- Strong V6 and V8 engines
- Capable handling
- Ample performance enhancements and customization possibilities
- Some hard plastic interior bits
- No telescoping steering wheel
Sales often dip in the model year preceding a vehicle's major overhaul as everyone waits for something newer and better. However, these swansong models are also often the best equipped and fully sorted. Such is the case of the 2014 Ford Mustang. A redesigned Mustang is expected next year, but this year's car is still highly desirable.
Even base model Mustangs provide plenty of muscle-car thrills. Here you'll find a 3.7-liter V6 engine that churns out an impressive 305 horsepower and earns a laudable 31 mpg on the EPA highway cycle. The Mustang GT brings even more tire-smoking power into the mix with its 420-hp 5.0-liter V8. Plus, for just about any Mustang model, Ford offers an impressive array of options, including suspension and brake upgrades, available Recaro sport seats and the useful Sync voice-activation system.
However, the Mustang isn't flawless. The interior still has its share of cheap plastic trim, while the lack of a telescoping steering wheel results in a compromised driving position for some people. Nor is the Mustang your only choice, of course. The Chevrolet Camaro keeps getting better and has a slight performance edge over the Mustang. Then there's the Dodge Challenger, which is roomier and potentially more appealing if a retro muscle car experience is what you're after. The more nimble Hyundai Genesis Coupe is also worth a look. But among this talented group, the 2014 Ford Mustang is still our favorite, as it offers tons of entertainment value for a reasonable price.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2014
The 2014 Ford Mustang carries over essentially unchanged. Sadly, Ford made good on its promise to retire the Boss 302 this year.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2014 Ford Mustang is available as a coupe or convertible, offered in four trim levels: V6, V6 Premium, GT and GT Premium. The Shelby GT500 is reviewed separately and the Boss 302 is no longer available.
Base V6 models start with 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a limited-slip rear differential, keyless entry, integrated blind-spot mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-only leather-wrapped steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack.
Stepping up to the V6 Premium adds upgraded 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, Bluetooth, Ford's Sync voice activation system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, color-adjustable gauges and ambient lighting, a color information display between the gauges, upgraded interior trim and a premium eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The V8-powered GT comes with the base V6's features plus 18-inch alloys, automatic headlights, a rear spoiler and foglamps. The GT Premium is essentially a GT with different 18-inch wheels and the V6 Premium's roster of features.
Options on the Mustang V6 coupe include a new exterior appearance package that adds black-painted mirror caps and deck lid spoiler, and body color-painted quarter-window louvers. Also available for coupes is a V6 Performance package that includes 19-inch wheels with summer tires, numerous suspension and brake upgrades, a recalibrated stability control system and a 3.31 rear axle ratio. The V6 Premium can also be had with the Pony package and the Mustang Club of America Special Edition packages. Both consist of 18-inch wheels, foglamps, auto headlamps and various unique exterior styling enhancements.
The V8-powered Mustang GT can be outfitted with upgraded Brembo brakes and two performance axles (3.55:1 or 3.73:1) for quicker acceleration. A GT Track package is also available for coupes with manual transmissions and bundles the Brembo brakes with a Torsen limited-slip differential, the 3.73:1 gearing and extra radiator and engine oil cooling. The GT Premium may be ordered with all of the options of the V6 Premium and GT packages, plus a selection from an array of 18- and 19-inch wheels, the California Special package (more exterior styling variations) and a more powerful Shaker Pro sound system.
Other optional packages include the Comfort Group package (heated mirrors, a power passenger seat and heated front seats); a Tech package for base V6 and V8 models (foglamps, Sync, a power driver seat and an auto-dimming mirror); and the Electronics package for V6 Premium and above (dual-zone automatic climate control, HD radio and a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic and other information). Also available on specific models are remote start (requires automatic transmission), rear parking sensors, a glass roof, faux side scoops, a tonneau cover for convertible models and sporty Recaro front seats.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
The 2014 Ford Mustang's interior can be appointed with all of the modern conveniences we've come to expect, while also paying homage to its rich history. Sync's voice activation features greatly simplify operation of audio, phone and navigation systems. The buttons themselves don't have a particularly solid feel, though, and a large percentage of the door panels and center console is taken up by hard plastic.
One feature the Mustang lacks is a telescoping steering wheel, though thankfully most drivers should be able to find a comfortable seating position. Both coupe and convertible body styles can accommodate four adults, but rear passengers will be cramped, so if you regularly carry around more than two people, the other pony cars are a better bet. The coupe's trunk can hold a decent 12.3 cubic feet, while the convertible's space drops to 9.7 cubes. Standard split-folding rear seats on the coupe expand cargo capacity.
Standard safety features for all 2014 Ford Mustangs include antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags (chest and head protection), traction control and stability control. A rearview camera is available on the coupe but requires the rear spoiler. Also standard is hill-start assist for models with the manual transmission and Ford's MyKey system, which allows owners to limit speed and audio volume levels for young drivers.
In government crash tests, the Mustang earned an overall safety rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for total front-impact protection and four stars for total side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Mustang coupe earned a top score of "Good" for frontal-offset collision protection and a second-best "Acceptable" for side-impact protection.
In Edmunds brake testing, the V6 and V8 Mustangs fitted with optional summer tires stopped from 60 mph in only 112 and 113 feet, respectively. These distances are consistent with other sport coupes with similar tires. However, a Mustang V6 with all-season tires delivered a below-average result of 131 feet.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
With the 3.7-liter V6, the 2014 Ford Mustang produces 305 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. The Mustang GT steps up to a 5.0-liter V8 good for 420 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Both have a standard six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automatic with manual shift control is optional.
Fuel economy for the Mustang V6 coupe is an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined (19 mpg city/31 mpg highway) with the automatic transmission, while the manual is estimated at 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city/29 mpg highway). The GT has a rating of 20 mpg combined (18 mpg city/25 mpg highway) with the automatic and 19 mpg combined (15 mpg city/26 mpg highway) with the manual. Opting for more aggressive rear differential gear ratios will reduce fuel economy.
In Edmunds testing, a V6 Mustang loaded with the Performance package and 3.31 rear axle gear ratio accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. A regular V6 with the automatic did it in 6.8 seconds, which is still pretty quick. We've also tested the V8 with the manual, and it recorded an impressive sprint to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
Regardless of which 2014 Ford Mustang you choose, you're in for a wild ride. The base V6 makes more than enough power for the average driver and plenty of oomph to satisfy a majority of driving enthusiasts as well. The V8 engine kicks performance up a few notches, with gobs of torque and a glorious exhaust note. We recommend opting for the manual transmission, as it's easy to drive and gets the most out of whatever engine it's attached to. The automatic isn't a bad choice, but its shifter-mounted toggle control for manual gearchanges is out of place in a sport coupe considering paddle shifters are now the norm.
The V6 Performance and GT Track packages add sharpness to the handling with only a small degradation in ride comfort. It's also worth noting that the Mustang's selectable-effort power steering accommodates a driver's preference for feel and weight through the wheel.
Within the pony car triumvirate of the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang, the Ford feels the tidiest and lightest on its feet. On a curvy road, the Mustang responds eagerly to steering inputs and feels controlled and manageable. Also contributing to the latter are the Mustang's superior sight lines around the A-pillars, which provide more confidence when running through a curvy road. Due to the Mustang's suspension design with its heavy, solid rear axle, the back of the car can get a bit lively when you encounter bumps in the middle of a corner taken at higher speeds.
Even without any dramatic changes for this year, the 2014 Ford Mustang continues to offer style, thrills and value. It's our top pick among muscle cars.