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2009 Ford Mustang

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19
Photos
Coupe
4 Seats
19-21 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 4 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Styling
  • Handling
  • V-8 rumble
  • Short-throw shifter
  • Open cabin with glass roof

The Bad

  • Solid rear axle
  • ABS not standard
  • No stability system
  • Heated seats only have one level
2009 Ford Mustang exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2009 Ford Mustang
  • Retro-inspired looks
  • V-6 or V-8
  • Manual or automatic
  • Coupe or convertible
  • Newly optional glass roof

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check MotorWeek.org for times and channels.

by Mike Hanley - We haven't reviewed the Mustang since its 2005 redesign, so it was high time to see how this pony car has aged, especially since it will be redesigned again next year. After spending a few hundred miles behind the wheel of a 2009 Mustang GT coupe, some things still impress, but there's clearly room for improvement in other areas.

When the Mustang was redesigned for 2005, it created a sensation in the car world. It was easy to see the car's modern interpretation of classic Mustang design cues on the outside and inside; it took what was great about older Mustangs and brought those elements into the 21st century. Since then, Ford has had free reign in the muscle car realm, but Dodge and Chevrolet are returning to this once hotly contested segment with a modern-day Challenger and Camaro. Ford is set to answer with an updated Mustang for 2010, but few details are available as of this writing.

I haven't driven the new Camaro, which isn't on sale yet, but I have tested the new Challenger, and I'd still take a Mustang over it because of the Ford's more engaging driving experience.

Styling
People have strong allegiances when it comes to muscle cars, and on the whole I like the Mustang's exterior design — especially when you consider the version it replaced. The current model's larger dimensions work really well with the retro styling cues and give the coupe better proportions overall. (See a side-by-side comparison with the 2008 model.)...

by Mike Hanley - We haven't reviewed the Mustang since its 2005 redesign, so it was high time to see how this pony car has aged, especially since it will be redesigned again next year. After spending a few hundred miles behind the wheel of a 2009 Mustang GT coupe, some things still impress, but there's clearly room for improvement in other areas.

When the Mustang was redesigned for 2005, it created a sensation in the car world. It was easy to see the car's modern interpretation of classic Mustang design cues on the outside and inside; it took what was great about older Mustangs and brought those elements into the 21st century. Since then, Ford has had free reign in the muscle car realm, but Dodge and Chevrolet are returning to this once hotly contested segment with a modern-day Challenger and Camaro. Ford is set to answer with an updated Mustang for 2010, but few details are available as of this writing.

I haven't driven the new Camaro, which isn't on sale yet, but I have tested the new Challenger, and I'd still take a Mustang over it because of the Ford's more engaging driving experience.

Styling
People have strong allegiances when it comes to muscle cars, and on the whole I like the Mustang's exterior design — especially when you consider the version it replaced. The current model's larger dimensions work really well with the retro styling cues and give the coupe better proportions overall. (See a side-by-side comparison with the 2008 model.)

So what are those retro cues, you ask? Practically anywhere you look on the exterior, you'll see one. In front, it's the forward-swept grille and round headlights. On the side, it's subtle sheet-metal creases behind the doors and the fastback roofline, both of which are reminiscent of Mustangs from the late '60s. In back, it's large red taillights that recall those from early Mustangs.

A variety of aluminum wheels are available for the Mustang, some of which have a retro appearance, complete with fake spinners. The standard wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, but 17- and 18-inch rims are also offered.

Ride & Handling
What impressed me more in the Mustang than in the Challenger was handling prowess. Both cars offer relatively comfortable ride quality for performance cars, but the Mustang's weighty steering feel is worlds better than the Challenger's light steering.

Helping the Mustang's cause is the fact that it's smaller than the Challenger — and it feels that way from the driver's seat. While the Challenger feels huge when you look out over its big hood, that sensation isn't there in the Mustang.

Even though the Challenger is quite large, it handles corners surprisingly well, as does the Mustang GT; body roll in the Mustang is well-controlled, and the chassis feels very planted and stable.

The Mustang's biggest downside in terms of ride and handling is its solid rear axle, a design that's long past its prime for a sports car. You would think that if the Ford Expedition full-size SUV gets an independent rear suspension then the Mustang would too, but that's not the case. My problem with this design is its tendency to, when the car hits a bump or hole in the road, distribute the impact of one rear wheel to the other one, thereby unsettling both wheels rather than just one. Here's hoping the updated 2010 Mustang gets an independent rear suspension.

Going & Stopping
By definition, a muscle car needs to have some actual muscle under its hood. In the Mustang, that muscle comes in the form of an optional V-8 engine (a V-6 is standard). The all-aluminum 4.6-liter V-8 makes 300 horsepower. That may sound like a lot of power, but it falls well short of the power specs for the V-8s in the Challenger R/T (376 hp with the manual transmission) and upcoming Camaro SS (422 hp with the manual). Both the Challenger R/T and Camaro SS, however, are significantly heavier than the current Mustang. I wouldn't be surprised if Ford answered with a more powerful V-8 for the 2010 Mustang.

But back to the car at hand. The 2009 Mustang GT's V-8 offers strong, if not overwhelming, acceleration, accompanied by a sonorous exhaust note through the dual exhaust system. The exhaust rumble is still there when cruising on the highway, but it's much more muted. At any rate, it's sure to be a glorious symphony to muscle car fans' ears.

Like the V-6, the V-8 is available with a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. My test car had the five-speed manual, and it features a short-throw shifter that moves from gear to gear with a mechanical feel; it takes some effort to push the shifter around, but this does more to enhance the beefy feel of the car than to make it feel unrefined. The clutch pedal, on the other hand, is light and doesn't take much effort to depress; even after constantly working the clutch pedal when commuting in rush-hour traffic, my leg never tired.

The Mustang's brake pedal feels much more solid underfoot, which is good for your confidence if you have to hit the brakes hard. The Mustang's nose dives a little during hard braking (just like it rises a little when you hit the gas from a stop), but braking response is very controllable and progressive.

The Inside
Like the outside of the Mustang, the cabin has a number of retro cues, including a stepped dashboard and thin-spoke steering wheel. The script for the gauges and the appearance of the optional leather seats in my GT test car also fit into the retro theme. Some areas of the car, like the center control panel, have a generically modern look, but the buttons and switches move with a fair degree of refinement.

The GT's front bucket seats offer good comfort on longer drives; I took a three-hour trip in the Mustang and stepped out without feeling sore at all thanks to the seat's soft cushioning.

Ford has made a push to offer unique cabin lighting in its cars, and the Mustang is included in that effort. The available MyColor feature consists of adjustable backlighting for the gauges and front cupholders, which means you can change the gauges from white to orange, for instance.

The Mustang is also available with a glass roof, which is a new option for 2009. For $1,995, Ford replaces the coupe's metal roof with a large, fixed piece of glass that makes the Mustang's cabin feel extremely open. You can dim external light sources somewhat with a sliding sunshade, but you can't completely block them out because the shade is made of a mesh fabric.

Cargo
Even though the Mustang is a two-door sports car, it offers a usable trunk that measures 13.1 cubic feet (9.7 cubic feet in the convertible). Coupes have a 50/50-split folding backseat that makes it easier to carry long items inside the car.

Safety
The Mustang has standard side-impact airbags for the front seats, but a number of other important safety features are either optional or not offered: Antilock brakes and traction control are optional, and side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system aren't offered. Most Challenger trims have a stability system, while the Camaro will offer it as standard equipment across the line.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Mustang convertible Good overall (the highest score possible) in its side-impact crash test and Acceptable overall in the frontal-offset test.

Mustang in the Market
The big unknown in the muscle car world is the new Camaro, which looks like a promising entry on paper but hadn't been tested as of publication. If you're a Camaro fan, waiting a few more months for your car is probably preferable to getting a Mustang now. Similarly, Dodge fans aren't likely to walk into a Ford or Chevy showroom to see the competition. Like I said, allegiances run deep.

What all of this renewed action in the muscle-car segment seems most likely to do is bring enthusiasts who left when their favorite model was dropped back to the segment, as well as some new fans, too. The state of the nation's economy and continued concern over gas prices are sure to put a damper on sales of these "fun" cars, but even though Dodge and Chevy have newer offerings, the current Mustang is still a solid muscle car. It'll be interesting to see how the new one compares.

Send Mike an email 


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
56 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Nearly perfect car (for me)

by Pondo from Muskego, WI on August 25, 2018

The ?09 Mustang is exactly what I was looking for. It?s becoming more and more difficult to find rear wheel drive cars with manual transmissions. Especially cars that have enough power to be fun to ... Read full review

(3.0)

GT with no guts.

by axton36 from columbia city on August 22, 2018

For a GT I expected so much more! This thing barely hits the 300 hp mark. If it does at all! Disappointed overall. Ford could have done a much better job with the 09 GT. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2009 Ford Mustang currently has 5 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2009 Ford Mustang V6

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
poor
Overall Rear
poor
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
acceptable
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
acceptable
Restraints
acceptable
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
acceptable

Side

Driver Head Protection
marginal
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Ford

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2009 Mustang Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Mustang received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker