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2017 Ford Mustang: What You Need to Know

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 6/27/2016 U.S. News & World Report
2017 Ford Mustang© Ford Motor Company 2017 Ford Mustang

The 2017 Ford Mustang has the kind of power, handling, and ride that will have you chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel. The Mustang has a herd of different models to choose from, in both fastback (coupe) and convertible body styles. Engines range from a fuel-sipping four-cylinder to a V8 in the GT models that has thoroughbred-like speed.

The Mustang’s starting price is low for a sports car, but to get the high-performance models, you’ll have to pony up more than $60,000. Overall, however, the Mustang is fairly inexpensive for a sports car, with the convertible starting at $30,145. Every Mustang model has a long list of standard features, making it easy to find one that fits your budget.

The Mustang has great safety ratings, and a predicted reliability score that’s higher than average, but it’s not the most practical muscle car you can buy. Its back seat is cramped, and the Dodge Challenger has a larger trunk. For buyers who want a sports car that they can tailor for their lifestyle and budget, however, the Mustang is tough to beat. 

The 2017 Ford Mustang is ranked:

Mustang Performance

Plenty of Powerful Engines to Choose From

The base engine in the 2017 Ford Mustang is a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower. It gives you decent acceleration, and its fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway is typical for V6-powered sports cars.

You can get more power and better fuel economy by going for the Mustang EcoBoost. It has a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 310 horsepower and earns an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway, which are very good numbers for the class. There’s almost no turbo lag with this engine, which is an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

On the other hand, it takes a V8 to make a true muscle car, and that’s where the Mustang GT comes in. Powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, the GT has plenty of power and a thrilling engine note. Fuel economy, at 16 mpg in town and 25 on the open road isn’t great, but you buy the Mustang GT for power, not efficiency. Plus, that fuel economy rating is similar to what other V8 sports cars get.

With all three engines, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional. You'll enjoy either transmission; both deliver smooth shifts and complement their engines well.

Track-Ready Performance Trims

Mustang buyers who want unbridled performance should check out the Mustang GT350 and GT350R. Both feature a 5.2-liter V8 that produces 526 horsepower, 429 pound-feet of torque, and nearly unparalleled thrills when you stomp on the accelerator. There are also a number of performance upgrades on these trims, including a stiffer suspension and larger brakes. A six-speed manual transmission is the only choice in these trims, but would you have it any other way? The GT350 and GT350R models are only available in the fastback body style.

The main difference between the GT350 and GT350R is weight. The GT350R is more track focused, with further suspension upgrades and carbon fiber wheels. Several interior amenities have also been removed, including the air conditioner, stereo, and rear seat. All of this makes it slightly less heavy than the 350. The GT350 can hoof from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and gallop a quarter mile in 12.5.

Poised Handling

In contrast to classic muscle cars from the 1970s, the Mustang isn’t just a one-trick pony. Today’s Mustang can do more than just drive in a straight line. It corners with agility, and in most models the ride is smooth but never floaty. Opting for suspension upgrades makes the Mustang’s handling better, but at the cost of ride comfort. The brakes on the Mustang can feel grabby. It’s rear-wheel drive only, the way God and Lee Iacocca intended sports cars to be.

Mustang Interior

A Stable of Standard Features

The Mustang comes standard with more comfort and convenience features than you might expect from a muscle car. Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and two USB ports are standard. Each Mustang comes with track apps, a system that lets you record track times and other performance data.

The Mustang also has Ford’s MyKey system, which allows parents to set speed and other limits on the vehicle to help teen drivers develop good habits.

Available features on the Mustang include a 12-speaker Shaker audio system that delivers excellent sound quality and convenience features like navigation and remote start. At the center of the available features is Ford's SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system, which recognizes multitouch gestures like pinching and swiping that you’re probably familiar with from using a smartphone. Reviewers say SYNC 3 is a great system that’s easy to use.

Mix of Retro and Modern

The 2017 Ford Mustang’s cabin mixes modern touches with a few throwback design cues for an overall look that’s attractive and sporty. Materials are a step above what you might expect from a muscle car, and everything is put together well.

While the Shelby GT350R seats two, all other Mustang models seat four. That said, odds are that no one will want to sit in the back seat, which is cramped. Still if you want a sports car that lets you bring the kids along for the ride, the Mustang is one of your only choices. The back seat has two full sets of Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children connectors for car seats, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the LATCH connectors in the Mustang as marginal, the second-lowest score possible, for ease of use – and good luck fitting a rear-facing car seat in the Mustang.

The front seats in the Mustang, on the other hand, are comfortable. Outward visibility to the front is good, especially compared with muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, which has front glass that’s more akin to a gun slit than a windshield. Visibility to the rear of the Mustang could be better though, so it’s a good thing a rearview camera is standard. You still may want to opt for blind spot monitoring and parking sensors.

Though back-seat space is tight in the Mustang, trunk space is good. The Mustang fastback (coupe) has 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space, which is good for a coupe. You can increase cargo space with the coupe’s 50/50 folding back seat. Convertible models offer 11.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is more than most convertibles have.

Mustang Pricing, Options, and Trims

The 2017 Ford Mustang has one of the lowest starting prices in the class, with a base price of $24,645. If you choose to upgrade your Mustang, you can expect the price to get upgraded as well. The performance-oriented Shelby GT350R starts at $63,095.

The base Mustang has a fastback (coupe) body style, but a convertible is available. To get it, you'll have to move up to the V6 Convertible trim, which starts around $30,145. That's a few thousand dollars less than you'd pony up for a convertible Chevrolet Camaro, but the Mazda MX-5 Miata is about $5,000 less than the Mustang.

The Mustang GT fastback starts at $32,645 and comes with a 5.0-liter V8 engine, as well as stronger brakes and other upgraded performance features. The Mustang Shelby GT models, which start at $55,595 and feature a 5.2-liter V8, are the ultimate performance models in the Mustang line.

Each Mustang model has several option packages to choose from and prices run from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The Mustang EcoBoost premium, for example, raises the price on the EcoBoost model by about $6,000 and adds features like heated and cooled front seats, the SYNC 3 infotainment system, and puddle lamps that project a mustang silhouette on the ground when you open the car’s door.

Mustang Safety and Reliability

While safety may not be a top consideration for most sports car buyers, you can feel confident about the crash protection the Ford Mustang offers. It scores very well in crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with the latter giving the Mustang a five-star overall safety rating.

The Mustang is the kind of car you buy because you want to enjoy the drive, but it also has plenty of driver assistance features that can help you avoid a crash should you zone out for a second. In addition to the standard rearview camera, the Mustang has optional driver aids like blind spot monitoring (helpful, given the poor visibility to the side and rear of the Mustang), forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross traffic alert.

Ford covers the 2017 Mustang with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Mustang also has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating for the class.

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re thinking about the Mustang, you’re probably also considering other American muscle cars, including the Chevrolet Camaro. The Camaro coupe was all-new in 2016, and the Camaro convertible is all-new for 2017. Available with four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines, the Camaro's V6 and V8 produce more horsepower than their Mustang V6 and GT counterparts. Like the Mustang, the Camaro has sharp steering, a smooth ride, and agile handling. While both the Camaro and Mustang have poor rearward visibility, the view out of the front of the Mustang is significantly better than in the Camaro.

Compared to the Mustang, the Dodge Challenger has a more useful back seat and more powerful engine options. The base engine on the Challenger makes over 300 horsepower, and it offers a range of V8 engines, the most powerful of which is the supercharged V8 in the Challenger SRT Hellcat, which produces a mind-blowing 707 horsepower. Given its size and weight, the Challenger handles well. It also has one of the better infotainment systems in the class, but with 707 horses, that Hellcat engine should be entertainment enough.

Details: 2017 Ford Mustang

The 2017 Ford Mustang comes in fastback (coupe) and convertible body styles. The Mustang line has four available engines. The base engine is a V6. Ecoboost models get a turbocharged four-cylinder. Ford Mustang GT models get a 5.0-liter V8 engine, and Shelby GT350 and GT350R models get a 5.2-liter V8.

Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard on the Mustang. A six-speed automatic is optional. V6 and Shelby models come in one trim, while EcoBoost and GT models come in base and Premium trims. Most Mustangs have four seats, but the GT350R, which is street-legal but mainly meant for track use, seats two (the loss of the back seat saves weight). The Mustang's last full redesign was in the 2015 model year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2015 through 2017 model years.

Standard features on the 2017 Ford Mustang include a rearview camera, proximity key, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Ford's SYNC voice-controlled infotainment interface, and a feature that allows you to record lap times and other performance data. The Mustang is also available with MyKey, which is a system that lets parents set audio and speed limits on teen drivers.

Available features in the 2017 Ford Mustang include rear parking sensors, navigation, rain-sensing wipers, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a 12-speaker Shaker audio system, and Ford's SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system, which recognizes multitouch gestures like those you use on a smartphone. The convertible comes with a power-opening-and-closing soft top with a manual latch.

Read the full 2017 Ford Mustang reviewon U.S. News Best Cars for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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