Known as the original pony car—the sporty Ford’s name inspired the segment’s sobriquet, after all—the Mustang has long provided affordable performance, sexy styling, and abundant personalization opportunities. The latest Mustang has athletic moves that more than match its muscular physique. It’s now also more modern than ever, with a superb-handling chassis that rides on an independent rear suspension. Available as a racy coupe or a classic convertible, it has an engine range that includes a 300-hp V-6, a 310-hp turbo inline-four, and a mighty 435-hp V-8. Plentiful options include an easy-to-use Sync 3 infotainment system, serious performance add-ons, and multiple appearance packages. The pony-car wars are about brand loyalty. Dodge and Chevrolet have their contenders—and their unwavering supporters—and Ford has a seriously sophisticated Stang with which to battle them.
High-performance daily driver, exceptional chassis, slick modern-retro styling.
Mediocre interior materials, optional Recaro seats are restrictive, too-tame V-8 exhaust note.
A thoroughly modern Mustang that can compete heads-up in the pony-car wars.
Notably trading the previous model’s live rear axle for a modern independent rear suspension—a boon to both handling and ride. That and a handsome evolution of its exterior and interior helped it better turn both heads and corners, earning it a spot on our 10Best Cars list for 2015. Its 2016 updates included nostalgic appearance packages. For 2017, changes are even less significant. Both driver and passenger windows have a standard one-touch up and down feature along with the ability to open the windows using the key fob. The 19-inch Ebony Black–painted wheels, included in the Black Accent package, have a new design. New paint colors include Grabber Blue, Lightning Blue, and White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat; Competition Orange, Deep Impact Blue, and Guard were discontinued. The 2018 Mustang will introduce several significant changes, such as a restyled front end and enhanced performance. The V-6 engine will no longer be available—making the EcoBoost turbo inline-four standard; the 5.0-liter V-8 adds more horsepower and torque. New options for 2018 include more active safety assists, adaptive dampers, and a 12-inch fully-digital gauge cluster, among others.
Trims and Options We’d Choose
The Mustang continues to provide terrific bang-for-your-buck performance and plenty of style. The base-model coupe has a V-6 and starts at $26,085; opting for the turbo inline-four adds about $1000. A convertible costs an extra $5500 with the V-6 and $9500 more with the turbocharged four-cylinder, which comes standard with the more expensive Premium trim. While the Mustang’s excellent chassis allows even the less powerful engines to be fun, we prefer the Mustang GT with the 5.0-liter V-8 and standard six-speed manual transmission. It starts at $34,095, which virtually matches the Dodge Challenger R/T ($34,090) and undercuts the Chevrolet Camaro SS ($37,900). The GT Premium trim adds $4000 but includes an 8.0-inch Sync 3 touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a leather-trimmed interior, heated and cooled front seats, and an upgraded audio system. We’d check that box and also opt for the GT Performance package ($2995), which includes: