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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# Review
Review: The new Ford Mustang is a helluva lot of all-American fun
The updated Mustang is a return to form for Ford.

THE FORD MUSTANG has been updated for the 2018 model year. It gets more power, new styling and improved safety features as well as a new ten-speed automatic gearbox. Whilst most of the updates are mild, the Ford Mustang is anything but.

The exterior has been tweaked slightly to the to keep this classic car looking modern and fresh. There are new LED headlights and rear lights, a new bonnet with added air vents, new bumpers and new front splitter. There are 11 new exterior paint colours including the striking (and my favourite) Orange Fury.

Ford Ford

The cabin gets some new soft-touch materials and aluminium finish. They still don’t elevate the cabin up to the same fit and finish as that of its premium BMW and Audi rivals – but there is however a new funky looking, customisable, all-digital instrument cluster that really adds a touch of class to the cabin.

I particularly love the Sixties-inspired up-and-over strip-style rev counter that appears when you put the car into ‘Sport’ mode.

Ford Ford

There is also an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Ford’s SYNC 3 which features voice activation and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The standard leather seats are very comfortable with decent levels of adjustment but the optional Recaro racing seats, whilst may look the business, are a bit restrictive and narrow.

Ford Ford

For much needed added safety (the previous Ford Mustang scored poorly in the Euro NCAD safety tests), this updated model comes as standard with Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection – designed to reduce the severity of and, in some cases, even mitigate frontal collisions involving vehicles and pedestrians.

Ok, finally, on to the good stuff! We tested four versions of the updated Ford Mustang: the convertible with the 5.0-litre V8 engine and ten-speed automatic gearbox; the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine and six-speed manual gearbox; the Fastback 5.0-litre V8 with six-speed manual; and the 2.3-litre automatic.

Ford Ford

The majority of the models sold in Ireland are the 2.3-litre model so I’ll focus on that one. I do think that a Mustang should have a boisterous V8 under that big bonnet – however, if you are planning on actually driving it around Ireland the 2.3-litre engine improves the car’s handling, as well as emissions and fuel economy.

The EcoBoost engine weighs 90kg less than the V8 and this makes a huge difference to the handling of the car. Losing the weight on the nose makes the car more precise and agile. It turns sharper and faster and just feels a lot more graceful. Well, as graceful as a big American pony car can ever be.

Ford Ford

The optional MagneRide Damping System has sensors that monitor conditions one thousand times per second to ensure optimum handling performance. The system does a great job of working out when to increase and decrease resistance as well as keeping good control of the body.

Whilst not as impressive as the V8 the EcoBoost does have a lovely sound to it and is pretty rapid too. It produces 290hp at 5,400rpm and 440Nm of torque at 3,000rpm and features a transient overboost function for the turbocharger, which, when triggered under heavy acceleration provides an extra burst of boost following each up-shift. As a result this version accelerates from zero to 100km/h in just 5.5 seconds and on to a max speed of 233km/h.

Ford Ford

The new ten-speed automatic gearbox is slick and does a great job of changing ratios smoothly and quickly. However, you can change gears yourself using the paddle shifters. I didn’t feel the need to use the paddle shifters much as the gearbox didn’t seem to miss a beat.

There are a variety of drive modes to choose from. I kept the car in Sport mode for most of the driving as this gave a nice weighting to the steering, increased the throttle response and loosened up the rear end. However, over the rougher roads the car did dance about a bit. ‘Normal’ mode will probably be more suitable for Irish roads but Sport and Sport+ are a lot more fun.

Ford Ford

But in fairness to this car: whatever mode you have it in, whatever engine you choose, whatever style you opt for, you are going to have fun driving it.

It is hard not to smile when behind the wheel looking out at that big, beautiful bonnet and seeing the faces of other road users smiling back at you. The Mustang really does seem to elicit a positive response from most people.

Overall, with its mechanical updates and improved aerodynamic performance the Ford Mustang should impress most driving enthusiasts. It is a car that quickens the pulse when you are in its presence and I have once again fallen for its charms.

Irish prices for the updated Ford Mustang have yet to be announced but the EcoBoost with the ten-speed automatic gearbox should be in the region of €55,000.

READ: What are run flat tyres and what do I do if I get a puncture? >

READ: Review: The Ford Focus ST-Line has a sporty look, but it’s a sensible motor at heart >

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