As one of America's best-known sports cars, the Ford Mustang brings power to the people. From its introduction in 1964, the Mustang has provided RWD thrills and available V-8 muscle at relatively affordable prices. When the current generation arrived in 2015, an independent rear suspension allowed it to become more refined and capable. As always, it's available as a coupe or convertible, with high-performance Shelby variants at the top of the lineup. Recently the Mustang title was controversially applied to Ford's first electric performance vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E.
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Whether you're a sports car rookie or a track day veteran, there's a Mustang for everyone. Let's address its flaws first. Ride quality isn't great, and body control needs work. Handling is only decent on more entry-level models, and convertibles can feel a bit floppy. Materials aren't very upscale, which might be fine on basic Mustangs, but not so much on high-end models with MSRPs above $50,000.
Even so, the excellent engine choices counter those gripes to a certain extent. Even the entry-level turbo-four, once an unthinkable layout for a pony car, delivers excitement with its rev-happy attitude. In a comparison against the Toyota Supra 2.0, the EcoBoost 'Stang's charm and settled suspension gave it the win. The naturally aspirated V-8, an increasingly rare engine format, has gobs of power and a vicious roar. Then there's the GT500's incredible supercharged V-8, which transforms the humble Mustang into a legitimate supercar. It even managed a second-place finish at 2020 Best Driver's Car.
The Mustang carries on the legacy of its iconic forebears. Even though the terrific GT350 appears to be gone for 2021, the recently introduced Mach 1 looks like it'll be lots of fun, just like any other Mustang.
All Mustangs are RWD and (barring the GT500) fitted with a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
The entry-level engine is a 2.3-liter turbo-four, which makes 310 hp in EcoBoost spec or 330 hp with the High Performance package; both make 350 lb-ft of torque. In MotorTrend testing, a manual transmission Mustang EcoBoost accelerated from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, while one with the automatic did the same in 5.3 seconds. With the High Performance package, the car should sprint to 60 in under 5.0 seconds, Ford says.
The "Coyote" 5.0-liter V-8 produces 460 hp in standard GT form, or 480 hp in the Bullitt and Mach 1; torque is 420 lb-ft in all. We tested an automatic Mustang GT convertible's 0-60 mph acceleration at 4.2 seconds, and a manual-equipped Bullitt's at 4.6 seconds.
The GT500 gets a model-specific drivetrain. It's a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8, churning out 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque, all sent through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Our testing recorded a 3.7-second 0-60 mph time from the standard GT500, which fell to 3.6 seconds with the optional Carbon Fiber Track Pack.
From the NHTSA, the Mustang coupe scores the maximum of five stars in front crash, side crash, and rollover testing. From the IIHS, it gets Good scores, the highest, in all but one crashworthiness test (the small overlap front test on the driver's side, where it earned an Acceptable rating).
For 2021, Mustangs equipped with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder or 5.0-liter V-8 get more active safety and driver-assist features as standard. These include lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Adaptive cruise control remains an optional extra.
The Mustang coupe's trunk has 13.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity, with a split-folding second-row seat that helps expand that space into the cabin. In the Mustang convertible, it's reduced to 11.4 cubic feet, and the second row doesn't fold down.
Front-row headroom measures 37.6 inches in the Mustang, a bit less than its archrival, the Chevrolet Camaro, which has 38.5 inches. Front legroom is better in the Mustang, though, at 45.1 inches against the Camaro's 43.9 inches. It's snug in the back of either car. Second-row headroom is 34.8 inches (35.7 inches in the convertible) in the Ford; Chevrolet doesn't provide this measurement for the Camaro. Second-row legroom is 29.0 inches (29.2 inches in the convertible) in the Mustang, slightly less than 29.9 inches in the Camaro.
Entry-level Mustangs are equipped with a tiny 4.2-inch infotainment display and two USB ports. The Sync 3 system, optional on entry-level models and included on Premium trims, adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; built-in navigation is optional on all. A 12.0-inch all-digital gauge cluster display is optional on Premium models, and included on Bullitt, Mach 1, and GT500. A six-speaker audio system is standard while Premium models get a nine-speaker setup, with a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium arrangement optional on those.
|$500||Ford announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible college students. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-04-2021|
|$500||Ford announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible Military personnel. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-04-2021|
|$500||Ford announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible Military personnel.||01-04-2021|