The Ford Mustang stands out with an updated look, an improved interior, a choice of three engines and a more advanced suspension. Budget-minded enthusiasts will likely opt for either the base V6 model or the efficient EcoBoost variant, but true, dyed-in the-wool pony car fans will undoubtedly select the V8-powered GT model detailed here.
Buyers looking to experience the V8 'Stang's throaty exhaust note while getting a tan can opt for the more expensive convertible model.
Derived from Ford's Evos show car, the Mustang's style seamlessly blends new with old. Up front, it adopts a version of the design language that debuted on the Ford Fusion, but the look is clearly more aggressive than before. Perhaps the biggest change is to the Mustang's side profile, which features a new kick-up at the rear of the side windows that emphasizes its fastback-like silhouette. From its tail, the Mustang is more evolutionary than revolutionary, continuing the vertical lamp arrangement of so many of its predecessors.
Under the Hood
The Mustang GT is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that sends 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. The GT comes standard with a Getrag-developed six-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed automatic unit controlled by shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel is available at an extra cost.
The V8 returns 15 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway when bolted to the six-speed manual. Selecting the automatic increases city mpg to 16.
Underneath, the Mustang's rear solid axle has been chucked for only the second time ever (the SVT Cobra model briefly offered an independent rear setup). Up front, Mustang gains a new MacPherson strut/double ball joint design that takes up less space and offers improved handling. The suspension tweaks also helps the Mustang GT weigh less than the outgoing model.
The Mustang GT's interior is highlighted by a sporty dual-cowl dashboard design, easy-to-read vintage-inspired gauges and an oversized three-spoke multi-function steering wheel. Aviation-inspired toggle switches located at the bottom of the center console let the driver turn the traction control system off and adjust the car's electric power steering by choosing between standard, sport and comfort modes. The Mustang packs a push-button ignition for the first time in the nameplate's long history.
All Mustangs come standard with SYNC, Ford's Bluetooth-based connectivity system that allows smartphone users to place calls and stream music by using voice commands or steering wheel-mounted buttons. SYNC can also read incoming texts aloud to help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road, and allows the use of Ford-approved apps like The Wall Street Journal news and Pandora radio.
The GT Premium model (detailed below) also comes with MyFord Touch, an infotainment system that builds on SYNC by letting users control everything from navigation to climate control to the sound system with voice commands. MyFord Touch also replaces conventional sound system knobs and buttons with a center-mounted eight-inch touch screen, dual 4.2-inch displays in the instrument cluster and touch-sensitive controls in the center stack. Many consumers report that the system is a "love it or hate it" item, so those interested in the Focus are advised to try before they buy.
When called upon to haul people and cargo rather than deliver impressive performance numbers, the Mustang 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 13.5 cubic feet of stowage space.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Mustang GT is available in two trim levels: base and Premium.
The base model comes standard with A/C, black floor mats, cloth-upholstered bucket seats, six-way power-adjustable front seats, an AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers and an AUX input, keyless entry and start, SYNC with MyFord, a rear-view camera, HID headlights, a decklid spoiler, fog lights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, heated door mirrors and a blind spot monitoring system (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert.
The range-topping GT Premium model adds niceties like automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone automatic A/C, a cabin air filter, bright trim on the dashboard and the center console, a leather-wrapped parking brake handle, map pockets in the front seat backs, aluminum pedals, ambient lighting, a garage door opener, a 50/50 split rear seat, heated and cooled front seats, two USB ports, MyFord Touch, a nine-speaker stereo system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a capless fuel filler, body-colored mirror and a rear air diffuser. Buyers should note the GT Premium does not come standard with BLIS.
The list of standalone options includes rear parking sensors, a spare tire, a wheel locking kit, different wheel designs ranging from 18- to 20-inches and Recaro bucket seats. GT Premium buyers also have access to a Shaker Pro audio system, adaptive cruise control, navigation with voice commands and a Premier Trim with Color Accent package that adds two-tone upholstery and trim.
GT buyers can upgrade their car by selecting the optional GT Performance Package. Designed for serious drivers, it bundles a strut-tower brace, a larger radiator, unique chassis tuning, a larger rear sway bar, heavy-duty springs up front, six-piston front brake calipers manufactured by Brembo, larger brake discs, gauges for the oil pressure and the vacuum, a 3.73 rear end and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The GT Premium can be further decked out by opting for the extra-cost 401A equipment group. The package adds a twelve-speaker audio system, HD Radio memory driver's seat and mirrors and a blind spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert.
All Mustang GTs come standard dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag in addition to traction and stability control systems, a post-crash alert system and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
The Mustang GT faces its most direct competition from the Chevrolet Camaro SS and the Dodge Challenger.