2019 Mustang New Car Test Drive
The 2019 Ford Mustang is the best Mustang ever built. It won't be remembered like the 1965, and it's not even the first year of a new generation, but there's none better. It's faster than ever, rides better than ever, and handles better than ever. It charges hard and corners flat, at least with the right package. Passenger-carrying isn't the best, but that's par for the course. It's a sports car-and for its performance, it's a bargain.
The Mustang was redesigned in 2015, and last year it got tweaks to its face, including standard LED headlamps, a more pouty mouth, and lowered nose. It might be argued that 2018 was just as good, because there are no mechanical changes for 2019, except for ? drum roll ? the return of the Bullitt, a 480-hp near-identical clone of the Mustang GT.
For 2019, Ford makes active exhaust standard equipment, and bundles a new 1,000-watt audio system with some models. Also, every model now has optional forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, which not all rivals offer.
The Mustang comes as a coupe called Fastback or convertible called Convertible, the V-8 GT, the Bullitt, and the ultimate prancing pony, the track-ready Shelby GT350.
The base engine is a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. If you're worried about a 4-cylinder Mustang, don't. Its 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque will squash any early V-8 Mustang made. It doesn't have the deep rumbling exhaust note, but that's what the GT is for. The former V-6 engine is gone.
Turbo-4s are today, period. The Mustang with the turbo-4 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds, shifting with a great 6-speed manual or a fine 10-speed automatic. Standard equipment includes something called Line Lock, which enables burnouts at the touch of a button and a drop of the hammer. Line Lock is easily the most lunatic and necessary standard feature of any 2019 model-year vehicle.
If that isn't enough to make it pure, fine. The GT carries a 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter, double-overhead-cam V-8 under its long hood, and makes itself known with an active exhaust system. Fit with available adaptive dampers, it can handle with almost anything on the road.
The Ecoboost is EPA-rated at 21 mpg city, 32 highway, 25 combined, with the 10-speed automatic transmission, and 1 less mpg with the 6-speed manual. The heavier convertible gets 2 less mpg. Premium fuel is required, wiping out the economy of 25 mpg.
The GT with the automatic gets 16/25/19 mpg and 18 mpg with the 6-speed. The Shelby GT350 gets 16 mpg.
As for crashworthiness, especially important in a car like this, the NHTSA gives the Mustang five stars overall, with five stars in every test. Some cars get five stars even with one or two four-star ratings in specific tests, so there should be a should be five stars with an asterisk for those lesser five-star cars.
The IIHS is tougher. They rate the Mustang's small-overlap protection (trees and telephone poles) only be Acceptable.
All Mustangs have LED headlamps and a knee airbag for the driver. Other optional safety equipment includes blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control..
Ford sells the Mustang in base, GT, Bullitt, and Shelby GT350 trims, with choices of body styles (Fastback or Convertible) and transmissions.
The base coupe is $26,120 before destination, while the convertible costs $5,500 more. Standard equipment includes power features, LED headlights, 6-speed manual transmission, keyless ignition, and a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth audio streaming. And don't forget it's burnout-ready with Line Lock.
The GT for $35,355 gets the 460-horsepower V-8, plus 18-inch wheels, power front seats, and rear parking sensors.
For both the turbo-4 and GT there's a Premium model that adds $5,000 and $4,000 to the price, respectively. The Premium includes leather upholstery, an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated and cooled front seats. A B&O Play audio system has 1,000 watts of sound plus integrated Waze and Alexa services.
The Premium has an available package including a digital instrument pack that brings with it navigation, color-keyed door trim, better upholstery, remote start, in-car WiFi, and a heated steering wheel.
Then there is the Performance package, with stiffer suspension tuning, grippier tires on bigger wheels, a better rear differential, and Brembo six-piston front brakes.
From there, the GT can add a Performance Package Level 2 with even stiffer tuning that works in beautiful concert with an optional adaptive suspension, and an active exhaust system that delivers a menacing roar or a soft around-town sound..