The Ford Mustang was the bestselling performance car in the world in 2016. While this feat may be largely the result of Ford's ambitious global marketing plan – previous Mustangs rarely made it far beyond North America – it's also a solid testament to the car's broadly appealing blend of everyday usability, refinement, and sheer driving fun.

Pricing and Equipment

True to tradition, the 2017 Mustang is offered in a variety of configurations. A buyer has the choice of fastback or convertible body styles, standard or Premium trim levels, and three different powerplants: a V6 in the base model, a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four, and a 5.0-liter V8 in the GT. (For the terminally speed-obsessed, the hardcore Shelby GT350 and GT350R models are covered in a separate article.)

Given the number of starting points, it's understandable that the Mustang's pricing structure is unusually broad: asking prices run from an MSRP of $26,085 for a V6 hardtop without options (but including the $900 delivery fee) to almost twice as much - just over $52,000 - for a fully-loaded GT convertible. The EcoBoost may be the lineup's quiet bargain, offering a compelling mix of power and economy and personalization for a minor premium over the V6.

Standard equipment includes necessities such as air conditioning and Ford's Sync infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and niceties like a rearview camera. The Premium trim level is available on the EcoBoost and GT coupes and included with EcoBoost and GT convertibles – the upgrade adds $5,795 to the MSRP of an EcoBoost Mustang and an even $4,000 to a GT and provides:

  • Heated and cooled leather-upholstered front seats with position memory
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • An upgraded sound system with 9 speakers, a SiriusXM receiver, and enhanced Sync capabilities
  • A lengthy list of minor interior and exterior trim upgrades

An automatic transmission is available across the lineup and adds $1,195. Additional equipment packages that feature improved interior materials and sound systems are available for the EcoBoost and GT. For buyers who are more concerned with corners than comfort, a Performance Package is also available for the EcoBoost and the GT; it includes a batch of upgraded suspension and driveline components and larger wheels. The $1,595 Recaro seats are also a worthwhile choice for corner carving.

Performance Pros

Ford Mustang
  • The V6 and turbocharged Mustangs are quick and fun; the GT is a rival to much more expensive performance cars from luxury nameplates.
  • Handling is a large step up from previous Mustangs. The chassis still offers plenty of raw grip but the independent rear suspension brings major improvements in responsiveness, balance, and poise (especially with mid-corner bumps).
  • The Mustang's day-to-day usability is every bit as appealing (if not as visceral) as its ability to do burnouts or turn a strong autocross time.

Performance Cons

  • There's no getting around the sense that the Mustang is a fairly large and heavy car (although it's quite svelte relative to its closest rivals, the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger). It's not clumsy or blunt, but the feel is more deliberate precision than acrobatic nimbleness.
  • The EcoBoost motor makes impressive power for its size, but throttle response isn't always completely tuned in to driver commands.

Interior Pros

  • Compared to some of its cramped rivals the Mustang offers a spacious front cabin with plenty of convenient storage nooks.
  • The standard front seats are very good; the optional racy-looking Recaros are excellent, providing plenty of support without becoming painful on long drives.
  • The trunk may not be excessively large, but its 13 cubic feet are more than enough for everyday errands and road trips for two.

Interior Cons

Ford Mustang
  • The rear seats are not small, but they're better sized for pre-teens than average adults.
  • Interior styling is on the busy side, although controls are generally well-placed.
  • Ford went a bit heavy with sound-deadening strategies. While road noise is well-controlled, the character-enhancing sounds from the engine bay are muffled in the GT and overprocessed in the EcoBoost.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The Mustang is one of a select group of modern cars that both celebrate a long and storied history – the name has been in continuous use for over fifty years, a period regularly dotted with classic machines – and thoroughly surpass those prior highlights. The vintage models have their charm, but it's impossible to deny that the current Mustang is the all-around best car to ever wear the wild horse. No, they don't build them like they used to – they're better.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The Mustang's MSRP has climbed along with its world-beater aspirations. The GT in particular has moved past its roots as an affordable speed machine into more upscale territory. Even a modestly equipped GT will crest $40,000.

The Bottom Line

The modern Mustang fully lives up to its traditional identity as speedy everyday wheels while moving the concept forward into contemporary relevance. That said, potential customers should keep in mind that Ford is updating its popular pony car for 2018, bringing additional enhancements. While the driving experience won't likely change, the daily experience should improve.