One more model year before a complete makeover to celebrate its 50th anniversary: That's the story for the 2014 Ford Mustang. Almost nothing changes this year for the original ponycar, that iconic symbol of affordable performance that blends modern efficiency with a strong 1960s-America vibe.
New technology that includes track-specific software and mobile apps helps keep this muscle car modern, while four seats and a tolerable ride make it worthy of being a daily driver. The 2014 Mustang coupe and convertible are available in a wide range of forms, from a low-$20,000 V6 rear-drive sporty-car bargain to the $55,000-plus Shelby GT500 that packs a 662-horsepower monster motor. What a country.
Whether you want to relive your youth or are just looking for an affordable and livable sports car, the Mustang can deliver. Power-mongers who seek bragging rights to the world's most powerful production V8 engine can opt for the Shelby GT500.
If you want your sports car to have a more sophisticated nature – or an independent rear suspension – you might prefer a European or Asian contender. And if you regularly need to transport occupants in the back seat, there are many more accommodating alternatives.
In anticipation of a major redesign next year, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the iconic model, the 2014 Ford Mustang gets only some different paint colors and package contents. The Boss 302 model is dropped and the Shelby GT500's horsepower rating climbs to 662 (previously the temporary "over-rev" spec).
Though it still uses an old-fashioned solid rear axle, the 2014 Mustang performs well on twisty roads and on open highways. As always, you don't have to spend a bundle on a Mustang to have fun. Even a base coupe with the 3.7-liter V6 gives you 305 horsepower to play with. The standard 6-speed manual transmission feels satisfying, and the hill-start control works well in preventing the car from rolling backward when you let off the brake and engage the clutch. A 6-speed automatic is optional except in the fire-breathing Shelby GT500. Road noise is plenty apparent on rougher roads. Steering effort and feel can be set to sport, comfort and standard modes, a nifty trick. Rear visibility in coupe models isn't great, but it's better than that of the Chevy Camaro.
This 4.2-inch color screen in premium models sits directly in front of the driver, between the retro-style circular speedometer and tachometer. The screen works in tandem with the Track Apps software to measure performance, and displays useful information including fuel economy.
The Shelby GT500's engine is a monster, the most powerful production V8 in the world, Ford says. Its 662 horsepower gives the car massive acceleration, of course, but also a menacing attitude even when flowing smoothly with traffic.
Vehicle Details Interior Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo
The 2014 Ford Mustang's cabin is cozy and comfortable for a performance car. Soft-touch surfaces lend a more premium feel, offsetting the impression of swaths of flat surfaces and plastic panels. Recaro racing-style seats are available, but even the standard front seats are nicely supportive. The two rear seats look appealing with their deep sculpting, but legroom and headroom are very tight for normal-size adults. Think of the back seats as handy stowage space. Controls are logically arrayed and easy to use. In the Premium and GT500 models, the Electronics Package adds an 8-inch color touch screen and navigation system.
Not looking a whole lot different from prior years is one of the things that keep the Ford Mustang iconic. For 2014, the Mustang gets some new paint colors. The front and rear treatments introduced last year, including high-intensity-discharge headlight and LED taillights, carry on. Along the sides, body-color rocker panels make the car look more cohesive. For those who like to let the outside in, base V6 and GT V8 models can be had as convertibles, and the coupe offers an optional glass roof. GT500 models have quad tailpipes and an aerodynamic front end.
A base 2014 Mustang comes equipped with air conditioning, power windows and doors, AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary inputs, selectable steering feel, 50/50 folding rear seats (in coupes), and remote keyless entry. Higher-trim models add a 4.2-inch color information screen, ambient lighting, Recaro cloth seats, a Shaker audio system and universal garage door opener. Convertible models feature a power-operated cloth roof.
Most extras for the 2014 Mustang are bundled in packages specific to trim. Among the options available are heated front seats, leather trim, voice-activated navigation, side scoops, and nifty side mirrors that project the image of a pony on the ground below. Performance packages can further crank up the Mustang's capability with Brembo brakes, stiffer suspension, leather Recaro seats, and bigger wheels with extra-grippy tires.