At first glance, it's not obvious that the 2013 Ford Mustang GT has had some work done.
Yet even in the sullen grayness of a rain-soaked Portland, Oregon, we slowly start to pick out the enhancements made to the iconic coupe as it nears its 50th anniversary.
The little nips and tucks haven't rendered the Mustang unrecognizable. Instead, they amount to a few subtle enhancements that freshen up its appearance. Underneath the skin it's much the same story, a few minor upgrades to the proven formula. So this Mustang's soul is still clearly intact, but now it has a little added spring in its step.
What's New, Old Friend? While the revisions to the 2013 Ford Mustang seem slight, there's actually a long list of changes and additions. Up front, the headlights are flanked by two LED accent strips, and those HID headlights are now standard across the entire Mustang lineup. A new, more pronounced grille that picks up some aggressive cues from the Shelby GT500 is also standard. The upper and lower inlets now appear as one unified grille that is split by the bumper. The hood also sports some new vents, and yes, they do actually help expel heat from the engine bay.
A walk around to the side of the Mustang reveals a few new wheel designs, some painted gloss black with machined alloy accents. The rocker panels are now painted to match the rest of the body, whereas before they were black plastic. Heated mirrors are now available, and get this: new puddle lamps project the pony logo on the ground when the car is unlocked. The Mustang faithful are sure to love them.
The most noticeable styling change for 2013, however, can be seen from behind. The taillights are now made up of three segmented LEDs outlined with smoked centers that illuminate under braking (the center segment switches to bright white in reverse). Between the taillights is a new gloss-black panel to tie it all together. The rear fascia also features more body-colored paint to replace the previous model's black plastic.
You've Been Working Out The 2013 Ford Mustang boasts a few new features on the inside, too. Most notable is the addition of a 4.2-inch color display between the tach and speedo. As with other Ford vehicles, this sharp screen shows the usual trip information, but this one ups the ante with a new suite of Track Apps that allows you to call up a host of "track-only" performance meters.
Naturally, one app tests your acceleration skills. You can choose either an automatic start (once you start your run) or a nifty drag strip Christmas tree countdown light. Braking times (not distances) are also logged and an accelerometer measures lateral and longitudinal g-loads on a bull's-eye readout.
The 2013 Mustang's cabin can also be upgraded with the Recaro sport seats that were previously only available on the Boss 302 and GT500 variants: either in leather or cloth coverings. Additionally, there are two premium audio upgrades offered: a 370-watt Shaker system and a 550-watt Shaker Pro setup, with eight and nine speakers, respectively. A new Sync AppLink feature also debuts, allowing for smartphone integration with iHeartRadio, Pandora and Twitter.
More Than Just Bells and Whistles Before you start crying foul that it's all about fashion and features, there are some mechanical upgrades worth mentioning. The 5.0-liter V8 in the GT sees a very modest increase in power, from 412 horsepower to 420 hp, thanks to piston and ring coatings from the Boss 302. More importantly, the six-speed automatic transmission gets Ford's SelectShift control, which allows you to select and hold a gear via a rocker switch located on the side of the shifter.
We still contend that the manual gearbox is the way to go, but certainly understand that the majority of drivers nowadays will gravitate toward the automatic. Fortunately, the SelectShift six-speed manages to deliver enough excitement to warrant the compromise.
In Drive, the shifts are almost undetectably smooth under a conservative right foot. Pushed harder, the shifts are more decisive and well-timed. Drop it into Sport mode and the gears stretch even longer, while the downshifts arrive right where you expect them. Kicking the tail out is understandably harder with the automatic, requiring a very aggressive lift and stomp on the accelerator. Still, it is possible, so the auto isn't all bad.
Using the manual control buttons also demands a bit more delicacy than the typical push/pull shifters. Upshifts need to be requested just a beat earlier than you'd expect, and downshifts require at least a second or two of planning. They're not rev-matched either, but when going from 3rd to 2nd gear were met by a smooth transition rather than an unceremonious lurch forward.
Dynamically, the 2013 Mustang we drove on the rain-slicked roads around Oregon wasn't much different from the current model. There's ample compliance in the suspension to smooth out road imperfections, yet enough athleticism to confidently toss it into the curves. The stability control also carries over, allowing the slightest of slip angles before gently intervening. The cabin is pleasantly quiet in terms of road and wind noise — perhaps too quiet, as we'd prefer to hear more of the V8 burble that we find oh so intoxicating. If you're expecting to feel much of a difference in the way the 2013 model handles compared to the 2012 GT, you're going to have to pay very close attention.
The More Things Change... All things considered, the 2013 Ford Mustang has received a lot of enhancements that don't get in the way of its core attributes. It's still the same raucous tire-smoking beast that brings a smile to anyone with a pulse. But there's the nagging question that always comes along with a Mustang update: Should you wait for the next redesign?
Well, the Mustang turns 50 years old in the middle of 2014 and Ford design chief J Mays says that it will be a game-changer. Then again, he says that about just about everything.
Speculation aside, there's so much good stuff on this Mustang that waiting for something better seems almost greedy. We're already talking about a Mustang GT with 420 horses, a very capable suspension and every last comfort and convenience feature. Toss in the subtle design upgrades and it doesn't look like there's much room for improvement. We're sure Ford will think of something, but you're not going to feel the slightest bit cheated if you buy this one instead.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
2013 Ford Mustang Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2013 Ford Mustang and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2013 Mustang featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2013 Ford Mustang and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2013 Mustang 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2013 Mustang.
Review V8 Engine smooth and fast, Car looks great but when I hand wash or it rains water gets in door sills, trunk wells, hood, leaks out of plastic around fog lights, and rear lights, front and rear bumper crevices. After 50 years you'd think Ford would have learned how to build this car tighter. At a Sticker Price with tax of over $50,000 they need
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
The 2013 Ford Mustang earned a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 5.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
Available Ford Mustang 2013 Submodel Types: Coupe, Convertible, SVT Cobra, Boss 302, Mach 1 Premium, Hatchback, Mach 1 Premuim
Exterior Colors: Shadow Black, Oxford White, Race Red, Black, Magnetic Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Grabber Blue, Black Clearcoat, Lightning Blue Metallic, White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat, Triple Yellow Tri-Coat, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, Sterling Gray Metallic, Torch Red Clearcoat, Performance White Clearcoat, Kona Blue Metallic, Guard Metallic, Competition Orange, Windveil Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Satin Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Performance White, Ebony, Screaming Yellow Clearcoat, Tungsten Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Alloy Clearcoat Metallic, Gotta Have it Green Metallic Tri-Coat, Laser Red Tinted Clearcoat, Brilliant Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Mineral Gray Clearcoat Metallic, Redfire Clearcoat, Silver Clearcoat Metallic, Redfire Clearcoat Metallic, Sunset Gold Metallic, Zinc Yellow Clearcoat, Dark Candy Apple Red Clearcoat Metallic, Legend Lime Clearcoat Metallic, Mineral Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat, Vista Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Yellow Blaze Metallic Tri-Coat, 40th Anniversary Crimson Red, Amazon Green Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Shadow Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Lava Red Metallic, Orange Fury Metallic Tri-Coat, Red Candy Metallic w/Tinted Clearcoat, Rio Red Tinted Clearcoat, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Wimbledon White, Azure Blue, Bright Red, Crystal White, Crystal White Clearcoat, Electric Green Clearcoat Metallic, Grabber Orange Clearcoat, Performance Red Clearcoat, Royal Crimson Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Satin Silver Clearcoat, School Bus Yellow, Screaming Yellow, Silver Metallic, Sonic Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Tropic Green Clearcoat Metallic, Vapor Clearcoat Metallic, Vermillion Red, Vibrant White
Interior Colors: Ebony cloth, Ebony leather, Charcoal Black cloth, Charcoal Black leather, Dark Charcoal cloth, Dark Charcoal leather, Ceramic leather, Medium Stone cloth, Dark Charcoal, Dark Saddle leather, Medium Parchment, Medium Stone leather, Medium Parchment cloth, Raven Black leather, Saddle leather, Ceramic cloth, Dark Ceramic cloth, Medium Parchment leather, Midnight Blue leather, Cashmere leather, Medium Graphite, Stone cloth, Black w/Chamois Accent leather, Ebony leather/sueded microfiber, Dark Charcoal w/Red Accent, Dark Charcoal w/Red Accent leather, Black w/Dove Accent premium leather, Black w/Red Accent leather, Dark Charcoal w/Medium Graphite, Dark Charcoal w/Medium Parchment, Light Graphite, Light Graphite leather, Red Line leather, Showstopper Red leather, Yellow Jacket leather
Popular Features: Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Tire Pressure Warning, Post-collision safety system, Stability Control, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Upgraded Headlights, Power Driver Seat, Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Alarm, Back-up camera, Keyless Entry/Start, Rear Bench Seats, Leather Seats, Heated seats, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Cooled Seats, Remote Start, Mobile Internet, Soft Top, Trip Computer, Parking sensors, Navigation, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, Upgraded Stereo, Adaptive Cruise Control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Sunroof/Moonroof, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system