2018 Ford Mustang

2018 Ford Mustang Review

This American icon gets comprehensive upgrades for 2018, making it more appealing than ever.
7.9 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

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.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, this generation of Mustang receives its first midcycle refresh. There's new front- and rear-end styling plus a few tweaks to the cabin, but the enhancements under the skin are more substantial. Ford has retuned the suspension and added a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The V6 model has been discontinued, but the turbocharged four-cylinder engine gains additional torque. V8 models get more power plus a redesigned manual gearbox and a two-mode exhaust system. Magnetic dampers are now available with the Performance Pack, and a heated steering wheel and a suite of driver assistance features are available.

We recommend

The Mustang's V8 is irresistible, so go for the gusto and get the GT model. Be an American hero and stick with the standard six-speed manual. Add useful day-to-day civility at a reasonable cost by choosing the optional active valve exhaust and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Performance package is totally livable on a day-to-day basis and sharpens up the Mustang's responses, so go ahead and tick that box, too. Make sure to get it in a wild color such as Orange Fury because you only live once.




Trim levels & features

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-speaker sound system, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium Coupe (5.0L V8 | 6-speed manual | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Mustang has received some revisions for 2018, including a retuned suspension, a new 10-speed automatic transmission, a more powerful V8 and the deletion of the V6 model. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Mustang, however.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.9 / 10

Driving

8.5 / 10

Acceleration8.0 / 10
Braking7.0 / 10
Steering9.0 / 10
Handling8.0 / 10
Drivability9.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control8.0 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility8.0 / 10
Quality8.0 / 10

Utility

6.5 / 10

Small-item storage6.0 / 10
Cargo space7.0 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation8.0 / 10
Smartphone integration8.0 / 10
Driver aids8.0 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving8.5

The 5.0-liter V8 is a gem. It's powerful and remarkably docile. Maybe too much — the exhaust note is rather meek. Although the standard suspension feels less planted than the Performance Pack's, the car's limits are roughly the same. It's softer, but hardly dumbed down.

Acceleration8.0

Our test car lacked the Performance Pack's shorter 3.73 rear end, which helps explain its slower sprint to 60 mph (5.2 seconds vs. 4.7). The trap-speed gap (108.2 mph vs. 111.2) is notable. But in the real world, this V8 still hauls the mail. The 2018 Mustang should be quicker still.

Braking7.0

No Performance Pack means no ultra-touchy brake pedal, which is a relief in daily driving. This car actually stopped 2 feet shorter from 60 mph, needing just 106 feet, with its standard brakes. The pedal is firm yet easy to modulate.

Steering9.0

It feels a bit synthetic under normal conditions but quickly becomes an ally in fast corners. Responsive and surprisingly precise. Adjustable effort levels are more noticeable in parking lots than at speed.

Handling8.0

This car with summer tires posted very similar numbers in our handling tests to those from a Performance Pack GT we also tested. The latter feels more buttoned-down on the road, though. The 2018 model promises to further improve on its handling precision.

Drivability9.0

Clutch engagement isn't quite intuitive, and misses aren't readily forgiven. Still, the GT is super easy to drive. The gentle throttle tip-in keeps most of those 435 horses in the stable. The linear brake feel is most welcome.

Comfort8.0

The standard GT suspension is certainly more supple than the Performance Pack's firmed-up version, though the former amplifies the latter's bouncy feel on some surfaces. If you're drawn to this car for its performance, you'll likely find its everyday comfort more than adequate.

Seat comfort8.0

Our test car had the Recaro seats, which offer both excellent lateral support and remarkable long-distance comfort. But adjustability is limited. The rear seats are uninhabitable for most humans due to the low roof and rear glass.

Ride comfort8.5

There's a bounciness to this suspension and summer tire combo that can make the car feel unsettled on imperfect pavement. Harsh impacts are uncommon, and bump compliance is noticeably better than with the Performance Pack. The 2018 model's retuned suspension should ride better.

Noise & vibration8.0

The Mustang keeps wind noise in check nicely, and despite the big 20-inch summer tires, road noise remains modest on most surfaces. The mild V8 burble through the firewall is a constant but welcome companion. Plenty quiet for a pleasant road trip.

Interior8.0

The Mustang's interior is an impressive effort, featuring good quality materials and fun pony-car flourishes without going over the top. The dual-cowl dashboard looks cool.

Ease of use8.0

Most buttons and levers are straightforward in operation and feel well built, though the faux-metal toggle switches are flimsier than they look.

Getting in/getting out7.0

The Mustang's long doors are awkward in tight spots, but the front seats aren't as low as you might think, so you don't plop way down. The Recaro side bolsters can require extra contortions to get around. Rear-seat access is a chore.

Roominess7.0

The Mustang is less likely to trigger claustrophobia than certain rivals. The high beltline still creates a bunkerlike feel, though. The front seats accommodate all shapes and sizes, unlike the rears.

Visibility8.0

Despite the high beltline, the Mustang's visibility is above average for the segment, aided by windshield pillars that aren't too wide and expansive rear glass that gives a decent rearward view. It's still nice to have the backup camera.

Quality8.0

Nicest Mustang cabin in modern memory, but you'll find some cheap-feeling plastics if you poke around. Zero squeaks and rattles.

Utility6.5

The Mustang's a notably more practical car than its chief rival, the Camaro. Easier trunk access, more cargo volume and a friendlier cabin. Still, any decent compact hatchback will at least match the Mustang's utility.

Small-item storage6.0

The interior storage is adequate, but the door pockets don't hold much and the console bin is on the shallow side.

Cargo space7.0

The Mustang's trunk checks in at a decent 13.5 cubic feet, but the optional Shaker stereo includes a trunk-mounted subwoofer that makes two golf bags a pretty tight fit.

Edmunds expert 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.