'Krissie Critiques' presents the 2010 Ford Mustang V6! Don't forget to check out my pro travel tips at the end!

CIMG0002sizedThe Ford Mustang was the first car I can remember ever wanting; I must have been about 5 or 6 years old when I first noticed it. I remember sitting in a service station and peaking out of the window across the street at a gas station. A purple, convertible fox-body mustang was next to the pump as some teenager filled its tank perhaps getting ready for an evening out with friends. It was the first time that the concept of a “dream car” had occurred to me. Now age 24, I'm wondering why I waited so long to test drive this thing! 

On a recent trip across the US-Canada border with my boyfriend, I finally had the opportunity to drive the car I had fantasized about so many years ago. We flew from Atlanta, Georgia to Buffalo, New York from where we would drive less than two hours to Toronto. Booking the cheapest rental possible, we were expecting a Hyundai, a Corolla, or a Ford Focus when we arrived at the rental place. To our excitement, especially mine, we learned that the rental cars had been overbooked, and instead of a boring compact car which they were out of, we now had to choose between a Ford F-150, a Hummer, or a Ford Mustang. A Hummer or F-150 would have been awesome, but we doubted the parking situation in Toronto would accommodate such a large vehicle. Overcome with a giddiness that only childhood memories could bring, I insisted on the 2010 Mustang V6.

The thought of arriving in Toronto for the culminating weekend of the Caribana Festival in such a cool, new car was truly exciting. I wondered what color it would be, red, blue, black? Truthfully, I wouldn't have minded any of the colors because aesthetically, Ford has really done it right this time: With a look reminiscent of the beloved, classic 60’s models, this car would be sure to turn heads in any of its fiery colors-like sunset gold, torch red, and grabber blue, or more classic colors like black, sterling grey, performance white, and my favorite, red candy metallic. Our rental turned out to be a sensational silver with a black racing-style trim.

We agreed that I would drive first since I was clearly the most excited about it. I popped the door handle loving that smooth “pop” sound that only a new car has—and hopped inside. 

CIMG0004sizedAnd we were off! Smooth black leather interior, a bright digital console, and bucket seats gave it a race car feel. The standard V6 Mustang features 17” aluminum wheels, a 4.0L SOHC engine, a shiny, stainless steel exhaust, and a choice of manual or automatic transmission with 210 horsepower. Ours was automatic--to be expected from a rental car place.

Since we had arrived in Buffalo after dark, we would have to do some night driving to get to Toronto. Driving late night on the freeway always makes me a little nervous, but this car made me feel safer. With front and side airbags, an antilock brake system, seatbelt warning light, and traction control, the Ford Mustang boasts an above average or better rating in most crash tests. In fact, when it comes to frontal and side impact crashes for the driver and front passenger, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2010 Mustang Coupe five stars (out of five).

Enough about the tech specs, let's talk Caribana! We got lucky and were able to park--in style might I add--only a few blocks away from Exhibition Place, the starting point of the Caribana parade. We had press passes, so we were able to get up close and personal with all the hustle and bustle of backstage. By the way, if you go to Caribana, you must play mas or march in the parade. Each band of the parade has its own costumes, which are beautifually designed every year several months before the festival and debuted at fashion shows and other pre-festival events. Typically, buying your comstume is your ticket to marching in the parade--and to having the most fun as we would discover. 

caribana paradeWe, however, did not yet know this, but since we already had special access to the gathering area where paraders were waiting their turn to file in, we were able to infilitrate the parade when we noticed some other spectators hopping over a fence into the actual parade route...sooo we followed suit. (YOLO!)


And we were off again! (By foot this time, not Ford Mustang). Talk about adventure! Marching- or dancing rather- down Lakeshore Boulevard grooving and whining non-stop to upbeat Caribbean tunes along with the beautiful array of colorful feathers and intricate masks, we were definitely pleasantly surprised with our upgrade from spectating to participating.

Speaking of upgrades, I should mention that when it comes to the Ford Mustang, if you’re looking for that sports car look and not necessarily the sports car feel and speed, then the V6 Base model or V6 Premium might be for you. It certainly makes a cool rental for your out-of-town adventures. However, if you want the rush of your head bumping the headrest upon mashing the gas, i.e., speed and acceleration, you will have to upgrade your speed by getting the GT or GT Premium.

After about 5 kilometers of non-stop marching, dancing, and partying we finally got to the end of the route. Having worked up a terrible apetite, we headed back to our car to get some dinner.  The parade adventure ended there for us, but still having a few days left in this fabulous city, there were plenty of other things that we got to explore in Toronto including visiting Kensington Market, the Queen Street Arts District, and High Park. 

I'm leaving you with THREE AWESOME PRO TIPS that I learned on my visit to Toronto:

  1. Save money on international travel to border cities, by selecting the airport that is close to your destination but still in the US. For example, flying to Buffalo, NY is around $200 whereas flying directly to Toronto is over $500. We saved money by renting a car for the Buffalo-Toronto Drive and we also go to stop to see Niagara Falls along the way! Seattle and Vancouver are another example.
  2. If you're going to a Caribbean festival, participate! Quite honestly, I think we would have been bored if we were sitting on the sidelines the whole time. Plan ahead and find out how you can participate in the festival or event that you are attending.
  3. Be adventurous! Planning is great. We all want to know the basics of our travel like where we'll lay our head at night and how much money we plan to spend, but leave some room in your itinerary for some unexpected adventure. Hey, there are plenty of unexpected fences to be jumped and parades to land in!

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