If you've been away from the pony car segment for a while, prepare yourself for a shock: The modern Mustang is refined, rapid and rewarding. This generation's road manners took a big leap forward when the entire 2015 Mustang lineup received — for the first time in 50 years — an independent rear suspension. This change facilitated the Mustang's transformation into a more sophisticated and comfortable car while its performance capabilities reached new heights.
For 2018, Ford gives this generation of Mustang a significant refresh. Some changes should help address prior complaints we had about the car (a retuned suspension plus newly available adaptive suspension dampers for a claimed improvement in ride quality), while others are proverbial icing on the cake (more power for the Mustang's 5.0-liter V8). The Mustang's new automatic transmission has an eyebrow-raising 10 speeds. It might seem like overkill, but we've found this transmission in other vehicles to be quick-shifting and very smooth.
These changes should keep the Mustang a highly desirable pick for a pony car. Of course, it still has some primary competition: the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. All three are genuinely great cars, especially considering the price. If you're looking for the most well-rounded one, though, the Mustang is the way to go.
The 2018 Ford Mustang is available in EcoBoost, EcoBoost Premium, GT and GT Premium trim levels for coupe (fastback) body styles. Convertibles are available in all but the GT trim (the GT Premium is offered). Say goodbye to the V6-powered Mustang — it has been dropped for 2018 — while a new 10-speed automatic transmission is optional on all models and includes a remote-start function.
The Mustang EcoBoost is the new entry-level variant now. It is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that gains 20 pound-feet of torque this year for a total of 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a new 10-speed automatic is optional.
Despite representing the bottom rung of Mustangdom, EcoBoost models are equipped with a surprising amount of racy hardware as standard: a limited-slip rear differential, launch control (only with the manual gearbox) and an electronic line-lock to facilitate burnouts (at the track only, of course). Standard creature comforts are more pedestrian and include 17-inch wheels, manual cloth seats, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 4.2-inch center display screen, Bluetooth, two USB ports and a six-speaker sound system.
Notable options packages include the Performance package, a unique version of which is available for EcoBoost and GT models. This includes larger brakes, 19-inch wheels and summer tires, a shorter differential ratio, a bigger radiator, stiffer front springs and a larger rear stabilizer bar. This package additionally allows access to new-for-2018 MagneRide adaptive suspension dampers.
The EcoBoost Premium keeps all the same hardware but adds 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, revised cabin trim, power front seats, a nine-speaker audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an 8-inch touchscreen with the Sync 3 infotainment system.
GT models really step up the Mustang's performance game. They come with a 5.0-liter V8 (460 hp, 420 lb-ft) that has been revised for 2018 with the implementation of direct and port injection and a host of other changes. The GT's six-speed manual gearbox gets revised gearing this year, too. The 10-speed automatic is optional. The GT Premium adds the creature comforts of the EcoBoost Premium trim.
Notable optional features for the Mustang include a digital gauge cluster, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, various exterior and interior styling packages, Recaro front sport seats, a 12