2003 Ford Mustang Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Ford Mustang

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Ford Mustang Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.6 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 390 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Ford Mustang

  • Fittingly, the Ford Mustang is the last surviving member of the "pony car" breed. For 2003, it's never been better.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Available V8 power, variety of trim levels, healthy dose of American attitude.

  • Cons

    Archaic structure, aged design.

  • What's New for 2003

    Heavily updated is the 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra, which makes 390 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque thanks to the addition of an Eaton supercharger. A new six-speed manual transmission drives the rear wheels through a 3.55 rear axle ratio. Larger wheels and tires come standard, along with stiffer springs and a tubular cross brace. Cobra convertibles have a cloth top, while both cars get new seats with upgraded leather and suede upholstery. A limited-production Mach 1 model arrives later in the year with a massaged 4.6-liter V8 engine making at least 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, a functional shaker hood with ram-air scoop, black striping, unique leather seating and retro-design Magnum 500 alloy wheels, and, of course, a Mach 460 audio system. Mach 1 can be ordered in a variety of colors with either a manual or automatic transmission. Like the Mustang Bullitt before it, the Mach 1 comes with a lowered, retuned suspension and additional frame rail connectors for a stiffer body. Large 13-inch Brembo front rotors and upgraded calipers are standard.

    Standard V6 and V8 GT models change little for 2003. A V6 Pony Package includes 16-inch polished alloy wheels and the GT's scooped hood. All V6 models get a new hood design, and four new colors debut.

Full 2003 Ford Mustang Review

What's New for 2003

Heavily updated is the 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra, which makes 390 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque thanks to the addition of an Eaton supercharger. A new six-speed manual transmission drives the rear wheels through a 3.55 rear axle ratio. Larger wheels and tires come standard, along with stiffer springs and a tubular cross brace. Cobra convertibles have a cloth top, while both cars get new seats with upgraded leather and suede upholstery. A limited-production Mach 1 model arrives later in the year with a massaged 4.6-liter V8 engine making at least 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, a functional shaker hood with ram-air scoop, black striping, unique leather seating and retro-design Magnum 500 alloy wheels, and, of course, a Mach 460 audio system. Mach 1 can be ordered in a variety of colors with either a manual or automatic transmission. Like the Mustang Bullitt before it, the Mach 1 comes with a lowered, retuned suspension and additional frame rail connectors for a stiffer body. Large 13-inch Brembo front rotors and upgraded calipers are standard.

Standard V6 and V8 GT models change little for 2003. A V6 Pony Package includes 16-inch polished alloy wheels and the GT's scooped hood. All V6 models get a new hood design, and four new colors debut.

Introduction

The Ford Mustang debuted in April of 1964 as either a coupe or convertible with six or eight cylinders under the hood, and became a national sensation. Ford sold hundreds of thousands of Mustangs, convincing General Motors and Chrysler Corporation to release their own variations on the theme. By the late 1960s, the Mustang competed against the AMC Javelin, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Plymouth Barracuda and Pontiac Firebird. But, like Elvis Presley, the Mustang had evolved from a lightweight and simple sporty car into an overweight and flashy muscle car. By the time the oil crisis of 1973 hit, the Mustang had lost its edge in terms of performance and appeal. Reborn for 1974, the Mustang II rode on a Pinto platform to save development costs and improve fuel economy. Emissions regulations had stifled performance, and the convertible model had disappeared from the lineup. The mid-1970s represented a dismal time for the American automobile industry, and the emasculation of the Ford Mustang is perhaps the greatest example of what went wrong in the middle of this decade. Not surprisingly, sales reached an all-time low during this period of time. Still, Ford wasn't ready to give up on the Mustang. In 1979, it was completely redesigned. There was even a performance model with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, and a stripes-and-decals Cobra version. The new Mustang proved popular, and by 1982, Ford had endowed it with a relatively strong (for the time) V8 engine and the GT designation that continues today. General Motors released a sexy new Camaro and Firebird duo in '82, so Ford countered by continually updating the Mustang GT and engineering a special turbocharged performance model called the SVO. In the late 1980s, Mustang enthusiasts heard that Ford planned to replace the rear-drive model with a front-drive car based on a Mazda. Recoiling in revulsion, these purists bombarded Ford with hate mail, effectively convincing corporate brass to keep the all-American Mustang as it was and release the new vehicle under development as the Probe. This delay meant Ford needed to market the existing and aged Mustang beyond its expiration date until a suitable replacement could be styled and engineered. To retain buyer interest, Ford kept boosting power and improving the Mustang in subtle but effective ways. The new car arrived in 1994 wearing retro styling cues such as tri-bar taillights and a side scoop. Inside, a dual-cowl dashboard provided plenty of pizzazz. A coupe and convertible were available, with either a V6 or V8 engine. A Cobra model with added horsepower and special performance upgrades paced the Indianapolis 500 that year. In 1999, the Mustang was updated with boxy new styling and more power. The Cobra was said to make more horsepower than it actually did, which made buyers who wanted tire-smoking launches more than a bit upset. The 2003 Ford Mustang appeals to those who love the burble of a V8, the handling of rear-wheel drive and the appeal of a legendary car with long and storied history.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Two body styles and four trim levels are available for the 2003 Ford Mustang. Base models have a V6 engine. GT, Mach 1 and Cobra get a V8. Coupes are available in each trim, while the convertible is limited to the Base, GT and Cobra. The Mach 1 and Cobra contain plenty of special equipment to justify their higher prices. The limited-production Mach 1 includes a massaged V8 engine making at least 300 horsepower, a functional shaker hood with ram-air scoop, special interior detailing, unique alloy wheels and exterior trim and a lowered, retuned sport suspension. Upgraded brakes with ABS and traction control come standard. Substantially updated for 2003 is the SVT Cobra, which makes 390 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque thanks to the addition of a supercharger. A new six-speed manual transmission is standard. Larger wheels and tires, stiffer springs and a tubular cross brace are included. Functional hood vents are added, and minor styling modifications distinguish the 2003 model from previous versions. Cobra convertibles have a cloth top, while both cars get new seats with upgraded leather and suede upholstery.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard on the base Mustang is a 190-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. Step up to the GT and you'll get a 260-horsepower 4.6-liter V8. The Mach 1 will make at least 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque when it debuts. Cobra models have a new supercharger and produce an astounding 390 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Base, GT and Mach 1 models are available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The Cobra comes with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Safety

Dual front airbags are standard. GT, Mach 1 and Cobra models come with antilock brakes and traction control. The 2003 Ford Mustang coupe received five-star crash test scores for the driver and passenger. Side-impact testing resulted in three-star scores for both front- and rear-seat occupants (convertibles received a two-star rating for front-seat occupants in the side-impact test). The Mustang has not been subjected to an offset crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The retro-style dual-cowl dashboard has aged well since 1994. Instrumentation is simple and straightforward, if sometimes hard to locate and reach. Of particular interest is the old-fashioned pull-out headlight switch mounted to the lower left side of the dash. Seats in the Base and GT models are flat and featureless; the Mach 1 and Cobra versions get seats with stiffer bolsters and greater adjustability.

Driving Impressions

Mustangs are crude by modern standards, but continual updating, low prices and a brash character keep the Base and GT models competitive with the more refined sport coupes on the market. The Mach 1 and Cobra carry higher price tags, but offer far more performance and cache due to their stout powertrains and low-volume production. The Cobra is the most sophisticated Mustang, the only one in the lineup with an independent rear suspension. The Mach 1 is a terrific blend of power and handling, while the GT is a great daily driver that allows for tail-out thrills on command. Even budget-minded shoppers will find fun and value in the V6 models.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Surprisingly an excellent car

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Mustang Premium 2dr Coupe (3.8L 6cyl 5M)

I never had much faith in ford. I tend to like the Japanese and German automobiles. I have owned 2 Taurus and 2 Explorers. I was in a position where I needed a car. This little mustang ended up being in my price range. Purchased at 153k mi this car performs quite well. I travel regularly from California to Las Vegas and Arizona. This car 6k mi and a month and half later, it has not let me down. It's cheap to fill up and averages 28.4 mpg Hwy and 24.1 City. Tho it lacks the power I'm use to in my bmw it compensates for it in fuel cost & gas mileage. Very fun to drive and handles quite well for an American car.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2003 convertible

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Mustang Premium 2dr Convertible (3.8L 6cyl 4A)

I love my little Mustang. It's not powerful (V6) but, it's an original with 17,500 miles. I bought new at our local Ford dealer here in Sarasota, FL. It still gets tons of compliments every time I have it out.




Best car i ever owned!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Mustang GT Deluxe 2dr Coupe (4.6L 8cyl 5M)

I have a modified 2003 Mustang GT w/ a 5 speed. She handles great, has plenty of power, looks great, has plenty of interior space and headroom. She is a blast to drive. Love this car!




Grandpa's toy

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra 2dr Coupe (4.6L 8cyl S/C 6M)

I had my sights on a Mustang SVT for a while. I held off buying because of the production issues with the Mustang Cobra. When the supercharged model came out I decided it was time. Best car I've owned. I got a great price, $31.6k without having to haggle. The power and handling makes for a very fun car to drive. The original Goodyear Eagle tires stick to the curves like the car is on rails.




Best bang....

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Vehicle: 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 2dr Coupe (4.6L 8cyl 5M)

I have owned a 2001 V6, 2004 GT and the Mach and there is a world of difference between the v6 and GT but the Mach is in a class of its own when compared to the GT. This includes the extensive upgrades made to the GT compared to a stock Mach. Of the dozens of vehicles I have owned and driven the Mach is by far the best bang for the buck. I traded in the Gt for the Mach in 2007 and the Mach is paid off and worth more than I paid for it, needless to say this is a rarity in the automobile market but it seems the Mach is still a car that people appreciate. I have upgraded it with just the normal bolt on parts and it performs perfectly. This is the 1st vehicle I know I will keep indefinitely.




Red 2003 mach 1 great

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 2dr Coupe (4.6L 8cyl 5M)

I got this 2003 Red Mach 1 automatic in Oct 2005 with 13k miles on it and it now has 31k miles on it in Nov 2011. I have had zero problems with it. I have replaced the original tires and fuel filter as part of maintaince. It drives great especially on tight turns and it stops on a dime. The seating, wheels, black stripes, tachometer, shaker hood makes this car stand out well plus every Mach 1 is fully loaded so you dont have to worry about options. Overall this gives you 305hp and the car's value is about 14 grand give or take some which is the best bang for your buck if you want the power of a V8 without a big price tag. The only thing better than this in power is a 2011 GT



Talk About The 2003 Mustang

2003 Ford Mustang Discussions See all Started By

Sylvia
Sylvia
07-17-2002
Taking its styling cues from the 1969 version the Mustang Mach 1 is Ford's step to blend the best of the past with the technology and power of today....


lilbit221959
lilbit221959
10-16-2014
2003 Ford Mustang 6 cyl base. Put the battery on a charger and it was charged when I put it on. so took it back off and put it in the car. There is no service engine light on, to pull the codes, and I...


cobragt
cobragt
06-24-2005
2005 Mustang 0-60 time is rated 5.2...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 15
  • cty
/
  • 21
  • highway
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