Full 2015 Ford Mustang Review
What's New for 2015
The Ford Mustang has been fully redesigned for 2015.
The 2015 Ford Mustang marks the model's 50th anniversary. To celebrate, Ford has decided that there's no better way to honor this sporty American icon's birthday than by putting something special underneath the hood. A 700-horsepower V8, maybe? A jet turbine, perhaps? Well, how about a four-cylinder engine? Yes, it is true: The fully redesigned 2015 Mustang can be had with a four-banger under that long, proud hood. But before you fire off an angry e-mail or tweet to Ford, you should know a couple of things. First: a muscle-bound V8 is still available, as is a V6. And second: This EcoBoost four-cylinder is turbocharged, and it's anything but a wheezing weakling.
Mustang mavens will know that this isn't the first time a 2.3-liter turbo-4 has been offered in the original pony car. But unlike those best forgotten mills of the late-1970s and early 1980s, this one packs much greater refinement and higher fuel efficiency, not to mention power. Ford says it will crank out an estimated 305 hp and 300 pound-feet of torque and still get well over 30 mpg on highway. A 3.7-liter V6 once again sees duty in the entry-level Mustang, while V8 fans can still enjoy the power and the glory of a 5.0-liter V8 in the GT model. Regardless of engine, one may choose either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, the latter fitted with paddle shifters.
Underneath, the Mustang finally gets an independent rear suspension. True, the Mustang has gotten along quite well with its old-tech solid rear axle design the past few years. But this independent rear suspension will introduce welcome enhancements to the Mustang's on-road demeanor, particularly for ride comfort and handling. Ford claims the 2015 Mustang is more stable during braking and acceleration and steers more precisely. Despite rumors that the new Mustang would weigh significantly less, though, it has instead gained a few pounds, anywhere from about 20-80 depending on the model.
Styling for the new car is pretty distinctive, and Ford hopes it gives the Mustang a more aggressive look. Although the side window design calls to mind an Aston Martin (certainly not a bad association), classic Mustang styling cues abound elsewhere, from the large trapezoidal grille and angled-back headlights to the fastback roof line and three-bar taillights. The wheelbase and overall length are similar to the outgoing car, but the new one sits about 1.5 inches lower, is about 1.5 inches wider and has a 3-inch-wider rear track. Meanwhile, the cabin boasts higher-quality materials, more elbow room and a smaller, leather-wrapped steering wheel that both tilts and -- finally -- telescopes.
Our preliminary take is that the new Mustang drives better, has a nicer interior and still looks cool. But the 2015 Mustang has, in keeping with tradition, formidable competition from the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Like the Mustang, they both offer eye-catching styling, rear-wheel drive and available V8 power. The Chevy is a more direct competitor, given its similar proportions and small backseat, while the larger Dodge offers an adult-friendly backseat. Those shopping this segment may also consider the well-rounded Hyundai Genesis coupe. But should you place your money on Ford's horse, we think you'll be pretty happy with the ride.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Ford Mustang is available as a coupe or convertible and is offered in six trim levels: V6, EcoBoost, EcoBoost Premium, GT, GT Premium and GT 50 Years Limited Edition.
The Mustang V6 comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED taillights, a limited-slip rear differential, keyless ignition and entry, integrated blind-spot mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera, the Sync voice control system (with 4.2-inch multifunction display) and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, two USB ports and an auxiliary audio jack.
Options include 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, rear park assist, a power driver seat and an anti-theft system.
The EcoBoost includes the V6's standard features along with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, foglamps, a rear spoiler, six-way power front seats, aluminum dash trim, active noise cancellation and a "tracks app" system that can provide performance data such as 0-60-mph and quarter-mile times, lateral acceleration and stopping distances from 60 mph or 100 mph.
Options echo those of the V6 but further include an EcoBoost Performance package (19-inch wheels with summer tires, firmer suspension calibrations, upgraded brakes, aluminum dash trim, added gauges and unique steering and chassis tuning) and Recaro sport seats.
To the EcoBoost's standard equipment, the EcoBoost Premium adds 18-inch wheels, selectable drive modes, aluminum and chrome interior accents, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio and an 8-inch touchscreen with the MyFord Touch interface.
Options for the EcoBoost Premium echo those of the standard EcoBoost but further include different wheels, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver memory settings, an upgraded 12-speaker audio system, a navigation system, special interior trim and a 50 Years Appearance package (unique grille, wheels, gas cap and upholstery).
The Mustang GT includes all the EcoBoost's standard features along with the V8 engine, 18-inch wheels, chrome exhaust tips, line-lock (for track use), launch control (manual transmission), upgraded brakes and hood vents.
Options for the GT are similar to those for the Mustang V6. Also available is the GT Performance package that gets you 19-inch wheels with summer tires, a rear spoiler delete, a Torsen limited-slip differential, firmer suspension calibrations, upgraded Brembo brakes (manual transmission), additional bracing, added gauges, and unique steering and chassis tuning.
The GT Premium comes with the same added and optional features as the EcoBoost Premium.
The Mustang GT 50 Years Limited Edition includes all the GT Premium's features along with exclusive paint colors (Wimbledon white or Kona blue), unique 19-inch wheels, added chrome exterior trim, the GT Performance package, unique upholstery, the 12-speaker sound system, the navigation system and unique "50 Years"-emblazoned grille, gas cap, door sills, dash and floor mats.
Powertrains and Performance
A 3.7-liter V6 engine with an estimated 300 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque is standard on the base Mustang. The EcoBoost has a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. Ford estimates that it will produce around 305 hp and 300 lb-ft. The GT boasts a 5.0-liter V8 good for at least 420 hp and 390 lb-ft. Note that all engine outputs are preliminary estimates by Ford. We will provide more concrete numbers once they become available. Any engine can be paired to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic (with paddle shifters).
Standard safety features for all 2015 Ford Mustangs include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags (coupe only) and a driver's knee airbag. Also standard are Ford's MyKey system (which allows owners to limit speed and audio volume levels for young drivers) and, for manual-transmission models, hill-start assist.
Optional on the "Premium" trim levels and standard on the 50 Years Limited Edition are blind spot and cross traffic warning systems.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2015 Ford Mustang's interior pays homage to Mustangs past with its dual-cowl-style dashboard while still offering all the latest modern conveniences. Depending on the trim level, even luxuries such as adaptive cruise control and heated and ventilated front seats can be had. Materials quality is generally improved, and drivers of all sizes should be able to get more comfortable behind the wheel of the latest Mustang, as that wheel now features a telescoping function in addition to tilt adjustment.
Sync's voice activation feature greatly simplifies operation of the audio, phone and navigation systems. The MyFord Touch interface is more controversial. There's a learning curve for getting the most out of the system, and operating the touchscreen can be distracting at times. In general, we prefer the easier-to-use touchscreen interface in the Dodge Challenger.
Both coupe and convertible body styles can accommodate four adults, but rear passengers will likely be cramped. If you regularly carry around larger folks in the backseat, the Challenger would be a better bet. The coupe's trunk provides 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space, fairly generous for a sport coupe, while the convertible offers 11.4 cubes. Standard split-folding rear seats on the coupe expand cargo capacity.
Although we have yet to drive the 2015 Ford Mustang, we're sure that, if past versions are any indication, the car will offer a lot of performance and driving fun for the dollar. Given that the previous car was pretty quick with the base V6, we'd expect the potent turbo-4 and of course the muscle-bound V8 to be thrill rides when you nail the throttle. And that new rear suspension should improve handling, especially while encountering midcorner bumps. We'd expect the ride quality to benefit as well.
Once we get our turn in the new Mustang's saddle, we will update this review with more concrete impressions and pertinent performance numbers.