$19,070 - $49,440

2017 Ford Mustang Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Ford Mustang was new.


Performance: 8.8

The 2017 Ford Mustang has a model and engine for almost every buyer, from the fuel-conscious commuter to the weekend track warrior. Depending on the model and options you choose, you can get a nimble Mustang with a smooth ride or a track-ready monster with all of the suspension stiffness that goes with it.

  • "Whether you spend your time behind the wheel on the open highway or in dense city traffic, the 2017 Ford Mustang is easy to drive and generally pain-free." -- Edmunds
  • "How was it to drive the new Mustang? It was surprisingly good. Very good. So much better than any Mustang you've ever driven." -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • "This new car shames the old, redefines the model and gallops far ahead of anything else in the segment." -- Autoblog (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2017 Ford Mustang has a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The EcoBoost model comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The Ford Mustang GT has a 5.0-liter V8 that generates 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. With all three engines, a six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.

A Mustang V6 with an automatic transmission returns an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway – on par with rivals' ratings. The Mustang EcoBoost gets 21/32, which is good for a muscle car, and the GT gets 16/25, which is typical for a V8 sports car.

Reviewers report that the base V6 engine delivers strong acceleration. The EcoBoost engine is surprisingly good, without the delay in power delivery that you often experience in turbocharged engines. Both transmissions shift smoothly, and the V8 engine on GT models gets good reviews for its power and muscle car sound.

  • "Of course, a key component of the Mustang's appeal is what you get under the hood. We think the Mustang GT's V8 is the way to go given its impressive smoothness and 435 ponies. But even if you stick with the more affordable V6 or the turbocharged four-cylinder, the Mustang delivers respectable power and fuel economy." -- Edmunds
  • "Whether you choose the V6, new EcoBoost 4-cylinder or (obviously) the V8, all Mustang models are notably quick. However, it's the last of these that truly sounds like a Ford Mustang should, with an auditory rumble and roar that's pure Americana." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "The Getrag-sourced six-speed manual shifts easily and slots into gear quickly, and it feels more polished than before." -- Car and Driver (2015)

High-Performance Trims

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 has a 5.2-liter V8 engine that produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The GT350 offers a number of performance upgrades, including a stiffer suspension and larger brakes. A six-speed manual is the only available transmission in the GT350.

While still street legal, the Mustang Shelby GT350R is designed to be more track-focused than the GT350, according to Ford. In addition to a further upgraded suspension, it weighs less than the GT350. That lighter weight is due to the fact that its wheels are made from carbon fiber instead of aluminum, and several interior amenities have been removed, including the air conditioner, stereo and rear seat. The GT350 and GT350R share the same engine and transmission. Both models are only available in the fastback body style.

Handling and Braking

Like you’d expect from a muscle or sports car, the 2017 Ford Mustang comes standard with rear-wheel drive. If the base model doesn’t drive to your liking, a number of performance options are available that improve handling, including the Performance Package on EcoBoost and GT models, which adds a stiffer suspension and larger brakes. While they make the Mustang sharper on the track, the changes also make its ride less comfortable.

Most auto writers say the Mustang has nimble cornering abilities, sharp steering, and a smooth ride. The brakes on the Mustang are strong enough to stop this pony in a hurry, but they can be a bit grabby.

  • "It's quiet and composed on the highway, even if the ride can get annoyingly bouncy on irregular pavement, but it's generally smooth. One option that can make things a bit bumpy is the Performance package (EcoBoost and GT models only), which includes a stiffened suspension that's noticeably less supple. If you're looking for a track-and-canyon-capable Mustang, that's probably the suspension you want, but there's a trade-off for daily driving comfort." -- Edmunds
  • "Over the bumps, the independent rear not only soaked up every road irregularity it came across but allowed for easier application of power upon exiting. There were many times in corners when we uttered words like 'Superb!' and 'Magical!'" -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • "When it comes to burning away the speed, the brakes are effective, although there's so much bite from the brake pads even with light pressure on the pedal that it's best to be deliberate." -- Automobile Magazine (2015)

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