Ford's long-kept secret is out. After months of rumors and hearsay, along with a few carefully released sneak-peek photos, we now have the full story on the 2010 Mustang-and it's a lot more than what we were hearing. Everything that slipped from Ford insiders indicated updated sheetmetal-more like a '69, they said-and a vastly improved interior. What we're getting is that and a lot more, including more horsepower for the GT, handling inspired by the '08 Bullitt, and a pair of performance options that add 3.73 gears and other upgrades.
The 2010 Mustang has taken a generational leap in appearance. Where the '05-'09 Mustang resembled the '67-'68s, the 2010 moves ahead an era with a narrower front end that looks more like that of the '69s, with integrated turn signals that remind us of the twin corner indents in the '70 models. Front designs are unique to the V-6 and GT; the GT's foglamps remain in the grille, only smaller than last year.
Other than the coupe's roof, the 2010 Mustang's sheetmetal is all new, incorporating a "powerdome" in the hood, more aggressive wheel flares, a more pronounced "hip" in the rear quarters, and an angled rear end with new tri-lens taillights. In addition to a more muscular appearance, the redesign also lowers the drag coefficient (by 4 percent for the V-6, 7 percent for the GT) and reduces front aerodynamic lift (37 percent for V-6, 23 percent for the GT) to improve high-speed stability. With better aerodynamics comes less wind noise, which is also helped by relocating the windshield-washer nozzles from the hood to the cowl and moving the antenna from the passenger-side front fender to the rear quarter-panel.
The rear taillights take a cue from the aftermarket with sequential LED operation, while HID headlights are now available from the option list.
At first glance, the interior doesn't appear to be dramatically changed, but in reality almost everything is different, most noticeably the taller "centerstack," as Ford calls it, which can accommodate the premium level Ford SYNC system with voice-activated communications and navigation, 911 assist, and available reverse camera system. To make room for the larger center area, the round air registers from the previous five years have been replaced by rectangular registers, which lends to the cleaner dash appearance and also recalls the vent locations of the '67-'68 Mustang.
Also new inside is a one-piece soft instrument panel in seamless Thermoplastic Olefin skin. The speedometer and tachometer feature a more vintage look, including lenses that are circular cones capped off with a silver hub. We'll be the first to applaud the fresh console design with its flush armrest that doesn't interfere with shifting like the previous version. The steering wheel, with real aluminum spokes on premium models, at last has integrated audio controls.
The popular My Color ambient lighting system has been enhanced for 2010, now allowing 125 custom colors. The driver can also individually set the colors for the instrument gauge background; instrument halo lighting; ambient lighting in the footwells, cup holders, and door; and the "MUSTANG" logo in the door sills.
We mentioned the reduced wind noise, but Ford took additional steps to quiet the interior with the strategic use of sound-absorptive and damping materials in the dash, trunk, hood, headliner, and interior trim, making it easier for occupants to carry on conversations at highway speeds. Conversely, the engineers made sure that the Mustang's traditional induction sound makes it to the interior by including the industry's first Induction Sound Tube (IST), which pipes the sound of the induction system into the passenger compartment.