Sometimes you have to suffer for your art. Which is how I came to make a 300-mile six-hour round trip to York for the SMMT North press event to drive Ford£€™s new Mustang for half an hour.
Ford image makers are keen we should £€˜unlearn£€™ what we know about the company which presumably means forgetting about great cars like the Escort Cosworth and GT40 as well as the mundane shopping trolleys it has sold over the years.
Ironically, though the US giant no longer makes cars here it has decided to make its new pony car in right-hand drive for the first time. There are two power choices. A 2.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine or a 5-litre V8 with 415bhp.
There were only the V8£€™s keys to fight over at SMMT and at £35,745 it is a great value when Jaguar£€™s cheapest V8 F-Type is £86,825. The test car was a manual but you can get the £€˜Stang with a slush box automatic.
It£€™s a stylish looking machine; much sharper than the previous flabby version, but rather overdone with badges as if Ford had a bit of a BMW M car like crisis of confidence. And it didn£€™t turn heads like I expected.
Designed for the wide open spaces it is a big car and very wide. Thankfully it doesn£€™t feel like a Yank Tank. In fact, it feels relatively light and agile, though there feels too much slack in the controls for going hard on a twisty British back road with confidence.
You can choose from four driving modes: snow/wet, track, sport plus and normal. There is also an electronic stability control system to stop the car running wide in a corner (understeer) or the back sliding out (oversteer). With 530Nm of torque, you would need some practice before you started turning things off on a track day.
Despite the official performance figures, on the roads of Yorkshire the Mustang didn£€™t actually feel that fast. On our cambered main roads there is too much wallow and wander and the steering is rather ocean liner.
The test car had a short gear change action which was helped by a user-friendly clutch. The six gears are there to improve fuel consumption and pressing on, fourth gear is all you need for rapid progress.
Such is the massive torque from the V8 that you can almost drive it like an auto because it will pull sixth gear at 30mph with under 1,000rpm showing on the rev counter. The engine is so lazy it brought back memories of the Chrysler Viper with its 8-litre motor.
There£€™s no doubting the stopping power of the Brembo brakes; but the system needs finessing as the pedal is sharp, making it difficult to drive smoothly. Through one S-bend I could feel some corkscrewing from the chassis and I dread to think what Mustangs were like before having independent rear suspension.
As so often with American cars the Mustang is happiest cruising motorways. In the cabin, it£€™s obvious the Mustang started off left-hand drive and where money has been saved.
It doesn£€™t bother me the indicator and light stalks are from a Transit van; but I would be less happy about the cheap silver colored hard plastic and flimsy buttons. The dashboard has a simple honesty and style £€“ it says Ground Speed on the speedometer.
Ford£€™s press relations department is obsessed these days with internet bloggers but perhaps it isn£€™t helping. Mustang sales have fallen 34% in the US while rival Chevrolet Camaro ones are surging and Ford has temporarily stopped Mustang production.
Also consider: Chevrolet Camaro.
Verdict Charm, a certain style, lots of go for the money.