Ford Mustang ›› 2015 ›› 2015 Ford Mustang
Written by James Hamel
Introduction to the New Line-up (Overall Grade after 8 Categories: B+)
For this review we approached things a little bit differently as Ford introduced a wide array of very different Mustang variants for the 2015 model year with the biggest news being the addition of a 2.3 liter turbocharged 310 horsepower/320 lb. feet of torque EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine. And frankly we felt that especially when mated to the slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox that the EcoBoost motor was more than powerful enough to keep us grinning. The only downside being that it prefers Premium Unleaded but then again so does the 5.0 liter V8 and the EcoBoost has an EPA fuel economy estimate of 22 city/31 highway. The V8? 15 city/25 highway.
We would mention the base carryover 3.7 liter 300 horsepower/ 280 lb. feet of torque V6 that does admittedly run on regular unleaded but it does so in a comparatively loud and unrefined manner compared to the EcoBoost and the 5.0 liter 435 horsepower/400 lb. feet of torque V8. Oh, didn't we mention the power readings from the V8? Well, before you start to worry about Dodge Hellcat owners mocking you do take solace knowing you are about 400% less likely to crash your new car into a center divider as you pull out of the dealership. And as a bonus, a Mustang is fun to drive at all speeds and will not catch you unawares traveling at 140 miles per hour. Try getting out of that ticket in your shiny new Hellcat.
Going back to the Ecoboost motor, to some a Mustang with a 4-cylinder is akin to heresy much like claiming the Mustang Two was anything more than a Pinto in drag. But true aficionados of the pony car will know this isn't the first time Ford has given its ultra-successful sporty two door four cylinders as the 1984-1986 Mustang SVO turbo model could attest. It is a highly collectible vehicle today even though the public and perhaps even Ford didn't know what to make of this Mustang which was supposed to be more fuel efficient. In fact, Ford never publicly admitted the SVO's engine made a healthy for that time 175 horsepower and if the road had curves it could really rattle a V8 Mustang owner's nerves.
So that was a little bit of what has come before for the Mustang nameplate but truly all eyes are on the 2015 Mustang models to show everyone if this pony car can ever truly be tamed after years of a reputation for being somewhat unruly especially with the V8 engines. Well, this was the first Mustang designed to be sold around the world in right and left hand drive so Ford must have allocated more funds to the project because this is like watching a pop diva returning from a filmed, drunken embarrassment broadcast on TMZ rise out of it with a stunning, simple and powerful performance.
This, now, is the chance for the Mustang to show the world all that it has been, all its many newfound talents and more importantly to make people hopefully feel good about themselves when behind the wheel. We know we did but we never look very cool so we take any opportunity.
What we loved about the 2015 Ford Mustang
What we didn't love about the Ford Mustang
Exterior View (10 out of 10)
Yes, we are certain some people think the enlarged haunches of the new 2015 Ford Mustang coupe and convertible are a bit over the top but the overall look of the Mustang is both modern and cohesive. The newly introduced 2016 Chevy Camaro's exterior is anything but with a design that screams "I sprang from the imagination of a hyperactive, Ritalin deprived 11 year old who somehow managed to force gaudy gashes into the design of the body panels while still failing to give the coupe any personality or character." And the Challenger two door, while nice looking, has looked that way for what seems like a very long time perhaps dating back to the Presidency of Richard Nixon. Or was that Bill Clinton? Either way, the Challenger's fresh interior needs a fresher exterior to go with it.
Interior Comfort, Quality and Overall Ease of Use (9 out of 10)
With each successive generation of Mustang, Ford has moved further and further towards a retro yet high style feel to the interiors of their pony car coupe and convertible. But nowadays in 2015 if you want the interior of your Mustang to really impress your friends then you had better be ready to pony up extra for packages that add visual enhancements like extra chrome shiny bits, Recaro Sport seats, less track oriented powered leather front seats with heating and ventilation as well as a standard chrome start-stop button housed but a row of toggle controls much like in the new Mini Cooper. And you know how much you can spend on options with Mini.
The same thing might now easily be said about the Ford Mustang's options list but Ford really hit a home run in the showroom appeal department which rewards buyers for not buying the base models when it comes to that intangible "wow" factor that makes people "need" to own a particular car. Like when it comes to the lovely and unique optional leather colors such as "Ivory" which comes with black leather piping along the sides and back, a "Saddle" brown leather which keeps from looking like this was a 2015 Ford Mustang King Ranch Edition by toning it down again with black leather accents.
The materials were all of an impressive level of quality inside the 2015 Mustang, both the six speed manual shift lever and sport paddle shifters on 6-speed automatic equipped cars felt nice to the touch. The leather was impressive for its tactile quality as were the Recaro sport seats covered in an Alcantara type fabric that did not appear Drive-Thru spill clean-up friendly at $1,800. In fact, adding these Recaro seats were part of the problem that led us to build a $45,000 Mustang GT Coupe V8 with a manual gearbox with only those seats and the GT Performance Track Package separating it really from the EcoBoost which was a lot less. Keep reading to read about all of the hi-tech features that now make their home inside the Mustang.
One thing hasn't changed—the 2015 Ford Mustang does not have the most family friendly trunk. The liftover is high and in the coupe it is a decent 13.5 cubic feet dropping to about 11 cubic feet with the drop top. We will grant you that means the Mustang Convertible has more trunk space than a Miata. Hence many people forego back seat passengers and use that small perch as the trunk.
Technology (9 out of 10)
Ever since childhood this road tester has had something called an essential hand tremor which means for no reason his hands shake ever so slightly, yes, even when it has nothing to do with being nervous. Beyond that slightly embarrassing aspect of this tremor not related to any life threatening ailment (over 3 million Americans suffer from the same thing), people with hand tremors find it hard sometimes adjusting to the controls of a touchscreen. Let's just say it can also take a while to get used to using an Apple Watch.
So suffice it to say when we approach an infotainment system like MyFordTouch which uses just a touchscreen with no easy back-up controls or a BMW i-Drive style knob we get a bit nervous. It can make just changing a song on a playlist a dangerous endeavor as we attempt to poke and prod at the exactly right spot on the touchscreen. Well, MyFordTouch may not have another knob but it does have one of the most reliable voice activation systems as well as very handy steering wheel controls for many functions like audio, Bluetooth phone and more. Oddly, then there's the dashboard which thankfully still has a real functional dial, button and switch here and there. Yes, real ones.
The touchscreen in our test Mustang was pleasingly large and clearly marked as well as equipped with in-dash navigation, a back-up camera and works as the control site for the mighty 12-speaker 390 watt, some would say optional, Shaker Pro Audio System whose 8-inch subwoofer is nearly unnoticeable in the trunk. If you are serious about your Mustang, you seriously need to option yours with this Shaker sound system which is bass rich, loud and is a screaming deal at $1,795 in a package with power memory front seats, a blind spot warning system and HD radio. It is available that way with the Ecoboost or 5.0 liter Premium models only.
Fuel Economy (8 out of 10)
According to the EPA, the 2.3 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost motor returns estimates of 22 city/31 highway with the manual gearbox which we found most adept at keeping this engine in the beefy part of its ample powerband. Buyers of the rumbling Earthquake imitator known as the 5.0 liter V8 motor will get 16 city/25 highway with the more relaxed 6-speed automatic which to be honest doesn't have to work that hard with 435 horsepower/400 lb. feet of torque under your right foot.
Those figures are for coupe variants, if you pick the ragtop those number drop by 1 mile per gallon all around. That's not bad at all for soft top convertibles that have been so expertly engineered you can't tell much difference between the wind, road and engine noise whether or not your top is made of layers of fabric or metal, some sound deadening, spot welds and the inner headliner. Do remember that Ford does, however recommend premium unleaded with both the EcoBoost and V8 motors which is not unexpected with either a sports or luxury car.
Predicted Reliability and Initial Quality Ratings: (8 out of 10)
According to J.D. Power and Associates who admittedly only have one model year of data and its Initial Quality Study which polls the experience of buyers of the first Mustangs off the assembly line, this Ford performed about "average" with three stars out of five for quality. No single problem area stood out as a problem with the 2015 Mustang with the only embarrassment coming from a recall involving 20,000 units with the all-new 2.3 liter turbocharged Ecoboost engine which apparently was causing the underbody of the car to run too hot.
No problems, damage or car fires were reported but Ford was afraid the excess heat might eventually damage the fuel tank, fuel lines and other components so it announced the recall as a precautionary measure. This does however beg the question, how much hotter does the EcoBoost motor run than the naturally aspirated motors if it can do enough damage potentially for Ford to put out a recall? Well, if you buy an EcoBoost model now rest assured that Ford redesigned, strengthened and shielded pretty much the entire underside of the car just to ensure nothing goes wrong for owners in the future.
Safety (8 out of 10)
The 2015 Ford Mustang Coupe and Convertible have only been through a portion of that IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) rigorous crash testing regimen but so far the two models have performed admirably with top scores of "Good" across the board. But not until the car is fully tested can we hand out a 10 out of 10 score so for now we give it a hopeful 8 out of 10 for the category. During our testing, braking felt strong with little fade after repeated panic stops and unlike previous years of Mustang it is no longer as easy for the tail end to break traction in wet weather.
Advanced safety features and accident avoidance technology is also abundant with blind spot warning, an intelligent cruise control system that can fully stop the car itself and a back-up object detection system are all optional whereas a back-up camera, automatic headlamp and wipers as well as bright HID headlamps are standard fare.
Lastly, the Mustang comes with a front knee airbag for the driver and then for the front passenger Ford invented the first "Active Glovebox" which allowed them to place a much lighter injection molded airbag built into the glovebox itself. In doing so, Ford was able to shape the dashboard so for the passenger it was further away from them thereby lessening the chance of injury in a frontal impact. Clever. A smart glovebox.
Performance (10 out of 10)
If you haven't driven a Ford Mustang in a while then driving a 2015 variant will be a revelation thanks to years of improvements to aspects of the car as disparate as the shift action of this year's excellent 6-speed manual gearbox to the now very predictable yet capable handling abilities afforded by the new independent rear suspension (replacing ancient leaf springs) and a redesigned front suspension that improves both braking and high speed stability. You can feel the change in either the EcoBoost or GT V8 models as you floor the accelerator going up your first freeway on-ramp. Just to the speed limit, of course. Cough. Ahem.
Now, how your Mustang drives depends on a few things such as how you set the Selectable Effort Power Steering which has a Comfort, Standard and Sport setting for enthusiastic driving. Unlike some other vehicles variable steering systems, none of the Ford settings makes the sport coupe feel in any way unpredictably spastic like a hyperactive squirrel that just found an open bottle of Dayquil or give the steering the sensation it has been dipped in Molasses and installed in a Buick from the early 1980's. Also, all models come with Drive Select which changes a number of vehicle settings under the labels normal, snow/wet and sport/track. We think it's self-explanatory when to use which setting.
Now for the hooligans out there who just want to lay the longest, smokiest burnouts their friends have ever seen in their new 2015 Ford Mustang GT with its iconic and intoxicatingly burbling 5.0 liter 435 horsepower/400 lb. feet of torque V8. Truly, this iteration of Mustang's V8 is a gem which gives this car a true muscle car driving experience. Not just the noise the car makes but also the way the hood rises as you accelerate heavily is something the EcoBoost variant doesn't do. Some will prefer that, actually many will as the Mustang EcoBoost reminded us a lot of how much fun we have had driving Volkswagen GTI models over the years.
Now, as for burning rubber the 2015 Ford Mustang GT not only boasts a launch control system so you can achieve the fastest acceleration times from a stop but it also the heretofore unheard of Electronic Line Lock. The system keeps the front brakes locked automatically so the driver can just floor the throttle to light up the rear tires safely preparing the car for some serious fireworks once the best under the hood gets unleashed with one press of the launch control button. Let's just say in that moment the driver will be hurtled forward at speeds some may deem ludicrous but Mustang lovers will say is "just about perfect." You know, once everyone stops coughing and can see again from all the tire smoke in the air.
Pricing and Value for Money (8 out of 10)
For the V6 and Ecoboost base coupe models which come decently equipped with all of the basics you could want like air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, two USB ports and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux equipped audio system the price of entry is right around $25,000 whichever way you choose to go. However, there is currently not a base model EcoBoost convertible model available only a $35,000 Premium trim variant so the least expensive drop top is the V6 base which starts at $29.700.
So what does Premium trim net a Mustang buyer? First off it will get you a much nicer interior with higher quality plastics, more chrome and a more upscale feel especially when equipped with any available color of standard leather seats which are heated and ventilated up front. Also note the inclusion of dual zone climate control, a 9-speaker audio system with amplifier, Sync with MyFordTouch, Ambient Lighting and more. This trim level also offers the option of the "Premiere Group" interior which gives the dash the look of being hand stitched and covered in leather as well as upgraded plastics and an assortment of handsome dual color leather seating that really makes the interior pop.
If you plan to race your Mustang, Ford will also gladly charge you for a pair of leather Recaro sport seats a princely sum of $1595 as opposed to just $395 for the Premiere Interior Group option. So we suggest that you only order the Recaro seats if you plan to take your Mustang to the track, never plan to carry an adult in the back seat (they eat up leg room) and that you do so in conjunction with either the $2,500 GT Performance Package or less extensive $1,995 EcoBoost Performance Package.
Both packages include goodies like uprates brakes, wheels, stickier summer tires, larger radiators, more interior gauges, unique chassis and stability control tuning, unique front springs, braces for increased body rigidity and in the GT a limited slip rear differential with the Ecoboost getting a 3.73 Torsen rear axle instead. For more details, check out Ford's website. Please. These Performance packs come with so much stuff we would be here another week just listing all of it. Slight exaggeration.
Before all of these extras we have mentioned the basic 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium starts at $29,300 (convertible is $34,800) and the GT Premium Coupe with the V8 starts at $36,300 ($41,800 for the ragtop). That is lofty territory for a Ford and we think that the price difference of $6,000 for the V8 GT Premium which doesn't net you much more than extra cylinders is a bit extreme. But we are sure Ford V8 loyalists will happily pay it and as long as you don't go crazy with options you can find yourself with Bavarian coupe-like performance at a Dearborn discount.
"The Final Numbers" and the Conclusion: (70 points out of 80)
The first Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line on March 9, 1964 but the story of this iconic pony car's launch was far more revolutionary in concept than even its design, manufacture or styling. While no one can deny that the Mustang's styling was definitely a home run, the Mustang was truly a first in the bold manner in which it was marketed to the public. Ford was intensely secretive about the design of this sports coupe, so much so that they kept anyone from seeing it until the day before it was to start being sold at dealerships.
To introduce the 1964 ½ Mustang Ford bought airtime on the 3 major networks of the time (ABC, CBS, and NBC) at the exact same moment in prime time. In those few minutes of air time nearly every single man, woman and child watching TV in the United States got a chance to finally see what the Mustang looked like. The next day Ford dealers were literally over-run by buyers and lookie-loos wanting to get a glimpse of the hot sports car.
And now in 2015 with its most recent restyle it feels like we are having a global resurgence of Mustang mania. No matter what Camaro or Challenger owner's say, they can't change the fact that when its online Mustang configurator went online, it got so overwhelmed by 1.1 million people fiddling with their potential dream car that the whole system crashed. And in China, the last place you would think they would love the Mustang, in its first month on sale there 18,000 people signed up for a test drive.
Come on, when everyone in the world sees a desirable car they know in their heart despite language and cultural barriers that it is something that elevates above mere transportation. It is an icon, is pure style finally caught up technologically with the times to create a perfect sales storm around the world. Let's hope Ford can build them quickly enough to meet demand.
|Convertible - RWD|
|V6||2dr Convertible V6||V6||RWD||29300|
|EcoBoost Premium||2dr Convertible EcoBoost Premium||4 Cylinder||RWD||34800|
|GT Premium||2dr Convertible GT Premium||8 Cylinder||RWD||41800|
|Coupe - RWD|
|V6||2dr Fastback V6||V6||RWD||23800|
|EcoBoost||2dr Fastback EcoBoost||4 Cylinder||RWD||25300|
|EcoBoost Premium||2dr Fastback EcoBoost Premium||4 Cylinder||RWD||29300|
|GT||2dr Fastback GT||8 Cylinder||RWD||32300|
|GT Premium||2dr Fastback GT Premium||8 Cylinder||RWD||36300|
|GT 50 Years Limited Edition||2dr Fastback GT 50 Years Limited Edition||8 Cylinder||RWD||46170|
|2015 Ford Mustang||MSRP||Invoice|
|2015 Ford Mustang||$23,800||$22,432|
|Similar Cars to Consider||MSRP||Invoice||Compare|
|2015 Honda Accord||$22,105||$20,237||Ford Mustang VS Honda Accord|
|2015 Chevrolet Camaro||$23,705||$22,757||Ford Mustang VS Chevrolet Camaro|
|2015 Dodge Challenger||$26,995||$26,606||Ford Mustang VS Dodge Challenger|
|2015 Scion FR-S||$24,900||$23,655||Ford Mustang VS Scion FR-S|
|2015 Subaru BRZ||$25,695||$24,514||Ford Mustang VS Subaru BRZ|
Interested to see how the 2015 Ford Mustang ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2015 Ford Mustang rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.
|1||2015 Honda Accord||29|
|2||2015 Scion FR-S||29|
|3||2015 Ford Mustang||26|
|4||2015 Subaru BRZ||26|
|5||2015 Dodge Challenger||20|
|6||2015 Chevrolet Camaro||15|
|1||2015 Chevrolet Camaro||580|
|2||2015 Dodge Challenger||372|
|3||2015 Ford Mustang||310|
|4||2015 Scion FR-S||200|
|5||2015 Subaru BRZ||200|
|6||2015 Honda Accord||185|
|1||2015 Chevrolet Camaro||556|
|2||2015 Dodge Challenger||400|
|3||2015 Ford Mustang||320|
|4||2015 Honda Accord||181|
|5||2015 Scion FR-S||151|
|6||2015 Subaru BRZ||151|
|1||2015 Dodge Challenger||39.3|
|2||2015 Honda Accord||39.0|
|3||2015 Chevrolet Camaro||37.8|
|4||2015 Ford Mustang||37.6|
|5||2015 Scion FR-S||37.1|
|6||2015 Subaru BRZ||37.1|
|1||2015 Ford Mustang||44.5|
|2||2015 Chevrolet Camaro||42.4|
|3||2015 Honda Accord||42.2|
|4||2015 Dodge Challenger||42.0|
|5||2015 Scion FR-S||41.9|
|6||2015 Subaru BRZ||41.9|
|1||2015 Honda Accord||58.9|
|2||2015 Dodge Challenger||58.5|
|3||2015 Chevrolet Camaro||56.9|
|4||2015 Ford Mustang||56.3|
|5||2015 Scion FR-S||54.5|
|6||2015 Subaru BRZ||54.5|
|1||2015 Honda Accord||55.4|
|2||2015 Dodge Challenger||55.3|
|3||2015 Ford Mustang||54.9|
|4||2015 Scion FR-S||53.1|
|5||2015 Subaru BRZ||53.1|