2011 Ford Mustang Convertible

If you’ve never driven a sporty convertible on a sunny day, put it on your bucket list. Simply opening the top to see a cloudless blue sky can be a sublime experience; but, it’s the feeling of wind tossing your hair and zipping past your eardrums, the sound of the engine as you kick down into a lower gear and stomp on the gas, and the smell of nature and hot rubber mixing together that’s considered driving nirvana to many.

It rained the entire week I’ve had this Kona Blue 2011 Ford Mustang convertible, so when the dreary skies finally make way for sunshine, lollipops and rainbows before it has to go back, boy am I ready, willing and able!

This Stang’s 305 ponies and 280 torques are courtesy of Ford’s Duratec V6 that launched last year. Sure, I’d enjoy the five-litre V8 (available on GT models) and its 412 horses, but the six-cylinder mill is certainly robust enough for most drivers with daily commutes and occasional long road trips.

You can’t spin the tires like a 5.0 (assists off, of course) or brag about prodigious power to your Wednesday night pickup game buddies, but you can make them a bit jealous with your farmer’s tan and raccoon face.

The fully automatic top takes about 20 seconds to open and stows itself between the smallish back seat and the 272-litre (9.6 cubic-foot) trunk (versus the coupe’s 379.5 litres or 13.4 cu. ft.). An optional convertible boot cover is available to tidy up the appearance, though it doesn’t enlarge rear seat space, which would be nice. Still, it seems there’s enough space for a couple of kids in the rear, or some really eager adult passengers.

The low driving position is comfortable and ergonomic with all controls easily within reach, however, the high belt line, elongated body and chunky rear pillars (when the top is up) make it tricky to see over the tall trunk while backing up. Fortunately, the problem can be rectified by opting for the available rear camera, which displays the image on the optional nav screen or a small colour display integrated into the electrochromic rearview mirror (part of the interior upgrade pack).

At the wheel, the electric power steering is responsive and offers good feedback for the driver; and, the front seats are supremely comfortable and supportive. Handlingwise, the Stang isn’t as cumbersome as the Challenger or Camaro; nor is it as precise as, say, a 370Z roadster or Mercedes SLK, but it corners neatly with almost no body roll, though it can get choppy on rougher roads.

The standard six-speed manual transmission is really nice, though, with smooth gearshifts and a clutch that doesn’t push back too hard. The six-speed automatic is a $1,400 option. Regardless of the tranny, ABS with traction control and AdvanceTrac stability control are among the many standard safety features.

Ford’s MyKey technology comes standard, but to get the eight-speaker Shaker 500 premium stereo with Sync and Sirius satellite radio you’ll need to upgrade the interior. The six-way adjustable leather trimmed heated sport buckets are extra too.

With a $32,000 entry sticker, this one is running around the $35 grand mark as tested, while the topless GT models command almost $43,000. The top-line Shelby GT500 also comes in a convertible, but its Ford GT-inspired supercharged V8 and other performance enhancements more than double the ticket price.

If you’re looking for a track car, there are other Mustangs for that. The V6 convertible is better suited for those wanting an attractive vehicle they can drive every day and, more importantly, to enjoy bright sunny days cruising around with friends and family. Despite a few shortcomings, I feel like everything is wonderful when we’re together.