2019 Mustang New Car Test Drive
The 2018 Ford Mustang benefits from a major refresh, with significant changes in styling, drivetrain, suspension, and interior. It's better looking, the V8 is more powerful, the EcoBoost turbo four is improved, and there's a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is retired after faithful decades of service.
The Mustang is smarter than ever: more capable, more fun, better balanced, and faster. Styling changes, with redesigned grille and hood, are subtle but make the car striking. The 2018 Mustang draws stares, casual observers noticing something has changed.
The cabin is cleaner, at least the optional upgrade is, and interior materials better. There's also an optional digital instrument cluster and active exhaust.
The two EcoBoost models use a new 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes a superb 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The two GT models use the brilliant 5.0-liter V8 that now makes 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque (increased from 435 hp and 400 lb ft). With either engine, you can get a six-speed manual transmission, or ten-speed automatic.
Adaptive suspension is available on every model. It uses dampers with magnetic fluid, and allows a driver to set the ride at soft for around-town comfort, or firm for sharp handling. The Mustang is just catching up to the Camaro that's been using these advanced shocks for years.
The new active exhaust is available on the Mustang GT. Its sound level can be set by the driver. It transforms the car's character, and makes acceleration fun. We think it's worth it.
There is a 12-inch digital instrumentation display available on the top two trims. Most of the information is driving data. It's a beautiful interface, not sprawling like the Audi's, and the gauges can be configured by the driver, for example shift lights. It's especially useful with the Track Apps performance package. It's something that the Camaro and Dodge Challenger don't have.
The 2.3-liter turbo hardtop with the 10-speed automatic gets 21 mpg city, 32 highway, 25 combined, the convertible gets 2 less mpg. Also 2 mpg less if with the Performance Pack for the engine. The 5.0-liter V-8 with the 10-speed automatic gets 16/25/19 mpg.
2018 Mustang comes as Fastback EcoBoost ($25,585), Fastback EcoBoost Premium ($30,600), Fastback GT ($35,095) and Fastback GT Premium ($39,095). (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
The Mustang Convertible doesn't come with GT trim. The six-speed manual gearbox is standard with all models; the 10-speed automatic is ($1595) extra.
Not to be forgotten is the Shelby GT350 ($55,845).
Standard equipment includes automatic LED headlamps, active noise cancellation, keyless ignition, leather-wrapped steering wheel, six-speaker sound system, and rearview camera.
Premium models add heated and cooled front seats, leather seats, Sync 3 infotainment with 8.0-inch touchscreen, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The new digital instrument cluster is available only with Premium. It's bundled with navigation, upgraded leather with accent stitching, colored door trim, heated steering wheel, WiFi hotspot, and remote start.
For 2018 there's also a new Performance Package for both the EcoBoost ($2495) and GT ($3995), adding bigger wheels with grippier tires, firmer suspension, beefier rear differential, enhanced cooling, and Brembo six-piston front brakes. The performance packages don't include the active suspension with magnetic dampers, which are extra ($1695).