2002 Ford Mustang new car reviews

Honestly, when Ford "freshened" the sheet metal of the Mustang for the 1999 season, none of us here at the magazine were impressed. In fact, we thought it looked pretty hideous, almost like a disguised, pre-production mockup of the previous Mustang.

Maybe the design has had some time to settle into our minds, but now it doesn't look that bad to us.In fact, it almost has a Nissan Skyline look to it. Plus, we have realized that the car looks way better in darker colors, which seem to make all of the Mustang's fake vents and scoops less noticeable. Despite the questionable styling, we enjoyed our time behind the wheel of the new car in both V6 and GT trim levels: either way, you get some tire-smoking torque to spare, a good driving position and the balance that comes with a rear-drive layout.

The base model now comes with a 3.8-liter V6 engine, which still does an impressive job of getting the Mustang off the line. The 3.27:1 rear end gear, standard equipment on all new Mustangs, also helps.

While the engine is willing and the interior is quite good (well, when compared to the Camaro), the chassis could use a little tightening up. A little less tire sidewall would also help, and fortunately 16-inch wheels are now an option.

In the Mustang GT, Ford's 4.6-liter modular V8 provides the power, and with the redesign the engine gained 35 horsepower for 260 total. Torque was also raised a bit to 302 ft.-lbs. Thank the new camshafts, reshaped combustion chambers and larger valves and intake manifold runners for the increases.

Driving either Mustang is a fun experience. Despite a chassis that dates back something like 20 years, Ford engineers have done a good job of updating the car to keep with the times. Yeah, it isn't the smoothest thing out there, but if you're looking for a pony car for daily use, we think the Mustang is the one.

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