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2021 Ford Mustang Review

The 2021 Ford Mustang outranks nearly all other sports cars. It offers a deft blend of straight-line acceleration and poised handling, along with a nice cabin and user-friendly features.

Pros & Cons

  • Several powerful engine options
  • Sure-footed handling
  • Intuitive in-car technology
  • Decent trunk size for the class
  • Cramped rear seat

New for 2021

  • CoPilot360 driver assistance features now standard
  • Mustang Mach 1 trim debuts
  • Bullitt, Shelby GT350, and GT350R models discontinued

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Ford Mustang's #1 ranking is based on its score within the Sports Cars category. Currently the Ford Mustang has a score of 8.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 46 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 7.0
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.
N/A

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Is the Ford Mustang a Good Car?

Yes, the Ford Mustang is a very good sports car. It gallops through turns with poise and control and boasts an impressive engine lineup that starts with a capable turbocharged four-cylinder and concludes with the meaty V8s that you'd expect in a muscle car.

The driver-focused cabin is generally upscale and features supportive seats and easy-to-use controls. The biggest knock against the Mustang is its cramped rear seats, though the same can be said about most two-door cars of this size.

Why You Can Trust Us: 46 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 46 Ford Mustang reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 Mustang is the right new car for you.

This 2021 Mustang review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2015.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Ford Mustang?

You should definitely have the Mustang on your shortlist. With a handful of engine options, two body styles, plenty of performance upgrades, and a wide range of prices, there's a Mustang for seemingly everyone. For overall performance from a contemporary muscle car, it's hard to beat this Ford.

Find a 2021 Ford Mustang for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Ford Mustang: What's the Difference?

For 2021, Ford equips every Mustang with the CoPilot360 bundle of driver assistance features, which include automatic high-beam headlights, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and lane keeping assist. Additionally, Ford debuts a limited-edition Mach 1 model and drops the Mustang Bullitt and Shelby GT350 trims. The Shelby GT500 is newly available with a Carbon Fiber Handling package.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Mustang »

Here are the key changes for the Ford Mustang over the last several years:

  • 2017: added available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 2018: refreshed exterior design; V6 engine discontinued; V8 models gained horsepower; 10-speed automatic transmission became optional
  • 2019: Bullitt model introduced; added available California Special appearance package
  • 2020: high-performance Shelby GT500 debuted; gained standard FordPass Connect and optional High Performance and EcoBoost Handling packages
  • 2021: several driver assistance features added to standard features list; Mustang Mach 1 introduced; Bullitt, Shelby GT350, and GT350R models dropped from lineup

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Mustang, 2019 Mustang, and 2020 Mustang reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Ford Mustang Cost?

The 2021 Ford Mustang starts at $27,155, which is about average for the sports car class. That price tag is for the base fastback (coupe) model; a base Mustang convertible starts at $32,655.

The Mustang GT – which has a V8 engine instead of the standard turbocharged four-cylinder – retails for $36,120, and the new-for-2021 Mustang Mach 1 carries a price of $51,270. Topping out the lineup is the Shelby GT500 with a starting price of around $73,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

Ford Mustang Versus the Competition

Ford Mustang vs. Chevrolet Camaro

The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have many similarities, but the Ford sits comfortably above the Chevy in our sports car rankings. The Mustang's standard 310 horsepower is more impressive than the Camaro's standard 275, both on paper and in practice. Additionally, the range-topping Shelby Mustang GT500 has a lot more power (760) than the top-end Camaro ZL1 (650). Both of these cars rate well for handling, but you might find the Chevy a little more lively. The Mustang has a more refined interior, better outward visibility, a larger trunk, and more standard safety features. Those positives – combined with the Camaro's poor predicted reliability rating – help the Mustang to a clear win in this matchup.

Compare the Mustang and Camaro »

Ford Mustang vs. Dodge Challenger

The Dodge Challenger is one of the few muscle cars with more available horsepower than the Mustang (the other is the Dodge Charger). While the Shelby GT500 cranks out up to 760 horses, the Challenger has SRT models that make 797 and 807 horsepower. Pure muscle is the highlight of the Dodge's performance. Its relative bulk means that it can't match the Mustang's swift handling and agile cornering.

However, the Challenger has a notable advantage with its five-person seating capacity and surprisingly roomy second row. The Dodge also has a huge trunk that rivals many large sedans. Both of these cars have comparable interior qualities and straightforward features. Picking between them depends on if you like the athleticism of the Mustang and can deal with a small back seat, or if you need the extra space of the Challenger.

Compare the Mustang and Challenger »

Compare the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger »

Mustang Performance: Bucking Bronco

Mustang Engine

The 2021 Mustang has an intriguing stable of engine options, offering choices for most budgets and performance appetites. The standard turbocharged four-cylinder is the most powerful base engine in the class. It gets you moving quickly, and power comes on strong through most of the rev range. It's only when the tach nears the limiter that the car seems to run out of breath. However, you may find the somewhat subdued exhaust note a little tame for a muscle car.

An optional performance package for this engine raises horsepower by 20 and adds an active exhaust, along with other handling goodies.

Much more impressive, however, is the 5.0-liter V8 found in the GT model and the new-for-2021 Mach 1. This powertrain has ample vigor for nearly all driving situations and should thrill you with its responsive power band.

Both the turbo EcoBoost engine and the naturally aspirated V8 come standard with an engaging six-speed manual transmission that allows for perfectly timed shifts. The optional 10-speed automatic is another great choice, as it smoothly rips through the gears.

The head honcho of the lineup is the Shelby GT500. With a supercharged V8 engine, it's the most powerful production car that Ford has ever released.

Ford Mustang Engine Options:
  • Base engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque (EcoBoost); starts at $27,155
  • Available engines:
    • 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 330 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque (EcoBoost with High Performance package)
    • 5.0-liter V8 with 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque (GT); starts at $36,120
    • 5.0-liter V8 with 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque (Mach 1); starts at $51,720
    • 5.2-liter supercharged V8 with 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque (GT500)
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (GT500 only); available 10-speed automatic

Ford Mustang Performance Packages and Options:

  • 2.3L High Performance Package (available in EcoBoost): 330-horsepower engine, a larger radiator, larger brakes, heavy-duty front springs, a strut tower brace, a larger rear sway bar, a limited-slip rear differential, an active exhaust, and summer-only tires
  • EcoBoost Handling Package: MagneRide adaptive suspension, summer tires, larger brakes, and a Torsen limited-slip differential
  • GT Performance Package: summer tires, Brembo front brakes, heavy-duty front springs, additional chassis bracing, a larger radiator, retuned chassis and stability control, a performance rear wing, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and a larger rear sway bar
  • GT500 Carbon Fiber Handling Package: 20-inch black-painted carbon fiber wheels, adjustable strut mounts, a catch can, a Gurney flap, and splitter winglets
Ford Mustang Appearance Packages:
  • Black Accent Package: black wheels, black exterior badges, a black rear spoiler, black outside mirror caps, and a black-painted roof
  • Wheel and Stripe Package: unique wheels and hood and side stripes
  • California Special Package: black wheels, side stripes, side scoops, suede door panel and seat inserts, California Special badges, unique floor mats, front splitter, rear wing, and grille
  • Pony Package: unique wheels and grille, bright exterior trim, side stripes, premium floor mats, and Pony badge
  • Carbon Sport Interior Package: Alcantara door panel and seat inserts, carbon fiber instrument panel, and carbon fiber shift knob
Mustang Gas Mileage

With its base turbo-four engine and the 10-speed automatic transmission, the Mustang fastback gets up to 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Those EPA-estimated figures are better than anything that rival muscle cars can muster, but they're line with other four-cylinder-powered sports cars.

Swap in the manual transmission for the automatic or a convertible for a fastback, or if you opt for the boosted horsepower, ratings will drop to as low as 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

V8-powered Mustang GT models get 16/25 mpg with the automatic transmission and 15/24 mpg with the manual. The Shelby GT500 is one of the least efficient vehicles we review, coming in at 12/18 mpg city/highway.

Mustang Ride and Handling

The Mustang is just as confidant carving up twisty roads as it is going in a straight line. EcoBoost models are the most nimble due to their lighter engine and lower curb weight. The steering is responsive and properly weighted for different driving scenarios.

Upgrades like the MagneRide adjustable suspension and selectable driving modes provide greater versatility for athleticism or just driving in comfort.

How Fast Is the Ford Mustang?

The standard Mustang EcoBoost can go from zero to 60 mph in around five seconds when equipped with the 10-speed automatic transmission, and it has a top speed of 121 miles per hour.

Models with the EcoBoost High Performance package do a zero-to-60 sprint in the mid-four seconds, and an automatic-equipped Mustang GT hits 60 in four seconds. Both of those models have a top speed of 155 mph.

The Shelby GT500 can sprint to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 180 mph. The new-for-2021 Mustang Mach 1 tops out at 168 mph.

Does the Ford Mustang Have All-Wheel Drive?

No, the Ford Mustang only comes with rear-wheel drive. Most other sports cars and the Mustang's primary rivals are only RWD, but the Dodge Challenger is available with all-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

Mustang Interior: Pretty Livable

Mustang Cargo Space

The Mustang fastback's 13.5-cubic-foot trunk is the second largest in the class, trailing only the Dodge Challenger's massive cargo hold. This Ford's trunk can accommodate a few suitcases, a couple of golf bags, or about a dozen shopping bags.

The Mustang convertible has an 11.4-cubic-foot trunk, which is about average for the sports car class.

How Many People Does the Mustang Seat?

Most Mustangs seat four people. The front is the place to be, whether you're the lucky driver or just a passenger. Outward visibility is good, and the seats provide plenty of comfort and support. Note, however, that the optional Recaro sport seats have extra side bolstering and may be too snug for some occupants.

The two rear seats are mostly a formality and only suited for smaller passengers. Legroom and headroom are tight no matter which body style you go with. The high-performance Shelby GT500 has no back seats.

Mustang and Child Car Seats

There are complete sets of LATCH connectors for both of the Mustang's rear seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its ease of use because the lower anchors are buried deep in the seats, and it requires some force to attach the car-seat straps.

Mustang Interior Quality

Inside, the Mustang is a charming blend of modern styling and old-school elements, which include toggle flip switches. In general, everything feels solid, and most materials are of high quality, though some hard plastics prevent it from being truly top-notch.

Mustang Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The standard SYNC infotainment system shows basic audio information on a 4.2-inch screen, and it can be controlled with your voice.

The upgraded SYNC 3 system features an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Compared to technology from other automakers, SYNC 3 is a little basic, but the menu structure is simple and easy to navigate. An available 12-inch digital instrument cluster injects an element of modernity into the Mustang.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 4.2-inch display, voice-controls, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, and FordPass Connect (lets you do things like lock and unlock the doors using a smartphone)
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, a nine-speaker stereo, two USB ports, navigation, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, and HD Radio
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, ambient interior lighting, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, and a universal garage door opener

Read more about interior »

Mustang Reliability

Is the Ford Mustang Reliable?

The 2021 Ford Mustang does not yet have a predicted reliability rating.

Ford Mustang Warranty

Ford covers the Mustang with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Mustang Safety

Mustang Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2021 Ford Mustang the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the driver-side small overlap test. The Mustang convertible earned Good ratings in the three crash tests that the IIHS conducted.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Mustang an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests.

Mustang Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Rearview camera
  • MyKey (lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Rear parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control

Read more about safety »

Mustang Dimensions and Weight

The Ford Mustang is around 15.8 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,535 to 3,904 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Ford Mustang Built?

Ford builds the 2021 Mustang in Michigan.

When Did the Ford Mustang First Come Out?

Ford launched the Mustang in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. It was the brainchild of Lee Iacocca, Ford’s vice president at the time, who saw the need for a sporty two-door car that could appeal to the youth. This first-generation Mustang was initially offered with coupe and convertible body styles, as well as a straight-six and two V8 engine options. More engines, body styles, and special editions soon followed, including the now-famous Mustang GT and Shelby GT350. The Mustang’s recipe of attractive styling, fun-to-drive handling, and affordability made it an instant hit with shoppers. This popularity also helped spawn other pony cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, and Dodge Challenger.

Which Ford Mustang Model Is Right for Me?

Ford offers the 2021 Mustang in several combinations. There are fastback (coupe) and convertible body styles, along with several trim levels and engine options. The base model gets you a respectable engine and a good list of standard active safety features, along with available packages that boost horsepower and upgrade the bare-bones infotainment system to a touch screen with smartphone connectivity. That said, if you have room in your budget and prioritize performance, go with a GT model.

Ford Mustang Ecoboost

The 2021 Ford Mustang EcoBoost fastback starts at $27,155, while the convertible retails for $32,655. A 310-horsepower turbocharged engine and a six-speed manual transmission are standard; a 10-speed automatic is optional.

Standard features include cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, a six-speaker stereo, the voice-controlled SYNC infotainment system, Ford's MyKey safety system, FordPass Connect, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Newly standard for 2021 are blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

An optional package adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, remote start, rear parking sensors, selectable drive modes, and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, a nine-speaker stereo, and two USB ports.

Get the above package, and you can also add the Ford Safe and Smart package with adaptive cruise control and navigation.

The 2.3L High Performance package boosts horsepower to 330 and includes an active exhaust, a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, front and rear sway bars, heavy-duty front springs, a larger radiator, retuned steering, and unique exterior styling.

Available for the fastback only, the EcoBoost Handling package adds a Torsen limited-differential, summer-only tires, upgraded brakes, and the MagneRide adjustable suspension.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium

The Mustang EcoBoost Premium comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, a nine-speaker stereo, two USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, selectable drive modes, fog lights, aluminum pedals, and ambient interior lighting. Prices start at $32,175 for the fastback and $37,675 for the convertible.

An optional package adds a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, navigation, driver's seat memory settings, and a universal garage door opener.

Other options include a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, HD Radio, and Recaro front sport seats with leather upholstery.

Ford Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang GT features a 460-horsepower V8 engine and starts at $36,120. The base GT only comes as a fastback. It closely mirrors the base trim's features, but it has power-adjustable front seats, rear parking sensors, fog lights, and some unique styling elements.

The optional GT Performance package includes summer-only tires, Brembo front brakes, heavy-duty front springs, additional chassis bracing, a larger radiator, retuned chassis and stability control, a performance rear wing, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and a larger rear sway bar.

All other optional features from the base model are optional for the GT.

Ford Mustang GT Premium

The Mustang GT Premium is available in both fastback ($40,120) and convertible ($45,620) body styles. It largely has the same amenities as the EcoBoost premium but also comes with genuine leather upholstery and a universal garage door opener.

It offers the same options and packages as the EcoBoost premium model.

Ford Mustang Mach 1

New for 2021, the Mustang Mach 1 (fastback only) has a V8 engine tuned to 480 horsepower and a starting price of $51,720. Additional standard features include an active exhaust, Brembo front brakes, heavy-duty front springs, an increased top speed, MagneRide, a larger radiator, a Torsen limited-slip differential, a larger rear sway bar, retuned chassis and steering, a unique air intake, summer-only tires, a performance rear spoiler, unique exterior styling, and a 12-inch digital instrument cluster.

Optional features include aluminum pedals, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, driver's seat memory settings, adaptive cruise control, navigation, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, HD Radio, and Recaro front sport seats.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The Shelby GT500 (fastback only) comes with a 760-horsepower supercharged V8 engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, a race-inspired chassis and suspension, high-performance tires, aerodynamic body accents, Recaro front sport seats, Brembo brakes, MagneRide, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler and wheels.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

See 2021 Ford Mustang specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Ford Mustang is arguably the most well-rounded sports car. It boasts ample engine power, sharp handling, good interior quality, and a solid list of features. You'll only have to look past its small rear seat, but if you're shopping in this class, chances are you can do that.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Ford Mustang is alive, well, and kicking. Which can’t be said of so many Ford cars. But the Mustang transcends 4-wheeled transportation in the present moment just as it has over many decades. It’s an integral part of American automotive culture." -- Autotrader
  • "The Mustang offers a compelling mix of image, style, performance and driver satisfaction." -- Car and Driver
  • "When someone buys a Mustang, in coupe or convertible form, they’re participating in a heritage while also driving the name into a thrilling future. The Mustang feels special, bringing a sense of occasion every time you jump in, even if you’re just going to pick up the dry cleaning." -- Kelley Blue Book

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 29, 2021

Class-Leading Sales: The Mustang was the best-selling sports car in 2019, and it held that position through the end of 2020. It sold comfortably ahead of its main American muscle competitors, and outperformed the second-best selling Dodge Challenger by over 15 percent and the Chevy Camaro by over 2 to 1. However, like many cars and SUVs, Ford dealerships moved 15.7 percent fewer Mustang models last year compared to 2019. 

Research more buying advice »
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