2020 Ford Mustang

By April 24, 2020

Ford has been abandoning the cars in its lineup in favor of utility vehicles, trucks, and electric vehicles. However, there’s one prominent exception: the iconic and sporty Mustang. The 2020 Ford Mustang balances familiar retro styling, suggestive of the original version from the 1960s, with contemporary handling abilities.

Last redesigned in 2018, the Mustang adds a new High Performance Package for the 2020 model year, which brings a higher-output version of its 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.This adapts the turbo-4 engine from Ford’s Focus RS, also adding handling components from the Mustang GT’s Performance Package. Active exhaust, a strut-tower brace, larger brakes, and an aluminum instrument panel with gauge pack are included.

The other headliner is that an all-new Shelby GT500 model, which unloads a whopping 760 horsepower, has joined the lineup. The Mustang also adds standard FordPass Connect, which allows owners to connect the car to their phones.

EcoBoost and GT Mustang models come as a fastback coupe or a convertible. Bullitt and Shelby Mustangs are coupe only.

Every Mustang is geared toward performance. Two turbo-4 engines are offered. The base 2.3-liter turbo-4 makes 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The upgraded turbo-4 in the High Performance Package boosts output to 330 hp.

GT models switch to a 5.0-liter V-8, developing 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Buying the movie-inspired Bullitt model adds 20 hp to the V-8, along with distinctive looks and rich engine sounds.

GT350 and GT350R models are powered by a flat plane crank 5.2-liter V-8 that whips up 526 hp (527 in the GT350R) and 429 lb-ft. The GT500 gets a supercharged version of the 5.2-liter V-8 that blasts out an astonishing 760 hp and 625 lb-ft.

The GT500 uses a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all other models, with a 10-speed automatic a $1,595 option for the EcoBoost and GT.

Acceleration from 0-60 mph takes less than six seconds with the turbo-4, shrinking to as swift as 3.3 seconds for the Shelby GT500.

Turbo-4 gas mileage is decent; strong V-8s, not so much. The base engine with the automatic is EPA-rated at 21 mpg city, 32 highway, 25 combined. Manual shift lowers the estimate to 21/30/24 mpg. Convertibles manage only 20/28/23 mpg with either transmission.

With the 5.0-liter V-8, the Mustang achieves 15/24/18 mpg with the manual and 16/25/19 mpg with the automatic. However, the Bullitt only manages 14/23/17 mpg. The Shelby GT350 and GT350R gets 14/21/16 mpg, while the GT500 is rated at 12/18/14 mpg.

Crash-test results have been excellent. The NHTSA gives it a five-star overall safety rating and it aced all of the IIHS crash tests except for one. It only received an “Acceptable” rating for their driver’s side small overlap front test.

Ford offers a good set of active safety features, but none are standard. Options include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Outward vision is better than what the Chevrolet Camaro, the Mustang’s primary rival, provides.

Model Lineup

The Ford Mustang is available in six trims: EcoBoost, GT, Bullitt, Shelby GT350, Shelby GT350R, and Shelby GT500.

The base Mustang EcoBoost starts at $27,765 and comes with the standard turbo-4 engine. Standard equipment includes keyless entry, push-button start, wi-fi capability, cloth upholstery, Sync infotainment system with a 4.2-inch screen, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The EcoBoost Premium sub-trim ($5,015 more) adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Sync3 infotainment and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, dual-zone automatic climate control, and selectable drive modes.

The $36,725 GT gets V-8 power and 18-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, power front seats, LED fog lights, Sync infotainment with the 8.0-inch touchcreen, and quad exhaust tips. The GT Premium adds the same equipment as it does on the EcoBoost, but for only $4,000 thanks to the standard equipment it already has.

Only the 6-speed manual transmission is available in the Mustang Bullitt which costs $48,905, which also includes unique interior accents, 19-inch five-spoke wheels, and a heated steering wheel.

The $61,535 Shelby GT350 steps up to the 526-hp V-8, Recaro sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum foot pedals, suede door panels, 19-inch wheels, hood vents, and a rear spoiler.

The Shelby GT350R is priced from $74,530 and deletes the rear seats. Standard fare includes Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on 19-inch carbon-fiber wheels, red brake calipers, a carbon-fiber wing, a large front splitter, and red accent stitching on the steering wheel.

Topping the lineup, the $73,995 Shelby GT500 gets the supercharged V-8 with 760 hp, massive brakes with 16.5-inch front rotors, Michelin tires on wide 20-inch black wheels, and leather and suede sport seats.

Exterior

Blending its iconic heritage with contemporary sports-car aesthetics, the 2020 Ford Mustang takes many styling cues from its late-60s ancestor – starting with the fastback body. Up front, the current model looks more modern, with a tilted-back nose and slim horizontal headlights above a wide fascia. Rear side windows and the roofline reveal influence from those early fastbacks.

Mustang details vary by model. Most extroverted is the Shelby GT500, whose gaping front end is dictated by cooling demands.

Character lines run over the hood and along each door, as front fender lines flow into wide wheel flares. C-shaped taillights recall the 1968 Shelby GT500. The Mustang Bullitt features a blacked-out grille.

Interior

The Mustang’s retro-modern look continues inside, but is marred by a gathering of hard plastics, even in costly Shelby models. Step-up models and option groups may adopt such pleasantries as contrast stitching, soft-touch surfaces, and carbon fiber on the dashboard or doors.

Ford emphasizes comfortable space for two occupants, rather than four. The driver can expect a natural position, helped by a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and ample head and leg room.

Front seats in most Mustangs are comfortable and supportive, though base models lack sufficient adjustments. Optional Recaro buckets are hard and narrow, and won’t be for everyone.

Leg room in the bantamweight back seat is indisputably tight. Head clearance is limited by the sloping roofline. Getting into the rear isn’t easy, either, though it’s better than the Chevy Camaro.

Standard instruments retain an old-school aura, but a digital gauge cluster is available. Trunk space is decent, measuring 13.5 cubic feet in coupes and 11.4 cubic feet in convertibles. That’s way better than the constricted Camaro.

Driving Impressions

Every Ford Mustang is nimble and quick, while Shelby variants push into supercar territory. Turbo 4-cylinder engines are as powerful and satisfying as V-8s were a decade ago, led by the new High Performance Package.

Either turbo-4 reaches peak torque at low engine speed, and never feels short on power. The turbo-4 works well with either manual shift or the 10-speed automatic.

Traditional muscle-car fans gravitate toward the 460-hp GT, the 480-hp Bullitt, or even a Shelby. The V-8s are progressively quicker in acceleration, backed by provocatively deep sounds. The GT’s V-8 bellows and rumbles as it races toward 60 mph, taking a tad under four seconds. Turbo-4 models emit their own brand of raspy melody.

Though acceleration is slower than with automatic, the GT’s 6-speed manual operates with fluid throws and downshift rev-matching. Ford’s 10-speed automatic works fairly well, but can get confused by the broad choice of gears.

Ride comfort stretches from nearly family-sedan soft to racetrack hard. The EcoBoost provides a compliant ride, but can sometimes bound over bumps. Available magnetic dampers soften the assault on passengers, while improving handling.

Today’s Mustang is more agile and pavement-grippy than ever, augmented by communicative steering. Only in tight turns is any looseness likely to be noted. Always-competent handling may be tightened with the addition of the new High Performance Package, which is teamed with a Handling Package.

Final Word

Agile handling and a decent ride combine with hearty responses at every level to make the 2020 Ford Mustang a performance-car bargain. A throaty exhaust note enhances its appeal. Every engine aims to deliver an exhilarating experience in a car that can be driven – and enjoyed – daily. Ford also offers a dizzying choice of performance packages to intensify the Mustang’s prowess. Plenty of safety features are available, but, unfortunately, none of them are standard.

 

—by James M. Flammang, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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