Even though it's nearly at the end of its life cycle, the current Ford Mustang GT still has a lot to offer - including a rumbling 420-horsepower V8, vintage-flavored styling and a strong value equation. Along with its V6 and Shelby GT500 siblings, the Mustang GT received a mid-cycle update last year that brought freshened styling and numerous other tweaks that help keep the pony car from seeming stale.
The Mustang GT 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.
One of the Mustang GT'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.
Of course, the other big draw is what's under the hood - a DOHC 5.0-liter V8 that serves up 420 horsepower and 390 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 GTs from zero-to-60 mph in under five seconds.
Fuel economy is rated at 15 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with the manual, while opting for the automatic improves city mileage to 18 but drops the highway figure down to 25 mpg.
Though it still makes use of an archaic live rear axle, the Mustang GT is commendably capable on curvy roads, especially when equipped with an available Track Pack that adds Brembo brakes, more aggressive suspension tuning and a host of other upgrades. 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 GT 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 13.2 cubic feet of stowage space.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Ford Mustang GT 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, automatic headlights, foglights, a rear spoiler and 18-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 19-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.
Serious drivers will want to spring for the Track Pack, which includes a stiffened suspension, Brembo brakes, an upgraded Boss 302 radiator, an engine oil cooler, 19-inch premium painted aluminum wheels, 255/40R/19 summer-only tires, unique stability control calibration and a TORSEN helical differential with a 3.73 ratio.
An available California Special Package adds a black billet grille with a body-color surround, a tri-bar pony badge, a unique lower fascia with fog lamps, body-color side scoops, a rear pedestal decklid spoiler and unique decklid badge with "California Special" displayed on the rear gas cap badge, a diffuser-style rear lower fascia insert, 19-inch gloss black-painted machined aluminum wheels with P245/45-19 A/S tires, an aluminum instrument panel with carbon-style finish, suede door panel inserts, leather-trimmed seats suede inserts and contrast stitching and premium carpeted front floor mats with an embroidered California Special logo.
New for the latest model year is the FP8 package, which brings body-color rear quarter window louvers, 19-inch inch black-painted alloy wheels and black-painted side mirrors.
All Mustang GTs are fitted as standard with dual front and side airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.