Ford Mustang review
All-American Ford Mustang heads to the UK in right-hand drive for the first time, offering lots of car for the cash
The Ford Mustang celebrated its 50th birthday in 2014 with this all-new ninth generation model.
While it features the very latest chassis technology and Ford’s advanced SYNC multimedia interface, the big news is under the bonnet where, for the first time, Ford is offering a four-cylinder engine.
While this new 2.3-litre motor has a clear eye on the European market, it still packs a punch offering more power than many of the old V8s. On the subject of which, of course there’s a V8 option, too – with 420bhp and a roar to match. The Mustang is fun to drive, but the whole package lacks the sophistication of European coupes like the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series.
Our pick: Mustang 5.0 V8
The new Ford Mustang may have a typically American look, but it was actually designed by a Brit – Ford design boss Moray Callum. It’s a much more athletic look than before, “We didn’t want any excess on the bodywork,” Callum told us.
You can choose from a convertible or coupe, the latter with its evocative sloping rear roofline heading towards an angled rear end with tri-bar tail lights. Muscular haunches combine with inset creases along the side to accentuate the car’s width, while at the front, there’s the familiar Mustang shark bite grille.
Inside is similarly stylish with a large modern touchscreen juxtaposed by retro-style knobs and switches. Quality is a mixed bag – great in some places, poor in others.
For us, the Ford Mustang is best as it should be – with V8 power under the bonnet. It’s a sweet engine with bags of power spread nicely from low to high revs – enough to shoot this big car from 0-60mph in around 4.5 seconds – but with a mesmerising angry roar.
We think it’s worth every penny of the £4000 premium over the 2.3-litre four-cylinder motor. Not that the smaller unit is bad, but power delivery is a bit peaky and the sound just can’t match the V8’s – it’s a bit more mechanical and unrefined, but not horrible.
You’ll add a second to the 0-60mph time, but the car feels slightly better balanced with less weight under the bonnet. The standard performance pack on European cars firms up the ride a bit too much, but controls the body better. There are three driving modes to choose from and lots of grip on offer, giving this car a surprising agility considering its size.
The Ford Mustang has always had a decent record for reliability in the US and the company can’t risk incurring the wrath of enthusiasts, so we’d expect this latest car to be pretty durable.
It’ll be safe, too, with up to eight airbags in the coupe including a world first – a passenger knee airbag that lives in the glove box lid. The all-new all independent suspension provides secure handling, while grip levels are high, but there’s an advanced traction control system which has different settings as part of the selectable driving modes.
Ford is quite proud of the fact that the Mustang is practical enough to fit two golf bags in the boot. That’s perfect because two really is the magic number for the Mustang – you’re better off thinking of it as a 2+2 rather than a full four seater.
Sure, you can get a couple of people in the back, but the legroom is pretty ropey and the headroom gives way to style rather than function. As you’d expect, there are two big cup holders in the centre console (which is where the plastic quality takes a real dip) although there aren’t that many other cubbies around to store things.
Don’t expect too much from either engine in terms of Mustang economy and you won’t be disappointed – we reckon you’d be lucky to crack 30mpg in either. You may be surprised that the 2.3-litre engine won’t save you that much more at the pumps either.
However, to balance the rather eye-watering running costs, the list price is surprisingly low – especially when you look at what you get. Both cars come fully loaded, as our American friends would say, both in terms of luxury kit and performance - you’ll struggle to match either from anything with a German badge on it at the same price.