New Car Review

2016 Ford Mustang: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang GT
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$25,798
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang GT
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$Unlisted
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang GT
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$24,988
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang Coupe
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$18,988
RELATED READING
See all Ford Mustang articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2015

The 2016 Ford Mustang is solid proof that competition improves the breed. Having been in continuous production since 1964, this model year is the second of the Mustang's sixth generation. Throughout those intervening decades, it hasn't been all glory, but the machine that sparked off the whole pony-car scene has now morphed into the finest it's ever been.

These days, hot competition comes in the form of the Chevrolet Camaro. The real winner in this race is the buyer, who can choose from a range of engines that run from somewhat eco-conscious to an unashamedly old-school V8. This generation's interior also sees a major improvement in quality, and the suspension has finally caught up with the modern world. The previous five generations used a live rear axle. It worked but could never approach the refinement and precision of an independent rear suspension, which the current Mustang now has.

The exterior design is sophisticated while keeping its assertive grille, classic proportions and trademark triple-slat taillights. The 2016 car hasn't lost a single drop of that famous Mustang mojo.

What's New for 2016?

The big news is the introduction of the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Coupe, which is at the absolute top of the Mustang tree. On a more humble note, the Performance package is now available for GT convertibles, as well as coupes.

MyFord Touch, the optional infotainment system criticized for being slow and not particularly user-friendly, is replaced in Premium-trim models by a new system called SYNC 3, which offers an easier-to-navigate interface. New option bundles include the Pony package for EcoBoost models and Yellow Jacket interior treatment, plus California Special and Black Accent for the GT. EcoBoost and GT coupes also offer the option of a black roof, and GT models have extra turn signals set into their hood vents as a nod to Mustang heritage.

What We Like

Awesome V8 in the GT; fuel-efficient EcoBoost turbo four; sports-car handling; refined ride; stylish, high-quality interior; fearsome Shelby version

Want We Don't

Tiny back seat

How Much?

$23,895-$47,795

Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive 2016 Mustang range starts out with a 3.7-liter V6 making 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency rates this engine at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined when paired with the 6-speed manual transmission. Otherwise, we're looking at 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy and 22 mpg combined with the 6-speed automatic.

The EcoBoost's turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder develops 310 hp and 320 lb-ft. With the manual transmission, consumption is estimated at 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy and 26 mpg combined. The automatic version returns 21 mpg city/32 mpg hwy and 25 mpg combined.

The GT's 5.0-liter V8 throbs with 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque while using gasoline at a rate of 15 mpg city/25 mpg hwy and 19 mpg combined (manual) or 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy and 19 mpg combined (auto).

A specially built V8 propels the Shelby GT350, turning a 5.2-liter displacement into 526 hp and 429 lb-ft. It only comes with a 6-speed manual transmission and is estimated to achieve 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy and 16 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Ford Mustang is offered in V6, EcoBoost, EcoBoost Premium, GT and GT Premium trims as a coupe or convertible. Now, there's the coupe-only Shelby GT350. Note that the Premium trims are only offered on the coupe, but the EcoBoost and GT convertible models share the standard equipment of their Premium counterparts.

The V6 ($23,895) and V6 convertible ($29,395) come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a limited-slip differential, keyless entry and ignition, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 4.2-in central information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a backup camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice controls, Track Apps (a program that records performance data during track driving) and a 6-speaker audio system with two USB ports and an auxiliary input, plus the MyKey system with parental controls for geo-fencing, speed limit, stability control, audio volume, radio content, seat-belt reminders and early low-fuel warnings.

The EcoBoost ($25,395) brings the turbo engine, LED fog lights, a rear spoiler and power front seats. The EcoBoost Premium ($29,395) and the EcoBoost convertible ($34,895) have 18-in wheels, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 9-speaker stereo and an 8-in central touchscreen.

The Pony package includes 19-in alloys, a dedicated front fascia design, side stripes and mats bearing the Mustang's pony logo.

The GT ($32,395) echoes the regular EcoBoost's features but with the V8 engine, 18-in wheels, bigger brakes and electronically lockable front brakes (Ford says they're to help warm up the rear tires, but people will use them for burnouts). The GT Premium ($36,395) and GT convertible ($41,895) add the EcoBoost Premium's inventory.

The Black Accent package means black 19-in alloy wheels, plus badges and a rear spoiler all finished in black. The California Special package also includes black 19-in alloys along with a larger rear spoiler and some cosmetic tweaks.

Some features of the higher trims are available as options in the others. A Performance package (coupe only) adds 19-in wheels of a different design with summer performance tires, auxiliary gauges (including a boost gauge for the EcoBoost), a sport-tuned suspension, a larger radiator, bigger brakes, shorter gearing, a performance rear axle, a stability control system with a higher threshold and aluminum interior accents. The GT's version has Brembo brakes and a Torsen rear differential.

Depending on the trim, other options include 20-in wheels, a 12-speaker Shaker audio system, navigation, rear parking sensors, driver memory settings, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.

Brembo brakes and a Torsen diff are standard in the 2016 Shelby GT350 ($47,795), which also comes with Recaro seats and a track-tuned suspension. Heated/cooled power adjustable front seats are an option, but enthusiasts should be more interested in the GT350R package that brings its own suspension tune and aero kit, plus 19-in wheels made from carbon fiber. It also saves weight by ditching the rear seat, infotainment system, air conditioning and tire-inflation kit. These features can be reinstated, however, by choosing the Electronics and Technology packages.

Safety

The 2016 Mustang comes standard with anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, seven airbags in the coupe (front, front-side, driver-knee and full-length side-curtain) and five airbags in the convertible (which lacks the side-curtain airbags).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given the coupe a full five stars across the board. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been similarly impressed, giving the coupe its top score of Good for the tricky moderate-overlap front-impact test and the same accolade to the convertible for side-impact crashworthiness.

A blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is available, and the optional adaptive cruise control feature includes a radar-based forward-collision warning system that preloads the brakes.

Behind the Wheel

This is possibly the nicest muscle car ever built. There's nothing rough here: just rich materials, attractive gauges, supportive seats and even cool metallic toggle switches here and there. The optional Recaro bucket seats are formfitting and perfect for the track but might be tight for those of a broader build. The only real downer is the back seat. A sport coupe doesn't necessarily need to have room for 6-footers back there, and the Mustang's not small by any means, yet its back seat is a squeeze, even for kids.

The standard V6 is quite quick, accompanied by a rich exhaust note. The new EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo delivers impressive refinement and a healthy punch of midrange torque, but it tapers off toward the red line. The reedy sound of a 4-cylinder under acceleration seems out of place in a Mustang.

The GT's delectable V8 is a winner, delivering its 435 hp with a quick-revving and progressive character that seems more like a European performance engine than good old American iron. The 6-speed manual shifter lacks the desired bolt-action feel, but it's still a blast to run any Mustang through the gears. The 6-speed automatic is really a bit of a relic. The Dodge Challenger, for example, now features an 8-speed automatic, but this unit is smooth enough and doesn't hesitate to kick down.

It's in the corners where the EcoBoost takes the advantage, thanks to superior balance provided by a lighter engine. In comparison, the GT feels relatively nose-heavy. The difference is subtle, though, and the GT is still a wonderfully agile car.

The more obvious difference is in the GT350, where its energetic acceleration is only matched (thankfully) by its reassuring braking and confident handling.

The steering in every new Mustang is noticeably quicker and more accurate than the previous generation, and the independent rear suspension does a great job of both smoothing out bumps and remaining settled over uneven urban streets. The mix of athletic handling and compliant ride makes this one of the most usable high-performance cars. Even the GT350 is surprisingly civilized in this respect.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW 2 Series -- The Mustang is more sophisticated than ever, and that brings the cooly capable 2 Series into play. No burbling V8 here, but razor-sharp handling, equal or better interior quality and superior maneuverability make up for it.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro -- A new generation has arrived, and it's already stealing the Mustang's thunder. Ford engineers are no doubt lying awake at night wondering how to make their car better when midgeneration revamp time comes around.

2016 Dodge Challenger -- The Challenger is much improved, especially its handling, but it's still the largest and most cumbersome of the traditional muscle-car trio. However, it does have a proper rear seat, and the 6.4-liter V8 is a beautiful thing.

Used BMW M3 -- The M3 is another iconic muscle car that's a perfect mix of high speed and fine handling. Put it this way: If Steve McQueen had driven an M3 in that famous movie car chase, it would have been a lot shorter.

Autotrader's Advice

Although the EcoBoost model does a great job of providing decent power with bearable fuel consumption, this is a Mustang, a major part of American car culture. So why not go the whole way and opt for the V8? Resist the Premium's luxuries, and you can drive home a well-equipped GT for under $35,000.

Find a Ford Mustang for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang GT
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$25,798
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang GT
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$Unlisted
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang GT
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$24,988
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Mustang Coupe
Used 2016 Ford Mustang
$18,988
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Ford Mustang: New Car Review - Autotrader