The Ford Mustang was all-new for the 2015 model year and the 2018 model lineup benefits from its first major modification since then.
It’s no secret that the Ford Mustang has been hugely popular since that first pony car made its debut back in the mid-60s. (I’ve always thought of the first model as being a ’65, but in reality, the first ‘Stang was really a ’64 and a half.) I’ve never really been a raging Mustang fan. Don’t get me wrong here, I‘ve always thought that they were pretty cool, but have never owned one, and really never lusted to own one. My perception and perhaps that of many others will undoubtedly get a rude awakening by test driving two very different models of the latest 2018 Ford Mustang.
There are two body styles for the 2018 lineup with different trim levels available: a 4-passernger 2-door fastback coupe; and a Ford Mustang Ragtop or convertible model. Two power sources are available – (there is no longer a V-6 engine in the mix) a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with Direct Injection that delivers 310 horsepower along with 350 pound feet of torque; or the top of the 5.0-liter TI-VCT V8 propelled muscle model that now pumps our more horsepower and torque 460 and 420 respectively. In the gear changing department is a six-speed manual for the V8 powered vehicles or a new 10-speed SelctShift automatic, available for both engines – delivers quicker shift times, better low-speed tip-in response and significantly reduced friction losses. with paddle shifters.
The new 2018 Ford Mustang appears with a sleeker design, more advanced technology and improved performance, featuring a lower, restyled hood and grille, and new hood vents that provide a bolder, more athletic image. The entire lineup features all-LED front lights for the first time, plus there are revised LED taillamps, a new bumper, fascia and an available performance spoiler. Dual-tip exhaust is standard for Mustang EcoBoost® models, while; V8-powered Mustang GT vehicles come with a standard quad-tip exhaust. A heated steering wheel is optional, while the standard rearview camera carries over. An available 12-inch, all-digital LCD instrument cluster offers unique displays for normal, sport and track modes.
All-new Ford MyMode allows customers to save drive settings when ordered with the 12-inch cluster. The car’s engine note can be personalized with an all-new active valve performance exhaust, available on Mustang GT.
Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and Driver Alert System are available driver-assist technologies. SYNC® Connect with FordPass™ is available for the first time. New shock absorbers, cross-axis joint on rear suspension and innovative stabilizer bars deliver an improved ride on all Series. MagneRide dampers are a new option with Mustang Performance Package.
My test 2018 Ford Mustang, was the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger powered model Coupe, in Premium trim. The exterior was sprayed with a Triple Yellow finish , while the interior was executed in Ebony leather. The base price was set at $30,600., with the as tested price totaling $42,765. after factoring in the optional fare, which included: the Triple Yellow paint (which I call Impound Yellow); the 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission; the EcoBoost Performance Package; the Safe and Smart Package; Enhanced Security Package; Shaker Pro Audio System; MagneRide Dampening System; and Destination and Delivery Charge. The list of standard features and equipment is impressive, but too lengthy to include here.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Coupe that we were afforded the opportunity to pilot rose above expectations served up a high performance level with an aerodynamic, clean sheet, new design along with innovative, state-of-the-art technology.
The new Ford Mustang looks, drives and sounds like it should – at least the V8 does. The four-cylinder’s sound could be better, but it does everything else well. Acceleration is more than adequate with the 2.3-liter motor. In terms of handling, the four-banger comes across as more civilized with a lighter and more agile feeling due to its lighter nose weight. Steering delivers a positive feedback and responds quickly to driver input. The ride quality is vastly improved with the new suspension setups even in stock form, and the Performance Pack ups the ante to an even higher degree in terms of both ride and handling attributes.
Ford 86’d the old solid rear axle that had been used forever, in favor of an integral link independent rear suspension with coil springs and a stabilizer bar (finally). The front suspension consists of Independent MacPherson struts, double ball joints and a stabilizer bar. Side hop that used to come under more stressful and spirited performance maneuvers has been eliminated Yeaaa. A Selectable Drive Mode feature is available to tune in changes in steering effort, engine response as well as transmission and electronic stability control settings to suit the driving scenario at hand at any given time utilizing console mounted toggle switches. GT models include a standard launch control for cars equipped with a manual gearbox.
Shifting is more responsive and smoother with both the manual and automatic transmissions. Automatic paddle shifter response is both rapid and seamless. Connectivity and safety elements and enhancements showcase the latest industry advancements, further increasing the new Mustang’s value.
Lounging comfortably in the back seat of the Coupe on a long trip is out of the question for tall individual due to its cramped nature.
Bottom line, the 2018 Ford Mustang Ecoboost fastback Coupe lineup represents superiority over that first Mustang in every way. It’s safe to say that I’ve now come closer to being converted to becoming a Mustang fan.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Coupe Premium
Base Price: $30,600.
Price as Tested: $42,765.
Engine Type and Size: 2.3-liter Ecoboost inline 4-cylinder
Horsepower (bhp): 310 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 350 @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: Ten-speed SelectShift automatic.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear Wheel Drive
Suspension: Front – Double Ball Joint Independent with MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Integral Link Independent with coil springs and stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABSand AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control system.
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero 255/40-ZR19/96Y mounted on 7-“Y”-spoke Black painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
Length Overall: 188.5 inches
Width: 75.4 inches
Height: 54.3 inches
Curb Weight: 3,532 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.5 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 15.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city / 31 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.