The move to electric cars is certainly an exciting development in the world of motoring and I, for one, can’t wait to jump on board. I can just imagine how good it will feel to have all that performance and quietness in a mode of transport that is also helping to save the planet. The fact that most of the electricity needed to charge these modern wonders of the automotive industry comes from burning coal is completely irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. And just because an EV is much more expensive than its equivalent petrol powered sibling matters not a bit when you are doing your bit for the environment.
I’m quite sure that the powers that be will find an appropriate place outside of the environment to dump all those annoying batteries from all the eco friendly electric cars in the years to come too. Range? Australia isn’t that big is it? There is absolutely no doubt about it - electricity is definitely the answer. What was the question again?
Until such time as I can drag myself into the modern world of electric vehicles I am unfortunately stuck in the past driving a naturally aspirated V8 petrol powered Mustang. As much as I understand that cars like the Bullitt Mustang are completely out of step with the direction that the automotive industry is taking us in, there are some upsides to driving a dinosaur.
My own experience with the Bullitt now runs to 20,000 always entertaining and never dull kilometres. This is a car that makes something as mundane as going to the shops for a carton of milk an experience, with the theatre of the exhaust sound and the tactile pleasure of using the manual (complete with its cue ball shifter) gearbox combining to ensure that you will always be participating in something more than just transport. I respect and understand that car manufacturers are striving to isolate drivers from the sound and involvement in the process of using their products but it is refreshing to pilot a vehicle that is still quite analog and old school in so many ways.
Which is not to say that the Mustang is particularly lacking in technology or refinement. It comes with a comprehensive suite of safety aids, including lane-keep assist, AEB, adaptive cruise and really excellent brakes. The primary safety of the Bullitt is also greatly enhanced by its strong performance that minimises the time you will be spending on the wrong side of road whilst overtaking. The interior is a very comfortable place to be during longer journeys. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, the seats are heated and cooled, the entertainment system above average and it's surprisingly quiet. The Bullitt has been completely reliable with absolutely no issues in the time I have owned it.
The build quality is about average and certainly not at the same level as a German, Japanese or Korean product. This is a relatively high performance car built to sell at a relatively affordable price and the compromise is that some of the finishes are not of a particularly high standard. It isn’t bad and the first time that you start the car, hear the sound and feel the performance it won’t matter anyway.
EV owners will also be disappointed to know that a Mustang can be relatively economical when cruising. I have seen economy numbers in the sixes and sevens at a steady cruise at highway speeds. You can, of course, use a great deal more than that if you utilise more of the performance or drive in traffic, but fuel usage is much less than you would imagine and is not a significant factor in the cost of ownership. Filling the Mustang will only take minutes not hours too.
If a brief drive to the shops is an experience, and in the Bullitt you can imagine how amazing a good old fashioned Aussie road trip can be. I write this while halfway through a 4000 kilometre round trip from the East coast of Oz to Adelaide and the Tour Down Under. Yes you can be comfortably ensconced in an aluminium cylinder nibbling nuts at thirty plus thousand feet in the air for a few hours to achieve the same destination and distance in a plane but where is the fun in that? You will be missing out on some incredible roads, quirky outback towns, really terrible coffee, dust storms and some truly mind numbing distances. The Bullitt is a truly excellent choice for a trip such as this.
It has very “long legs” with gearing that minimises fuel use, a comfortable cabin with air conditioning that keeps 40 plus degree outside temperatures under control and an ability to cover big distances without fuss. You can even fit two bikes in its boot with the rear seat backs dropped. I can recommend taking a two-door V8 Ford to Silverton and the Mundi Mundi lookout. The red spectacle of the quintessential Aussie outback is there to immerse yourself in and you can replicate the sound of the Pursuit Special if you are fortunate enough to be there in a car with eight cylinders and an exhaust. Mad Max fans will understand.
So there you have it. After 20,000 kilometres in a Bullitt you can expect reliability, fun, relatively good economy, smug looks from drivers of EV’s, more practicality than you would expect, comfort and a car that makes you utilise many more of your senses than the average appliance that you find in car showrooms these days. It won’t suit everyone but I have loved every minute.