IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The 2017 Mustang boasts a sophisticated platform, a surprisingly robust turbo 4-cylinder engine, a fairly upscale interior, and excellent driving manners, all while retaining the nameplate’s characteristic heritage and charm.

BUT…

Not surprisingly, the back seat is cramped, the V8 is thirsty, and prices rise quickly as options are added.

WORTH NOTING:

For hardcore performance enthusiasts looking for a racetrack-ready machine, Ford offers the Shelby GT350. It has a 526-hp naturally aspirated 5.2 V8 and starts at $54,570.

WHAT IS IT?

The Mustang is Ford’s long-running sporty/performance machine; it’s the car that invented the term “pony car.” It comes as a 2-door coupe or 2-door convertible, each offering a choice of three engines: a base 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, a step-up “EcoBoost” turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder with 310 hp, or a top-dog 5.0-liter V8 with 435 hp. All engines are available with a 6-speed manual- or 6-speed automatic transmission. A veritable smorgasbord of performance, technology, and personalization options is available, including upgraded “Shaker” audio systems, heavily bolstered Recaro sport seats, park assist, heated power mirrors, ambient interior lighting, adaptive cruise control, 19-inch wheels on performance tires, and Brembo-brand 6-piston front disc brakes.

WHAT’S NEW?

The mainstream Mustang lineup sees no significant changes for 2017, though the high-performance GT350 gets some new standard and available features.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the base V6 at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway with both the manual- and automatic transmission; the turbo 4-cylinder is 21/30 with manual or automatic, and the V8 is 15/25 with manual and 15/24 with automatic. Choosing the convertible body style or the turbo four’s or V8’s Performance Package exacts a fuel-economy penalty of 1-2 mpg. In Consumer Guide® testing, an EcoBoost coupe with manual transmission and the EcoBoost Performance Package averaged 25.7 mpg, and an EcoBoost convertible with automatic averaged 26.5—both of those tests consisted of about 70-percent highway driving. A GT coupe with manual transmission and the GT Performance Package averaged 13.9 mpg in a test that included about 60-percent city driving. Premium-grade gas is recommended for the 4-cylinder and V8; the V6 runs on regular.

VALUE IN CLASS

The Ford Mustang has an enviable history as one of America’s best-loved vehicles, and the current model does its legendary forebears proud. Thanks to its up-to-date design and plethora of cutting-edge technologies, the 2017 Mustang can truly stand toe-to-toe with its high-tech competition, instead of leaning on its good looks and nostalgic personality. It’s not quite the bargain it once was, but a broad model lineup and lengthy list of options mean that there’s a Mustang to suit a wide variety of purses and preferences.

BASE PRICE RANGE $24,915 – $42,420
BODY STYLES 2-Door Coupe, 2-Door Convertible
AVAILABLE ENGINES 300-Hp, 3.7-Liter V6, Turbocharged 310-Hp, 2.3-Liter 4-Cyl., 435-Hp, 5.0-Liter V8
DRIVE WHEELS Rear-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 15-30 MPG

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