IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The 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 those tantalizing options are added.

WORTH NOTING:

For hardcore performance enthusiasts looking for a racetrack-ready machine, Ford offers the Shelby GT500, which has a whopping 760 hp.

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 two engines: an “EcoBoost” turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder with 310 hp (or 330 with the 2.3L High Performance Package), or a 5.0-liter V8 with 450 hp in GT models (or 470 hp in the specially trimmed Mach 1). Both engines are available with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. A veritable smorgasbord of performance, technology, and personalization options is available, including upgraded audio systems, heavily bolstered Recaro sport seats, park assist, heated power mirrors, heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, adaptive cruise control, MagneRide adaptive suspension, active-valve performance exhaust, 19-inch wheels on performance tires, and Brembo-brand 6-piston front disc brakes.

WHAT’S NEW?

The Mustang’s 5.0-liter V8 engines make 10 fewer horsepower due to tuning changes, reportedly to meet stricter emissions requirements—the GT was previously rated at 460 hp, and the Mach 1 was rated at 480. There are also revisions to the Mustang’s special-edition packages, including the addition of a Stealth Edition (with blacked-out trim elements) and an Ice White Edition (with Oxford White paint and white trim elements inside and out).

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the 4-cylinder at 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 21/32 with automatic. The V8 is rated at 15/24 with manual and 16/25 with automatic. Choosing the convertible body style exacts a fuel-economy penalty of 1-2 mpg, as does the Performance Package on 4-cylinder models.

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—and not just in terms of good looks and nostalgia. Thanks to its up-to-date design and plethora of desirable technology features, the Mustang makes a strong case for itself against a broad range of sporty/performance-car competitors. 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 $27,205 – $53,000
BODY STYLES 2-Door Coupe, 2-Door Convertible
AVAILABLE ENGINES Turbocharged 310/330-HP, 2.3-Liter 4-Cyl.; 450/470-HP, 5.0-Liter V8
DRIVE WHEELS Rear-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 14-32 MPG

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