Mustang Bullitt Beats Civic Type R in the Hardcore Fun Department
One car is for the tuners. The other is a Mustang Bullitt. Both get a close examination to see if their hype is valid.
Ever since Steve McQueen took the wheel of a green Mustang fastback on the streets of San Francisco in 1968, fans of Bullitt and of Mustangs in general have wanted such a machine of their own. Ford first answered the call in 2001 with a special Bullitt edition of the New Edge pony, then dropped the name onto the 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt, followed by the new 2019 version.
Thomas Holland and James Engelsman, the duo behind YouTube channel The Throttle House, recently got their hands on the latest Mustang Bullitt, mainly to compare it against the favorite of another group of diehards, the Honda Civic Type R.
“This is the Mustang Bullitt,” says Holland. “Would a regular GT fastback have been a better price match? Probably. But again, the point of today is to really get into the culture of these cars, and a special edition — made famous by the legendary Steve McQueen — is everything I want a Mustang to be.”
Holland adds that the Mustang Bullitt isn’t just a set of black wheels and a splash of green paint. For starters, it also has MagneRide suspension, and 480 horsepower from the 5.0-liter V8. That, and “it’s the prettier” of the Mustang-Civic comparo.
“The Type R is no regular Civic,” counters Engelsman. “It is one of the most aggressive and precise four-cylinder cars on sale, with an exterior drama that is matched closely by its interior. But does the driving experience match, and is it as thrilling as that Mustang?”
“This [is] so ridiculously fast,” said Thomas as he drove the Mustang Bullitt in the back roads of his native Ontario, Canada. “I absolutely love it! There’s something about the Mustang that feels so unruly. It feels unrefined and a little bit rough around the edges, in a good way. The whole body moves; there’s a really obvious motion to it. It feels big and it feels angry, but it feels intentional.”
Meanwhile, Englesman has “fallen in love” with the Civic, understanding why it has its fans. He also finds it easy to live with, and enjoys the fact that the lack of driving aides means it’s all on the driver to keep it together. But can it touch the Mustang Bullitt’s cool?
“This car’s insane,” Englesman says once behind the wheel of the Mustang Bullitt. “It’s a weird feeling to grow hair on your chest and do a poop in your pants at the same time… This thing is a riot, and you can lose the back end very, very easily. I’m not usually one to claim love for a Mustang when I’m talking about cars, but it’s impossible to deny.”
While both Englesman and Thomas lean towards the Civic “for everyday living,” Thomas says that if he lived in a world with no consequences, he’d take the Mustang Bullitt any day of the week. We would, too, consequences be damned.