One of the most lovable cars on the road today, warts and all.

Introduction

The Ford Mustang marks the end of a patient, 50-year wait for UK muscle-car fans – because the ‘Pony car’ is now officially sold in Britain in right-hand drive format for the first time. This charismatic muscle car is available in Fastback (coupe, to most of us) or Convertible body styles, with a choice of two high performance engines: a turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost motor, or a thumping great 5.0-litre V8, both offered with a 10-speed automatic gearbox or a good old six-speed manual. Not only that, but it’s incredible value, being priced way below European cars with equivalent power and sports car goodness.

Body Style: Coupe or convertible Seats: 4  MRP from £36,035 - £46,665


Did you know? 
The 2.3-litre Mustang isn’t just modern downsizing – the oil crisis forced the then-new 1974 model to adopt four-cylinder power. 

2018 Ford Mustang
Verdict 8.0 / 10

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

The Ford Mustang is a heart-over-head car. You don't buy it because it's the most efficient, or the most precise-handling, or the classiest, or a sensible financial decision. You buy it because you love it, and it's very, very easy to love. It's head-turning, raucous, it looks spectacular and it's just masses of fun to drive - it's even got an edge of sophistication to the way it swings round corners. Just go for the V8, with a manual gearbox and you have got one of the most entertaining, laugh-out-loud cars going, and for a lot less than you'd pay for the same performance in rivals such as the BMW 4 Series and Audi S5. It's miles off being perfect, but if you're a Mustang kind of person, you really won't care.  

We Like

The way it looks

Great value for the performance

Stonking 5.0 V8 engine

We Don't Like

Interior not the finest

Rivals are more polished

Automatic gearbox is annoying

 

2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior 10/10

Looks are subjective, but only the hardest of hearts could dislike the look of the Ford Mustang. It embodies all the classic lines of the original without coming across as a slavish, unthinking 21st-century copy; aggressive without being blocky, sleek without being nondescript. It’s just awesome whichever angle you look at it, particularly in the perfectly proportioned Fastback (or coupe to most of us).

Since the 2018 facelift, the Mustang gains full LED lights, some aerodynamic tweaks and optional rear spoiler, although to our eyes the spoiler adds nothing but unnecessary fussiness to the Mustang’s excellent styling. Check out the full gallery, including pics of the Mustang convertible and coupe in various colours.

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort 6/10

Less successful is the Mustang’s interior, although it's far from bad. It features a retro-flavoured twin-cowl dashboard, with deeply recessed dials and full digital display in the instrument cluster. Contrast stitching, various cushy-feeling materials and aluminium highlights up the ante in terms of appearance, and you get a start-stop button that pulses red until you start the engine – at 30 beats per minute, or roughly the resting heartrate of a pony, apparently. How about that for a useless pub fact?

2018 Ford Mustang

A bank of rocker-like switches underneath the climate controls are fairly easy to understand and use while you’re driving, although the drive mode switch is ridiculously tricky to use since you can’t toggle up and down the many settings – you have to cycle through them and the system doesn’t respond very quickly.

The broad, supportive seats are electrically adjustable as standard, and allow for a great driving position, and while visibility to the rear is quite poor (particularly in the Convertible) it’s better than some rivals like the Audi TT. Refinement is also a way off the more expensive German rivals – there’s a fair bit of wind and tyre noise, and with the Convertible’s roof folded, you get buffeted quite heavily by wind coming in over the rear deck. 

2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang

The Mustang’s cabin doesn’t drip with that feeling of unimpeachable, expensive brilliance that you’d find in a German car's cockpit. It’s a long way off, in fact, with overly complicated steering wheel buttons and some fairly cheap plastics in key areas. But you’re unlikely to care given that this is still a comfortable and impressive place to sit, especially given how much style extravagance and performance you’re getting for your money. 

Practicality

It’s not hugely practical, because it’s a physically large car and yet back-seat space is cramped. Adults would not want to be sat in the rear chairs (there are only two) for long, if at all, headroom being at a real premium in the Fastback due to its sloping roof and legroom being in short supply in the Convertible. Boot space is 408 litres on the Fastback, decreasing to 332 litres for the Convertible as a result of having to stow the fabric hood, which you have to unlock manually via a chunky lever above the driver’s head, before it collapses automatically into the rear cavity. You’ll get a couple of chunky cabin bags, or a sizeable bag of golf clubs into either with relative ease. 

2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity 6/10
2018 Ford Mustang

All Mustangs come with Ford's SYNC 3 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, which is one of the less intuitive infotainment systems at this price point and class of car. Yes, the home screen shows straightforward shortcuts to the main functions, but it’s too long-winded and tricky to do simple things like inputting a postcode. Greasy fingerprints show up too easily on the screen, too. Still, once you’ve familiarised yourself with the sometimes slow-to-respond touchscreen’s quirks, you can get it to do what you want reasonably easily.

Bluetooth, DAB, voice control, a nine-speaker audio system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – which is handy, as navigation costs £795. Mind you, that's worth adding given that it also includes an upgrade to the Shaker Pro 12-speaker sound system.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling 8/10
2018 Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 – badged GT - has a belting engine, full of brawn, torquey from idle to redline, and possessed of a thunderous soundtrack. It really is the making of the Mustang. While the 2.3-litre engine is impressive enough, the synthesised noises of its four-cylinder churnings are nothing like as appealing as the 5.0-litre’s rumbling voice, and it’s difficult not to be constantly disappointed by the lack of a V8 soundtrack and gumption. 

Just avoid the automatic gearbox. Yes, it’s got a dizzying number of gears, but actually that just makes it feel confused in practice, as if it can never quite decide which of its too-numerous ratios to pick. And even in top gear, it’s still doing around 2000rpm on the motorway (whether you’re in the Evoboost or V8), which is the same as the six-speed manual. It’s easy enough to overlook its fumbling for ratios when you’re mooching about town and the lazy shifts aren't so noticeable, but go for a more enthusiastic approach and it always feels like you’re having to drive around the gearbox’s slow shifts despite the steering wheel paddles. Stick to the manual gearbox, with its hearty but positive shift, and you can’t go far wrong.  

2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang

With 444bhp and 390lb ft, performance is suitably brisk in the V8: 0-62mph takes just 4.6 seconds in a Fastback manual (4.3 with the automatic), with 155mph possible flat out. Don’t discount the turbocharged 2.3 EcoBoost, though. It has healthy numbers of 286bhp and 325lb ft - enough for the Fastback manual to do 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds (5.5sec for the auto) and run on to 145mph, and it certainly feels potent enough on the road. Given that roughly £40,000 would get you in a turbocharged, four-cylinder, circa-240bhp Audi, BMW or Mercedes coupé, that puts the Mustang’s power-per-pound appeal into perspective.

The handling is good, too. We only drove cars with the optional MagneRide system, which is posh suspension that allows for greater breadth of damper adjustment than most adaptive setups. More comfort and more sportiness, is the idea. And it does work to an extent. It soaks up odd cambers and long-wave bumps very well while keeping the chunky Ford's weight in check, but we found that the Mustang still thumped heavily over broken town roads. Given that the MagneRide suspension is a pricey £1600, we’d save the cash. Experience in the pre-facelift Mustang showed that this car has a good balance of comfort and handling fizz as it is. There’s a real pointiness and bite in corners that you wouldn’t expect from a big, bruising muscle car like this.

2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang

The convertible definitely has a bit of body flex and wobble going on that erodes that cornering keenness but it’s still entertaining and lovable through and through.

Sure, the slow steering and general weight and heft of the portly Mustang means that it's a way off a BMW 4 Series for incisive precision, but it’s good enough to feel nimble on a British country road – just great fun by any measure. It’s kind of better for being a bit rough around the edges compared to the far more polished and yet less lovable German alternatives.

There are various driving modes that you can toggle through, including ever-more ferocious and bonkers settings that allow you to do huge burnouts and big drifts on track, or that just bring heavier throttle and steering for sporty road stuff, and lighter again for easy about town showing off. You can also vary most of the control weights (and auto gearbox and adaptive dampers if you've specced them) independently and save it to your personal favourite setup, but we reckon you’re best of sticking it in Sport and enjoying it. Especially if you’ve got the V8, when it sounds off-the-charts spectacular. You just can’t be downhearted with that kind of hilarious, raucous, burbling cacophony in your wake. 

Recommended engine: 5.0 V8 GT Fastback

0-62 MPH

4.6 seconds

Fuel economy

22.8mpg

Emissions

277g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features 7/10
2018 Ford Mustang

The Mustang comes with a full suite of safety kit including lane assist, adaptive cruise control, urban AEB with pedestrian detection and a full set of airbags including driver’s knee airbag. This goes a long way to remedying the rather poor Euro NCAP results that this generation of Mustang got in its pre-facelift guise at launch. 

For all that, child occupant safety won’t have been affected by the updates, and so will remain below par.

Rear parking sensors are optional, which is a shame, but with a reversing camera, dusk-sensing LED lights, auto wipers, seeing where you’re going and avoiding car park prangs isn’t too difficult. You also get Ford MyKey as standard, so you can set maximum speed limits and even audio volume, amongst other bits, if you want lend your car to a family member and know that they’re restricted. Alternatively, just don’t lend it to anybody. That’s what we’d do.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Spec & Trim Levels 9/10
2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang

Colours

There are 11 shades, half of which are made up by bright, bold colours. The only standard colour is red, but honestly if you’re going to go for the Mustang you should get one of the ‘look at me’ hues, such as Orange Fury, Triple Yellow (both expensive at £795) or Lightning Blue (£595). They all look absolutely brilliant, or Magnetic Grey has something of a menacing, hyper-masculine appeal to it, too. You can add stripes, of course. And why the hell wouldn’t you? 

2018 Ford Mustang

Trim Levels

There aren’t any. Instead, the specification is dependent on which engine you’ve selected, and even the cheaper Ecoboost model is very generously equipped. It gets leather upholstery, electrically adjustable seats, the colour touchscreen, a heated steering wheel, reversing camera, LED lights, adaptive cruise control, climate control, mood lighting for the cabin, the full 12-inch digital driver’s readout and 19-inch black alloys.

2018 Ford Mustang
2018 Ford Mustang

The V8 GT adds upgraded brakes, quad exhausts and switchable exhaust baffles, plus a few other styling tweaks. Really, the only options you really want are the nav and audio upgrade for £795, and some spectacular paint and stripes combination. And you’ve got the ultimate muscle car right there. 

 

Size and Dimensions

You’ll need a long and wide garage, as the lengthy Mustang is no compact coupé. Fold the mirrors in (they do so electronically as standard) and it measures 1,956mm at its broadest.

Length

4,789mm

Width

2,097mm (including door mirrors)

Height

1,382mm (Convertible is 1,396mm)

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy 5/10
2018 Ford Mustang

Ford has gone to great lengths to make the Mustang seem efficient – not least by offering it with too many ratios in the automatic gearbox, and a four-cylinder turbocharged engine dubbed, somewhat misleadingly, EcoBoost. This is misleading because it’s not actually that efficient. The greenest Mustang – the manual EcoBoost – does just over 31mpg and scrapes under 200g/km, and the auto manages just over 30mpg and 200g/km. The V8 offers somewhere close to 23mpg combined regardless of gearbox. And frankly, the reality is that you’ll be doing very well to get anywhere near 30mpg in the EcoBoost, and circa 25mpg is more likely. Given that the V8 will also do low 20s on an easy run, the difference in what you're spending at the pump isn't going to be as great as you might imagine. 

The reality is that a BMW M2 or 440i will do usefully better economy in the real world - we've seen them edge towards 35mpg on a motorway run - so if it is a priority then have a close look at those instead. Better news is that you’re considering a Mustang, and so you probably don’t care. Which is good, because it’s going to be expensive to fuel, and tyres and insurance are going to be eye-wateringly pricey, too. So do yourself – and us - a favour and buy the V8, because it’s just so much better than the EcoBoost and yet it’s actually not drastically less efficient in real world use.  

Reliability and servicing

Ford servicing costs aren’t too pricey, although the 5.0-litre car has slightly higher maintenance fees than the 2.3. Ford offers a range of service and maintenance plans, which require a fixed one-off payment that then covers all servicing for three years, at a price less than the individual services would cost.

Minor service

12 months or 10,000 miles

Major service

24 months or 20,000 miles

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing 9/10

To get anything like the same performance as the V8 Mustang from the three main German brands, you’d need the Audi S5, the BMW 440i Coupe or the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe, all of which are comfortably in the ballpark of £45,000 or more. Ford’s pricing of the Mustang has crept up but it’s still very aggressive – taking equipment into account you’re easily saving £10,000 over those German alternatives. Fords finance schemes are also very competitive. Perhaps the only criticism we can level at the strategy is that there isn’t enough of a gap in value between the 2.3 and the 5.0, making the V8 even more of a no-brainer than it was in the first place.  

2018 Ford Mustang

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

Trend Setter

Any Convertible Mustang in a bright colour with the 2.3-litre engine, to show you’re eco-conscious, will be the pick.

Car Enthusiast

The 5.0 GT Fastback with a manual gearbox is going to provide the fastest and most thrilling drive of the line-up.

Tech Junky

You need the 5.0-litre again, as it has extra kit over the 2.3, as well as the automatic and the Custom Pack.

Rivals

Audi TT

The Audi A5 is another option, but the TT is aimed at similarly style-conscious buyers as the Mustang. Not as charismatic as the Ford, though.

BMW 4 Series

Not as exciting to look at as the Mustang, but it has a far better interior and sharper chassis. However, it’s considerably more expensive.

Lexus RC

As an example of the Mustang V8’s value, the Lexus RC F has a roughly comparable motor… and it costs £60,000.

Mercedes C-Class Coupe

Urbane and has a lovely cabin, but like its fellow Germans the Benz is floored by the Ford’s sheer power-to-pounds ratio.

Toyota GT86

Great fun to drive and cheaper than the Mustang – but it needs to be, as it’s smaller, far less powerful and has a mediocre cabin.

 

2018 Ford Mustang