In about a month or two, I will be on the hunt for another mustang. I still have my 1967 coupe but want something I can drive in hotter/colder weather besides my truck. Looking at prices right now, my budget puts me in the area of a low mileage 05-09 GT, has to be a manual but wouldn't mind a 10-14 GT if I happen to find a cheap one. What are some issues to look for, things I should expect to do after buying one to maintain reliability after which performance can follow.
I'd love to have a new 5.0, but the majority of them are out of my price range. I do love the look of the 05-09 cars though. I'm trying to figure out where I'll have to put money first though. I did this before I went and bought my 2001 Ram 2500. I learned all the problems that arise and was able to get them taken care of before the truck left me stranded anywhere.
So I've had my car for 8 years, put 50K on it (now sitting at 103K). Only maintenance items I've had to do up to this point was the front ball joints at about 70K (apparently they tend to go bad early), spark plugs at 80K (05-early 07 cars had long reach 2-piece plugs that have a tendency to sieze and break when you try to remove them...google it. I only broke one plug), and I had to get the gauge stepper motors fixed (common problem, costs about $50 to have someone fix it for you). I've heard they can have alternator issues but I've never had a problem. This winter I'm getting ready to do a clutch as my throwout bearing is making noise. On mine the hood corrosion has been minimal and the airbag recall should be done on any car you're looking to buy, by this point.
Other than that it's been a very reliable car, I drive it most days from April- early November.
My financial situation has improved recently so my budget increased a little bit as well. I'm definitely looking for an early 5.0 now, found several in my price range with 50-60k miles, but they are all 400-500 miles away. I may just wait out the winter padding my down payment unless something nice pops up a little closer to home. If I get something that requires a road trip, I'll have to trailer it back as the wife can't drive for extended periods without getting car sick. I'd also rather not risk my truck, trailer and new car on a snowy mountain pass.
My personal recommendation, having driven all of the various options, and worked on most of them (and having owned two of them) from 2005-2014 is to buy a clean low-miles 2005-2010 5spd car, or a 2013-2014 automatic car.
The 5R55 automatic in the 2005-2010 cars and the 6R80 in the 2011-2012 car just lacks the "fun factor" that changes to the 2013-2014 6R80 bring to these cars (including a manual mode). For manual transmission cars, the TR3650 5-spd in the 2005-2010 cars is far more enjoyable than the Chinese time bomb that replaced it (the MT82 6spd).
The 4.6 3v and the 5.0 Coyote both have their pros and cons, but they're surprisingly similar in terms of fuel economy, reliability, etc. It's just a matter of whether or not you want the 4.6 sound or the Coyote sound, and whether the 4.6 being roughly 100hp down from the Coyote matters to you or not.
My personal choice in the summer of 2010 was to buy a 2010 GT over a 2011 because the 4.6 sounded so much better, the TR3650 shifted so much better, and I figured I'd get that 100hp back with a blower at a later date. If I was to buy today, it'd probably be a 2013-2014 automatic car, because the cars were improved that much in that short a time period.
Was the body change in 2010 heavier? I thought about a 10 with a 4.6 so I could have the new body but lower cost of the 4.6 but I was concerned the new body style would be heavier(it looks bigger to me anyhow) and would make the 4.6 feel a little slower than if it were in an 05-09 body. Power isn't a huge concern as I'm not planning on racing or anything, but I do like some pep in my step.