#3 – 2012 Ford Mustang V6

I recently arrived in Las Vegas and needed a rental car. I bet that most people aren’t this excited about rental cars, but when your mission is to drive lots of cars, the rental process seems almost like a vacation in itself.

(This is an exaggeration. No one wants to deal with rental cars after a stupid long flight with turbulence and weird air pressure issues that make you feel drunk. I will say that McCarran airport has their act together and the consolidated rental area and shuttle buses are a nice touch. Also the nice folks at the Hertz counter made the experience painless.)

We were hoping to get a free upgrade to some fun car, but of course that never happens unless you’re a member of their points club. The woman we spoke with did say that we could upgrade the car for a fee to something like a Mustang, at which point my boyfriend asked if she had anything fun and German, but when the answer was no we settled on the Mustang.

Initial impressions were mixed. The new Mustang is a nice looking car (at least I think so, the boyfriend prefers the new Camaro) and it was clean and the trunk managed to easily fit our piles of luggage. (By contrast, said boyfriend’s 4-door car at home could not fit all of our luggage in the trunk gracefully. Stay tuned for that review later) However the Mustang has a big hood, and has those big safety-influenced A-Pillars so the first time driving it with the unfamiliar visibility issues isn’t really too fun, especially in a new city.

The car had the basic version of Sync, which basically only lets you use voice commands with bluetooth. I get that voice-command climate control is difficult without touch-screen climate (which I hear Ford is getting rid of, or at least scaling down in the near future), but it would be really handy if they carried over the Sync voice commands for radio. I hate surfing through XM/Sirius and it would be so much nicer to just say Car, play Sirius, BPM. (Not in those words for you Sync fans out there, but it’s more fun when doing a write-up to pretend that your car is a robot.)

The Ford Mustang also has the exact same noises and welcome sounds as a Lincoln. For a company that is trying to make their luxury brand seem more upscale and exclusive, it’s weird to keep such similarities in a “lower ranked” Ford.

Despite how it may sound, I didn’t hate the car at all. It drove really well, the radio, climate and settings were all easy to use, and there were lots of customization settings to change interior color lights, gauge lighting, etc. The seats were also very comfy and I didn’t mind them one bit for long trips.

I would recommend that anyone looking at this car get a manual transmission, or look at a different car if you need an automatic. The transmission was extremely sluggish and to this day I refuse to believe that there were 305 horsepowers coming from that engine. The plus side of the slushbox was that fuel economy was amazing. The car would love to jump up to the highest gear (and refuse to downshift unless you told it forcefully with your right foot) and we were averaging well over the advertised 31mpg. I think we made it from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and back on the equivalent of one tank of gas. (We filled it when we could since we didn’t want to risk running out of gas in the middle of nowhere so it wasn’t a straight trip with no fill-ups, though it would have been a nice experiment.)

I do have one important consumer warning about this car before I go. This thing is a vampire. It wants your blood. I dropped the lens cap to my camera under the seat one day, and I ended up bleeding from an edge that felt as sharp as knife under the seat. I know modern cars tend to stick lots of electronics under seats these days, but for how often I drop things I have never had an injury this bad from a car. My boyfriend also lost a bit of blood from a rough edge in the trunk when loading luggage, and later scraped his hand on some other part that I can’t recall.

So overall the car might be a little rough around the edges, but it’s a Mustang so I think that makes it ok.

Sadly this is the only picture you get today. I spent too much time running around taking pictures of canyons and fake pyramids and the poor Mustang was neglected except for this lone shot as we were packing up to catch (or miss…) our early morning flight.