Ford Mustang review and stats

The Mustang's fastback looks are a classic

The Mustang's fastback looks are a classic - Credit: Archant

Motoring editor Andy Russel tries out the Ford Mustang Fastback 2.3 Ecoboost and Fastback 5.0 V8 GT. He wasn’t disappointed

Ever since I saw Steve McQueen in a Ford Mustang, chasing through San Francisco’s streets in the 1968 movie Bullitt, I’ve want to drive this icon.

Born in 1960, four years before me, I’ve grown up with the Mustang and the first right-hand drive model has finally allowed me to live the dream. And I’m not alone, with more than 3,500 UK orders already.

True to its roots, the muscular Mustang looks fantastic from any angle, from the shark bite nose to the sculpted rear shoulders with those triple slash back lights.

While 68 per cent of orders have been for the 5-l V8 petrol GT models, don’t write off the 2.3-l turbo petrol EcoBoost unit. It doesn’t have the thunderous V8 note but it’s got a pleasant growl when you wind it up and 32mpg on the test route was considerable easier on the wallet than the V8’s 19mpg.

The Mustang is no slouch with the 2.3-l four-cylinder unit but the V8 blows you away – effortless, low-down grunt and as much pulling power on the road as it has for passers-by.

The six-speed manual’s clutch pedal gives your leg a workout but the shift is slick and precise. You can still have fun with the six-speed automatic’s paddle shifts but while it boosts the V8’s economy, it really dents the 2.3-litre’s mpg.

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It’s a big car, especially on small roads, and that is the limiting factor rather than the handling. If you think American cars are only good in a straight line, think again. This Mustang goes round corners very well indeed, with good steering feel and body control and plenty of grip and traction thanks to the standard limited slip differential. Steering, traction and stability can be adjusted to suit driving style.

The ride is firm, not unpleasantly hard, which makes for comfortable cruising. The Mustang has a solid, well-planted feel, even on bumpy roads, but some body flex is noticeable in the convertible at low speed.

Long doors give good access to the two rear seats but leg and headroom in the back is best suited to children although not a problem with the convertible roof down.

The fastback’s 408-litre boot space is good enough for a useful load with careful packing but the convertible’s folding soft-top roof reduces it to 332 litres.

The dashboard is pure Mustang – traditional but modern – with deeply recessed dials with ‘eyebrows’. Controls are logical but some, such as to change drive modes – Normal, Sport+, Track and Wet/Snow - seem to be positioned better for left-hand drive. UK drivers also have to negotiate any bottles in the drinks-holders to reach the handbrake. Another niggle is electric adjustment for seat travel, cushion angle and lumbar support but just a lever to adjust the back rest. With rear visibility limited in the fastback and convertible with the hood up, optional rear parking sensors or the reversing camera are worth considering. The cabin has an upmarket ambience, that belies the price, with a quality look and feel to the fascia and controls, although plastics aren’t so plush lower down. Connectivity is taken care of with the latest Ford SYNC 2 system with voice control and eight-inch touch screen.

With prices starting at £30,995, the Mustang is a performance bargain and a lot of car for the money with attractive standard equipment.

Combine modern Ford technology with more than 50 years’ Mustang heritage, add right-hand drive and no wonder so many people want it.

Ford Mustang Fastback 2.3 Ecoboost

Engine: 2,300cc, 317PS four-cylinder turbo petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 5.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 35.3 (auto 28.8)

Ford Mustang Fastback 5.0 V8 GT

Engine: 4,951cc, 416PS V8 petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 4.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 20.9 (auto 23.5)

Price: Fastback 2.3 EcoBoost £30,995/convertible £34,495. Fastback 5.0 V8 GT £34,995/convertible £38,495

Insurance group: 41E to 46E