Should You Daily Drive an S197 Mustang?

Just because you want a muscle car doesn’t mean you must also budget for a daily driver. There are many modern muscle cars you can commute in and drive spiritedly, like the S197 generation Ford Mustang. So should you daily drive an S197 Mustang? Further, which one should you consider?

What years were the S197 Mustang?

Ford sold the S197 generation Ford Mustang from 2005 to 2014. During that timeframe, the marque updated the fifth generation car’s styling to modernize the retro-inspired lines a few times, including swapping out halogen lights for LED front and rear lamps by the time the 2013 model year went on sale. It was a benchmark car for Ford, replacing the “New Edge” SN-95 vehicles and preceding the grand-tourer style platform of the S550

An S197 Ford Mustang convertible is a fun prospect for a daily driver Mustang.
2005 Ford Mustang Convertible | Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

Is the S197 Mustang a V8?

During the S197’s tenure, potential owners could opt for a library of engines, including the venerable 5.0L Coyote V8. First, Ford offered the retro-inspired fifth-gen cars with 4.0L V6 and 4.6L V8 engines. Moreover, the pony car offered a Tremec T-5 five-speed transmission for S197 owners who want to select their own gears on their daily drives. Of course, the 4.6L three-valve (3V) V8 Mustangs bowed out for the 5.0L Coyote V8 in the 2011 Ford Mustang GT. 

If you’re looking for a higher horsepower fifth-generation Mustang, the Coyote-powered cars are much more powerful than the 3V Mustangs. For instance, the 2008 Ford Mustang GT produced 300 horsepower from its 4.6L V8. However, the beefier 5.0L Coyote V8 hit the streets in 2011 with a healthy 412 horsepower.  

The 2011 Ford Mustang S197 coupe is a great prospect for a Mustang daily driver.
2011 Ford Mustang GT | Mark Elias, Bloomberg via Getty Images

Is the S197 Mustang good for daily driving in the snow?

The S197 Ford Mustang is a rear-wheel drive (RWD) application, which famously disagrees with ice and snow. Front-wheel drive (FWD) economy cars with less horsepower tend to perform better on tricky surfaces, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is king when it comes to cars handling inclement weather. Unfortunately for potential owners, no ICE Mustang offers standard AWD. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t drive your fifth-generation Mustang in the snow. 

First, if you live in a locale with a challenging climate, you might want to consider a V6 Mustang over a more powerful 4.6L or 5.0L S197. However, if you simply must have an eight-cylinder pony car, consider a set of winter or at least all-season tires. Finally, driving your RWD sports car with care can help you steer clear of an avoidable crash. 

2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt S197 is a solid daily driver prospect, aside from its manual transmission and collectability.
Ford Mustang Bullitt | Michael Robinson Chavez, Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Which S197 should you consider for a daily driver?

If you want a convertible Mustang, Ford sold many V6 and GT trims with a soft top. However, if you want a special edition, the Bullitt or Boss 302 are rare special editions without Shelby badges. Of course, the most sought-after S197 Mustangs are the Shelby GT500s, culminating with the 2013 and 2014 Shelby GT500s. However, if you want a cheap, dependable V8-powered Mustang, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says you can snag a 2011 GT with a 5.0L Coyote motor for around $16,824 with average mileage. 

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