North Georgia Ford Compares 2008 Ford Mustang VS 2008 Nissan 350Z Near Ellijay, GA

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2008 Ford Mustang

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VS

2008 Nissan 350Z

Safety Comparison

The Mustang has standard tall side airbags, which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and front passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. Head airbags cost extra in the 350Z and requires Coupe.

Both the Mustang and the 350Z have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, available four-wheel antilock brakes and traction control.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Mustang Coupe is safer than the 350Z Coupe:

Mustang

350Z

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Head Injury Index

325

361

Chest forces

37 g’s

45 g’s

Leg injuries (L/R)

144 / 463

625 / 716

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

367

411

Chest forces

40 g’s

47 g’s

Leg injuries (L/R)

623 / 284

573 / 581

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results.

Warranty Comparison

The Mustang comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the 350Z.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Mustang’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The engines in the Mustang have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the 350Z has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

The 350Z’s redline is at 7600 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Mustang has a 6250 RPM redline.

The Mustang GT has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The 350Z doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Mustang first among midsize sporty cars in their 2007 Initial Quality Study. The 350Z isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2005 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 19th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics, which show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 17th in reliability, above the industry average. With 53 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 29th.

Engine Comparison

The Mustang GT’s standard 4.6 SOHC V8 produces 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (320 vs. 268) than the 350Z’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Mustang Shelby GT’s standard 4.6 SOHC V8 produces 13 more horsepower (319 vs. 306) and 62 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 268) than the 350Z’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mustang GT is faster than the Nissan 350Z (manual transmissions tested):

Mustang

350Z

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

5.2 sec

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the Mustang’s engines produce their peak horsepower at lower RPM’s than the 350Z:

Horsepower

Mustang 4.0 SOHC V6

5300 RPM

Mustang GT 4.6 SOHC V8

5750 RPM

Mustang Shelby GT 4.6 SOHC V8

5750 RPM

350Z 3.5 DOHC V6

6800 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Mustang uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 350Z requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mustang’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the 350Z (107.1 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Mustang is 2 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 350Z.

The Mustang Shelby GT Coupe handles at .92 G’s, while the 350Z Touring Coupe pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mustang GT Coupe goes through Road & Track’s slalom faster than the 350Z Coupe (65.9 vs. 65.6 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the Mustang V6’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the 350Z’s (33.4 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Mustang Coupe is quieter than the 350Z Coupe (82 vs. 86 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Mustang has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 350Z can only carry 2.

The Mustang Coupe has 47.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 350Z Coupe (97.9 vs. 50.5). The Mustang Convertible has 39.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 350Z Roadster (91.3 vs. 51.8).

The Mustang Coupe has .4 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front hip room and 1.8 inches more front shoulder room than the 350Z Coupe.

The Mustang Convertible has .1 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front hip room and 1.8 inches more front shoulder room than the 350Z Roadster.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Mustang Coupe has a much larger trunk than the 350Z Coupe (13.1 vs. 6.8 cubic feet).

The Mustang Convertible has a much larger trunk than the 350Z Roadster (9.7 vs. 4.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Mustang easier. The Mustang’s trunk lift-over height is 31 inches, while the 350Z’s liftover is 36 inches.

Ergonomics Comparison

The engine computer on the Mustang disables the starter while the engine is running. The 350Z’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

The Mustang’s power locks have a lockout prevention feature. When the key’s in the ignition and the driver’s door is open, the power locks won’t lock. The 350Z doesn’t provide lockout prevention.

The 350Z’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The Mustang’s standard power locks automatically lock the doors when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

The Mustang’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The 350Z’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Mustang’s optional heated front seats keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. The 350Z doesn’t offer heated seats.

With optional voice command, the Mustang offers the driver hands free control of the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 350Z doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The Mustang is less expensive to operate than the 350Z because typical repairs cost less on the Mustang than the 350Z, including $112 less for a starter, $113 less for fuel injection, $37 less for a fuel pump, $160 less for front struts and $194 less for a power steering pump.

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