford Focus. But I would not buy it. The particular model came with a list price of $36,000.

Here is a list of other vehicles that you could buy with $36,000:

Other things you could buy for $36,000: