2015 Ford Mustang
(Ford Motor Company)

The redesigned 2015 Ford Mustang currently ranks first of 11 affordable sports cars, which is an improvement over the 2014 model that topped out at fifth place when it was new. Here’s how the changes for 2015 helped the Ford Mustang rise to the top spot in our affordable sports car rankings.

[See full 2015 Ford Mustang review]

An independent rear suspension is new for 2015, and reviewers say it gives the Mustang more athletic handling on twisty roads than previous models. Some also note that the new Mustang’s ride quality is more compliant and comfortable over rough pavement, making it a more livable daily driver. The 2015 Mustang’s new turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine delivers plenty of power, test drivers report, and they’re also pleased with the manual transmission’s smooth shifts.

2015 Ford Mustang
(Ford Motor Company)

Inside, reviewers appreciate that the 2015 Mustang’s cabin looks and feels more upscale than its predecessor, which was criticized for its cheap materials and dated design when it was new. A few critics note that the audio and climate controls in the 2015 Mustang could be easier to use, but overall, the center console garners praise for its modern look and feel. The front seats were a strong point for the 2014 Mustang, and the new model continues to offer exceptional comfort, good visibility and ample space for the driver and front passenger, reviewers say.

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Though the 2015 Mustang sits on top of the affordable sports car rankings for now, don’t forget to check out some of the Mustang’s competitors before making a decision. The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata currently has the highest performance score of any affordable sports car, as critics say its combination of peppy acceleration, responsive steering and exceptionally agile handling make it one of the most fun-to-drive cars on the market today. They note, however, that the Miata’s cramped interior and small cargo space make it less practical than some competitors. If you’re looking for practicality in a sports car, the 2015 Volkswagen GTI has excellent cargo room for the class and impresses test drivers with its athletic handling and potent turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

2015 Ford Mustang
(Ford Motor Company)

Although changes for 2015 have made the Mustang a more appealing option, the 2012 Ford Mustang is worth considering if you’re looking to buy used. It currently sits atop our rankings of 2012 affordable sports cars, as test drivers were impressed with its powerful engine, nimble handling and precise steering when it was new.

U.S. News Best Cars rankings are based off the consensus opinion of America’s top automotive journalists. Our team gathers every published, credible review of a vehicle, and for each third-partyreview, we score the vehicle on three components: Performance, Interior and Critic’s Rating, which is how strongly a reviewer recommends the vehicle. We combine these scores, along with reliability data from J.D. Power and Associates and safety data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, into a weighted average that is based on what car buyers say matters most to them. The result is an overall score for each new car on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best possible score. Our rankings are continually updated as more reviews of a vehicle become available, as well as when new safety and reliability data is released.

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