2014 Ford Mustang Convertible review: Summer’s gone

2014 Ford Mustang Convertible

2014 Ford Mustang Convertible

Summer’s gone. And with it, at least for most of the country, it’s time to put the convertible top and start a fire in the woodstove. Well, we’ve done the latter, but we put the top down on our test 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible one more time. And with the temperature hovering in the low fifties, donned our winter coat and winter hat, turned the heater to Bessemer and hit the road.

Nuts? Sure, but as we pulled around the drive-through for a cup of hot coffee—see a theme here?—someone called out, “You won’t be able to do that very much longer.” And gave a thumbs up as he went back to the four-door sedan he was driving.

2014 Ford Mustang Convertible

The retro 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible interior is beginning to look tired. (click to enlarge)

It’s symbolic, if we want to go that way. Not only has the summer ended, but the current generation of Mustang is reaching its end as well. On April 15, exactly 50 years from the birth of the original 1965 Mustang—often and incorrectly called the 1964½ Mustang—debuted to a surprised world. And indeed, like the Beatles who had five of the top ten records in April, 1964, turning pop music on its head,  the Mustang would change the automotive world forever as well.

Between then and now, depending on how you count, the Ford Mustang has been through eight generations, and our test 2014 Mustang Convertible is one of the last before the new models arrive. We’re taking one last look.

It’s surprising how old the 2014 Mustang Convertible feels. Imagine, the clamps at either end of the windshield header must be unlatched manually before the button for the power top, positioned on the header by the rearview mirror, can be pushed. The top folds neatly into a well, the front end of the convertible top making a hard surface.

2014 Ford Mustang Convertible back seat

The 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible back seat is impossible for average height adults to sit behind average height adults. (click to enlarge)

That gives a rather unfinished look, and those with any attention to appearances will want to install the boot over the stack to tidy up. Good luck. The boot is contoured lined fabric that connects via a couple of loops to the backs of the rear seats, plus flat hooks that slip on around the edge of the well. Slip on, however, is a generous term. There’s a lot of tugging, pulling, pushing and evil thoughts required to get it to fit.

But it looks good when it’s done.

Then there’s taking it off and stuffing it back in the not very large trunk.

Speaking of looking good, however, the interior needs refreshing, however. We hadn’t noticed it so much on the 2013 Mustang GT we tested, but it just looked old on our test Convertible, and not in a retro way.

Our current test Mustang, however, was not a V-8 powered Mustang GT but instead was powered by Ford’s 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 and equipped with the optional six-speed automatic with manual shifting via a rocker switch on the shifter knob. In our earlier test with the V-6 in the coupe, we liked the power but were unimpressed by the aural element. It came off as a little coarse and definitely short of the throb of a V-8. But of course.

The V-6 in the convertible was altogether different. Still no throbbing but more alto than baritone, it made its own kind of noises, top up or down.  We drove, nay, accelerated the Mustang V-6, and yeah, the V-6 in the Mustang is the aural equal to, say, the V-6 in a Nissan Z.

2014 Ford Mustang Convertible

2014 Ford Mustang Convertible (click to enlarge)

And with its 305 horsepower, the Mustang would lift its nose and run hard, with energy not long ago only available from a V-8.

In an effort to keep costs down and the Mustang affordable, Mustangs back to 1979 –ignoring the best-forgotten Mustang II—have made do with a MacPherson strut front/live-axle rear suspension. And that’s good. But there’s no denying the ready-for-Flintstones technology that’s gone under the rear end. Ride suffers over rough roads, as does traction. The Mustang seems to suffer with its front suspension as well. Going over slight rises the front suspension would top and things get loosey at the rear.

The convertible body was stiff, however, without the dead fish floppiness of the traditional topless body. Ford chassis engineers have vanquished the dreaded cowl shake.