2005 Mustang: Should You Daily Drive the First S197 Ford Mustang?

The 2005 Ford Mustang is an important year for Ford’s long-running pony car. The 2005 model year marked the start of the S197, or fifth-generation, Mustang. Better yet, the S197 ditched the SN-95’s styling for a throwback aesthetic that nods to the first-generation Mustang. However, is the 2005 Mustang a viable option for a daily driver, like the 2005 Ford Mustang V6? 

Is a 2005 Mustang a reliable car?

Unfortunately for fans of the 2005 Ford Mustang, the model year often suffers from electrical issues. For instance, a common complaint among owners of the 2005 Ford Mustang is an electrical fault that results in a fuel gauge failure. Moreover, faulty speedometers and charging system issues plague the first S197 model year. However, according to CarComplaints.com, the owners of the 2006 model year report a greater number of issues, including many body and paint problems. 

The 2005 Ford Mustang V6 and GT are solid options for an affordable muscle car daily driver.
2005 Ford Mustang GT | Ford

Moreover, RepairPal gives the 2005 model year a 3.5 out of 5.0 in the reliability category. While that doesn’t sound terrible, the average for the Mustang’s competitors was 4.2 at the time. That means the pony car was number 21 out of 32 in RepairPal’s standings. However, consumer feedback on RepairPal reveals a generally positive ownership experience. 

Is a 2005 Mustang a V6?

The 2005 Ford Mustang packs a naturally aspirated 4.0L V6. That mill produces 210 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. That might seem anemic compared to the 310 ponies in the latest four-cylinder EcoBoost models, but it’s enough to make the V6-powered pony car fun. In Car and Driver’s testing, a 2005 Ford Mustang V6 hit 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. 

However, the V6 certainly isn’t the only option for the 2005 model year. Instead, folks who want to spice up their daily drives can opt for a V8-powered Ford Mustang GT. The GT packs a 4.6L SOHC V8 with a commendable 300 horsepower. Moreover, the much brawnier GT hits 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. 

The 2005 Mustang offers a V6, V8, and even a convertible option.
Ford Mustang | Stan Honda, AFP via Getty Images

Which is better, Mustang GT or V6?

The 2005 Ford Mustang is affordable, capable, and classically handsome. Moreover, the V6 and V8 options give pony car hopefuls a couple of good choices. However, it’s hard not to pick the 300-horsepower V8-powered GT over a V6 model. A 2005 GT paired its eight-cylinder powerplant with a Tremec-sourced five-speed manual transmission.

However, the GT and V6 have underwhelming brake performance and an antiquated live rear axle. Considering the retro-styled 2010 Chevrolet Camaro started life with independent rear suspension, the S197 Mustang seems a bit stone-age. However, the Mustang’s three-link coil-over suspension does an excellent job of mitigating the stiffness. 

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Does a Mustang make a good daily driver?

The 2005 Ford Mustang is a solid daily driver despite the occasional electrical gremlin or mechanical issue. First, even the V8-powered GT isn’t overpowered, and the Tremec transmission is much more reliable than later-model Getrag-sourced units. Also, the 2005 Ford Mustang is affordable. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says a Mustang V6 with average mileage has a fair purchase price of around $6,530. 

Furthermore, the GT is slightly more expensive, with a fair value of $9,839. If you can reconcile a thirsty V8 and rear-wheel drive (RWD) with your commute, a 2005 Mustang might be a fantastic solution to your daily driver blues.