Road Test: Mustang: A Real Stallion

The valet parking attendant outside an L.A. restaurant opened my car door and gushed, "Mucho macho." I beg your pardon? I may not be a Barbie doll, but no one's ever called me macho before. Then I saw him checking out my tester, the beefy 40th-anniversary edition Mustang, as if it were Carmen Electra. Whew. My femininity still intact, I had to agree. Like the Mustangs many of us grew up with (Ford has sold 8 million) this stallion is 100 percent American muscle. It has a 4.6-liter, V-8 grumbly engine that cranks 260 horses; it gallops at the slightest tap. And it looks the part with "mucho macho" racing stripes on the long, low profile hood and sports-car-like body cladding.

Best of all, it's a fun ride, with good steering and suspension. My coupe's red paint glittered in the California rays. And I admired the oversize leather shift knob that's like a Vegas slot pull. But the biggest drag is the rest of the interior, with budget-looking plastic and an unimaginative dashboard array. It's a bad gamble. Did they think we wouldn't notice?

Tip: Want to be mas macho? Try the Mach 1 model with 300hp engine.