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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Ford Mustang

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Expert's Rating

4.9Excellent

MPG 17 City / 27 Highway
Pros
  • Affordable sports car for everyone
  • Extremely fun to drive
  • High quality interior materials
  • Distinctive styling
Cons
  • Limited head room in rear seats
  • Cargo space small even for coupe
The muscle car that everyone can afford, now better than ever.

Introduction

The Ford Mustang has always been a leader in the sports car segment, especially for those buyers who want a great deal. It was the first car in the mid-1960s that offered a powerful V-8 engine that handled well, and was affordable to the masses. Starting 2005, the latest generation shares more than just these attributes with its predecessors.

Like the Volkswagen Beetle, and now the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford Mustang has retro styling, as well as stunning horsepower numbers not seen since the 1960s. One other holdover that separates the Ford Mustang from many other sports cars is the fact that it has a live rear axle. This is an old suspension technology, and it keeps die hard Mustang fans happy.

But Ford has also tried to appeal to the larger market by tweaking the suspension, and reviewers note that even the base model is confident over rough roads and going into turns. Since it is a sports car, while it remains composed, it can also be a bit rough on passengers. In addition, partly to reduce costs, the Ford Mustang will not win any design competitions for its interior. Ford has decided to focus on trunk space rather than interior space, with the trunk near best in class while the rear seats may squash adults.

One other problem that the Mustang has is with build quality and safety features. The lack of side curtain airbags garners it four stars out of five in government crash tests, while the convertible is actually better in both that and IIHS tests because of added rigidity. In addition, reliability scores are a bit lackluster. Comparing it to the Camaro, its most direct challenger, it has more problems staying on the road and out of a mechanic’s shop. On the other hand, the Chevy has worse fuel economy and costs more in most trims. The Dodge Challenger is another option, but it’s also more expensive, although it offers more interior space. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is more expensive still, at close to $30,000, but it has no automatic even though its engine is more powerful by a sizable margin. The strongest points in the Mustang's favor are its great fuel economy with both V6 and V8 engines compared to the competition, as well as strong power numbers. So, drivers looking at affordable muscle cars have a number of options, but Ford also offers five different trim lines to consider if you pick the Mustang.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Ford Mustang
Starting price
$14,998

2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Recommended for: More power and brakes, hold the options

The Ford Mustang Boss 302 isn’t all bark and no bite, but prospective buyers should know that the power is only bumped 24 horsepower from the GT. On the other hand, the adjustable suspension, both shocks and struts, will help with track days on the weekend, as will the assymetrical springs front and back. Keeping the car from going off the road are massive Brembo brakes. On the inside, racing bucket seats are installed, with manual adjustment to save weight. Since its made for driving, the steering wheel still matches that of the GT Premium, but the Boss 302’s is wrapped in suede. It has a harsher ride due to the modifications, but is not unbearable for short trips.

2013 Ford Mustang
Starting price
$14,998

2013 Ford Mustang GT

Recommended for: Drivers who want a V8 without the frills for just a few more pennies

Which leads many to the Ford Mustang GT. It adds nearly 50 percent more horsepower, up to 420 from the V6. It also has wheel-mounted cruise control and fog lamps so that you can keep your eyes on the road and see what’s out there. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped so it’s easier to hold onto as well. Of note to drivers is the limited-slip rear differential and other features that will enable it to keep the power down on the road, and not grinding up the drive train. To that end, it also has hood vents to help keep the ponies from getting into a lather.

2013 Ford Mustang
Starting price
$14,998

2013 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Recommended for: Goes like the Dickens for drivers with Great Expectations

The GT Premium upgrades the convertible cover to cloth from the vinyl on the GT. As in the V6 Premium, the majority of additional features focus on the inside. They include the Ford SYNC infotainment system mated to an eight-speaker system with two sub-woofers. In addition, drivers can take advantage of a powered six-direction seat, as well as audio controls on the steering wheel. For driving and parking ease, the Ford Mustang GT Premium also comes with a universal garage door opener, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror for when drivers behind the Mustang don’t turn off their high beams.

2013 Ford Mustang
Starting price
$14,998

2013 Ford Mustang V6

Recommended for: Buyers who want to get a foot in the pony car door, surprises with power

The idea of a Ford Mustang with a V6 has always irked some people. It’s getting harder and harder to do, though. The V6 of today makes 305 horsepower, more than the GT with the V8 last generation, and still gets better fuel economy than some compacts. It’s been restyled, and even the automatic has a manual option. Expect alloy wheels and cloth seats to keep drivers in place during hard cornering. A four-speaker system has the now mandatory auxiliary input. What does help is the xenon headlights for late-night driving, and blind-spot mirrors given the somewhat poor visibility. One other option to improve visibility is to get the convertible, of course.

2013 Ford Mustang
Starting price
$14,998

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Premium

Recommended for: Great fuel economy, distinctive look, option-laden

Like the standard V6, the Ford Mustang V6 Premium has the now-stout V6 engine. Technology upgrades include twice the speakers, and connection for iPods and USB devices, as Ford Sync. Seating is now leather, and the driver can flip a switch to adjust his seat. Other customizable bits like engine data and light colors are also available. Keep in mind that it does have great fuel economy, but for some buyers the V8 may be the only option.

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