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EDITORIAL INTERN JAKE LINGEMAN: I took the grabber blue 'Stang home for the night. It definitely caught some eyes in rush-hour traffic. The blue seems to get even brighter in direct sunlight. My 55-year-old mother approved, but she did have a powder blue '66 Mustang back in the day.

The rims are sweet, sitting on low-profile Pirellis. I like the Mustang Club of America touches, including the grille, wheels and billet bars in front.

However, I hate the black cladding plastic on the bottom. This would look so much better with a uniform blue all the way down, which is my only complaint in the looks department.

The one thing you have to get used to on this is the sound. It sounds nothing like a muscle car. If you really rev it, it pops a little as it winds down, which is nice. It doesn't sound super strong or super angry, even when you put your foot in it. The boy racer in me wanted to cut off the catalytic converter or something.

The tight six-speed gearbox is great with a short throw. From first-gear side to fifth-gear side, there's probably only an inch of travel. Once I was used to it, it was sweet.

Inside, there's leather all around with comfortable seats, though I did bash my knee on the bottom of the wheel. But I like the wheel low in my lap, so it's probably my fault.

The radio is great and plenty loud, with an iPod hookup and satellite radio.

The new V6 Mustang is a great package and gets decent gas mileage with 23 mpg on my fill-up. This is a perfect starter hot-rod.

NEWS EDITOR GREG MIGLIORE: The new Mustang in base V6 form is a nice blend of performance and style at a reasonable price. This tester is loaded with plenty of extras, and this paint color attracts a lot of attention.

I really like how Mustangs handle; they're the tightest, lithest pony cars. They feel trimmer than Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers, and the Ford finally has a worthy V6 engine to offer respectable power. This unit is impressive, with solid fuel economy and more than enough juice to have fun. It's equally adept a first-gear launching and sixth-gear expressway cruising. The six-speed manual is sharp, and it brings this car to life.

If you're a Mustang fan, you will continue to be taken with these iconic, retro looks with a buffer silhouette. The inside is comfortable and stylish, as well. This is very complete, modern muscle that's fun and efficient to drive.

MANAGING EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: There is nothing wrong with this V6 Mustang that a good Borla exhaust couldn't fix. The raspy engine tuning would disappear once attention was fixed on a good burble out the back. Otherwise, there's good power from the V6, good handling from the suspension and tire extras, and screaming curb appeal from the paint scheme and special grille and wheels with this package.

I took the car out to a local diner cruise night, parked it in among a row of standout cars, and found that more than a few folks were drawn to the Mustang and were checking it out quite carefully. I left the spec sheet lying on the dash to help fill in the blanks.

All in all, this is a nice version of the Mustang for those who want something more than the secretary's pony car but don't want to break the bank to upgrade to V8 power. This new six-speed stick is big upgrade for the car as well--a vast improvement over the old V6 and five-speed manual.

2011 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Coupe

Base Price: $26,695

As-Tested Price: $31,455

Drivetrain: 3.7-liter V6; RWD, six-speed manual

Output: 305 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,453 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 23/21.9 mpg

Options: V6 performance package with Mustang GT coupe front and rear stabilizer bars, Mustang GT front struts and rear shocks/springs, Shelby GT500 rear lower control arm, unique 19-inch wheels, Pirelli performance tires, Mustang GT front and rear brake calipers with Performance Friction pads, strut tower brace, unique electronic-stability-control calibration with Sport mode, unique badging ($1,995); rapid spec 203A Mustang of America package with a unique dark stainless-steel billet grille with a tri-bar pony badge, front lower-mounted fog lamps, side tape stripes, a rear decklid spoiler and a custom decklid tape appliqué between the tail lamps, 18-inch dark stainless painted aluminum wheels, automatic headlamps and premium carpeted front floor mats with an embroidered pony logo ($995); comfort package with six-way power passenger seat, heated front seats ($595); 3.31 axle ratio ($395); security package ($395); rear video camera ($385)

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