Thinking About an Upgrade
The year is 2022, and lockdown is nominally over. With some semblance of normality returning, I felt the itch to change my car. This usually happens when I’ve owned a car for three years or so. I owned a red 2017 Mustang, and I was thinking about a change. Part of me wasn’t ready to part with it yet… Mainly because it’s spent most of the last two years in the garage, and done very few miles.
What to upgrade to? I started looking at a BMW i8. Not a new one, since they’re ridiculous expensive. But even a 2019 model was going to set me back silly money. I went and saw one at a dealership…
I was put off by the fact that the “battery has been removed so we can charge it”; the dealership were therefore unable to let me test drive the car, or even open the doors to sit inside. Seemed a bit shifty!
Having ruled that out, I figured I’d look at newer Mustangs. My rationale being:
- They’re really good value.
- They look great.
- They perform well.
- They sound awesome.
- I know what I’m getting.
But on the flip side, I was at risk of buying a car that would be so similar to the last one that I’d instantly be bored with it.
The Remote Buying Experience
I found a Mustang I really liked the look of, at a dealership called AMT, based in Leeds. A sales guy called James was super helpful. The dealership is 200 miles from me, so James gave me a live viewing of the car over WhatsApp, and recorded a video for me. I loved the car, and decided to buy it there and then. Two days later, it arrived on a trailer.
After driving the car for a few days, there were some notable differences…
- The new model has a 10 speed automatic transmission, vs the 6 speed in the previous model. This transmission feels a lot better. It changes more quickly; it changes more smoothly; it feels less clunky.
- The new model always seems to be in a more appropriate gear. Of course, this probably has a lot to do with having more gears. But in my 2017 model, I always found that “Normal” driving mode felt too sluggish, whilst “Sport” (the next one up) felt too aggressive. I wanted something in between. With the new model, “Normal” feels more responsive, but not silly. Sport feels a little less silly. And that’s good, because we’ve still got “Sport+”, “Track”, and “Drag” modes. So we don’t really need the second mode to be ridiculous!
- The new model has a heated steering wheel. That might sound like a silly thing to want or like. But I had this perk back when I had a Jaguar XKR, and I really missed it in the winter. You don’t know how much you appreciate something until it’s gone. (Of course, both Mustangs have heated/cooled seats.)
- The new model has the active exhaust system with variable loudness. The old model only had LOUD. This one has Quiet, Loud, and Very Loud. Yeah, I know you’re all saying… “Why have a Mustang and then make it quiet?” Well, if you’ve ever cruised for two hours on a motorway, just wanting to listen to an audiobook, then you’ll know why. And let me tell you… The quiet mode is amazing. It still sounds great. But just not LOUD. And when you’re on a long cruise, this is a good thing.
- To complement the active exhaust, we have scheduled quiet start. I’ve set my car to start up in quiet mode, if it’s between 2100 and 0900. This is a very neighbour-friendly feature. You can’t put a price on the value of happy neighbours!!
- The speakers!! The new model has a 12 speaker, 900W Bang and Olufson sound system. They sound considerably better than the previous system.
- The new car will alert if you’re getting too close to the car in front. For example, if you’re not paying attention and the car in front is braking. You can even enable the automatic breaking. But I don’t like that!!
- Similarly, if you’re on the motorway and you change lanes without indicating, you’ll feel a rumble through the wheel. This is a nice feature and is designed to let you know if you’re drifting across a lane. (I guess BMW and Audi drivers will just turn this off…)
- The old model had standard cruise control. The new model has adaptive cruise control. And it’s very good. It will maintain a sensible distance from the car in front.
- The dash display!! The old model already had a very cool, highly configurable digital dash. But the new dash is so much cooler. It changes the digital display, depending on the driving mode selected.
- Fuel economy!! Yeah, I know… Fuel economy is not typically a major consideration when you’re buying a 5.0L V8. If you’re worried about fuel economy, then this isn’t the car for you. That said, on my first 200 mile motorway round trip, I saw an average of 32mpg!! That makes this Mustang one of the most fuel efficient cars I’ve ever owned!! (Which says a lot about the cars I’ve had before.) Of course, don’t expect that around town!
This was a good move! The 2020 Mustang is so much better than the 2017 model! It’s sufficiently improved to feel like a different car.
So, if you find yourself in the same situation as me… Go for it!