$11,427 - $37,517

2013 Ford Mustang Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Ford Mustang was new.


Performance: 8.0

With nimble handling, ample power and good fuel economy, test drivers say that the 2013 Ford Mustang is a front-runner in the affordable sports car pack. Still, the Mustang isn’t perfect. Some test drivers note that the convertible is better-suited to boulevard cruising than canyon carving, and that the Mustang’s ride over rough roads can be jarring.

  • "As coupes, Mustang V6s are confident on the road with modest body lean in fast turns and accurate steering." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Regardless of which 2013 Ford Mustang you choose, you're in for a wild ride. The base V6 makes more than enough power for the average driver and plenty of oomph to satisfy a majority of driving enthusiasts as well." -- Edmunds 
  • "When spurring the Mustang, you end up waiting for your commands to be translated into actions. There's just a ton of roll. And against the likes of BRZ, FR-S, and Miata, it feels less engaging and, ultimately, fat." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Most appreciated in this drive was not so much the Mustang's power, but the car's ability to firmly put it on the ground despite rain, snow and ice on the roads. The car's traction control kept the all-season tires in check, correcting slip the brief moments we lost grip on winding Oregon roads." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The 2013 Ford Mustang is as raucous as ever, with a gutsy V-6 and a V-8 that pulls like hell." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Mustang is available in a variety of trims that all offer varying degrees of performance. The base Mustang comes with a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 280 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. According to the EPA, the Mustang V6 gets up to 19/31 mpg city/highway, which is slightly better than the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger.

The Mustang GT gains 8 horsepower for 2013. Its 5.0-liter V8 engine now makes 420 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 390 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. The Mustang Boss 302 builds on the GT’s performance with more power and an upgraded suspension, while the Shelby GT500 offers blistering performance, thanks to a supercharged V8 engine that delivers 650 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque. All models come with a six-speed manual transmission, while V6 and GT cars have an optional six-speed automatic that gains a manual shift mode for 2013.

Reviewers say that although the Mustang GT is more powerful, it’s no longer the obvious choice for driving enthusiasts since the V6 is surprisingly quick. They’re also pleased that the Mustang’s automatic transmission now has a manual mode, but a few point out that it still lacks paddle shifters, which many have come to expect on sports cars.

  • "The 6-speed manual transmission is generally smooth, but one V6 test car had slightly grabby clutch action." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Driving enthusiasts will naturally want to select the manual transmission, though the automatic isn't a bad choice, especially with the new Select Shift manual feature that holds gears all the way to redline and delivers smooth (but not rev-matched) downshifts." -- Edmunds 
  • "The gearbox is nowhere near as quick or accurate as the Scion-baru, but if I slow down a little bit, it works fine. The throws aren't bad. The shifter is mounted very low in the console. Personally, I like that." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The short-throw, 6-speed manual transmission felt solid, confidently snicking into each gear." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Ford's 3.7-liter V-6 roars like a V-8, and even with the pokiest (but most fuel-efficient) rear axle, the stick-shift Mustang launches strongly enough to spin the rear tires all the way through 1st gear." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

Test drivers report that the 2013 Ford Mustang feels lighter and more agile than competitors like the Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro, though in a comparison test, one reviewer says the Mustang lacks the athletic cornering ability of cars like the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ. Additionally, some critics note that the Mustang’s suspension doesn’t handle hard braking or potholes and road imperfections well. An optional mode-selectable steering system offers comfort, sport and standard settings. The system adjusts the amount of power assist for sportier or more comfortable driving, while the standard mode splits the difference between the two extremes. A handful of test drivers mention that while the Mustang coupe is light on its feet, the convertible isn’t as composed when the road gets twisty.

  • "Given Mustang's ‘old-school’ suspension setup, it's surprisingly livable, at least in coupe form. However, there's some shimmy from the car's solid rear axle over sharp bumps. Convertibles are especially prone to body shake and quiver." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Within the pony car triumvirate of the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang, the Ford is lightest on its feet. On a curvy road, the Mustang responds eagerly to steering inputs and feels controlled and manageable." -- Edmunds 
  • "Though the tires and engine make a nice performance pair, the chassis doesn't quite relay their magic. The steering, while linear and nicely weighted, is like a talented conductor whose orchestra is always a note behind." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Our V-8 tester's optional Brembo brakes … hammered the car to a stop with a lot of forward suspension dive - a peculiar sensation because neither this car nor the softer V-6 suspension exhibited much body roll." -- Cars.com

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