IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The Mustang’s redesign last year netted it a more sophisticated platform, a surprisingly robust turbo 4-cylinder engine, a significantly upgraded interior, and improved driving manners, all while retaining the nameplate’s characteristic heritage and charm.
Not surprisingly, the back seat is cramped, the V8 is thirsty, and prices rise quickly as options are added.
For hardcore performance enthusiasts looking for a racetrack-ready machine, Ford offers the new-for-2016 Shelby GT350. It has a 526-hp naturally aspirated 5.2 V8 and starts at $47,795.
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.
After its redesign for 2015, Mustang sees only minor updates for 2016. The MyFord Touch infotainment interface is replaced with a new Sync 3 touchscreen system, and GT models get supplemental turn signal indicators integrated into their hood vents. New appearance options include over-the-top racing stripes and a revival of the California Special Package.
The EPA rates the base V6 at 17 mpg city/28 highway with the manual transmission and 19/28 with the automatic; the turbo 4-cylinder is 22/31 with manual and 21/32 with automatic, and the V8 is 15/25 manual and 16/25 automatic. 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 Mustang’s redesign last year was a well-executed re-envisioning of one of America’s best-loved vehicles. Thanks to its up-to-date design and plethora of cutting-edge technologies, the new 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||$23,895 – $41,895|
|BODY STYLES||2-DOOR COUPE, 2-DOOR CONVERTIBLE|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||300-HP, 3.7-LITER V6, 310-HP, 2.3-LITER 4-CYL., 435-HP, 5.0-LITER V8|
|DRIVE WHEELS||Rear-Wheel Drive|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||15-32 MPG|
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