Noted as the first pony car in the sixties, the Ford Mustang has morphed from a beloved muscle car to one of the best values in the sports car marketplace. The current Mustang continues to offer a great combination of powertrain options and performance packages.
2015 to Present: Ford Mustang
1964 saw the introduction of the Ford Mustang, which was offered with a variety of six-cylinder and V8 engines and a choice of different body styles. Ford didn't know how popular the model would become, but with 318,000 models sold during the first year (three times the original projection) the automaker knew it had a hit. Since then, Ford has been improving the Mustang to keep it fresh for those young and old.
While it is still available as a coupe or a convertible, the current Mustang boasts a number of big changes. For example, the solid rear axle suspension design that had been with the original Mustang has been scrapped. In its place is a new independent rear suspension setup that noticeably improves handling and ride comfort.
The engine lineup also boasts a noticeable change. A turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque is available as an option. Mustang fans know this isn't the first time Ford has offered a turbo-four in the Mustang. Back in the mid-1980s, the Mustang SVO also had a 2.3-liter turbo-four under the hood. Aside from the EcoBoost model, there is a 3.7-liter V6 with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque that serves as the base engine. A 5.0-liter V8 with 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque comes with Mustang GT models. The choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic is available for all engines.
Outside, the Mustang gets slight changes from the model it replaces, including a revised front end and a new rear end. The interior features some nice touches, such as a dual-cowl dashboard design, aluminum trim and toggle switches.
Standard equipment on the Mustang includes xenon headlights, LED taillights, a limited-slip differential, keyless entry and start, a backup camera and a six-speaker audio system with Ford's Sync system. Higher trims get dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-inch touch screen with MyFord Touch and leather seats.
Earlier Ford Mustang Models
2005 saw dramatic changes to the Ford Mustang. A new exterior design that paid homage to the original model was introduced, which was highlighted by a big grille, round headlights, triangular rear windows and a fastback roof line. This model also boasted a new chassis, which improved ride and handling characteristics. Power came from a 4.0-liter V6 with 210 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, or a 4.6-liter V8 with 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission, or an available five-speed automatic, gets power to the rear wheels.
A year later, Ford introduced a new Pony Package for the V6 which added 17-inch wheels, an upgraded suspension with larger stabilizer bars, traction control and new trim pieces. 2007 would see a new package for the V8 called the GT California Special. The California Special features 18-inch wheels, side scoops, "GT/CS" door stripes and leather seats with contrasting inserts. Other changes for 2007 included the availability of an aux jack, navigation and satellite radio.
2008 would see the return of the Mustang Bullitt. Paying homage to the Mustang used in the 1968 film, "Bullitt," starring Steve McQueen, this model came in Highland Green with 18-inch wheels. Other changes for this model included a tweaked V8 producing 315 horsepower and a firmer suspension. For 2009, the Mustang got minor changes to the interior, including ambient lighting and an optional glass roof option.
Ford gave the Mustang a refresh in 2010, with new styling inside and out providing a more muscular look. The 4.0-liter V6 carried over, while the V8 got some of the engine tweaks from the Bullitt model to produce 315 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. New for this year is a TrackPack option that adds 19-inch wheels, summer tires, numerous suspension improvements, upgraded brakes, revised stability control and a new rear axle ratio.
2011 would see new engines make their debut. First up is a base 3.7-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Following that is a 5.0-liter V8 with 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both engines come paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Other changes for 2011 include larger brakes, new suspension tuning, electric power steering and additional bracing on the convertible model.
For 2012, the return of the Boss 302 was the big story. Introduced in 1969 as a monster for the track, the new Boss 302 followed the same ideals with a fair number of changes, including a 444-horsepower V8 engine, Brembo brakes and firmer suspension tuning.
In 2013, the Mustang got a small number of exterior changes to keep it fresh. These included restyled front and rear ends, xenon headlights with LED accents, a new grille and reshaped taillights. A performance information display in the gauge cluster was also introduced and Recaro sport seats became available as an option. Power from the V8 engine also improved, with GT models now producing 420 horsepower.