2012 Ford Mustang Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 and V8 engines
  • capable handling
  • excellent brakes
  • Ford Sync system
  • performance customization.
  • Some cheap interior bits
  • no telescoping steering wheel
  • lots of Mustangs on the street.
List Price Estimate
$7,126 - $10,007

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Edmunds' Expert Review

In any of its iterations, the 2012 Ford Mustang lineup represents the best pony car you can buy today.

Vehicle overview

After numerous improvements to the Mustang lineup last year, we wouldn't have been surprised this year to see Ford's engineers just sit back and watch their winning horse run circles around its competition. As it turns out, though, they've been busily creating yet another highly desirable model to join the stable.

For 2012, Ford reintroduces the Mustang Boss 302, a nameplate that recalls the Boss 302 of 1969. Just as before, the new Boss 302 is a track-tuned beast, and it should also be both great to drive and even potentially collectible. Numerous engine enhancements kick output up to 444 horsepower, and the Boss receives a host of other hardware upgrades to handle the extra fury under the hood.

Supporting the new Boss 302 are two Mustangs that are capable in their own right. The entry-level Mustang's V6 engine churns out an impressive 305 hp and earns a laudable 31 mpg on the EPA highway cycle. The V8-powered GT brings even more power into the mix. For both models Ford offers an impressive array of options, including suspension and brake upgrades and the innovative Sync electronics system.

As good as the Mustang is, there are a few minor faults. The interior still has its share of cheap plastic, while the lack of a telescoping steering wheel means a compromised driving position for some. The new-generation Mustang is also a victim of its own success when it comes to styling, because there are too many on the road to turn heads.

The 2012 Ford Mustang isn't the only horse in the race, either. The 2012 Dodge Challenger provides a more spacious interior, while the more dramatically styled 2012 Chevrolet Camaro will likely collect a lot more attention. The Mustang pulls away in the home stretch, however, as it presents the most complete package overall.

2012 Ford Mustang models

The 2012 Ford Mustang is available as a coupe or convertible and is offered in five trim levels: V6, V6 Premium, GT, GT Premium and Boss 302. (The Shelby GT500 is reviewed separately.)

The base V6 starts with 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, keyless entry, integrated blind-spot mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-only steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack.

The V6 Premium adds upgraded 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, Ford's Sync system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, color-adjustable gauges, ambient lighting, upgraded interior trim and an upgraded eight-speaker sound system with satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface. The V8-powered GT comes with the base V6's features plus 18-inch alloys, automatic headlights, a rear spoiler, adjustable steering effort and foglamps. The GT Premium is essentially a GT with different 18-inch wheels and the V6 Premium's roster of features.

Options on Mustang V6 models include an exterior appearance package that adds bodywork graphics and a rear spoiler. Bundled with the optional rear parking sensors are an anti-theft system and wheel locks. Also available is a V6 Performance package (for coupes with manual transmissions) that includes 19-inch wheels with summer tires, numerous suspension and brake upgrades, a recalibrated stability control system and a 3.31 rear axle ratio.

The V6 Premium unlocks a slew of packages and options in addition to those available on the base model. These include: the Pony package and the Mustang Club of America Special Edition (both consist of 18-inch wheels and various exterior styling enhancements); the Comfort Group package (a power passenger seat and heated front seats); and the Electronics package (automatic climate control, HD radio and a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic and other information). Also available are remote ignition, xenon headlamps, a glass roof, a tonneau cover for convertible models and a back-up camera.

The Mustang GT can be outfitted with upgraded Brembo brakes, 19-inch wheels, summer tires and the recalibrated stability control system. Two performance axles for quicker acceleration are available: 3.55:1 and 3.73:1. The GT Premium can be had with all the options of the V6 Premium and GT packages plus a selection from an array of 18-inch and 19-inch wheels, the California Special package (more exterior styling variations) and a more powerful 10-speaker sound system (not available with the Electronics package).

The new high-performance Boss 302 is only available as a coupe and adds a more powerful V8 engine, 19-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips, special exterior trim and aerodynamic elements, a 3.73:1 rear-axle ratio, Brembo brakes, adjustable shock absorbers, unique interior trim, a suede-wrapped steering wheel, alloy pedals, cloth seats and the base audio system. Recaro front seats (from the GT500) and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential are optional.

The limited-edition Boss 302 Laguna Seca model goes even further with track-ready aerodynamic enhancements, race-compound tires, a stiffer suspension, unique gauges and standardization of the Recaro seats and Torsen differential, plus the deletion of the rear seat.

2012 Highlights

The big news for the 2012 Ford Mustang is the revival of the storied high-performance Boss 302 model. Also notable is the introduction of adjustable effort settings for the power steering effort on GT models.

Performance & mpg

The 2012 Ford Mustang V6 is powered by a 3.7-liter engine producing 305 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. The Mustang GT steps up to a 5.0-liter V8 good for 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Both have a standard six-speed manual transmission, while a six-speed automatic is optional. As if this isn't enough, the Boss 302's 5.0-liter V8 ups power output to 444 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. (An automatic transmission is not available for the Boss 302, however.)

The Mustang V6 coupe earns an EPA fuel economy estimate of 19 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 23 mpg in combined driving with the automatic transmission, while the manual is estimated at 19/29/22 mpg. The GT has an 18/25/21 mpg rating with the automatic, and 17/26/20 mpg with the manual. Opting for more aggressive rear differential gear ratios will further drop fuel economy.

In recent Edmunds testing, a V6 Mustang loaded with the Performance package and 3.31 gear ratios accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. A V8 Mustang with 3.73 gears managed the same run in only 4.8 seconds.

Safety

Standard safety features for all 2012 Ford Mustangs include antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags (chest and head protection), traction control and stability control. Also standard is Ford's MyKey system, which allows owners to limit speed and audio volume levels for young drivers.

In government crash tests, the Mustang earned an overall safety rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for overall front crash protection and four stars for side crash protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Mustang coupe earned a top score of "Good" for frontal-offset collision protection and a second-best "Acceptable" for side-impact protection.

In Edmunds brake testing, the V6 and V8 Mustangs turned in impressive stopping distances. The V6 stopped from 60 mph in only 103 feet, while the V8 needed only 109. It is important to note, however, that both vehicles benefited from the optional performance packages.

Driving

Regardless of which 2012 Ford Mustang you choose, you're in for a wild ride. The base V6 makes more than enough power for the average driver and plenty of oomph to satisfy a majority of driving enthusiasts as well. The V8 engines take performance up a few notches with gobs of torque and a glorious exhaust note. Driving enthusiasts will naturally want to select the manual transmission, though the automatic isn't a bad choice; it's prone to early upshifts in order to maximize fuel economy, but there's enough torque to keep the Mustang ably motivated.

Within the pony car triumvirate of the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang, the Ford is lightest on its feet. On a curvy road, the Mustang responds eagerly to steering inputs and feels controlled and manageable. Due to the Mustang's solid rear axle design, though, the rear of the car can get a bit twitchy when encountering midcorner bumps.

Interior

The Mustang's interior can be appointed with all of the modern conveniences we've come to expect, while also paying homage to its rich history. Sync's voice-activation features greatly simplify operation of audio, phone and navigation systems. The buttons themselves don't have a particularly solid feel, though, and a large percentage of door panel and center console real estate is taken up by hard plastic.

The Mustang also lacks a telescoping steering wheel, though thankfully most drivers should be able to find a comfortable seating position. Both coupe and convertible body styles can accommodate four adults, but rear passengers will be cramped; if you regularly carry around more than two people, the Challenger is a better bet. The coupe's trunk can hold a decent 12.3 cubic feet, while the convertible's space drops to 9.7 cubes.

Boss 302 variants get the added bonus of Ford's new TracKey technology. Owners receive a standard black key as well as a red key. The red key is intended for use on racetracks only, as it increases low-end torque, sharpens throttle response, increases off-throttle deceleration and unlocks launch control.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Ford Mustang.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Smiles on your face!
jsm10,03/27/2011
2012 GT Coupe . . . perfect blend for an easy daily driver plus everything you'd want to put a smile on your face. First, the smile factors . . . satisfying growl, neck-snapping torque, smooth clutch and tight 6 speed, balanced handling (you'll look for curvy two-lane roads) and appreciative looks. And, this comes in an easy-to-drive commuter. The engine is powerful enough so that you don't have to "row" yourself down the street. Gas mileage is 16/26 . . . you can get over 20 combined, but you'll want to put your foot into when you get a chance. Did I mention the growl? LOTS of bells and whistles with SYNC, bluetooth and the optional NAV system (recommended if you like music).
Can't be Beat for the Price
jeffc,11/10/2011
Ordered 2012 Black Coupe V-6 with 6 speed manual and performance package. Out the door for a little over $23k, hell economy cars will run you more than that now. Car is awesome looking, very tight feel to it and it actually rides good considering the GT suspension and 19 inch wheels. And this thing gets up and goes and I have only taken it up to a little over 5000 rpm's ( redline is 7k). I cannot imagine what the V8 must be like but that would have cost $7,000 more and a lot more in insurance. Went from an 08 Tiburon and insurance actually went from over $500 every 6 months to about $310! Ordered in Aug just got it and now getting it ready to store...I hate winter!
6 Months In
imabully,06/13/2012
I have had my base 2012 Ford Mustang V6 Mustang with automatic transmission for just over 6 months now. I bought it in December 2011. Winter driving conditions were no problem with a sack of sand in the trunk ;) I love the acceleration, handling (and gas mileage). At 95 MPH, the Mustang is just percolating along and yawningly understressed.
1st Boss Review!!
cammer,09/14/2011
Just got a performance white Boss, used with 4k miles and no trac key or Recaro seat option. really wanted those options but I refused to pay the stupid 10k markup that the dealers currently insist on. Now on to the car. In a word WOW! the handling and power of this Stang is remarkable! I can't wipe the grin off my face every time I hit an on ramp or a corner that I can accelerate through. I am driving the car daily and it is quitecivilized below 4500 rpm then all bets are off! I have been amazed as to how mant people have come to talk to me about the car or give a big thumbs up!

Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 24 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
412 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
19 city / 30 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
305 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
19 city / 30 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
305 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
16 city / 24 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
412 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2012 Ford Mustang features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat3 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover8.7%

More about the 2012 Ford Mustang

Used 2012 Ford Mustang Overview

The Used 2012 Ford Mustang is offered in the following submodels: Mustang Coupe, Mustang Convertible, Mustang Boss 302. Available styles include V6 2dr Coupe (3.7L 6cyl 6M), V6 Premium 2dr Coupe (3.7L 6cyl 6M), Boss 302 2dr Coupe (5.0L 8cyl 6M), GT Premium 2dr Coupe (5.0L 8cyl 6M), GT Premium 2dr Convertible (5.0L 8cyl 6M), GT 2dr Coupe (5.0L 8cyl 6M), V6 Premium 2dr Convertible (3.7L 6cyl 6M), V6 2dr Convertible (3.7L 6cyl 6M), and GT 2dr Convertible (5.0L 8cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Ford Mustang?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Ford Mustang trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Ford Mustang V6 Premium is priced between $6,481 and$11,995 with odometer readings between 78729 and179479 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ford Mustang GT is priced between $17,450 and$35,987 with odometer readings between 17105 and82680 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ford Mustang V6 is priced between $11,995 and$13,991 with odometer readings between 29483 and59651 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is priced between $44,995 and$44,995 with odometer readings between 11416 and11416 miles.

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Which used 2012 Ford Mustangs are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Ford Mustang for sale near. There are currently 8 used and CPO 2012 Mustangs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,481 and mileage as low as 11416 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Ford Mustang.

Can't find a used 2012 Ford Mustangs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Mustang for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,346.

Find a used Ford for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $17,249.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Mustang for sale - 2 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $24,720.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 6 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $24,435.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Ford Mustang?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Ford lease specials
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