Ford has given the Mustang V6 Convertible, along with its GT Convertible and Shelby GT500 Convertible brethren, a host of upgrades - cosmetic and otherwise - to keep the iconic drop-top ponycar competitive before its expected total redesign.
The Mustang V6 Convertible now boasts fresh styling that is largely borrowed from last year's range-topping Shelby GT500, further blurring the lines between the V6, GT and GT500 models in terms of exterior styling. Other major improvements include making HID headlamps standard, new stylized sequential taillamps and the availability of the V6 Performance Package on automatic-equipped models.
While the V6 engine itself may not have been given any changes for the latest model year, the majority of V6 Mustang buyers will benefit from the same new SelectShift automatic as found in the updated Mustang GT. This new transmission gives drivers real control over gear selection and cannot be overridden by the car's computer. Gear changes are handled by a switch located on the gear selector leaver itself, which was also restyled for 2013 to be more user-friendly.
For the V6 Mustang buyers who choose to stick with the stick, Hill Start Assist will make things a bit easier by engaging the brake for two second after the driver pulls their foot from the brake to move to the clutch while on hills - reducing the change of unwanted rollback.
The new base Mustang is the benefactor of a full revamped wheel lineup, ranging from the standard 17-inch wheels all the way up to 19-inch optional wheels on the V6 Performance Package.
There are two different finishes on the 17-inch wheel - machined-aluminum and painted. Three optional V6 wheels include an 18-inch polished aluminum variant, an updated 18-inch painted aluminum wheel and a 19-inch painted wheel design, with a new theme for the V6 Performance Package.
Another semi-functional, semi-fun change is the addition of a pony projection light to the mirrors, which casts the outline of Mustang's pony emblem on the ground when the unlock button is activated. Other detail changes include the addition of Deep Impact Blue and Gotta Have It Green as new exterior colors.
The Mustang V6 also gains the all-new new 4.2-inch LCD screen that is navigated through a five-way control button located on the steering wheel has been added. The new screen gives access to Track Apps, a new feature which delivers performance metrics such as g forces, acceleration times, braking times and automatic and countdown starts.
The optional audio systems for the latest Mustang Convertible have also been updated. The Shaker system features eight speakers and 370 watts of power, while the Shaker Pro system has nine speakers and delivers 550 watts of power.
Inside, styling is comprised of a blend of retro with modern touches, including available ambient lighting, along with upgraded materials compared to the previous model.
Power and efficiency
Two trim levels of Mustang convertible are on offer, Base V6 and V6 Premium, and both are powered by the new 3.7-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, nearly matching the 2010 GT's V8 output of 315 horsepower. In addition to adding 95 horsepower and 40 lb-ft of torque over the previous V6, the latest V6 Mustang also boasts class-leading fuel economy of 31 mpg on the highway with a six-speed automatic. Switching to a six-speed manual will drop expected highway mileage to 29 mpg.
Premium models add leather seat and steering wheel trim, Sync, Sirius satellite radio and a Shaker 500 audio system, among other cosmetic upgrades.
Options for Premium models include a navigation system and a rearview camera built into the rear spoiler.
The fully-insulated cloth top with a glass rear window is power-operated and can tumble away in about 16 seconds behind the rear seats. Trunk space is 9.6 cubic feet, regardless of whether the top is erected.
All new Mustangs will include an upgraded version of Ford's electronic power steering (EPAS) which reduces drag on the engine by eliminating the traditional hydraulic setup. Ford says that the system has been tuned for scalable input at various speeds, meaning parking-lot maneuvers will be easier, while high-performance driving will be more precise. The system, according to Ford, is good for a 1 percent improvement in fuel economy.
Though Mustang retains its solid rear axle -- Ford says it's to enhance straight-line performance -- the suspension has been revised to deliver a smoother, better controlled ride, flatter handling and improved steering feel.
Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control is standard across the lineup, and it joins traction control, front and seat-mounted side airbags and anti-lock brakes on the Mustang's roster of passive and active safety features.
Perhaps the most direct rival to the Mustang V6 convertible is Chevrolet Camaro convertible; the less sporty Chrysler 200 convertible is also an alternative, as is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which offers less power and space but more precise handling.