By now you probably know my real automotive love goes to the old musclecar formula, fast engine in the family car. While the idea of the family car has changed since the 1960s, with coupes dying out and everyone looking for four-door iterations of the classic formula, there are still a few holdouts. The 2005 Mustang has set automakers on their ears, making them realize there is still a market for a rear-wheel drive personal pony car again, so much so Hyundai is rumored to be prepping a RWD Tiburon replacement. But this is about the lonely GTO, a car that was lambasted by the press for its non-retro looks and Australian heritage.
The GTO impresses with a well-done interior, room for actual humans in the back seat, so much torque you almost don?t know what to do with it, traction control that helps keep it going straight, a look that is a sleeper and a four-wheel independent suspension setup that does a pretty good job at keeping the 3700 pound car in line.
Pontiac misses with a notchy six-speed with 1-4 skip shift (again, easy to override), storage capacity that is compromised by the placement of the gas tank in the trunk and entry that can be troublesome to taller drivers. The option list is short and does not include a sunroof to the dismay of sun worshipers.
The short option list keeps the GTO close to its base price. This six-speed Goat rang in at $33,690 with destination charges, not a bad price for the level of interior refinement and power that this car delivers. Everything is standard from big ABS brakes, limited slip rear, leather, 200-watt stereo system and power everything. The automatic GTO gets hit with a $1300 gas guzzler charge.
The GTO easily avoids the ?metoo? stigma. With about 12,000 sales a year, chances are there won?t be too many around. Ford will crank out as many Mustangs as they can sell, and at a quick glance, the GT and base models are pretty interchangeable, that is until the slick GT500 goes on sale in a little more than a year. And even then, good luck getting one anywhere near the GTO price.
For those looking for a replacement for the Camaro/Firebird/Mustang good ol? days, the GTO definitely surpasses the performance and refinement of any of those past nameplates. Unlike those days, the GTO is only available in one flavor that costs $33,000. If you can make the payments and have the Mustang on your shopping list, the GTO is well worth a test drive. You may be surprised how well Australia speaks classic musclecar.