Ford Mustang

2016 Ford Mustang

The 2016 Mustang is in the second year of its sixth generation. It was a smash re-make for 2015, with a detailed exterior and interior, and excellent technology including leaps in electronic controls for steering, throttle, transmission, and stability. As well as safety, as winning five stars in all tests by the NHTSA, and Good ratings from the IIHS.

The Mustang comes in coupe and convertible versions.

The redesign brought the EcoBoost twin-turbo four-cylinder engine into the lineup, and now the iconic Shelby GT350, with a high-revving 5.2-liter 500-horsepower V8, available with a Torsen limited-slip differential, big wheels with Brembo brakes, and aero mods. It boasts the debut of Fords MagneRide magnetic suspension. Now the Mustang Convertible is also available with that Performance Package.

For the most part, 2016 changes are all in available razzle-dazzle: new wheels and hood striping, a black roof, and new packages: California Special Package, Pony Package, and Black Accent Package.

A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, with paddle-shifting 6-speed automatic optional.

The standard V6 with automatic is EPA-rated at 22 mpg Combined city and highway. The EcoBoost four-cylinder is rated 26 mpg Combined; and the 5.0-liter V8 at 19 mpg. The Shelby GT350 isnt rated, but who cares?

Fords new Sync 3 infotainment comes in 2016. It basically rewrites the previous Ford system, a good thing we think.


2015 Ford Mustang

This is not your fathers Mustang. The wild pony has grown into a refined, capable thoroughbred, updated with the latest engineering and technological advancements. But not to worry, the iconic muscle car hasnt abandoned its roots. The 2015 Mustang is the logical evolution of a classic, with notable improvements in power, handling and interior features, while retaining every ounce of its visceral appeal. Without a doubt, the 2015 Ford Mustang is the best yet in the models 50-year history.

At first glance, the redesign of the 2015 Mustang is not revolutionary. Lines and proportions are unmistakable, long in front, short in rear. The new Mustang is lower and wider, with a wider rear track and rear fenders, giving it a more aggressive, hunkered appearance. In a nod to Mustangs past, coupes return to the fastback rear window. The new design helps the Mustang achieve a lower coefficient of drag, which helps it slip through the air more easily and perform more efficiently. New design cues include LED headlights and accent lights, as well as a new three-dimensional interpretation of the classic tri-bar tail lights.

The 2015 Mustang gets power from one of three engines, including a new 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 Ecoboost engine that makes an impressive 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Base models use a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. The Mustang GT gets a new 5.0-liter V8, with a new valvetrain and cylinder heads, as well as a new intake manifold for better low-speed aspiration. The 5.0 is no slouch, putting out 420 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque.

Unlike many car companies, Ford still has love for the manual transmission, as do we. The standard gearbox on all models is a 6-speed manual with hill start assist, with just the right amount of feel through the gates, not too firm and not too sloppy. A 6-speed automatic is optional, which we found to be quite good. Even in normal mode, the transmission is geared on the sporty side, holding shifts longer and downshifting when our revs dropped. All automatics come with paddle shifters, for those who want to click through their own gears.

Handling is vastly improved on the 2015 Mustang thanks to an all-new suspension. Up front is an independent MacPherson strut system that uses double ball joints, which also clears space for larger brakes. In back, the Mustang finally goes to an independent rear suspension (the setup of choice for most sports cars), using an integral-link setup that features retooled springs, dampers and bushings, as well as aluminum rear knuckles that reduce weight; this replaces the previous live rear axle.

Interior quality is improved in the 2015 Mustang, with soft-touch materials, comfortable seats and an attractive, logical dash layout. More features come standard, among them pushbutton start and Fords Sync voice recognition system. Small, thoughtful touches equate to more comfort, including a narrower center stack that leaves more knee room for the driver and front passenger, and the repositioned cupholders on the center console that leave a clear shifting path.

Though the 2015 Mustang shows improvement in nearly every way, it slips compared to the outgoing models when it comes to fuel economy. The most efficient is the new 2.3-liter Ecoboost engine, which achieves an EPA-estimated 22/31 mpg City/Highway with the manual transmission and 21/32 mpg City/Highway with the automatic. V6-powered Mustangs rate 17/28 mpg City/Highway with the manual and 19/28 mpg with the automatic. No surprise that the V8-powered 5.0 Mustang GT is the biggest gas guzzler, with an EPA rating of 15/25 mpg City/Highway with the manual and 16/25 mpg with the automatic.

Competitors to the 2015 Ford Mustang include the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, but we think the Mustang clearly outshines both of these when it comes to performance, drivability and value.


2013 Ford Mustang

The 2013 Ford Mustang features a facelift and comes out bigger, bolder, cleaner. It's a change, not just a tweak. The 2013 Mustang resembles a Steve McQueen Bullitt Mustang, its mouth shaped more like '70 Mustang than a '65.

The Mustang was redesigned for 2005 and got rave reviews for its looks, totally capturing the old Mustang but still looking contemporary. The styling tweaks since then have made it even better, and that holds true for the 2013 Mustang.

A black eggcrate grille opens wide over the bumper, with a clean and full chin, fascia, and air intakes, and just a tidy flat-black horizontal spoiler at the lip. The triangular rear window masterfully evokes the roofline of original '65 Mustang, replacing its fake louvers with glass.

We're less enthusiastic about the interior of the 2013 Mustang. Reviews all end up saying that the materials are okay considering the price of the car, remember it's only a Mustang, and we can't argue. The steering wheel lacks imagination, and that's disappointing.

However the cloth seats are great; cloth can easily be a deal-breaker, and in the Mustang it's not. In fact, the cloth seats fit better than the leather, maybe because they grip better. The optional Recaro seats in either cloth or leather are excellent. There's good head and leg room up front, and visibility through the windshield is good, especially for a low-slung coupe. There's considerably more room and better visibility in the Mustang than in the Chevrolet Camaro.

Naturally, the two-passenger rear seat is no place for adults. Rear-seat headroom is limited by the rake of the coupe roof, and leg room is minimal, even with the front seats moved forward. That comes with the territory of such a car and its shape and is a small price to be paid for such proportions.

The retro instrument panel in the V6 and GT models clings too hard to the theme, we think. Having retro instrumentation on a car with modern performance like the Mustang is like having a telephone with a cord. The optional Shaker audio system is acoustically superb. Ford's SYNC system works well to choose music, but we had trouble operating it with voice commands.

The Mustang convertible has a power fabric top and glass rear window. Trunk space in the convertible is reduced to 9.6 cubic feet, from 13.4 cubic feet in the coupe. The coupe has standard 50/50 fold-down rear seats that vastly expand the cargo space, by opening the trunk all the way to the front seatbacks.

The V6 makes 305 horsepower, more than V8 muscle cars, and it does not sound like your father's V6. It's a fairly high-revving engine, reaching its horsepower peak at 6500 rpm and its torque peak at 4250 rpm, so it's good to play with. The manual transmission is the way to go if you like to play, because it's so good. And the manual comes with Hill Start Assist, so no worries about coasting backward when starting off on a steep hill. The automatic, meanwhile, does have a manual-shift feature it's awkward to use.

The Mustang V6 is EPA-rated at 19/31 miles per gallon City/Highway. However, we didn't get anywhere near that, running it hard on twisty two-lanes.

Mustang GT has a smooth, rumbling and growling 5.0-liter V8 engine. And with 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, it snaps your neck on the way to a quarter-mile time of about 13 seconds flat. That's quicker than the Chevrolet Camaro SS, even with its huge 6.2-liter engine and 426 horsepower. But the Mustang is 230 pounds lighter, and that makes a big difference in acceleration, also handling.

The Boss 302 makes 444 horsepower with the same engine. But if you order the Track Package and Recaro Package on the GT, you can get most of the Boss for much less of the money. However the Boss has non-retro instrumentation, that's way cleaner. And it's a Boss 302.

Brakes are good. Ford engineers have revised the braking system of the Flex, Taurus, and Mustang, and the feel is powerful without being overly sensitive. And with the Boss 302 and Shelby GT 500, when you increase the size of the front rotors to 14 inches and add four-piston and six-piston calipers by the Italian company Brembo, you've got the best stopping power money can buy.

The chassis and electronic power steering is adjustable to Comfort, Standard or Sport. The names of the modes are apt. Comfort mode kept the ride comfortable when driving over rough pavement, Sport mode improved responsiveness on winding roads. We found the electronic stability control effective without being intrusive.

The 650-horsepower Shelby GT 500 joins the 2013 Mustang lineup. You read that right, 650 horsepower.


 

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