- Multiple appealing engine options include a turbocharged four-cylinder, a V6 and a roaring V8
- Lots of interior upgrades give it a classy/high-tech vibe
- Sharp and grippy handling around turns
- The backseat is small and too cramped for adults
- The optional Performance pack makes for a bouncy ride over uneven surfaces
Available in a wide variety of models and backed by 52 years of heritage, it's easy to understand the 2017 Ford Mustang's appeal. But make no mistake in thinking this is a bare-bones muscle car of yore. The Mustang has evolved quite a bit over the years, and this newest generation, which debuted two years ago, can give even European luxury cars a run for their money.
Of course, a key component of the Mustang's appeal is what you get under the hood. We think the Mustang GT's V8 is the way to go given its impressive smoothness and 435 ponies. But even if you stick with the more affordable V6 or the turbocharged four-cylinder, the Mustang delivers respectable power and fuel economy. Inside, the cabin is nicely trimmed, and you can get the Mustang with Ford's latest Sync 3 touchscreen interface (introduced last year), which is a big improvement over the prior MyFord Touch system.
There are, of course, several competitors that give the Mustang a run for its money. The Chevrolet Camaro has been recently redesigned, gaining more powerful engines, refreshed styling, a new interior design and lots of its own technological refinement. While choosing between the two cars may come down to some brand loyalty, we definitely recommend test-driving both cars before making a purchase decision. It's also worth considering the Dodge Challenger, which is less adept around tight turns than either the Camaro or Mustang but has a better ride on the highway and more space for passengers and luggage. If you're thinking outside the muscle car box, you may also consider a few European two-doors like the Audi TT or BMW 2 Series.
It says a lot that you might even consider cross-shopping a Mustang with a BMW. But in the last few years, the bar has been raised for muscle cars and coupes alike, and the Mustang definitely clears that bar with ease. The 2017 Ford Mustang's technological advancements, excellent engines and fun factor all keep it at the front of the coupe/convertible class. Whether you're new to Mustangs and muscle cars altogether or you're a seasoned veteran, this pony car is worth a look.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017
The 2017 Ford Mustang carries over from the previous year essentially unchanged.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2017 Ford Mustang is available as a coupe or a soft-top convertible. There are five trim levels: V6, EcoBoost, EcoBoost Premium, GT and GT Premium.
The Mustang V6 comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, LED taillights, a limited-slip rear differential, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, manual front seats with driver-side height adjustment, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, the Sync voice control system, Bluetooth, a 4.2-inch central display screen, MyKey parental controls (including a speed limiter, a volume limiter and geo-fencing), Track Apps performance telemetry and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and dual USB ports.
Options include 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, LED foglights and a six-way power driver seat.
The EcoBoost gets those options as standard (albeit with its own wheel design) and adds a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-way power passenger seat, aluminum dashboard trim and active noise cancellation.
Options include cloth Recaro sport seats and an EcoBoost Performance package, which features 19-inch wheels with summer tires, spoiler delete, shorter gearing for more responsive acceleration, a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, a larger radiator, sport-tuned steering and stability control settings, different aluminum dash trim and additional gauges.
To the EcoBoost's standard equipment, the EcoBoost Premium adds heated mirrors (with horse lasers!), a rear diffuser, ambient interior lighting, selectable drive modes, aluminum and chrome interior accents, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery (front seats only), a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio and the Sync 3
infotainment system (including an 8-inch touchscreen and enhanced voice controls).
The EcoBoost Premium mostly shares the regular EcoBoost's options, substituting leather Recaro sport seats, and it also offers a Premier Trim with Color Accent package (charcoal black interior, color-accented leather upholstery, unique door trim), a Pony package (19-inch wheels, unique front fascia, side stripe, pony-logo floor mats), a navigation system, adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver memory settings (not available with the Recaro seats), HD radio and a 12-speaker Shaker audio system.
The Mustang GT drops back to the regular EcoBoost's equipment level, but it adds a V8 engine, upgraded brakes, electronic line-lock ("to enable warming of the rear tires," says Ford) and launch control (manual transmission only).
Options for the GT are similar to those for the regular EcoBoost, though the GT Performance package is slightly different, featuring Brembo front brakes and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Also offered is a Black Accent package (19-inch black alloy wheels, black-out badges, black rear spoiler).
The GT Premium comes with essentially the same standard features as the EcoBoost Premium and offers largely the same options, but instead of the Pony package, it offers the California Special package (19-inch black alloy wheels, a more prominent rear spoiler and special exterior and interior trim details).
Rear parking sensors are optional on all Mustangs, while the EcoBoost and GT coupes are eligible for a black-painted roof. The EcoBoost Premium and GT Premium also offer 20-inch wheels.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
Inside, the Mustang pays homage to its forbears with retro touches like a dual-cowl dashboard, but it also offers nearly all the modern tech you could ask for. Even the base Mustang comes standard with unexpected features like keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera (which helps mitigate the poor rear visibility) and Track Apps (for measuring lap times and such). Also standard is the Sync voice command system, which greatly simplifies the operation of audio and phone functions.
We're not overly fond of the cheap look and feel of the base 4.2-inch central display and surrounding field of buttons, though, so we recommend upgrading to the optional Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system (with the 8-inch screen) if possible. Sync 3 is a welcome replacement to the MyFord Touch predecessor, as it provides a drastically simplified interface with smartphone-style pinching and swiping gestures.
Regardless of trim level, the Mustang's interior materials are high-quality. Drivers of almost all sizes will easily find a suitable driving position, thanks in part to a standard telescoping steering wheel. There are a wide selection of seating options thanks to the abundant packaging that can be selected with the Mustang, and seat fitment will depend on your size and options selections. The standard seats are comfortable and provide plenty of bolstering, but the optional Recaro sport seats increase lateral support for aggressive driving. The Recaros can be a bit confining depending on your size, though, and they can't be had with power adjustment, heating or cooling.
Technically, both the coupe and convertible body styles have four seats, but you'll have a hard time fitting adults (or even big teenagers) in the rear seats. If you're looking for a two-door coupe in this class with more rear seat room, take a closer look at the Dodge Challenger. The Mustang coupe's trunk provides 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space -- fairly generous for a sport coupe -- while the convertible offers 11.4 cubes. Standard folding rear seatbacks on the coupe expand cargo capacity.
Standard safety features for the 2017 Ford Mustang include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags (coupe only) and driver and front passenger knee airbags. Also standard are Ford's MyKey parental controls and (for manual-transmission models) hill-start assist.
Optional on EcoBoost Premium and GT Premium are adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert.
In Edmunds brake testing, both a Mustang EcoBoost and a Mustang GT (both equipped with the optional Performance package) stopped from 60 mph in 108 feet. That's better than average for this segment. Depending on equipment, stopping distances for the Mustang can vary. A GT without the optional Performance package, but with standard all-season tires, came to a stop in 118 feet from 60 mph, while an EcoBoost convertible with summer performance tires did it in an impressively short 104 feet.
In government crash tests, the Mustang coupe earned a five-star rating (out of a possible five) for overall crash protection, with five stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Mustang coupe its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap front-impact crash test and a second-best "Acceptable" rating for the small-overlap front-impact test. In the remaining, side-impact, roof strength and seat and head restraint design tests, the Mustang earned a "Good" rating.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The rear-wheel-drive Mustang is offered with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Three engines are available.
A 3.7-liter V6 engine with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque is standard on the base Mustang. Official EPA estimates weren't available as of this writing, but last year's Mustang V6 earned 21 mpg combined (17 city/28 highway) with the manual and 22 mpg combined (19/28) with the automatic.
The EcoBoost and EcoBoost Premium trims step up to a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine generating 310 hp and 320 lb-ft. Fuel economy (2016 numbers) is estimated at 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) with the manual coupe, 25 mpg combined (21/32) with the automatic coupe and 24 mpg combined (20/29) with the automatic convertible.
Mustang GTs pack a 5.0-liter V8 that cranks out 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy estimates from last year stand at 19 mpg combined (15 city/25 highway) with the manual coupe, 19 mpg combined (16/25) with the automatic coupe and 18 mpg combined (15/24) with the automatic convertible.
In Edmunds testing, a Mustang EcoBoost with the automatic transmission accelerated from zero to 60 in a respectable 5.9 seconds. A Mustang EcoBoost with the manual transmission also took
5.9 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph. We tested two Mustang GTs, one with a manual and the other with an automatic. Both were able to run the sprint to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, a competitive time among similarly powered rivals.
Whether you spend your time behind the wheel on the open highway or in dense city traffic, the 2017 Ford Mustang is easy to drive and generally pain-free. It's quiet and composed on the highway, even if the ride can get annoyingly bouncy on irregular pavement, but it's generally smooth. One option that can make things a bit bumpy is the Performance package (EcoBoost and GT models only), which includes a stiffened suspension that's noticeably less supple. If you're looking for a track-and-canyon-capable Mustang, that's probably the suspension you want, but there's a trade-off for daily driving comfort.
Even though it's considered the base engine, the V6 is actually a pretty strong engine choice. It has respectable horsepower and fuel economy for the class but upgrading to the turbo-4 or the V8 is definitely worth the cost. The EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder is chiefly distinguished by its superior EPA fuel economy, but it isn't very refined. It lacks the smooth and consistent power delivery of its German counterparts, but it's a serviceable engine that incidentally improves handling due to its lighter weight.
As for the GT's V8, it does add some pounds in the nose and you take an MPG hit, but that's where its drawbacks end. This 5.0-liter V8 puts down serious power and reaches redline effortlessly with nary a vibration. The GT's exhaust note isn't as evocative or soul-stirring (see: loud) as some other V8s in the class, but that's easily solved with a trip to the Ford Performance parts store or your local aftermarket source.
If you've ever had a desire for a sporty American coupe (or convertible), now is an excellent time to check out the 2017 Ford Mustang. With just one test-drive, you'll see that the Mustang is civilized and packed with modern tech, but it still holds on to all the trademark swagger and performance that has defined it for more than five decades.