Review: Ford Mustang (2015)

Rating:

Guaranteed to get attention. Lovely noise from 5.0-litre engine. No other car can match the V8 for pound-per-horsepower.

V8 has a frightening thirst for fuel. The interior lacks quality. Uncharismatic sound from 2.3 Ecoboost. Tiring to drive in traffic.

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25 June 2019 Mustang Bullitt special edition run extended

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Ford Mustang (2015): At A Glance

It took Ford 50 years before it officially brought its iconic muscle car to Europe. And - quelle surprise - it's been an enormous success, with 35,000 sold in Europe since 2015. The UK was the Mustang's second biggest European market after Germany last year, with 2,211 sold - outselling the Porsche 911.

Why the success? Well, what other iconic V8-powered sports car can you buy for less than £40k? The Mustang is a car that screams "look a me", a car that makes a statement. A car you should buy if you want to stand out in a car park full of greyscale German cars.

Updated for 2018, the Mustang has been given a slight facelift - with a more aggressive front end made up of a larger front splitter and revised LED headlights. To the rear, a revised bumper, optional rear spoiler and quad-tailpipes for the V8 give it an even more boisterous appearance.

That V8 - the engine everyone wants - now delivers 450PS (up from 416PS), just in case anyone previously felt it wasn't powerful enough. It provides exactly the driving experience you'd want from a Mustang - loud and deep on start-up, while being aggressive with the throttle will get the 'Stang out of shape pretty quickly. The downside is a car that's far from relaxing to drive in the same way a powerful Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz can be. The clutch - if you choose a manual - is heavy in traffic, while the gear change is clunky.

Half of buyers are expected to opt for the more wallet-friendly 2.3-litre EcoBoost with 290PS (down from 314PS pre-facelift). While it has its benefits - it's more economical, obviously, and more docile - it's not what the Mustang is all about. We like the same engine in the Focus RS, but it's underwhelming in the Mustang. The noise is disappointing and the performance is adequate at best. When the V8 is only marginally more expensive and slightly-more-than-marginally thirstier than the EcoBoost, it's hard to justify not going for the full-fat Mustang experience.

Whether you opt for the sleek coupe or the soft-top is down to personal preference. We prefer the appearance of the Fastback, but the multi layer insulated fabric hood of the convertible does a fine job of hiding wind noise. And, besides, being able to drop the roof and enjoy the V8 sound in all its glory is a very tempting proposition.

Ford's given the interior a more premium finish for 2018, but it's still the area that lets the Mustang down compared to more premium rivals. But its naffness is part of what makes it a Mustang - if you want soft touch finishes and a slick infotainment system, buy an Audi.

Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost 2015 Road Test

Ford Mustang 5.0 GT 2018 Road Test

What does a Ford Mustang (2015) cost?

List Price from £37,645
Buy new from £33,700
Contract hire from £501.88 per month

Ford Mustang (2015): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4784 mm
Width 2080 mm
Height 1381–1394 mm
Wheelbase 2720 mm

Full specifications

If there's one area that lets the Mustang down, it's the interior. Although improved for 2018, it still falls short of the standards of other Ford cars. The Mustang's low list price compared to rivals makes up for it to an extent, but it still costs more than £30,000.

It gets the basics right - the driving position is good and there's plenty of adjustment in the steering column plus we like the supportive yet comfortable seats. But that doesn't disguise the fact that it feels rather dated.

Things like the row of switches at the base of the centre console highlight this. They may look like metal but they are in fact silver painted plastic. The same goes for the dials on the stereo and the air conditioning controls. It feels distinctly low rent in what's supposed to be a feel-good sports car.

Even small details like the buttons for turning on the interior lights - which look like they've been lifted from an early 90s Nissan - show where costs have been kept down.

That's not to say it's short of kit. All models come well equipped with dual zone air con, keyless entry and start while the Ford Sync system (initially the 2 but later upgraded to the much better 3) is excellent with an easy to use and responsive touchscreen. There's also a reversing camera although we're surprised that navigation is an optional extra.

We've also got gripes with the change to right hand drive. The handbrake is on the wrong side, while the cupholders get in the way when changing gear.

Standard equipment:

Mustang comes with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, plus 19-inch wheels, aperformance brake package, automatic HID xenon headlamps, LED tail lamps and a rear diffuser. Further standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, a nine-speaker sound system, and SYNC 3 voice control connectivity with an eight-inch colour touch screen.

Additional options include climate control seats and premium 19-inch alloy wheels with Lustre Nickel finish (available as part of the optional custom pack). 11 exterior colour choices include exclusive Orange Fury and tri-coat Triple Yellow.

Child seats that fit a Ford Mustang (2015)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Ford Mustang (2015) like to drive?

Let's be honest here. If you're after a Mustang, you'll want the 5.0 V8. If only so you can make continual Vanilla Ice references. That and it's the one with all the noise and performance.

The big 5.0-litre is a classic American muscle car engine. There are no turbochargers here. It's a normally aspirated V8 developing 450PS - the same as an Audi RS4. So it's not short of power or pace. On paper it accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds with the manual gearbox.

Desite 529Nm of torque, you can't be lazy when driving the Mustang. Be prepared to drop down a few gears and it'll accelerate - boy, will it accelerate - but don't expect it to comfortably pick up pace from 6th gear when cruising on the motorway. Considering the power output, it's bonkers to think that you may wish it had a little more go, but you might find yourself wanting more. Fortunately there are many aftermarket tuners on hand to increase power - indeed, even Ford admits that few Mustang buyers will leave their car standard.

Alongside the V8, there's a 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine designed to offer a more relaxed driving experience combined with better economy. It's the same engine that's used in the Focus RS, so it comes with a strong reputation. 

There is a school of thought that suggests this is a better fit than the V8. You can drive it harder without the rear wheels becoming unstuck, while the lighter front end means it flows through bends with more finesse. Combine better handling with 290PS and 31.4mpg and it's easy to see why you'd be tempted - but we wouldn't.

It's disappointing, especially if you opt for the 10-speed automatic gearbox. Even with a manual, it just doesn't offer the performance you'd expect from a Mustang. You might as well buy one with a diesel engine (not an option Ford offers, although we reckon it'd be massively popular with company car drivers, if not enthusiasts).

Although Ford Mustangs have never been known for their handling, the current model features independent rear suspension and - in the UK - a performance pack as standard. that means all UK Mustangs come with stiffer suspension, larger brakes and a limited-slip differential.

While the Mustang feels like a big car on twisting, British roads, it gives you plenty of confidence to drive assertively. The steering is heavy (would you expect anything less?), but there's plenty of front-end grip. Selectable drive modes tweak things like the steering weight, throttle response and electronic stability mode. For the first time, Mustang buyers can now alter these using a customisable 'My Mode'. 

As well as feeling the Mustang's size on rural roads, you'll also notice it around town. At close to 4.8 metres long, it's not much shorter than a BMW 5 Series - although, with the Ford, it seems to be mainly bonnet. That means there's a big turning circle, making tight multi-storey car parks a challenge.

Combine that with a heavy clutch and notchy gear change and you'll find the Mustang a tricky companion for day-to-day driving. While enthusiasts will be happy to make this compromise, some drivers will long for the ease of something like the Audi A5. On the plus side, it rides well on the motorway and is a surprisingly competent long distance cruiser.

New for 2018 is a Good Neighbour mode which closes a valve in the exhaust of the V8 when starting it between preset times. This allows you to creep off without waking up the entire street, should you be leaving home early in the morning or late night.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.3T EcoBoost 35 mpg 5.8 s 179 g/km
2.3T EcoBoost Automatic 29 mpg - 225 g/km
2.3T EcoBoost Automatic Convertible 29–31 mpg - 205–225 g/km
2.3T EcoBoost Convertible 31–34 mpg 5.8 s 184–230 g/km
5.0 V8 21 mpg 4.8 s 299 g/km
5.0 V8 Automatic 24 mpg - 281 g/km
5.0 V8 Automatic Convertible 22–23 mpg - 270–289 g/km
5.0 V8 Bullitt 23 mpg 4.8 s 277 g/km
5.0 V8 Convertible 21–23 mpg 4.8 s 277–306 g/km

Real MPG average for a Ford Mustang (2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

95%

Real MPG

16–32 mpg

MPGs submitted

70

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Ford Mustang (2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best convertible for comfort and reliability?

I'm 75 years old and would like to buy a comfortable convertible as my last car. I'm not interested in speed but more comfort and reliability. I would also like room in the back for my three grandchildren. If possible I'd want an automatic petrol.
A Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet would be a lovely choice, but it's not cheap - a C180 automatic starts at around £41,000. If you'd prefer something smaller, consider an Audi A3 Cabriolet. Or, as something a bit different, how about a Ford Mustang? The 2.3-litre EcoBoost will be fine for your needs.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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