The Ford Mustang is a midsize sports car, sold in coupe and convertible body styles. The 2015 edition begins a new generation, one that will take this iconic pony car beyond its North American roots and out to a waiting world.
Fifty years have come and gone and the Ford Mustang name endures. It represents the original pony car, a 2+2 sport coupe newly restyled for 2015. Three engine choices, two body styles and the requisite manual transmission are available.
The 2015 Ford Mustang brings this pony car to its next generation. In doing so, Ford brings its beloved sport coupe and convertible to the world.
The current model is instantly recognizable for being a Mustang with its familiar silhouette intact. Changes, though, are evident, including a refreshed front fascia with a sleek, wraparound headlamp assembly containing signature HID headlights, a sportier hood, hood air extractor vents in the GT, new wheels, distinctive rocker panel character lines, slightly tilted A pillars and lower front and rear decks.
The Mustang also sits slightly lower and wider than its most immediate predecessor. This model also has a sleeker overall shape, a wider rear track and three-dimensional, tri-bar tail lamps with sequential turn signals. Yes, shades of Bullitt!
All models come with automatic headlamps, a capless fuel system, dual exhaust tips and aluminum or alloy wheels. Trim level upgrades and package options bring in LED fog lights, heated sideview mirrors, a blade-style decklid spoiler, a rear diffuser, hood-vented air extractors and Pony projection lamps.
The 2015 Ford Mustang has a 2+2 seating arrangement. The front seats offer excellent support and comfort. However, the rear seat is more of an afterthought and presents virtually no legroom, especially if the front seats are set all the way back.
Since the 2015 Ford Mustang is a clean sheet update, the interior has changed considerably. Ford makes use of better materials, with cheap plastics replaced with soft touch surfaces. Carbon fiber covers the lower dashboard and stitching is used on the door inlays, across the dashboard and around the steering wheel.
People familiar with this model will notice a larger Mustang emblem on the steering wheel, that the cup holders have been moved away from the transmission shifter, and that a new galloping pony badge reading “Mustang — Since 1964” is located just above the glove box.
The instrument panel is dominated by analog tachometer and speedometer displays set within individual portholes on either side of a digital driver’s information center. That center displays all data related to driving, including launch control.
At the top of the center stack are two more analog displays: oil pressure and vacuum pressure. Beneath that is the color display for the Ford Sync infotainment system. Switches and knobs for the audio system and climate control follow. Just below that is a point of fascination: the start/stop button and four toggle switches. The toggle switches work as follows from left to right: 1) activate the emergency lights, 2) shut off the stability control, 3) adjust the steering, and 4) control the drive mode. You will spend a lot of time working the second through fourth toggles as you make your way around.
Every 2015 Mustang comes equipped with air conditioning, power accessories, a tilt and telescopic steering column, cruise control, an illuminated glove box, illuminated vanity mirrors, a sunglasses storage bin and two 12-volt outlets. V6 models have a six-speaker audio system, an auxiliary input jack and two USB ports.
EcoBoost models bring in six-way, power-adjustable front seats. EcoBoost and GT Premium models add heated and cooled front seats, leather-trimmed seats, a nine-speaker audio system, zoned climate control, Sync infotainment with an 8-inch color display, SiriusXM satellite radio, ambient lighting and aluminum pedals.
Equipment group options vary depending on the trim level. They include: a 12-speaker Shaker audio system, upgraded trim, voice-activated navigation and an appearance package with Recaro bucket seats.
Two of the Mustang’s engines return for 2015. The normally aspirated, 3.7-liter V6 is standard and makes 300 horsepower. A normally aspirated, 5.0-liter V8 is offered with the GT and makes 435 horsepower, up from 420 last year.
The newest engine, a 2.3-liter four-cylinder, relies on forced induction to squeeze more power out of its small footprint. This turbocharged, direct-injected engine makes 310 horsepower, and is available with the middle of the pack models.
All three engines are paired with six-speed Getrag manual transmissions with hill start assist.
Short throws allow for quick movement between gears. Alternatively, shoppers can opt for a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are included.
As tested, the Mustang GT with the manual transmission offered excellent off-the-line acceleration and shifted with ease. Four drive modes — normal, wet, sport and track — adjust the handling characteristics to your preferences. The new front and independent rear suspension provide superior handling and a noticeable improvement over previous models when the roads are rough. Brembo brakes bring this stallion to a sure stop. Sight lines are very good and rear visibility has improved with the redesign (the standard rearview camera also helps).
When it comes to technology, what matters most about the Ford Mustang is not its infotainment system, but rather the launch control and related performance attributes. That’s a good thing too, as the Ford Sync system is not particularly user-friendly, although it is an improvement over previous editions. You will have to wait at least one more year for an updated Sync 3 system to make its debut.
Launch control, three-mode steering, an independent rear suspension and a limited-slip differential lift the performance quotient for this model. With the exception of launch control, the other three engineering technologies are new and welcome.
In crashworthiness testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2015 Ford Mustang received a “Good” mark for moderate overlap front testing. Testing conducted by the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Mustang top marks in frontal crash, side crash and rollover testing. As a result, NHTSA gave the 2015 Mustang a five-star overall rating, which is the highest score possible.
All Ford Mustang fastback models come equipped with eight air bags (including driver and front passenger knee air bags), a rearview camera, stability control and an adaptive collapsible steering column.
Pricing for the 2015 Ford Mustang begins at $23,800 and gradually rises through eight trim levels to $41,800. With every conceivable option chosen, this model can cost more than $45,000 for the fastback to up to $50,000 for the top-of-the-line convertible.
The beginning price point gives buyers access to the V6. When that engine is accompanied by desired amenities, a well-equipped Ford Mustang can be had for under $30,000. That’s an attainable price point for many consumers, including the young drivers Ford wants to reach with its iconic muscle car.
The 2015 Ford Mustang has a half-century of tradition to carry and it does so quite well. Certainly, its appeal is to a niche of performance buyers, people who prize traditional American sportiness, but also value modern technologies and advanced engineering. The current iteration is a worthy competitor to the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, and may have some BMW 4-Series shoppers giving it a closer look.