The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic American cars ever made. Since it hit the market in 1964, it has been a symbol of style, speed, and power. In the decades since it made its appearance on the driving scene, it has become more powerful, comfortable, efficient, and smooth.
If you’ve long wanted this classic muscle car, buying a used Ford Mustang today may be the best way to hit the road in your dream car.
This piece discusses the Ford Mustang bumper to bumper, revealing all you need to know about cost, trim lines, seating capacity, comfort, features, fuel economy, ratings, safety, and reliability so you can make an informed decision about whether or not this car is right for you.
More than a muscle car
What many car buyers today may not realize is that the Ford Mustang isn’t just for muscle car fans. An overhaul of the Mustang’s interior in 2010 made seating more comfortable for passengers without compromising the power under the hood or aesthetics of the exterior.
Major redesign years for the Ford Mustang include 2005, 2011, and 2015. In 2005, the iconic vehicle saw its first major upgrade in style, comfort, and performance in a decade. Handling improved and the V8 engine got more power. Low points were a rather unforgiving ride and low grade interior materials.
The 2011 remodel brought improved handling, a higher touch interior, and safety features like electronic stability control, traction control, ABS, and parabolic spotter inserts on the exterior rear-view mirrors, which provided more visibility to compensate for the Mustang’s blind spots. Ford Sync also became available, which allows for voice control of smartphones and music selection.
In 2015, a four-cylinder version of the Ford Mustang was introduced for only the second time in the model’s history. Interior quality took another step up and additional safety features such as blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision warning were added.
Finally, in 2018, the redesign brought a supercharged V8 engine with power that everyone riding in the vehicle can feel and appreciate. More advanced safety features became available, including pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and lane assist.
Examining the redesign years, it’s clear that Ford maintained the power and style that define the Mustang, while adding the comfort, safety features, and options that car buyers have come to expect in any vehicle they purchase.
Is the value worth the price?
Used Ford Mustang models range in price depending on how recent the model year and extensive the additional features included. Consumer Reports lists the following average retail price ranges for model years:
- 2000 – 2004: $3,000 – $16,275
- 2005 – 2010: $5,150 – $24,600
- 2011 – 2014: $8,875 – $40,875
- 2015 – 2018: $15,800 – $50,275
The base MSRP range for a 2019 Ford Mustang is $26,395 – $59,140, but buying used provides an instant discount. As with other car models, the newer the model year, the more you’ll pay. Buying used through sites like Carvana is an effective way to search for the model year with the trim line and features you want at a price that fits within your budget.
Throughout the Ford Mustang’s history, its trim lines have changed along with its redesigns.
Motortrend reports base models from the Mustang’s fourth generation ran on the Fox platform with a V6 engine on its standard trim line and a V8 engine in the Mustang GT. Additional trim lines during this era were the Mustang SVT Cobra and Cobra R, which allowed the Mustang to compete with competitor muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. At 385-horsepower and 5.4-liter capacity, its engine was just slightly less powerful than the 390-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 Terminator Cobra trim line.
The Ford Mustang’s fifth iteration, which included model years 2005-2014, added a Shelby-tuned GT500 trim line that featured a 500-horsepower, 5.4-liter V8; a 540-horsepower GT500KR; and 605-horsepower GT500 Super Snake trim line. Additional lines included the Shelby GT and GT-H lines, the latter of which was only available through Hertz as a rental car.
New trim lines in 2011-2014 included the GT350, featuring a 5.0-liter, V8 engine and a GTS package offering a supercharged V6 engine.
The sixth and latest generation of used Ford Mustangs include four trim lines: an EcoBoost turbo-four; Mustang GT; Mustang GT350 with a 526-horsepower, 5.2-liter V8 engine; and a less widely-produced specialty GT350R trim line, which features carbon fiber wheels and a seat-less rear option.
In reviewing all the Ford Mustang trim lines, Motortrend reported excellent handling on the EcoBoost line and impressive balance on the GT350, which they felt edged out that of the Camaro Z/28.
Size and seating capacity
Most used Ford Mustang models seat up to four passengers, regardless of model year. Whether or not they seat them comfortably is another question. Still, if you are planning to mostly drive yourself or one other person, you’ll find the Ford Mustang to have sufficient room.
Rear leg room in the Ford Mustang is cramped; children will find it more comfortable than will adults. The most recent generation of Ford Mustangs come in two general body types: coupe and convertible.
Some used Ford Mustang models seat only two passengers:
- Shelby GT350R (2017 model year)
While you’re browsing, make sure to look at images of the Mustangs that catch your eye to ensure the specific car has the seating capacity you require.
The exact features of your Ford Mustang will depend on which model year and makeup you choose. A good strategy is to filter for used Ford Mustangs by the specific features that matter to you and then dive deep into the results your search returns.
Generally speaking, model years brought the following highlighted features:
- 2007 – retro body style harkening back to Ford Mustangs from the 1960s; five-speed manual and automatic transmission options.
- 2008 – Bullitt trim style with 15 extra horsepower, spiffy wheels, and an appearance package stripped of badging, scoops and spoilers.
- 2009 – for the 45th year anniversary, a glass roof option was offered, along with hardtop and convertible versions.
- 2010 – larger tires and an upgraded interior were the only additional features added from the previous year model.
- 2011 – this was the year that Ford introduced two new engine options – a 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8.
- 2012 – comfort, sport and standard drives modes were added that determined the amount of power steering drivers experienced.
- 2013 – the highlights in features for this model year were a vastly changed exterior look which included a redesigned hood, wheels, fascia, tail lights, and lower rocker panels. A supercharged V8 engine with 650 horsepower became a feature in this model year.
- 2014 – Bluetooth, a USB port, rear-view camera and rear parking sensors were added this year, along with a voice-activated Ford SYNC system.
- 2015 – this year saw the introduction of Ford’s latest Mustang generation (sixth) and with it an independent rear suspension; upscale interior; a lower and sleeker exterior profile; four-cylinder, V6, V8 and EcoBoost engine options; Bluetooth technology, 2 USB ports, a proximity key and Ford’s SYNC system. These additions put Ford ahead of its competition for available features.
- 2016 – SYNC was improved and GT350 and GT350R packages were added. Three appearance packages (Fastback, Premium, and Shelby) offered various options. The Premium package, for instance, included luxury features like leather seats, dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled front seats, aluminum pedals and trim, and a SYNC 3 Infotainment system.
- 2017 – this model year didn’t see many additions over the previous year, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto did come available.
- 2018 – retooled styling and a 10-speed automatic engine became available options in this model year, which also saw the discontinuation of the V6 engine.
- 2019 – a new, commemorative Bullitt edition was released in 2019 along with a California Special package. Other features include a larger touch screen, enhanced smartphone integration, a 12-inch all digital instrument cluster, voice activated navigation system, and a WiFi hotspot.
On years that offer it, the Fastback line of Ford Mustangs offers a spacious trunk that competitors can’t touch. Two sets of golf clubs can easily fit in its 13.5 cubic-foot trunk.
While the Ford Mustang isn’t a Toyota Prius, its gas mileage isn’t as bad as you might initially think. Over the past five model years, Ford Mustangs get 14 – 21 mpg in the city and 21-30 on the highway. The 2019 Ford Mustang improves on that slightly with 15-21 in the city and 24-32 on the highway.
As with any car, it’s important to know what the safety and reliability ratings are for used Ford Mustangs.
Over the past five years, Ford Mustangs have fared relatively well, receiving the following safety scores from U.S. News and World Reports:
- 2015 – 2018 model years received a 9.7 out of a possible 10
- 2019 – this model year saw its score dip to 8.8
In all model years, the Ford Mustang received a perfect five stars out of five in all crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Ford Mustang the top score of Good in all tested areas and “Basic” for front crash prevention.
Standard safety features include a rear-view camera. Advanced safety features, which may not be available on all models, include rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, cruise control, lane assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
Reliability scores have fared lower than safety for used Ford Mustangs. Examining model years 2015-2019, the highest reliability score received from J.D. Power and Associates was a 3.5 out of possible five for the 2017 model year. The lowest was a 2 for the 2015 model.
Wrapping it up
If you’re looking for a sleek, safe muscle car with decent fuel economy and trunk capacity, a used Ford Mustang could be an excellent choice for you. More recent model years, particularly 2016 and newer, offer more advanced safety features and trim options, allowing for a luxury feel without compromising sports car power.
Low points of the Ford Mustang include a cramped rear seat and less than desirable reliability ratings. Still, if you’ve always wanted a muscle car, a Mustang could be right for you.