Drive Type: 4x4
Number of Cylinders: 8
Trim: Rock Crawler
Asheville, North Carolina, United States
When people ask us what car we would recommend for them, it's usually not easy to answer. To make a useful recommendation we must consider which of the numerous vehicle segments fits their needs best, and then choose one of the many vehicles offered in each segment. For some people, new cars don't meet their expectations of value, because they lose so much of it the moment they are purchased and driven off the dealer lot. For them, there's always the used-car market, where great deals can be found, but cars' histories of reliability and maintenance records - and perhaps that Certified Pre-Owned warranty - become ever-important factors playing into purchase choice.
To help out, Edmunds has done us the favor of assembling a list of the best used vehicles money can buy, covering model years 2006-2011, according to what it considers the most important criteria when shopping for used autos: reliability, safety, value and availability. That means unreliable, unsafe, super-expensive or limited-edition models don't appear on the list, but instead cars from each segment that are more likely to satisfy the general population.
There are some real goodies on the list, including but not limited to vehicles such as the capable Honda Fit, the cultish Honda Accord coupe (which can be had with a 240-horsepower V6 and a six-speed manual transmission some years), and the powerful Chevrolet Corvette. While Edmunds' choice of the Volvo C70 for best used convertible baffled us at first (not that it's a bad car), it redeemed itself by stating that the Mazda MX-5 still is an unofficial top choice if you don't require more than two seats.
The Ford Mustang is already the lightest of the current crop of muscle cars, at around 3,600 pounds for a GT coupe with the six-speed manual transmission. That's almost 260 pounds less than a Chevrolet Camaro SS and about 450 pounds less than a Dodge Challenger R/T, which means the Mustang has a pretty big advantage when it comes to handling, braking, accelerating and economy. More good news: The next Mustang will be even lighter.
According to a report from Edmunds, the sixth-generation Mustang, which is set to debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, will shed an additional 400 pounds of body fat. That 11-percent weight reduction will be thanks to lightweight materials, with a particular focus on using stronger, but less material in construction. Aluminum will feature heavily, but Edmunds' inside source warns that there is "nothing terribly exotic" coming to the original pony car.
The other big news is that the new Mustang will be smaller overall. It's going to be 15-inches shorter than the 188.5-inch Mustang on sale today, while it'll also be 6.5 inches narrower. Shorter overhangs, both in the front and rear, are also good signs for those that want an agile Mustang.
Speeders beware, the police are going to be getting quite a bit faster. Ford has just announced that it will be offering its 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, EcoBoost V6 in the Explorer Police Interceptor. The new engine will be joining the existing 3.7-liter V6. The 365-horsepower, 350-pound-foot mill should be familiar to consumers as the powerplant that's found in the Ford Taurus SHO (and its LEO equivalent, the Taurus Police Interceptor) and the Ford Explorer Sport. It should also provide quite a kick in the pants to officers used to the naturally aspirated 3.7 and its 304 ponies and 279 pound-feet of torque.
The move to the more potent powerplant was born out of all the equipment officers need to carry on a day-to-day basis. These days, there's so much stuff that police need on a regular basis, that there's a genuine market for a faster Police Interceptor Utility, as it's known officially. The Explorer-based cruiser has already accounted for 68 percent of Ford's LEO sales in 2013, and that's with just the 3.7, and we'd only expect that number to increase once the twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V6 is available. Ford won't offer up any indication of what the take rate will be on the new engine, but we're guessing it'll be fairly high.
The success of the Explorer PI couldn't have come at a better time for Ford. The decision to end Crown Victoria production was not a popular one with police, and combined with Chevrolet and Dodge diving into the LEO market feet first, Ford hasn't been performing as well as it's wanted to. The Explorer has been helping it turn around, though. And with the inclusion of the EcoBoost, Ford also has a legit competitor for the Chevrolet Tahoe on the big utility side of the police market.