2013 Ford Mustang

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$4,565–$33,161 Inventory Prices

Key Specs

of the 2013 Ford Mustang base trim shown

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Acceleration, especially Shelby GT500
  • Handling
  • Manual-transmission shifter
  • V-6 gas mileage
  • Sight lines
  • Comfortable Recaro seats

The Bad

  • Inconsistent cabin quality
  • No side curtain airbags
  • No telescoping steering wheel
  • Not enough variability in suspension, steering modes (Shelby GT500)
  • Needs wider rear tires (Shelby GT500)
2013 Ford Mustang exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2013 Ford Mustang

  • Updated taillights and nose, xenon headlights now standard
  • Automatic transmission adds manual-shift capability
  • GT makes 420 hp, up from 412 last year
  • 305-hp V-6, 444-hp Boss 302, 662-hp Shelby GT500 also available
  • Coupe or convertible (coupe only for Boss 302)

2013 Ford Mustang Road Test

https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/64x64/90/img1115632532-1502480398190.jpg
Mike Hanley

When is enough enough? For Ford's SVT performance-vehicle team, the 2013 Shelby GT500 provides the answer, and it's a resounding "never." There's no other conclusion after driving this muscle-car creation. It gained 112 horsepower for 2013, making for an incredible 662 hp total from its supercharged V-8.

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is an unruly beast, an automotive hooligan — and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Shelby GT500 coupe starts at $54,995 including a $795 destination charge, and the convertible lists for $5,000 more. A number of performance-oriented options raised the price of our test coupe to $63,080. The Shelby GT500's base price is a few hundred dollars below that of its prime competitor, the 580-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. To see these 2013 cars' specs compared side by side, along with the 2012 Shelby GT500, click here.

Going & Stopping
Driving the Shelby GT500 requires a certain level of restraint from your right foot. The rear end readily swerves to the side if you jab the gas pedal — even on warm tires and dry roads. Though the rear steps out willingly — even with all the electronic safety features on — it happens in a predictable way, and it's easy enough to quell the motions by backing off the gas.

That controllable nature of the 2013 Shelby GT500 is one of the key qualities that make it better than its predecessor, which was skittish and prone to snap oversteer. Abrupt, uneven power delivery from that car&a...

When is enough enough? For Ford's SVT performance-vehicle team, the 2013 Shelby GT500 provides the answer, and it's a resounding "never." There's no other conclusion after driving this muscle-car creation. It gained 112 horsepower for 2013, making for an incredible 662 hp total from its supercharged V-8.

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is an unruly beast, an automotive hooligan — and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Shelby GT500 coupe starts at $54,995 including a $795 destination charge, and the convertible lists for $5,000 more. A number of performance-oriented options raised the price of our test coupe to $63,080. The Shelby GT500's base price is a few hundred dollars below that of its prime competitor, the 580-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. To see these 2013 cars' specs compared side by side, along with the 2012 Shelby GT500, click here.

Going & Stopping
Driving the Shelby GT500 requires a certain level of restraint from your right foot. The rear end readily swerves to the side if you jab the gas pedal — even on warm tires and dry roads. Though the rear steps out willingly — even with all the electronic safety features on — it happens in a predictable way, and it's easy enough to quell the motions by backing off the gas.

That controllable nature of the 2013 Shelby GT500 is one of the key qualities that make it better than its predecessor, which was skittish and prone to snap oversteer. Abrupt, uneven power delivery from that car's supercharged V-8 didn't help matters, either.

Making the car's tail squirm and wiggle never gets old, but the lack of grip makes it difficult to take full advantage of the considerable power at your disposal — 662 hp at 6,500 rpm and 631 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It's a constant battle to keep the rear tires hooked up. The Camaro ZL1's rear tires are nearly an inch wider, and a larger contact patch could help check some of the Shelby GT500's power-delivery issues.

The Shelby GT500's baritone exhaust note is fitting, and it won praise from our editors. Mash the gas pedal, and the primal, lion-like roar is a perfect match for the car's thrilling power.

The high-performance powertrain doesn't make the Shelby GT500 difficult to drive in stop-and-go traffic, though you'll get more of a workout than you would with a regular Mustang GT. The clutch pedal is quite a bit firmer, but it doesn't take long to learn where the clutch engages, and there's enough slippage to make smooth starts second-nature.

Like the clutch pedal, there's a lot of tension in the six-speed manual transmission's shifter, much more than the Mustang GT's manual. Short throws engage each gear with an uncommon level of mechanical precision.

EPA gas mileage estimates for the Shelby GT500 are 15/24/18 mpg city/highway/combined, which improves on the 2012 model by 1 mpg in both highway and combined driving, despite the 112-hp gain. Ford boasts that the Shelby GT500 is exempt from any gas-guzzler tax. That's true, but after a week in the Cars.com garage, the car's average fuel economy stood at 14 mpg. That was a result of enthusiastic miles, to be sure, but it meant frequent trips to the gas station, as the Shelby GT500's tank holds only 16 gallons.

The car comes with a Brembo-brand brake system that includes discs that measure 15 inches across in front and 13.8 inches in back, with six-piston front calipers and single-piston rear ones. The brakes bite hard early and offer admirable linearity across the pedal's range of motion.

Ride & Handling
The Shelby GT500's track-mindedness comes through in its suspension tuning. Our car had the optional Performance Package, which includes SVT-tuned Bilstein dampers with two modes: Normal and Sport. The package also adds a limited-slip differential, unique wheels and special rear springs.

Even in Normal mode, the ride is firm by most standards, producing a pronounced jounce when you hit a bump. The car quickly settles itself after such a hit, but Chicago roads are rarely smooth for more than a couple feet, and the suspension picked up all their imperfections. Sport mode makes the ride even less forgiving.

The ride is significantly firmer than a Mustang GT's, and I wonder if Ford has gone too firm with the Shelby GT500's Normal mode. It'd be nice if one of the settings were comfort-oriented, but as it stands there's hardly enough difference between the two modes to warrant a button to select between them. Their similarity means this car is definitely at the edge of everyday drivability if you spend many miles on compromised city pavement.

That said, the GT500 drives well on the highway. It settles in nicely around 70 mph, and you can't feel the movements of the live rear axle like you can in the regular Mustang.

There's a nimbleness to the Shelby GT500 that's missing from the Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Steering turn-in is quick and immediate, though it happens without much road feel. It's an electrically assisted system and it includes three modes — Standard, Sport and Comfort — that vary the amount of power assistance. Like the suspension, the difference between the steering modes is minimal, and more variation would be welcome.

The Shelby GT500 is smaller than the Camaro and Challenger, and you'll feel that in corners, but it's not engaging like a Porsche Cayman S. It's still a muscle car, even if it is a modern one.

The Inside
One of the Shelby GT500's pleasant surprises is cabin visibility. The front roof pillars are relatively upright, yielding great forward views, and over-right-shoulder visibility is good, too. It shows that you needn't have terrible visibility (like the Camaro does) in order to have a stylish car.

One of the Shelby GT500's subtle highlights is its ability to manage wind rush. Cruising on the highway with the windows down results in plenty of cabin turbulence in most cars, but this car's interior is remarkably calm by comparison. The rear wheel wells could use more sound-deadening material, however, because you can clearly hear road debris bouncing off the underbody.

The optional Recaro front seats are another high point that drew praise from numerous editors. Available for $1,595, the bucket seats offer an ideal blend of comfort and support, with large side bolsters to keep you in place in fast corners. The integrated head restraints were fine by us, but some drivers might prefer a height adjustment.

The backseat could be usable for taller adults if headroom weren't so limited. I'm 6-foot-1 and had to sit with my head tilted to the side; I couldn't sit straight up without bumping into the rear window. It wouldn't have been a problem if I were a few inches shorter, but the Challenger's backseat is more accommodating.

Interior quality is a mixed bag. The upper section of the interior features a padded dashboard and an overall premium appearance, but glance down at the hard shiny plastic center console, and the drop-off in quality is immediately apparent. Panel fit could also be better.

Instrument legibility is another shortcoming. Though not as bad as the retro script of the regular Mustang's gauges, the tight hash mark and number spacing makes it hard to check your speed at a glance — vitally important in a car like this. The configurable instrument lighting — a Mustang signature feature — lets you specify the backlighting color, but it can't help the cramped gauge layout. The speedometer and tachometer needles are tiny, too.

Safety
The 2013 Mustang coupe received the best score, Good, in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's primary frontal crash test, and the second-best rating, Acceptable, in the side-impact crash test (the Mustang convertible was rated Good). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also tested the Mustang coupe, giving it four out of five stars overall and a five-star rollover rating.

Standard safety features include antilock brakes and an electronic stability system, which are required on new vehicles as of the 2012 model year. There are also standard side-impact airbags for the front seats that include head-protection extensions. For a full list of safety features, check out the Features & Specs page.

Shelby GT500 in the Market
Fuel-efficient and alternative-energy vehicles have been the stars of the car world the past few years, but a horsepower war has also been quietly raging among carmakers, and the 2013 Shelby GT500 is perhaps the most audacious effort to date. It's as if the car exists in a universe parallel to Ford's other products, promoted as they are for their fuel efficiency and green cred.

Every car has a mission, whether it's a Chevrolet Suburban or a Nissan Leaf. The Shelby GT500's mission is a pretty obvious one — extreme performance, straight from the factory — and after driving the car there's only one conclusion: Mission accomplished.

Send Mike an email  



2013 Mustang Video

The Ford Mustang gets a few updates for the 2013 model year, which keeps the model competitive with its more thoroughly modern competition, like the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro.

Latest 2013 Mustang Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

(4.0)

A great car overshadowed by the V8 GT

by Nickhazleton from CA on April 7, 2018

The cyclone V6 engine is a great performer. I’ve owned a 2011 gt and the V6 feels just as fast up to 60 mph. Although the V6 will never sound as good as a V8. It still sounds awesome with an exhaust. ... Read full review

(5.0)

Very happy!!!

by Jay from Delray Beach, FL on March 11, 2018

Very fun to drive with the factory performance pack suspension and recaro seats. I have the V6 Manual with 300 hp. Much better gas mileage than the V8. Instead of the big engine I got my loaded with ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2013 Ford Mustang currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2013 Ford Mustang V6

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head Protection
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
marginal
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Ford

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement up to $30 per day, full tank of gas, vehicle history report, new wiper blades and fresh oil and filter

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7 years from original new vehicle warranty start date or 100,000 miles. Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12- month/12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty. See dealer for details. $100 deductible per visit.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Mustang received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker