2014 Ford Mustang Convertible

It's set to be replaced next year by a completely redesigned model, but the current Ford Mustang Convertible is still a strong choice thanks to its affordable blend of performance, good looks and top-down fun. The V8-powered, 420-horsepower GT Convertible and 650-horsepower Shelby GT500 Convertible models usually receive all of the glory, but even the 305-horsepower V6 version discussed herein has plenty of pep, and it's also an economical choice that returns up to 31 mpg on the highway.

Recent Changes
The Mustang Convertible largely stands pat for the latest model year as Ford focuses its attention on the upcoming all-new model. The only changes of note are a new appearance package and revised instrument cluster graphics.

However, the 'stang did receive a mid-cycle update last year that brought freshened styling and a host of other minor tweaks, so it doesn't feel too long-in-the-tooth.

Overview
One of the Mustang Convertible's selling points continues to be its handsome, retro-themed exterior, which was recently reworked with a more aggressive nose inspired by the fire-breathing GT500. Other notable aspects of last year's update include standard HID headlights and trick tripartite sequential LED taillights.

Power is sourced from a 3.7-liter V6 that produces a healthy 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. That output, which is channeled to the rear wheels through the buyer's choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, is sufficient to scoot stick-shifted Mustang Convertibles from zero-to-60 mph in under six seconds.

Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the automatic, while opting for the manual dings highway mileage by two mpg.

Though it still makes use of an archaic live rear axle, the Mustang Convertible is commendably capable on curvy roads, although some cowl shake is noticeable when the pavement gets rough. The firmness of the electric steering assist can be toggled between Comfort, Standard and Sport settings to better suit laid-back cruising or spirited canyon carving.

The interior is highlighted by a sporty dual-cowl dashboard design, vintage-inspired gauges and an oversized three-spoke steering wheel. Base models feature an abundance of cheap, dark-colored and rock-hard plastics, although upmarket versions mostly replace those unattractive materials with more upscale furnishings such as silver and chrome trim.

An available 4.2-inch LCD screen mounted in the instrument cluster provides access to Track Apps, a recently-added feature that delivers performance metrics such as g forces, acceleration times, braking times and automatic and countdown starts.

When called upon to haul people and cargo rather than deliver impressive performance numbers, the Mustang Convertible functions fairly well - the rear seats can hold two small adults in a pinch (though long journeys aren't recommended), and the trunk offers a respectable 9.7 cubic inches regardless of whether the top is up or down.

Speaking of the convertible top, it is a fully-insulated, power-operated unit with a glass rear window that can be lowered in just 16 seconds.

Trim Level Breakdown
The Ford Mustang Convertible V6 is offered in base and Premium trim levels.

The entry-level model comes standard with A/C, full power accessories, an AM/FM/CD stereo with an AUX input, HID headlights, LED taillights, cruise control and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.

The Premium trim adds an eight-speaker Shaker premium audio system with SiriusXM Radio, leather upholstery, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity via Ford's SYNC system, a power-adjustable driver's seat, ambient interior lighting, a 4.2-inch LCD screen mounted in the instrument cluster, upgraded interior trim and 17-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets.

Highlights from the options list include a glass roof, Recaro seats, a navigation system and a rearview camera.

Those looking to ratchet up the style factor can add the V6 Pony Package, which brings a "corralled pony" grille, a pony fender badge, fog lights, a unique lower tape stripe, a rear decklid spoiler, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, embroidered pony floormats and automatic headlights; or the Mustang Convertible Club of America Package, which includes a dark stainless billet grille with a tri-bar Pony badge, fog lights, a unique lower tape stripe, a rear decklid spoiler, automatic headlights, premium carpeted front floor mats and 18-inch sterling gray metallic painted aluminum wheels.

New for the latest model year is the FP6 package, which brings body-color rear quarter window louvers, 18-inch inch black-painted alloy wheels and black-painted side mirrors.

Occupant Safety
All Mustang Convertibles are fitted as standard with dual front and side airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Key Competitors
The Mustang Convertible's most direct competitor is the V6-engined version of the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, which is heavier and less agile than the Ford but not without its own charms. The only other comparably-priced, driver-focused convertible is the modestly powered but extremely entertaining Mazda MX-5 Miata.