2011 Ford Mustang V6 Test Drive and Review


The 2011 Ford Mustang V6 didn't receive many changes from the 2010 model year on the outside or inside but under the hood the new base model pony car got the power it needed to keep up with the rest of the market.  The 4.0L engine from the 2005-2010 models has been removed in place of a more powerful and more fuel efficient 3.7L version of the Duratech V6.  The 2011 Mustang V6 offers 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque, mated to either an automatic or manually shifted 6-speed transmission. Thanks to the good people of Dorian Ford in Clinton Township, Michigan, I had a chance to spend a day behind the wheel of this new base model Ford Mustang.

The exterior of the 2011 Mustang V6 offers the same changes to the S197 platform as the 2010 models with a raised center section of the hood giving the car a menacing look, bolstered by the aggressive front fascia and low-mounted foglights.  The rear of the car is dressed up with a low profile spoiler and a blackout panel between the sequential tail lights.

Inside of the 2011 Ford Mustang V6, many of the same options are available from the prior model year.  The interior layout itself is identical to the 2010 Mustang V6 with the sporty bucket seats offering a firm seat during spirited driving as well as a comfortable ride on a long road trip.  My 2011 Mustang V6 test vehicle was equipped with the standard sound system but you audiophiles can upgrade to the impressive MyFord touch system with navigation and satellite radio.

I have driven a great many cars and in the past the V6-powered Ford Mustangs were more about the look than the performance aspect but with 305hp the base model 2011 Mustang offers similar power to the outgoing Mustang GT.  The new Mustang V6 is capable of stock 13-second quarter mile times and in my test drive session, the added power was hard not to notice.  The 2011 Mustang V6 accelerates hard through the powerband and the automatic transmission of my test car kept the Mustang in the powerband from gear to gear - pulling hard and even occasionally chirping the tires when it shifts.

One of the features of the newest V6 Mustang is the factory-equipped dual exhaust and this system is quiet around town, yet offering a little growl at higher RPMs.  The optional 3.31 rear gear ratio helps the 3.7L engine build speed in impressive fashion but I could definitely see a bigger rear gear help the 2011 Mustang V6 to get off the line but that would hurt the fuel economy.  However, the 2011 V6 Mustang offers "fun to drive" factor like no other base model Mustang before.

Speaking of fuel economy, the 2011 Mustang V6 was the first car in the US market to ever receive an EPA fuel economy rating of over 30mpg (31 to be exact) and also offer over 300 horsepower.  To show just how fuel efficient the new V6 Mustang really is, Ford went so far as to set up the Mustang 1000-Lap Challenge.  In this experiment, Ford had a team of test drivers take a 2011 Mustang V6 and run laps around Bristol Motor Speedway with the goal of reaching 1000 laps on a single 16-gallon tank of fuel.  After 17 hours of driving, the 2011 Mustang completed 1457 laps - 776 miles - on just 16 gallons of gas for an average of 48.5 miles per gallon.  To give you an idea of just how impressive that is, the 2011 Mustang V6 can run in the 13 second quarter mile range and if you set the cruise at 45mph, the new base model Mustang could get you from Detroit to Atlanta on a single tank of gas.



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