Ford Mustang Convertible review
The Ford Mustang Convertible isn't as sharp as the coupe, but it looks good and is great value
It's been on sale for over 50 years, and the Ford Mustang has gained cult status as one of the most famous automotive brands across the globe, but only now is it on sale in the UK. This sixth generation model has been designed as a global car, and while the Coupe will be the model to go for when it comes to driving fun, the elegant Convertible should be popular with us sun-loving Brits.
The only rivals for this four-seater are the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5, but the Mustang Convertible offers far better value-for-money. Not only does it have more kit, it's also a larger car, although that does mean t can feel a little unwieldy on narrower UK roads.
UK-spec cars are available with a traditional 5.0-litre V8, or a more economical 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo EcoBoost engine, and you can get an auto or manual gearbox, too, while fully independent rear suspension has boosted handling, although chopping the roof off the Mustang has compromised it somewhat. Standard kit is generous across the range, with Ford’s latest SYNC 2 infotainment system, climate control and an electric roof included, although you do have to initially release the top with a big, clunky grab handle on the header rail.
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As you’d expect, the Mustang's great-value pricing gives it an advantage over its rivals, and if you factor in great looks and that name which evokes so much heritage, it's no surprise that the car has a 12-month waiting list.
Engines, performance and drive
The Mustang Convertible comes in two variants – the classic 5.0-litre V8 or the marginally more economical 2.3 EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo.
While the latter is more economical, it's also a surprisingly sprightly performer. It has 316bhp and it can sprint from 0-62mph in six seconds and a top speed of 145mph. There’s a muted four-cylinder engine noise from the tailpipes but a sound synthesiser pumps engine sound into the cabin, although it's not a very pleasant sound. The six-speed manual is good, giving satisfying changes, although the six-speed audio is arguably better suited to the laid-back cruising nature of the Mustang Convertible.
If you want a Mustang that can go around corners like a European car, go for the Coupe. While there’s fully independent front and rear suspension for the first time, chopping the roof off means the Convertible is far softer and looser. Around town the body flexes over potholes; pick up speed on country roads and there’s more pronounced body wobble and shimmy. It’s a cruiser and not a convertible that can deliver a sporty driving experience – if you want both, the BMW 4 Series is a better choice.
However, stumping up the extra £4,000 for the 5.0-litre V8 seems like a no-brainer for us. While it pumps out 306g/km and returns 20.8mpg, the V8’s growly soundtrack go hand-in-hand with Mustang ownership – and it sounds even better with the roof down.
MPG, CO2 and Running Costs
If you want your convertible to offer similar running costs to a four-door saloon, a diesel-powered BMW 4 Series or Audi A5 will be a better bet. If you value a smooth petrol engine that delivers character rather than miles per gallon, the Mustang will be higher up your list. – they’ll be no diesel engine on offer in the ‘Stang as that’s viewed as a step too far.
However, while the V8 naturally doesn’t return great running costs, the 2.3 EcoBoost doesn’t exactly impress either. You’ll be lucky to beat 30mpg in it but its 184g/km does mean it could sneak onto company car lists. Add an auto, and emissions rocket, with the 2.3 Convertible nearly matching the V8 manual coupe for CO2. What Ford really needs to do is add stop-start, as this would really improve matters.
That said, the Mustang does make a strong case for itself when it comes to equipment. Both 2.3 and 5.0 offer great kit levels for their money, while the differences between the two versions are minor, with the latter featuring Brembo brakes and extra electronic trickery over the 2.3.
Interior, design and technology
The Mustang is an American icon but, for this latest model, Ford wanted the car’s styling to evolve to the next level.
Headed by Brit Moray Callum, the new Mustang is more sleek than its predecessors – but there’s still bucket loads of classic charm characteristic design cues. Hallmark cues include the shark-like front, gaping grille and three-bar light clusters at the rear join a lower, sleeker overall look and sharp creases along the flanks.
Inside the dashboard is typically muscle car-like with a squared-off look and a row of chromed toggle switches give some retro charm. It’s all contrasted with a large touchscreen with SYNC 2 and better quality plastics from the Mustangs of old – especially the squidgy soft-touch plastics on the top of the dash.
However, don’t expect BMW or Audi levels of quality – it’s a quite a way short of European rivals with disappointing scratchy plastics in prominent places, while the silver plastic that adorns the full width of the dash looks a bit tacky.
The 2.3 and V8 versions look identical inside, and there are a few subtle differences between them outside, too. The V8 gets 'power bars' in the grille, 5.0 badges on the front wings, a different black alloy wheel design with Brembo brakes behind them, and a GT badge on the tail, but aside from that, it looks largely the same as the 2.3. You can add a Custom pack to either car, which adds silver alloys and extra kit such as sat-nav, climate seats and parking sensors.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
On quick inspection the Mustang Convertible may look like a comfortable four-seater drop-top but it’s better to think of its as a 2+2. The shapely rear seats are only really suitable for children or for adults on short journeys – your friends will quickly tire of the limited legroom and headroom when the roof is up.
Still, there’s an adequate boot that can swallow two golf bags, and the roof folds away between the rear seats so boot space is only slightly behind the coupe. Up front there are two large cupholders that dominate the console between the driver and passenger and that’s about it for storage – a small glovebox and door pockets that extend right back into the door (meaning you’ll lose things) are not particularly practical.
Reliability and Safety
As the Mustang is a new arrival in the UK, it is difficult to say whether it will be a trouble-free ownership proposition. However, in its native US, the Mustang has long had a reliable reputation - and with the new car being adapted to European tastes, we have no reason to expect anything different.
Safety is high on the Mustang’s priority list too – there are eight airbags including a passenger knee airbag located in the glove box lid, traction control with switchable driving modes, and a pop-up bonnet to boost pedestrian safety.