The 2020 Ford Mustang starts at $26,670 in the United States and $31,080 in Canada, freight and delivery charges not included.
V8 engine swagger, sound and performance, easy-to-use SYNC 3, reasonably priced (in most cases).
V8 fuel consumption, some cheap interior materials, dull EcoBoost engine sound.
There isn’t much choice left on the market for sports car fans who desire top-level performance and a reasonable price tag. And in these pandemic times, more than ever, we need rides like the 2020 Ford Mustang that keep us entertained as we’re getting stir crazy locked up in the house.
Now that the Ford Fusion is retiring, the Mustang remains the only passenger car in the Blue Oval’s lineup, the only alternative for those uninterested by crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks. And we’re not talking about the new fully electric Mustang Mach-E, but the good old Mustang coupe and convertible.
We recently drove the latter, in GT trim, thank you. For muscle car fans, those who cherish the ‘60s and ‘70s and who admire nothing else than a V8 engine, the 2020 Ford Mustang can only be served as a GT. Or as a Shelby GT350, if there are any left on dealer lots, as it’s being retired this year. Or the Shelby GT500, but we’re exaggerating a little with its 760 horsepower as well as its near-$75K price in the United States, and near-$100K sticker in Canada. The Mustang GT obviously rivals the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro with their equally brutal V8 engines.
It must be said that the base powerplant, a turbocharged, 2.3L inline-four, isn’t bad either. Developing 310 horsepower (330 optional) as well as 350 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm (with 93-octane fuel), the EcoBoost engine provides excellent acceleration times, although its sound doesn’t come close to the V8’s. And thus despite the simulated engine growls emanating through the speakers inside the car.
To put the EcoBoost engine’s output into perspective, a 2005-to-2009 Mustang GT equipped with a 4.6L V8 produced 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet. In addition, it’s more powerful than the Camaro’s 2.0L turbo (275 hp) and the Challenger’s 3.6L V6 (305 hp). And since the four-cylinder engine is lighter than the V8, the Mustang EcoBoost boasts different handling and character. It can even compete with the Nissan 370Z, the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86, even though its roadholding abilities aren’t as sharp as these Japanese sportsters.
The naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 produces 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque—480 hp in the Mustang BULLITT—and like the four-cylinder engine, it can be matched to either a six-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. Obviously, performance is blistering, additive and accompanied by an engine roar that gets the old adrenaline pumping.
On the flipside, fuel economy isn’t all that great. The GT coupe with the manual gearbox has city/highway/combined ratings of 15/24/18 mpg in the U.S. and 16.1/9.9/13.3 L/100 km in Canada, while the convertible with the automatic has the same ratings in the States, and 15.4/9.7/12.9 L/100 km in Canada. In short, the V8 engine consumes about 5 mpg / 3 L/100 km more than the 2.3L engine, and little more than the Camaro’s, although the Mustang can run on regular unleaded while its rivals need premium fuel. During our test, we managed 18 mpg or 13.0 L/100 km aboard the GT convertible.
The 2020 Ford Mustang retails from $26,670 before freight and delivery charges in the United States, while the GT coupe starts at just under $36K, and our optioned-up GT convertible tester rings in at more than $53K. In Canada, the base EcoBoost coupe starts at $31,080 and the GT comes in at $41K, while our test car’s price reaches the $63K mark. A similarly equipped Camaro costs about the same, while the Challenger isn’t available as a convertible, and its price is also very close. So no real advantage for either one.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Ford Mustang
- Performance is extremely enjoyable with both engines, but the 5.0L V8 is the way to go for the full muscle car effect. Meanwhile, the Mustang EcoBoost has distinct driving dynamics, as the lighter engine up front makes it a little more agile.
- The 2020 Ford Mustang’s price is attainable for those dreaming to buy a muscular sports car. Well, the GT convertible is a little costly because it can only be chosen in the more equipped Premium trim. We’re obviously excluding the Shelby GT350, the Shelby GT500 and even the BULLITT here.
- Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, although dated, packs plenty of features and its touchscreen is easy to use. The voice recognition software is one of the best out there.
- The Mustang’s convertible top shines for its simplicity. Just twist a handle and press a button, and the soft top folds down in a matter of seconds.
- Nostalgia, pure and simple. The 2020 Ford Mustang is one of the last cars on the market with a retro feel, reminding us of the good old days when gasoline was cheap, global warming wasn’t a problem and cars had a soul.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Ford Mustang
- Although the EcoBoost engine is reasonable on fuel, the V8 engine isn’t. Good thing it can run on regular, but still.
- The 2020 Ford Mustang packs modern technology with SYNC 3 and an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, but all this is surrounded by some cheap-looking plastics with various clashing textures. It’s better than it sounds, though, as panel fit and the overall finish is acceptable, except the trunk with exposed bolts and taped wiring.
- The Mustang BULLITT edition looks pretty good, and comes with lots of bells and whistles that are optional on lesser trim levels. However, this hardly justifies the higher price tag, unless we’re true die-hard fans of Steve McQueen.
- The Mustang is an awesome throwback to yesteryear’s muscle cars, but the Dodge Challenger does a better job at providing that retro feel and character.
- Reliability is somewhat of a concern, as Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Ford Mustang a score of 3 out of 5, while the Challenger is rated 5/5. Still, the Ford is less problematic than the Camaro which has a 1/5 reliability rating.
Of course, the 2020 Ford Mustang is an emotional purchase above all else. It has that retro vibe going for it, but doesn’t feel old or archaic. It might not be the most luxurious car our $30K-$40K can buy, but the Mustang has plenty of character and charm nonetheless—especially with the V8 engine, which we strongly recommend, even though environmentalists won’t like this suggestion at all.
Don’t know which muscle to choose between the Mustang, the Challenger and the Camaro? If it helps, it’s worth noting that the Ford outsells Dodge and Chevy by a considerable margin in both countries.