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2018 Ford Mustang

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$25,680 — $44,690 MSRP
39
Photos
Coupe
4 Seats
18-25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 4 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • EcoBoost engine's added torque
  • Digital display cluster is fun and easy to use
  • MagneRide suspension improves handling
  • GT exhaust growl
  • Line-lock mode makes burnouts easy
  • Retro interior styling

The Bad

  • Still feels heavy in corners at times
  • Options add up quickly
  • Not much backseat room
  • Lower switches can be awkward to use
  • Outward visibility
  • Lack of front parking sensors
2018 Ford Mustang exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2018 Ford Mustang
  • Heavily refreshed for 2018
  • Increased horsepower for both engines
  • New 10-speed automatic transmission option
  • Available MagneRide adaptive suspension
  • Line-lock mode added to EcoBoost models
  • V-6 engine discontinued

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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT is available with two different performance-focused packages, and we recently had the chance to test-drive them both. Here's what we found.

By Brian Wong
The verdict:

The Mustang’s evolution from muscle car to impressive all-around sports car continues.

Versus the competition:

The Mustang’s styling and performance occupy a middle ground between the ultra-retro Challenger and the modern Camaro, but its excellent technology beats both handily.

The Ford Mustang is the original pony car, a slice of history and a symbol of one of the world's largest automakers, all bundled into one American icon. With its 2015 redesign, the Mustang shed a few other labels — for the better. It can still shred tires with the best of them, but chassis upgrades and the elimination of a live rear axle marked the Mustang's turn from one-trick pony to legitimate sports car, with handling and agility to match.

In the narrow world of muscle cars, the Mustang has only two true competitors: the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger (compare all three here). Regardless, the class is rife with changes as those three companies try to outdo each other. In the past year alone, we've seen the introduction of an ultimate edition of the Camaro (the ZL1) and a new, high-powered Challenger (the SRT Demon) that can do unspeakable things at drag strips.

Unlike those cars, the 2018 Mustang's updates cover all trim levels, continuing its evolution into a well-rounded sports car. For a refresh, the changes are extensive, including both powertrains, the suspension and the exterior styling, as well as updates to the technology, safety and exhaust systems. Ford's MagneRide adaptive suspension, previously available only on the Shelby GT350 and GT350R, is now offered up and down the lineup. Compare the 2018 Mustang with last year's model here.

The Mustang comes with a choice of two engines and in a pair of body styles: f...

The Ford Mustang is the original pony car, a slice of history and a symbol of one of the world's largest automakers, all bundled into one American icon. With its 2015 redesign, the Mustang shed a few other labels — for the better. It can still shred tires with the best of them, but chassis upgrades and the elimination of a live rear axle marked the Mustang's turn from one-trick pony to legitimate sports car, with handling and agility to match.

In the narrow world of muscle cars, the Mustang has only two true competitors: the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger (compare all three here). Regardless, the class is rife with changes as those three companies try to outdo each other. In the past year alone, we've seen the introduction of an ultimate edition of the Camaro (the ZL1) and a new, high-powered Challenger (the SRT Demon) that can do unspeakable things at drag strips.

Unlike those cars, the 2018 Mustang's updates cover all trim levels, continuing its evolution into a well-rounded sports car. For a refresh, the changes are extensive, including both powertrains, the suspension and the exterior styling, as well as updates to the technology, safety and exhaust systems. Ford's MagneRide adaptive suspension, previously available only on the Shelby GT350 and GT350R, is now offered up and down the lineup. Compare the 2018 Mustang with last year's model here.

The Mustang comes with a choice of two engines and in a pair of body styles: four-cylinder or V-8 (there's no more base V-6) and coupe or convertible. I tested what Ford says will be the most popular option: a coupe with the turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and a 10-speed automatic transmission that's new for 2018. Here are the details, as tested:

2018 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Fastback

Powertrain: 310-horsepower, turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 350 pounds-feet of torque; 10-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Rated fuel economy: 21/32/25 mpg city/highway/combined
Key features: EcoBoost Performance Package (3.55 limited-slip rear axle, 19-inch black wheels, larger brakes and radiator, rear wing), MagneRide adaptive suspension, Sync 3 multimedia system, 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster, heated/ventilated seats, electronic line-lock, Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Safe & Smart Package (autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and rain-sensing wipers)
Price: $41,375 (including destination charges)

Mechanical Updates

Both Mustang engines see power boosts for 2018. The EcoBoost engine makes the same horsepower (310) but much more torque — 350 pounds-feet, up from 320. There are more updates on the 5.0-liter V-8, including a new crankshaft, fuel delivery system and new cylinder heads. These bump power more significantly, to 460 hp (from 435) and 420 pounds-feet of torque (from 400).

The new, optional 10-speed automatic transmission is the result of a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and GM (of all things); it first appeared on the Ford F-150 Raptor and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The standard six-speed manual gets some upgrades in V-8 models, adding a dual-mass flywheel and a twin-disc clutch to help handle the extra torque.

It's a bit weird to drive a four-cylinder Mustang, even if it is a turbocharged engine that makes more power than the previous V-6. The added torque is a nice bonus, making the 2018 feel quicker than last year's car. That could also be due to the 10-speed automatic, which is just as fantastic here as it is in the Raptor. The transmission doesn't get tripped up when you mash on the gas; it grabs gears quickly and seamlessly flips through all the speeds as you accelerate. Even in the new Drag Strip mode, it didn't falter. I punched the accelerator hard in a straight line, and the transmission got the engine up to the top of the range and ripped through shifts in rapid succession (much faster than I'd have any hope of doing with a manual), all while keeping the Mustang hurtling forward at greater and greater speeds.  

Wait, How Many Drive Modes?

Speaking of drive modes, the 2018 Mustang isn't short of settings to change how the car handles and performs. Besides the aforementioned Drag Strip mode, there's Normal, Sport Plus, Track and Snow/Wet. Beyond that, there's a toggle that switches the power steering assist between Normal and Sport. Then there are three traction control settings: on, partial off and all the way off. On top of that, there's the line-lock (a.k.a. burnout) mode, which for 2018 is standard on EcoBoost models, too, not just the GT.

There's good differentiation between the drive modes and, unlike most vehicles — which I usually leave in Sport — I found myself using different driving modes for different occasions: Normal on the street, Sport Plus and Track in canyons, and Drag Strip when safety (and space) allowed. And, of course, line lock, because who doesn't love a good burnout? The only mode I didn't really test was Snow/Wet because I live in Los Angeles, where those things are more rumors than actual driving conditions.

I was initially a bit disappointed on curvier roads in Sport Plus. The mode isn't quite aggressive enough with throttle mapping, and the optional MagneRide suspension wasn't firm enough to make the Mustang feel sharp. This is a four-cylinder engine, after all, and the Mustang isn't a light vehicle. That means that if the mode isn't aggressive enough, the nose will feel heavy, turn-in will be sluggish and the engine will lag. Once I flipped into Track, though, I had my "aha" moment and was enamored with the car again. In that mode, the Mustang feels like it sheds a bunch of weight and turns into a flickable car that eats up corners with aplomb. It also does a better job keeping the engine in the power band, where those 310 horses are more readily available.

The MagneRide suspension doesn't come cheap. To get it, you first have to add the EcoBoost Performance Package for $2,495 (or the $3,995 GT Performance Package on GT models), then drop another $1,695 for the suspension. Ford will also offer a Performance Pack Level 2 for manual GTs that will include the suspension, but it will add $6,500 to the bottom line. I loved what the suspension did to the EcoBoost, but it's an expensive proposition.

Many Screens, Many Screens

Beyond the performance upgrades, what really impressed me about the Mustang was its technology. Each aspect was easy to use and navigate — no small feat given the amount of multimedia, performance and safety technology present.

Sync 3 remains one of our favorite multimedia systems, but the real star here is the new 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster, which replaces the traditional gauges with a fully digital display. Ford says it spent more than 2,000 hours developing graphics and configuring menus and screens to find the best way to present information, and that effort shows. The screens are easy to navigate and control using buttons on the steering wheel.

When the drive mode is changed, the appearance of the cluster changes, as well. In Normal mode, things are pretty standard, but bump into Sport Plus and the tachometer unfurls to take up much of the top of the screen. In Track and Drag modes, the screen gets simplified even further with a large, easy-to-read tachometer that changes colors to indicate shift points (green to yellow to red) and a digital readout for your speed. If you activate line-lock mode, an animation of a spinning tire appears, spewing its own smoke as you step on the gas. The system also offers 900 color combinations for the gauges and ambient lighting around the cabin.

I came away impressed by the system's speed and appearance. Is it a little gimmicky? Maybe, but I had too much fun with it to care.

Safety Features

In addition to its performance and technology features, the Mustang offers a comprehensive suite of safety technology. My test vehicle included the Safe & Smart Package, a $1,495 option that adds forward automatic pre-collision emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind spot warning and a lane-keeping system, among other features. This is one option box I'd definitely check in part because, while visibility out the Mustang is better than the Camaro, it's still not great.

Here Comes the But

The EcoBoost-equipped Mustang with all these new bells and whistles is very, very good. It's also pretty damn expensive, as my $41,375 test vehicle proves. The technology and performance upgrades that had me so enamored add up quickly, yet they're so good and so enrich the driving experience that it would be hard for me to buy a Mustang without them. The Mustang can now pass for a muscle car, a grand tourer or a sports car. It just costs a lot to get there.

My other slight hang-up with the EcoBoost engine is the existence of the GT. Did I miss the V-8? At times, yes. When I picked up my test car, a GT was parked right in front of it. As I was busy admiring/Instagramming my car, another journalist hopped into the GT, fired it up and drove off, leaving me, that engine note and some regret behind. The EcoBoost pipes in engine noise through the audio system, yet even with that artificial boost, it's underwhelming. The GT (especially with the new active exhaust system) gives you an intoxicating growl.

Overall, though, the 2018 Mustang moves the Mustang's evolution forward, and those small steps in many areas add up to a giant leap for the whole vehicle. It's so, so good.

Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 12, 2018, to reflect that the Mustang's last redesign was in 2015.

Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

5.0
112 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Fun car to commute in.

by D'stang from St. Helen's or on December 13, 2018

I got this car because it was the best of both worlds fuel economy and power I get 30mpg and can pass anyone I need to. Read full review

(5.0)

Love the car

by Coolguy from Youngstown ohio on December 12, 2018

Yes it's a fast cool dream car. Rides nice and live the exhaust too. Handles great around the curves. I love the color also it's a great color Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2018 Ford Mustang currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2018 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

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

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
marginal

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

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
acceptable
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Ford

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2018 Mustang Stories

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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.
For complete details,

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

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