Currently reading: Nearly new buying guide: Ford Mustang
This all-American muscle car makes sense as a used buy
News
5 mins read
2 November 2021

You can take the car out of Michigan, but can you take Michigan out of the car? The sixth-generation Mustang is the most UK-ready pony to have trotted out of Ford’s factory since the first one rolled off the production line in 1964. It has been around for a few years now, so is this American legend a better used buy than a European coupé such as the Audi TT or Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Its scale is still unmistakably vast and its style echoes those past generations of Mustang that varied rather haphazardly from howlin’ wolf to flaccid puppy. You can have it as fastback coupé or a soft-top convertible and you can choose a 313bhp 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine or a 410bhp 5.0-litre V8 (raised to 444bhp in 2018). Standard is a six-speed manual gearbox, but there are also two automatic versions: early models had a six-speed ’box, while post-2018 facelift models get a 10-speed unit.

Click here to buy your next used Mustang from Autocar

Standard Mustangs come with keyless entry and start, selectable driving modes, LED headlights, 19in alloys, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a rear parking camera and a limited-slip differential. Option packs include a Bang & Olufsen stereo upgrade, climate-controlled seats and sat-nav.

The Mustang is brawny and butch and feels the fairly heavy car it is. Its steering needs more effort than most performance cars’ these days and it doesn’t turn in to corners as quickly as its rivals, but it grips well and can be provoked into entertaining angles.

The V8 car is fast, after an initial lethargy, while the lighter four-pot model has a decent turn of speed without feeling threatening.

The 10-speed automatic gearbox is snappy and can flick through multiple gears in one go, but its occasional habit of switching ratios indecisively is annoying.

There’s a huge range of adjustment to the steering wheel and seat, meaning even the tallest drivers can get comfortable, although some might want the seat to be a little lower. Visibility isn’t great, due to the sloping roofline and thick pillars.

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The 12.0in digital instrument cluster is impressive, although the graphics on the standard 8.0in touchscreen look a little old-fashioned. At least the system responds with reasonable speed.

There’s plenty of room up front, but space for the two rear passengers is limited, considering the size of the car. The boot is a good size, even if its high loading lip and narrow opening limit practicality somewhat.

Safety-wise, the Mustang initially scored a disappointing two stars in the Euro NCAP tests, but this was raised to three stars following some updates made on 2017 models.

About £23,000 is the bottom line for an early Mustang with a 2.3-litre engine and an average mileage for the year. Look to spend between £25,000 and £28,000 on an early V8 GT or a 2017 car and around £30,000 to £35,000 on a facelifted example from late 2018 or 2019, bought from a franchised dealer.

BUYER BEWARE 

Engine On the V8, a rattle from cold may not be the timing chains but piston slap that can score the bores. Or it may be a harmless noise from the bottom end. On the same engine, check the oil cooler isn't leaking.

Transmission Where fitted, check the auto box shifts promptly or at all. The valve bodies may be to blame if not. A clunk from neutral to drive or reverse may require replacement of the front transmission flange to remedy. Some manual gearboxes have suffered broken selector forks. All that V8 torque should expose a failing clutch. 

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Tyres Check all four are a premium brand and have plenty of life.

Body Regarding the soft-top, check you’re happy with the inevitable gaps between the hood and body. It and the coupé also suffer wayward panel gaps pretty much everywhere else. Unless it's been crashed, poor quality control at the factory is to blame (in the US, the Mustang is a budget muscle car). Check the long doors’ edges for car park dings. You’d have to be a saint not to clonk them. Examine the paint finish for imperfections. Scrutinise the whole car, but the rear end in particular, for evidence of crash repairs. Make sure the wing mirror puddle lights come illuminate. On early cars check that corrosion hasn't taken a serious hold on the underside.

Interior On earlier cars, fit and finish is only reasonable and a bit better on facelift models so be sure everything is works and is secure (for example, the windows can drop a little). Check the air con blows cold (the condenser can fail).

 

Need to know

According to the older NEDC economy figures, the Ecoboost achieves 31.3mpg combined. The V8 is thirstier, unsurprisingly, managing only 22.8mpg.

There have been two recalls for battery cables, which could dangle too close to the potentially hot exhaust manifold and catch fire. In both instances, check with a Ford dealer to make sure your car has had any remedial work carried out.

You might be better off buying a V8 registered after the 1 April 2017 alteration to the VED system. If it cost less than £40,000 when new, you will have to pay only £150 per year, compared with £580 for any car registered before that date.

Our pick

5.0 V8 GT: We should say go for the more frugal four-cylinder 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine, but we just can’t bring ourselves to do it. A V8-less Mustang reminds us of the 1973 oil crisis and the wheezy 89bhp 2.3 fitted to the Mustang II. Shudder.

Wild card

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5.0 V8 Bullitt: Live out your favourite Steve McQueen moments in this movie-inspired version, which gets a power hike to 453bhp. Driver to supply their own Herringbone jacket and shades.

Ones we found

2015 2.3 Ecoboost auto, 29,000 miles, £22,950

2016 5.0 V8 GT with Custom Pack, 59,717 miles, £25,950

2019 5.0 V8 GT, 3559 miles, £35,900

2019 5.0 V8 Bullitt, 6499 miles, £39,990

READ MORE

Ford Mustang Mach-E to gain new features with wireless updates 

Ford Mustang Mach 1: 454bhp special edition confirmed for Europe 

New Mustang to go four-wheel drive with hybrid V8

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Comments
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cambuster 12 November 2020

My 2010, S-197 5.0 V8 Mustang was dire

Drop dead gorgeous to look at, in Cardinal Red with black stripes, to die for wheels, sounded glorious with it's "axle backs", admiring crowds wherever it went. It was the worst car to drive, not helped by it's agricultural Tremec 5 speed manual, I have ever (ever) had.  And it liked a drink, without the commensurate performance. Regularly do 440 miles round trip, after once in the Mustang never took it again. Lesson personally learned on the shallowness of "looks" alone - though my XK8 drives a dream aswell as (IMO) being a good looker.    

Peter Cavellini 12 November 2020

The legend

 No, no it doesn't,we'd all like a Mustang like Steve McQueens car from the film Bullet, it was all male testosterone, it snarled aggression, today's car just isn't, it's like BMW's reiteration of the Mini, it looked like a Mini but sadly wasn't.

theshavedyeti 12 November 2020

What a ridiculous comparison.

What a ridiculous comparison. The S550 is probably the best Mustang since the 70s classics.

jason_recliner 12 November 2020

Peter Cavellini wrote:

Peter Cavellini wrote:

 No, no it doesn't,we'd all like a Mustang like Steve McQueens car from the film Bullet, it was all male testosterone, it snarled aggression, today's car just isn't, it's like BMW's reiteration of the Mini, it looked like a Mini but sadly wasn't.

Eh?