One iconic American pony/muscle car has departed and another fades away a year from now. And that leaves one vehicle remaining from an esteemed group – the Ford Mustang.
The Mustang has been one of America’s classic cars for 60 years. A primary rival, the performance-laden Dodge Challenger was discontinued this year after competing with the Mustang for more than five decades. And another major rival – Chevy Camaro – will disappear a year from now after taking a final victory lap in 2024.
The Mustang not only remains, the 2024 Ford Mustang arrived with a redesign, demonstrating that the venerable auto manufacturer has no plans to shut it down anytime soon. That sigh of relief comes from the many admirers who love the look and signature engine growl of this classic coup that often can be seen in a cool convertible mode.
Still, its appeal is not for everyone. Sales of the Mustang hit a six-decade low of 47,566 in 2022, marking the seventh straight year that Mustang sales has dropped. After 14 consecutive years of sales between 116,000 and 166,000, Mustang sales has failed to break the 100,000-mark in 12 of the past 14 years. Note that sales climbed to 53,159 last year.
Despite the overall sales slide, the essentials remain virtually the same for the Mustang. It’s still high-performance muscle car that’s tons of fun to drive, affordable and sexy. And though muscle cars aren’t known as being high tech, the latest version of the Mustang gets good marks for its new interior features.
When introduced in 1964, the Mustang quickly became a car for people who craved performance and wanted to be noticed. We observed people checking out our attractive ride. The satisfying engine roar still draws attention and so does the agreeable price tag (roughly $31,000) of the base Mustang.
The seventh Mustang generation redesign added an interior with a more modern layout, larger screens and updated exterior styling with all-new body panels except the roof and front pillars. Performance was marginally increased as well.
There has never been an issue of mistaken identity with the Mustang. It still features a long hood and sloping fastback, which combine to give it an aggressive appeal. Rivals have come and gone (and returned again) – most notably the Challenger and the Camaro.
Performance is typically the starting point for anyone interested in purchasing a Mustang. For pure speed, the optional Mustang GT is the best choice. The engine is a 5.0-liter, eight-cylinder that generates 480 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. It goes 0-60 mph in a brisk 4.6 seconds. This year the V8 engine is a bit heftier, gaining 30 horsepower and 5 pound-feet of torque.
We drove the EcoBoost version (Ford’s name for turbocharged), a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder that produces 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. It goes 0-60 in 6.3 seconds and has better fuel economy than the V8 – 23-33 mpg vs. 14-23 mpg. Both engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
AT A GLANCE – 2024 FORD MUSTANG
- Performance: turbocharged 2.3-liter, four-cylinder, 315 horsepower; 5.0-liter, eight-cylinder, 480 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 23-33 mpg; 14-23 mpg
- Price estimate: $30,900 to $57,900
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
Total enjoyment is a term that typically describes driving a Mustang. Even without the optional high-performance summer tires, the Mustang takes corners well and provides impressive stability and feedback for the driver.
Ford is calling the revamped interior layout a “fighter-jet inspired” design. The company replaced a traditional analog dashboard layout with a fully digital setup. Every Mustang is equipped with a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and a 13.2-inch touchscreen. The fully digital dashboard is aided by many features located on the steering wheel.
Despite being a sports car, the front seats provide solid support and will be just fine on extended trips. The same can’t be said for the back seat where only children will find any true comfort due to the confined leg room and overall space. The wide cargo area measures 13.5 cubic-feet and is large enough to fit two golf bags.
The 2024 Ford Mustang continues its long run of being a stellar sports car that delivers performance and style. Even though sales have dipped in recent years, it remains a celebrated car that catches one’s eye.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.