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2018 Ford Mustang GT interior review: Retro-modern ambiance

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/19/2018 Motor Trend Staff

2018 Ford Mustang GT rear© Motor Trend Staff 2018 Ford Mustang GT rear

The 2018 Ford Mustang recently got a refresh, and with it came some cool new features that make the iconic pony car feel more modern. As with the pre-refresh Mustang, the face-lifted model still feels retro, even with the available tech. With many consumers continuing to trade in cars for crossovers, models like the Ford Mustang need more than visceral performance to stay appealing. Luckily, Ford also gives you plenty of ways to personalize the interior ambiance and, in the case of the GT, enjoy its muscular demeanor with plenty of aural drama.

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Tech-Savvy and User-Friendly

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Ford's Sync interface comes standard on the 2018 Mustang GT, and it's easy to use even in its most basic form. For maximum user-friendliness, opt for the Sync 3 system, which gets you an 8.0-inch touchscreen that's quick to respond and has a logical layout for all off its functions. On the base GT trim, you can add navigation for an extra charge.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on all models with Sync 3, allowing you to access apps including Spotify, Google Maps, Apple Maps, iTunes, and Pandora. Ford's Sync 3 interface is also the first to offer an onboard Waze app to navigate through traffic even easier; soon it will also gain Amazon's Alexa, which we hope will play well with Siri and Google.

Supportive and Daily Drivable

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Most sports cars have seats that prioritize holding you in place over comfort. Not so in the 2018 Mustang. The standard bucket seats hold you in place well when you're having a great time on winding roads or the track yet remain comfortable for daily driving. There's good lumbar adjustment so you can get the right amount of support to avoid getting sore during your commute. Although the seats look flat, there's plenty of side and thigh support. Unlike in most vehicles, the front seats are only partially powered: The sliding and lumbar operations are electric, but the recline function is manual.

No Fake Sounds Here

a close up of an engine© Motor Trend Staff

With a thundering, high-revving 5.0-liter V-8, the 2018 Mustang GT doesn't need any artificial sound enhancement or to funnel its engine note through speakers so the driver and passengers can hear it. Even with the normal exhaust, the engine growls with authority, giving the car a character befitting a pony car.

Should the standard exhaust not be enough, Ford also offers the Mustang GT with an active exhaust system with quad tailpipes. This system has multiple modes including Quiet, Sport, and Track, the latter of which opens up the exhaust flaps for a full-on sensory assault. Should you want to be respectful to your neighbors, the Mustang will happily close its exhaust flaps in Quiet mode, giving you a more serene driving experience that still hints at the power under the hood.

Light Up Your Mood All Day, Every Day

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The 2018 Ford Mustang is one of a few non-luxury-branded cars with a mood lighting system. Unlike the mood lighting found in Mini models, the Mustang's changes more than just the color of the lights on the door handles, cupholders, and foot wells. It also changes the color of the standard analog gauges, giving the interior a more cohesive and streamlined look than even some luxury vehicles that offer the feature.

Analog or Digital?

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The base Mustang GT comes with a small instrument cluster display and analog gauges. These are easy to read, display all the necessary information, and offer some adjustments including the mood lighting. The instrument cluster display also shows some key info such as oil life, service intervals, and engine temperature.

On higher trims, the Mustang comes with a fully digital instrument cluster similar to Audi's Virtual Cockpit. There are multiple configurations to choose from, and you can customize the digital cluster's colors separately from the mood lighting, so there's no shortage of ways you can personalize it to your taste.

Track-Ready Seating Is Optional

a red piece of luggage sitting on top of a car© Motor Trend Staff

Should you want something more supportive for track duty, Ford offers Recaro front seats when you opt for the Performance Package Level 2 on the GT. The seats are also available on the EcoBoost Premium and GT Premium trims. On the base Mustang GT, the Recaro seats are upholstered in cloth; the EcoBoost Premium and GT Premium grades come with leather. GT Premium models can also be had with two-tone red and black leather or black leather with blue contrast stitching. Unlike the standard seats, the Recaros have a fixed headrest and offer more aggressive side bolstering. There's more aggressive thigh support, as well.

Cloth or Leather Even at Over $40,000

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Leather is available starting at the GT Premium trim, which also gets you heated and ventilated front seats. If you're opposed to the idea of cow hides covering your seats, Ford will happily sell you a Mustang GT with cloth. Don't expect a steep discount for the cloth seats, though. If you add all the go-fast goodies, a Mustang GT with cloth upholstery will still cost over $40,000.

Don't Cram in the Back

a car seat© Motor Trend Staff

Coupes don't always have the most comfortable rear seats, and the 2018 Ford Mustang GT is no different. The fastback roofline cuts into headroom, and the legroom is minimal, so the back is best for small children or as an extension of the trunk. Convertible models offer more headroom if you put the roof down, but don't expect much improvement in space for your legs.

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