The Ford Mustang is one of the cheapest ways to own a rumbling V8 that’s lots of fun. The cheap interior and high running costs are a little less enjoyable, though
There’s no doubt the Ford Mustang offers you a lot of car for your money versus alternative coupes such as the Audi A5 or BMW 4 Series, but how Ford manages to offer such value is less of a mystery when you get in and spot the hard black plastics used all over its interior. In short, if you’re used to Audi or BMW levels of quality, you’ll be disappointed.
There are positives to be found, though. The hooded dashboard and three circular air vents are throwbacks to iconic Mustangs of old, for example, and a 12.0-inch multi-function digital instrument binnacle helps make the cabin feel more modern, although it isn’t as visually impressive as the one you’ll find in the Audi A5.
Unfortunately, the directions on the Mustang’s standard 8.0-inch sat-nav screen are hard to follow at times, so it’s better just to use the more intuitive maps on your smartphone via the standard-fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system’s onscreen buttons are relatively small, too, making them hard to hit on the move.
Despite these modern luxuries, the view you get over the sprawling bonnet is very much old-school Ford Mustang; and, from the spacious front seats, you get a more commanding view of the road than in some crossovers.
However, if you’re expecting crossover levels of rear-seat space, you’ll be disappointed: adults will find it tight on long journeys, and even small children will feel cramped. On the upside, while the boot’s high lip makes it tricky to load and unload, the coupe Fastback has a healthy 408-litre capacity, so you’ll get a pushchair or large suitcase plus extras in there no problem.
No Mustang would be complete without a rumbling V8, so you’ll be pleased to hear Ford offers a huge 5.0-litre one with 450hp. Together with its standard active sports exhaust, there are few finer sounds in the world of motoring, and it’ll sprint from standstill to 62mph in a little over four seconds if you’re in a hurry. Expect it you use lots of fuel, though, as although 30mpg is possible at a motorway cruise, that’ll quickly turn to less than 20mpg on a winding B-road.
The Mustang’s V8 engine rumbles like a sumo wrestler's stomach that’s a year into the Breatharian diet
You don’t have to choose the V8, though – there’s also a 2.3-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine that’s just a second slower to 62mph and returns better combined-fuel economy than the V8’s official 32.1mpg. The trouble is, the 5.0-litre V8 is so central to the Mustang’s appeal that you’d be mad to let your head do the talking. Ultimately, the Ecoboost just feels and sounds inferior.
With both engines, you can have either a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The former is good enough to make it worth considering if you’re after a more engaging driving experience, but the slick and responsive automatic is a great companion if you’re likely to spend a lot of time in traffic and want to give your left leg a rest.
That said, if you really enjoy your driving, there are sharper alternative coupes in terms of handling – the Mustang’s big, weighty V8 up front hurts its ability to dart into corners and the Ecoboost model doesn’t feel much more agile. Ford’s optional (but expensive) adaptive MagneRide suspension does a good job of stopping the Mustang’s body roll too much in bends, and improves the Mustangs comfort on battered roads in its softest setting, but ultimately it never reaches the level of comfort you’ll experience in alternative coupes.
At least going for a Ford Mustang ensures you’re treated to lots of standard equipment. Even the Ecoboost model gets things like 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, electric front seats, climate control and a heated steering wheel. Stepping up to the V8 adds a sports exhaust system, black alloy wheels and beefier brakes.
So, there’s plenty to love about the Ford Mustang. It’s iconic styling for starters, plus the fact it offers ridiculously addictive V8 performance and noise for comparatively little money. You’ll just have to put up with the Mustang’s average comfort, handling and quality.