Today we put a the 3.7 liter 2013 Mustang V6 Premium with Performance Package to the test, rowing through the gears of its Select Shift 6-speed automatic transmission and tossing into the corners of our local mountain roads.
The final edition of the S-197 Mustang has matured so far from the 2005 model which offered up a hard plastic interior and a base V6 engine that was not only sup-par in power but rough as a diesel locomotive when you tried to drive it like a Mustang wants to be driven.
The 3.7 liter V6 with its four-cams, variable valve timing and six-speed transmissions put the entry level Mustang into the world class strata of automotive hardware. It revs to 7,000 rpm if you really try, and that power peak is at 6,500 rpm.
The engine sounds and feel are kept strong and sporting in the Mustang, unlike other Ford's which are equipped with this engine. It burbles to life with a soft growl and has a raspy exhaust note when pushed hard.
Flooring the accelerator from a stop admittedly doesn't offer up the torque laden lunge of the 5.0 liter V8, but once the revs come on the power is delivered in a nice linear fashion, the automatic transmission waiting for the engine to rev before up-shifts.
The shift lever finally has a manual shift function in the form of a plus-minus toggle button on the handle. While we would have preferred paddles on the wheel or a manual gate for the lever, it worked well and allowed for true manual shifting.
On the windy roads the big 19” wheels and tires offered Mustang GT levels of grip and handling. While the live axle has gotten much criticism, the power band of this engine rarely shows you its bad habits. We found the suspension to offer up a downright fun to drive tossable attitude while feeling solid as a rock when the rough got rough.
As we have said before, the Mustang's electrically assisted power steering is a joy. The settings include, Auto which varies assist rate by speed, Sport which makes steering heavier, and Comfort which is light as a feather. With this user selectable assist level, it makes for the best of all worlds for the variety of drivers who will buy this car.
Our Premium V6 model had leather seating and a wrapped steering wheel. While the interior upgrades in 2010 really raised the bar some areas of the interior still ring of a rental car, namely the console and door panels. The dash however is well done with genuine aluminum trims and a nice soft touch.
The power seats were comfortable and supportive for and entry level car. The steering wheel offers only a tilt adjustment however, missing the telescoping adjustment that has become commonplace in most cars. We liked the dark charcoal theme with full headliner wrap, giving the cabin an intimate and sporting feel.
The exterior of the 2013 Mustang of course benefited from a major styling upgrade in 2013. The face now resembling the Shelby GT-500, your choice of the V6 Mustang is no longer telegraphed to the world as it once was. The 19' Performance Package wheels have a handsome vintage kind of vibe to them that really works well.
As far as fuel efficiency goes, this is the major step up from the Mustang GT of a few years ago to which its other performance metrics match. The 2013 Mustang V6 is rated at 19 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. We achieved a combined real-world 22.5 mpg, and 30 mpg on freeway stints. Not bad for a car with genuine performance potential.
Our 2013 Mustang V6 tester was well equipped with the V6 Performance Package for $1,995, the Rear Sensing Security Package for $695, and the automatic transmission which was $1,195. The total came to $30,880 including destination charges.