1995 Ford Mustang

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1995 Ford Mustang

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Available in 7 styles:  Mustang 2dr Convertible shown
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Estimated MPG

17–20 city / 25–30 hwy


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Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 3

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washingtonpost.com
THIS IS a story about black and white. But it has nothing to dowith race. It is about two convertibles -- a black 1996 Chevrolet CamaroZ28 and a white 1995 Ford Mustang GT.

In most respects, both were created equal. But only one could winmy heart -- the one that provided the most affirmative action on theroad.

It is understandable that some might find the comparison unfair.The Mustang, after all, belonged to a fading model year. And Ford haspromised that the 1996 Mustang GT convertible will be improvedsubstantially.

But the 1996 GT convertible wasn't available. I took what was inFord's garage.

Surely, the Camaro Z28 had certain advantages -- a more powerfulengine and a definite, no-compromise, in-your-face,knock-you-'cross-the-head, urban attitude.

By comparison, the Mustang came across as a suburbanite on anexotic excursion to the inner city -- quite acceptable, but somewhatclueless.

Those differences notwithstanding, I used the RepublicanCongressional Standard of Evaluation in choosing my favorite of the twoconvertibles. Those standards are color-blind, unaffected by culturalnuance and personal bias, and are based solely on merit.

Background: Both the Mustang and Camaro are "pony" cars, but theCamaro has always been more of a horse.

The Mustang was introduced April 17, 1964, as a mid-1964 model. TheCamaro came out Sept. 26, 1966, as a 1967 model. Because the Camaro wasa late entry, General Motors Corp., its maker, figured that it had topump the car up with more muscle and gusto to attract attention. The GMstrategy worked.

In retrospect, the Camaro has always been more of a blue-collar carthan the Mustang, which seemed to sell better than the Camaro inwine-and-cheese neighborhoods.

But GM and Ford lately have been trying to aim their products moretoward America's upper-middle class. Ford generally has been moresuccessful in that endeavor -- which would be good, if we were talkingabout a family sedan or a sport-utility vehicle. But we're talkinghotblooded convertibles, which are all about attitude. The Z28 Camarowins that contest hands down.

The Z28 is sleeker, sexier, faster and tighter than the Mustang GTconvertible. It's free of any crossover pretensions. It aims for the thegut.

Some comparisons:

Styling: The Mustang goes for body panel scoops, a la the 1964original. It's attractive, but smacks of artifice, especially with thatwhalelike air spoiler atop the trunk lid. But the smart, dual-podinterior styling of the Mustang beats the Darth Vader-like interior ofthe Z28 Camaro big time. The Mustang's exterior/interior styling willremain the same for 1996.

The Z28's exterior styling kicks butt -- smooth, super fine. Theair spoiler atop the trunk lid literally flows into the car's bodylines.

Engines: The 1996 Z28 runs with the Corvette-derived 5.7-liter V-8rated 285 horsepower at 5,200 rpm. Torque is set at 325 pound-feet at2,400 rpm.

The 1995 Must ang GT is equipped with a 5-liter V-8 rated 215horsepower at 4,200 rpm. Torque on the current Mustang engine is set at285 pound-feet at 3,400 rpm.

For '96, the Mustang GT convertible gets Ford's new, modular4.6-liter V-8, which has practically the same horsepower and torque asthe current GT 5-liter V-8. The difference is that the new engine islighter and more fuel-efficient.

Other mechanicals: The Camaro Z28 and Mustang GT convertibles bothhave standard power four-wheel disc brakes. But the Z28 comes with astandard anti-lock system. On the '95 and '96 Mustang GT, anti-locks aresold as an option.

The standard transmission in the Mustang GT for 1995 and 1996 is afive-speed manual. A four-speed automatic is optional. The Camaro Z28comes with a standard six-speed -- repeat, six-speed -- manual gearbox.A four-speed automatic is optional in the Camaro.

Safety: Both convertibles are very stable cars, which means thatyou are not likely to roll them over and lose you r head. Both areequipped with dual-front air bags and all of the appropriate side-impactcrash protections. Both run faster than the law allows.

Complaints: A squeak emanated from the left rear side of the 1995Mustang GT whenever the top was down. Hated that noise!

The Z28 could use a bit less testosterone and a bit more finesse,especially in the engine-roar department. It's kind of adolescent to leteverybody know you're coming.

Praise: Both convertibles are hot runners and mostly fun to drive.

Head-turning quotients: Camaro Z28 -- "Ooh, baby!" Mustang GT --"Good morning, honey."

Ride, acceleration and handling: Better front-passenger ride in theMustang GT, which has better front-passenger foot space than the CamaroZ28. Better behind-the-wheel feel in the Z28. Both cars offer onlymarginal comfort for rear-seat passengers, even though the Mustang GThas a slight edge in that area.

All-around better handling in the Z28, and I don't think it justwas because it was a '96 model. The '95 Camaro convertible also handledbetter than the somewhat wobbly-in-curves '95 Mustang GT.

Excellent braking in both cars.

Mileage: Nothing to cheer about in either car. The Camaro Z28 gotabout 19 miles per gallon (15.5-gallon tank, an estimated 280-mile rangeon usable volume of recommended premium unleaded), combinedcity-highway, mostly driver only.

The 1995 Mustang GT also got around 19 miles per gallon(15.4-gallon tank, an estimated 278-mile range on usable volume ofregular unleaded), combined city-highway and mostly driver only.

Sound systems: AM/FM stereo radio and cassette in Mustang GT, FordMach 460 system. Totally righteous. Optional Bose sound system with fivespeakers arranged in cross-firing pattern in the Camaro Z28. Boss boogiehere too.

Price: Base price on the 1995 Ford Mustang GT convertible is$22,795. Dealer's invoice is $20,538. Price as tested is $27,430,including $4,135 in options and a $500 destination charge. Ford willattempt to run as close as possible to this pricing in 1996.

Estimated base price on the 1996 Chevrolet Camaro is $24,000.Estimated dealer invoice is $21,500. Estimated price as tested is$28,000, including an estimated $3,500 in options and a $500 destinationcharge. Prices on the '96 Camaro were not firm at this writing.

Purse-strings note: Both Mustang GT and Camaro Z28 convertibles are"want" cars, as opposed to "need." Still, I want the Camaro Z28.


    Expert Reviews 1 of 3

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