2013 Ford Mustang V-6 Premium review: Down two cylinders, this handsome coupe has charms of its own

The 2103 Ford Mustang is a handsome coupe from any angle.

The 2103 Ford Mustang is a handsome coupe from any angle.

So what’s not to like about the V-6-powered 2013 Ford Mustang? In a word, nothing.

It’s as good looking as any other Mustang and better than some. It is more than just adequately powered, it handles satisfactorily, it’s comfortable, it feels well put together and it’s reasonably priced.

But . . .

Blame it on the Mustang mystique, a special attitude that has defined this pony-car since it first hit the road back in 1964, but to me a Mustang must have a peppy V-8 engine and an aggressive driving experience to go along with its sporty long hood and  short trunk. experience.

In V-8 trim, The Mustang has always brought to mind two words emblematic of its feisty name: “rip” and “snorting.”

I just can’t help it,  but my definition of the true Mustang still goes all the way back to my brother’s 1965 Mustang: sea foam green, white upholstery, peppy V-8 engine,  manual transmission.

The Mustang may have originally been a spinoff of the pedestrian Ford Falcon, but to me it shouted Affordable Sports Car, American Style. In recent years, the revived Mustang has wandered much deeper into muscle-car territory, and, as a result, much deeper into the wallets of its buyers.

But the Mustang GT, complete with that V-8 burble and rumble, remains available at a semi-reasonable price and, while a much more sophisticated and capable automobile, it still represents the essence of the original.

The Nustabg seats are comfortable and the instruments are easily read.

The Mustang bucket seats are comfortable and the instruments are easily read.

Sorry, but that’s where I stand with Mustangs. Nevertheless, that should not  deter anyone who did not inherit the boy (or girl)-racer gene from considering the V-6 Mustang as a more interesting, if not more practical, coupe alternative to the myriad bland sedans on the road.

The horse supplied for my test was the upscale Ford Mustang V-6 Premium, which combined the engine with an optional ($1,195) six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capability.

In truth, the combination provided a spirited ride and it surely could be considered a sensible option for anyone whose daily drive is usually made in a tangle of urban traffic.

By the numbers, the 3.7-liter V-6 engine generates 305 horsepower and  280 pound-feet of torque. That’s good enough to hit 60 mph from a stop in less than 7 seconds. Want to stop in a hurry? According to Edmunds.com, on-line source for all things automotive, the disc brakes will grind this Mustang to a halt in a short 112 feet.

In reasonable driving, the V-6 Mustang will return an EPA-rated 19 miles per gallon in the city, 31 on the open road and a combined 23 mpg. In my week of driving, I averaged a bit under 22 mpg.

Clearly, this 2013 Mustang is light years ahead of what I enjoyed way back in 1965 — a lot more power, smooth automatic shifter, more accurate steering and those strong brakes. Funny, isn’t it, how a fading memory can play tricks on you.

Still, I must report that the V-6 engine had a bit of a grainy feel to it, and under heavy acceleration, the exhaust simply could not approach the delightful, throaty tune of a V-8.

I did appreciate the optional Pony Package  which, in addition to some distinctive trim pieces, added a larger front stabilizer bar and a rear stabilizer bar to the suspension system.

The Mustang's rear seats are sporty but not comfortable for the long haul.

The Mustang’s rear seats are sporty but not comfortable for the long haul.

However, keeping in mind my admitted bias toward V-8 Mustangs, I found the overall driving experience competent but mostly ordinary. No thrills and chills, just a predictable driving dynamic that will keep most motorists well within their comfort zones.

On the outside, the Deep Impact Blue paint, set off by optional 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, provided the test Mustang with a sporty, somewhat luxurious demeanor.
Inside, the charcoal black leather seats and matching trim added a comfortable, if not entirely luxurious, aura to the cabin.

Mustang faithful will quickly note the exterior changes for 2013, including standard high-intensity discharge headlights with LED accents, a Shelby-inspired grille, restyled front and rear fascias, painted rocker panels, updated taillights, even the new blue color.