By Matt Degen
Few mainstream cars command appreciation like the Ford Mustang. For over five decades this sports car has pleased buyers of every stripe with its style, performance and attitude -- all at a price within reach of the Everyday Joe or Jane. Overhauled just two years ago, the 2017 Ford Mustang continues to bask in the glory of its past while offering today's amenities and technology. Available as a coupe or convertible, Ford's pony car offers several powertrains, from the standard V6 to an efficient yet powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder and the iconic 5.0-liter V8. Topping the food chain are track-ready Shelby GT350 models. While even those still can't out-muscle the Chevy Camaro ZL1 or Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, the Mustang has bragging rights beyond mere horsepower.
If you're looking for a sports coupe or convertible with power, pedigree, iconic style and an abundance of available tech/safety features and creature comforts, the 2017 Mustang brings all those to the table. That it starts around $25,000 is the cherry on top.
If horsepower is your ultimate yardstick, few production cars can match the 707 ponies of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which also happens to seat five passengers, one more than the Ford. The Mustang's longtime archrival, the Chevy Camaro, itself is celebrating five decades of power and is readying a new ZL1 model.
One of the best additions for the 2017 Ford Mustang is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity, part of the Sync3 infotainment system available across the 2017 lineup. The formerly optional Track Package for Shelby GT350 models is now standard, but it increases the price of that performance model.
With the independent rear suspension that arrived a couple of years ago as part of its 6th-generation revamp, the Ford Mustang finally handles like a modern car. In addition to...
... being more nimble than its solid-axle predecessors, it's just better in everyday driving, with a smoother ride and none of the jittery rear-end motions of the old car. Whether you choose the standard V6, small but potent EcoBoost 4-cylinder or the 5.0-liter V8, all Mustang models are notably quick. However, it's the last of these that truly sounds like a Ford Mustang should, with an auditory rumble and roar that's pure Americana. The pricey Shelby GT350 offers true track-ready performance and an addicting howl from its 5.2-liter V8. The Mustang's 6-speed manual transmission is commendable, with short throws and solid feel. If you prefer the 6-speed automatic, you can still pick your own gears with paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
Muscle cars used to put brawn first, even if that meant bruising passengers. Not so with the new Mustang. Consider the heated and cooled front seats, CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and even active noise cancellation for a quieter ride. All are easily available on the 2017 Mustang.
Let's be honest: You know you want to. That's why the new Mustang 5.0 features a standard "line-lock" mode that locks the front brakes for standing burnouts. Manual-transmission GT models also include launch control for maximum acceleration.
Coupe or convertible, Ford's modern muscle car seats four passengers but the rear seats are extremely tight -- and in the hard-core Shelby GT350R, nonexistent. Up front, room is decent for driver and passenger. The front seats are comfortable, and the sturdy audio/climate-control switches are easy to reach. Beware the rear blind spots in coupes created by the raked roof. The Ford Mustang's trunk is bigger than you might expect -- 13.5 cubic feet in coupes, 11.4 in convertibles -- and the rear seats fold flat to accommodate longer items. The Mustang convertible uses a one-hand release latch for the power-operated soft top.
With its long hood, short trunk, sloping rear glass and tri-bar taillights, the 2017 Ford Mustang could never be mistaken for anything other than Ford's pony car. Yet this is no retro-wannabe. The sleek lines, aggressive headlights and windswept design also make the latest Mustang totally relevant today. Gone is the bulkiness of the previous design, replaced with a lower, wider-looking car that, from most angles, is beautiful. Convertibles look best with the lined and insulated fabric top folded, but even when up it's still unmistakably Mustang. Active grille shutters on 2.3-liter models can close to redirect airflow, improving aerodynamics.
The least expensive Ford Mustang V6 Fastback comes equipped with a rearview camera, push-button start, Track Apps showing performance metrics like g-forces, selectable-effort steering (Normal/Sport/Comfort), 4-way manual-adjust driver's seat, high-intensity headlights and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Standard audio is an AM/FM/CD system with two USB inputs and Sync Bluetooth connectivity. Safety features include traction and stability control and front, side and knee airbags. EcoBoost trims include the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, power front seats, LED fog lights, 18-inch wheels and decklid spoiler. GT Mustangs have the iconic 5.0-liter V8, larger brakes and the line-lock feature for burnouts -- for track use only, wink wink.
From ventilated front seats to a Shaker audio system and Brembo performance brakes, there’s a slew of options to suit your taste and budget. We're fans of the new Sync3 system, which is far easier to see and use than past versions of Ford's infotainment system, and for 2017 is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has nine speakers and navigation. Leather interior is optional, as is blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The track-ready-but-street-legal Mustang Shelby 350R can be more like the slightly less-intense Shelby 350 by reequipping it with an audio system, rear seat and air conditioning.
Four engines are now available for the 2017 Mustang, with even the least making a potent 300 ponies. Base models use a naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6, while EcoBoost models have a turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. For those who won't recognize a Mustang with anything less than a V8, the GT is your ride. It's ready to roll with a 5.0. For buyers who plan to track their Mustang or simply desire a real screamer, there are the Shelby GT350 models, which use a 5.2-liter V8 that spits out 526 horsepower in both the standard and GT350R derivative. All Mustangs are rear-wheel drive and come with a 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic transmission is optional on all except the Shelby variants.
300 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (manual & automatic, coupe)
2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4
310 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
320 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (manual & automatic), 21/27 mpg (manual, convertible), 20/28 mpg (automatic, convertible), 21/28 mpg (manual, coupe w/performance package), 20/28 mpg (automatic, coupe w/performance package)
435 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
400 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/25 mpg (manual, coupe), 15/24 mpg (automatic, coupe), 14/23 mpg (manual, convertible), 15/23 mpg (automatic, convertible), 14/23 mpg (manual, coupe w/performance package)
5.2-liter V8 (GT350)
526 horsepower @7,500 rpm
429 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Ford Mustang has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $25,545 for a V6 model with manual transmission. Opting for an automatic transmission is roughly $1,200 extra. A turbocharged Mustang with the EcoBoost 4-cylinder starts $1,000 higher, while a Mustang GT with the 5.0-liter V8 begins at $33,545 -- not a lot for a car that packs 435 horsepower. Convertibles start just over $31,000 and climb just past $43,000 with a 5.0-liter V8. The base price of a Mustang Shelby GT350 -- available in coupe form only -- has increased to $56,495, largely because the formerly optional Track Package is now standard. The Mustang's prices slightly undercut those of the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to get the best deal. The Mustang's resale value is expected to split the difference between the Camaro and Challenger.