2002 Mustang 3.8l disappointment :(

I test drove one of these today, cherry car from a dealer with 12k on it and all options, auto trans, and I was pretty disappointed in the "fun factor" of this car.
It *looks* like it would be fun, feels like it would be fun to drive but as soon as you put it in gear, the fun ends. While it seemed to handle well, braking was excellent and visibility was better than I had remembered in the past, the thing can't seem to get out of it's own way?
I drove 2 of them in fact because I thought something was wrong with the first one!
They both felt equally slow.
From what I read this engine is 193 hp? I also test drove a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am GT which has 175hp and the fun factor with that car was much higher. You get pushed back in the seat when you throttle the Pontiac, but the Mustang? Just plain slow. It winds up and roars, but doesn't seem to really get going.
FWIW I had a 5.0L convertible as a rental car a couple of years ago and I loved the car.
It was a rocket for sure.
I wasn't expecting 5.0 L V8 performance out of the 6 banger but figured that the 3.8L would at least be decent seeing as 193hp is a pretty high figure for such a small car.
My 87 T-bird with 175k on it doesn't feel that much slower than the 02 stang.
So what gives?
Walter
I
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
193 horsepower... Doesn't sound too bad, eh? The 289 in my '67 full-size is rated at 200. That V6 makes as much horsepower as my V8. I can take V6 Mustangs with ease though. Why is that? HP is nearly identical and my car is heavier, but a V8 has torque. Torque is what moves cars. If you want a car that's fast off the line you need torque. You've only got 220 ft-lbs, whereas that 5.0 you drove has 310+ fl-lbs and is probably lighter too. I'm sure that V6 has a nice top speed with that much horsepower, and can probably rev higher than the 5.0.
The best and easiest way to make a small displacement engine move the car faster off the line is to get lower rear end gears. If you've got an overdrive transmission it shouldn't kill your highway driveability. So if you want a V6 Mustang look for one with a lower ratio rear end gear, or have one put on. Eitehr that or get the Grand Am GT and enjoy the performance, as it's probably either lighter, or makes better torque... Maybe both.
Cory

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Cory, I should have been a little more clear with my message. I understand that torque is the reason behind the pushed back in the seat feel as my other car is a Caprice and being the old fart that I am (43yo), I remember the stump pullers of the early 70's real well!!
From what I can tell, the Mustang has 190 hp at 5250 RPM and 220lb-ft torque at 2750 RPM.
The Grand Am GT has 175 hp at 4800 rpm and 205 lb-ft torque at 4000 rpm.
I suspect that the way I drove these cars along with the gearing differences is the reason I reached the conclusions that the Mustang feels a lot slower than it really is. Also the Mustang's automatic has this "wind up an go" kind of downshift when you try to accelerate quickly from say 40mph where as the Grand Am just drops into gear and goes.
Still I was disappointed in the Mustang, but the Grand Am is no winner either with it's 3.4l intake manifold gasket troubles.
W
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That 193 horse power is rated at the drive wheels. Your 289's rating was the old way of only rating the engine with out the losses at the drive wheels. Meaning you do not have 200 HP at your drive wheels.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Cool. Then my car could take even steeper odds than I thought. I've probably only got 170 HP or so at the rear wheels as I've got an automatic. Torque is still probably greater on the V8 though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article <ntc2b.112607$3o3.7926542@bgtnsc05-

That's the absolute worst engine they ever made. The last guy at Recon I talked to joked that that motor put his son through college. Also low on the totem pole is the 3.1 and 3.4 v6, which have problems with intake manifolds leaking water into the oil.

Yeah, the throttle valve on the tranny is a serious issue.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Really? I bought an 86 Beretta off of a fella with 180K miles. It was using oil, but not blowing blue smoke. Perhaps a quart every 1000 miles, but hey, it had a lot of mileage. The ignition went on it and I decided to sell it. The engine was still fine though.
My dad was a Buick man and he always had problems. He bought a Mercury Grand Marquee (sp?) run it up to 150K no problem, bought another and did the same. The 5L V8 in my Firebird Formula was blowing blue smoke at 35K miles due to the infamous worn valve guide problem. My Saturn had a good powertrain, but was often in the shop getting something fixed. It was these and a host of other problems with GM cars that steer me clear of them now.
My Isuzu I-mark was rated better than average in reliability by Consumer Reports, yet this Japanese car was the most costly to keep on the road. I just have better luck with Fords (outside of my '77 Granada).
John
says...

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Interesting. I had a Focus ZX3 5speed and I test drove a 03 Mustang GT 5 spd. feels no faster. Now I own the GT and after getting used to it, I can tell you it feels so much stronger.
My dad has a Lexus ES 300 and (3L V6 210 HP, auto) It feels so much stronger than my GT, but my ZX3 can almost run with it However, my ZX3 has been roasted by the V6 stang. It's a matter of perception. The stang has the long hood that makes the car feel longer and bigger (and it is) than my Focus making it seem slower.
0-60 times Focus ZX3: 9.5 sec SVT Focus: 7.2 sec 2003 Mustang 3.8L V6, 5spd: 7.5 sec 2003 Mustang 4.6L V8, 5spd: 5.9 sec
I don't have the figures for the auto trans, but the V6 stang auto should be able to do 0-60 in just under 8 sec. Not bad.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 22 Aug 2003 02:25:35 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@net.net wrote: I wouldn't imagine any of the new mustangs with an auto trans would have much of a fun factor. You should really try one out with a 5 speed. My wife has one and it will pick up pretty good.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.