The sporty coupe was an instant hit when it debuted a half-century ago in mid-1964. The Mustang has been in production ever since, enjoying a run nearly twice as long as Ford’s Model T, Model A and hot-rod archetype, the 1932 Deuce combined. Mustangs are so popular, do-it-yourselfers can virtually obtain every single component and fastener to build a Mustang from scratch from Ford or aftermarket sources.
Decals, badges and stripes are a lazy way to celebrate a milestone. Happily, for its next-generation 2015 Mustang, Ford has delivered improvements worthy of an icon.
Not only is its styling freshened, the venerable 2+2 is even more fun to drive, thanks to improved manners, stiffer chassis, better fuel economy and the choice of three engines, all of which bring at least 300 horsepower to the party.
The 2015 Mustang’s interior, meanwhile, boasts better quality materials, more openness and added bling, thanks to bright aluminum toggle switches and knobs. The Mustang also embraces 21st century technology with push-button ignition standard across the board.
The best part about this ambitious auto is that you can rock some great styling without breaking the bank. For instance, the entry-level Mustang, featuring a 300-hp, 3.7-liter V6 and six-speed manual gearbox, startsat $24,425–and that includes destination.
There’s a promising new player in the Mustang lineup, though. For 2015, Mustang fans can opt for a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with either manual or automatic. Rated at 310 horsepower, the four-cylinder-equipped Mustang starts at $25,995. With EPA fuel economy ratings of 21/32 mpg (automatic) or 22/31 (manual), the EcoBoost Mustang has the longest legs of the trio: about 450 miles between fill-ups.
Muscle-car freaks need not despair. The 435-hp GT, with its 5.0-liter V8 that Ford says is good for 155 mph, remains the alpha Mustang. City/highway EPA ratings are 14/25 mpg for the automatic and 22/31 for the manual transmission. GTs start at $32,924.
Ford offers performance packages (starting at about $2,000) for enthusiasts and weekend track warriors who opt for the EcoBoost fastback, convertible or GT fastback.
The best performance upgrade, though, is baked in and doesn’t cost a penny extra. The 2015 Mustang has smoother ride, thanks to new front and rear suspension. With a lot of the credit going to the very first across-the-board independent rear suspension to grace a Mustang, there’s scant wallow or squat. The car’s even quieter.
At least two generations of Americans have cherished their own personal Mustang stories. More than just a car, the Mustang has often been a companion, a touchstone to happier, special moments. With this new, sixth generation Mustang poised to be available from Ford dealers for the first time in Asia and Europe, the Mustang could turn out to be one of America’s most effective ambassadors.