i don't think it's an absurd question to ask whether a 2018 ford mustang gt with 460 horsepower that rips from zero-to-60 mph in 3.9 seconds can handle kid duty. for some, we'll try to hang onto our cherished "baby before the baby" as long as possible, hoping to not sell the fun car for a minivan right after the first ultrasound. for others looking to spice up weekend life with a second or third car, there are few fun-to-drive cars with as much bang for the buck as a 5.0-liter v-8 mustang. but is it the kind of enjoyment you can share with your family?
we wrangled parents on staff with kids that range in age from 4 months to 15 years old and asked them to cart around their brood in a 2018 ford mustang gt coupe to answer, can you use the mustang gt with kids?
the thing with infants is that it's not only about fitting the car seat, it's also all the stuff that comes with your bundle of joy. i'm still amazed by how many big things accompany this little person. my wife and i took our (at the time) 4-month-old daughter for a weekend trip an hour and a half away. we had our subaru impreza hatchback on standby in case the mustang simply wouldn't fit all the accessories: graco pack 'n play portable crib, uppababy cruz stroller with infant seat attachment, bottle bag, diaper bag, backpack, overnight duffle bag. but holy smokes! the 'stang fit it all — and better than our subaru. the mustang's trunk is wide and relatively deep, fitting everything with aplomb, whereas the gear is stacked so high in the subaru that it blocks rearward visibility.
and for an infant seat, 's certified car seat installer matt schmitz says 's graco snugride classic connect 30 fit well in testing, allowing enough legroom ahead of the child seat for him to be moderately comfortable in the front passenger seat. the biggest drawback is getting the bulky infant seat (and ourselves) in and out of the backseat, which is as tight as you'd expect. for an occasional weekend getaway, i thought the mustang was surprisingly capable, but daily daycare drop-offs where i had to swing open those long doors in a crowded parking lot and fumble in and out of the car was a good way to look ridiculous in front of a lot of other moms and dads — though the mustang did get the seal of approval from the daycare security guard.
since it's a coupe, i had to lean my body in there to get everything in. seats were a little awkward to get into the backseat, but both seats attached safely. there was just enough room to get both forward-facing convertible seats to fit next to each other, and the seat bottom bolstering just barely accommodated the child-seat bases.
the kids had enough room, but just barely. my 4-year-old, who was behind the driver's seat, had his legs pinched when i adjusted the seat for my normal fit (i'm 6-foot-1). in order to keep my seat where i wanted, i moved his heels onto the seat bottom instead of having them dangle. my 2-year-old had plenty of room with no issues. if done again, i would switch their seating position since the passenger seat has more legroom and could accommodate the 4-year-old a little better. — evan sears, assistant managing editor, photo
i took my two older boys, ages 5 and 7, in the mustang for a weekend. i was surprised how even young kids can be short on legroom in the backseat. it's a small space that's understandably not meant for adults to have to endure for long, but with my 5-year-old sitting behind me in a booster seat, i had to move my seat forward to better accommodate his legs — and he's only around 4 feet tall. i wasn't expecting that.
the backseat is more accommodating for some booster seats than others. my 7-year-old son was using a bubblebum inflatable booster that was able to fit the heavily contoured rear seat reasonably well, but the hard-shell booster seat my 5-year-old was using was too wide for the scalloped seating section and ended up resting on the cushion bolsters. even though my kids are big enough to use booster seats, they still ride in high-back boosters with integrated five-point harnesses in our minivan, and the ones we have are big and bulky. it would have been a real struggle to cram them in the mustang.
from purely a car standpoint, though, my kids really got a thrill out of riding in the mustang and the sounds it makes, as ours has the optional $895 active valve performance exhaust. part of it is because one of their good friends really likes mustangs and they've latched onto the car because of that, but now they have their own reasons for liking it, too. so even though you could make the mustang gt pull family duty with younger kids, i wouldn't want to after experiencing the greater convenience, space and comfort of a more family-oriented vehicle like a minivan. — mike hanley, senior research editor
there's no way the mustang can handle my family. with the driver's seat set for my height of 5-foot-8, my 11-year-old refused to sit in the mustang's backseat. there just wasn't enough legroom for him. he ended up riding in the front passenger seat after we pushed the seat all the way back to create as much distance between him and the front airbags for his safety. i didn't attempt to put my 15-year-old son, who's now taller than me, into the backseat — i would have had a full mutiny on my hands. — jennifer newman, editor-in-chief
so can the mustang handle family duty?
out of the four families of varying kids' ages surveyed, my experience with an infant seemed the least painful — maybe because my daughter can't talk back to me yet, but primarily because the infant seat fits great and the trunk is big enough for a stroller and other gear we cart around on the weekends. once they have legs that need room, however, the mustang became less friendly for our families — though passable if they get a kick out of going for a joyride.
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