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#3

in Affordable Sports Cars

MSRP: $22,510 - $60,110
Invoice: $21,215 - $54,850
MPG: 19 City / 29 Hwy
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Ford Mustang Performance

With ample power and athletic handling, auto writers say that the 2014 Ford Mustang is a front-runner in the affordable sports car pack. Still, some reviewers note that smaller affordable sport cars like the Mazda Miata and Scion FR-S offer superior handling that the Mustang can’t match.

  • "Considering that big V8 mounted up front, the car actually felt fairly wieldy and light. I don't need to talk about acceleration; the car has it in spades." -- AutoWeek
  • "The engine produces an intoxicating, burbling exhaust note that I liked so much that I often avoided shifting into the higher gears when cruising around town, just so I could hear the engine noise in the cabin." -- Jean Knows Cars
  • "Oh yeah... on the first day I had the car I was reminded that the 5.0 Mustang is fast as all hell, too. Don't let its ubiquity fool you, this is a serious performance machine." -- Autoblog
  • "When spurring the Mustang, you end up waiting for your commands to be translated into actions. There's just a ton of roll. And against the likes of BRZ, FR-S, and Miata, it feels less engaging and, ultimately, fat." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2014 Mustang comes with a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 280 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. According to the EPA, the Mustang V6 gets up to 19/31 mpg city/highway, which is slightly better than the fuel economy of the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.

The Mustang GT comes with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 420 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 390 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm, while the Shelby GT500 offers a supercharged 5.8-liter V8 engine that delivers 662 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque. All models come with a six-speed manual transmission, while V6 and GT models have an optional six-speed automatic with manual shift mode.

Reviewers say that the base Mustang offers plenty of power, though many who’ve tested the Mustang GT write that it offers a remarkable amount of power, a fantastic exhaust note and truly impressive acceleration. The six-speed manual transmission also earns praise, as some test drivers say that it’s a refined gearbox with an easy-to-use shifter.

  • "I don't know if there will ever come a time when I don't enjoy the raw immediacy of a big, naturally aspirated V8 like the one in this 2014 Ford Mustang GT, never mind the fuel consumption rate or the increasingly hard to ignore clamor of the forced-induction set. But the motor speaks for itself. At times, very vocally. You'll want to roll down the windows to hear it." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Our test car came with the GT's standard manual transmission, which was smooth and easy to operate. The GT is available with an automatic transmission, but I wouldn't give up the control and engagement of a stick for anything, not even the three extra city mpg that drivers of automatic GTs get." -- Jean Knows Cars 
  • "As always, you don't have to spend a bundle on a Mustang to have fun. Even a base coupe with the 3.7-liter V6 gives you 305 horsepower to play with." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The 5.0 V8 never gets old. 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque are delivered with satisfying linearity, as the Coyote motor spins up to redline far quicker than you'd expect for an engine of this displacement. Sonically rich, with just a hint of a hard edge to the exhaust over 5,000 rpm and a satisfyingly lazy rumble at idle, the soundtrack is pure enthusiast driving pleasure at most speeds." -- Autoblog  

Handling and Braking

Although some reviewers note that the Ford Mustang doesn’t have the most sophisticated suspension setup in the class, test drivers agree that the 2014 Mustang feels light and agile for a muscle car, and that it offers plenty of thrills on twisty roads. An optional mode-selectable steering system offers comfort, sport and standard settings. The system lessens the amount of power assist for the sport setting, and lightens the steering in comfort mode, while the standard mode splits the difference between the two extremes. A GT Track package is also available, which adds upgraded Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential to improve traction. Some test drivers note that the GT Track package bolsters the 2014 Mustang’s already competent handling abilities. Additionally, others write that the Mustang performs admirably in wet weather, despite the fact that it’s rear-wheel drive.

  • "It feels extremely planted though the turns, especially the smooth ones. The tires start to sing long before they give way. Even when they do break loose, some quick corrective input brings the car straight again." -- AutoWeek 
  • "The Mustang's rear-wheel-drive setup means it might not be a wise choice for drivers who have to weather snowy winters-although it's worth noting that I drove it through heavy rain completely without incident." -- Jean Knows Cars 
  • "Though it still uses an old-fashioned solid rear axle, the 2014 Mustang performs well on twisty roads and on open highways." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "As I mentioned, the Mustang I drove was equipped with Ford's excellent GT Track Package. ... In a week filled with random quick corners and side-trips to back roads, I can attest that all make the GT feel a lot more sports car-like than less-endowed base GTs." -- Autoblog 
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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