A completely new Mustang doesn’t come along very often. In fact, in 50 years of the original pony car, there have only been five generations until now. They’ve each signaled significant change, and the new sixth-generation model that makes its debut for 2015 is no exception.
The 2015 Ford Mustang does more than usher in a little change to help mark the semicentennial for one of the most recognizable nameplates ever; it’s a watershed moment in that it at last fully extracts the Mustang from some plebeian beginnings. With a new independent rear suspension, a much-improved cabin, and a new take on a turbo four-cylinder model, the 2015 Mustang strikes through most of the reasons for rejecting its predecessor. It’s better in nearly every way, and it’s one of the better performance-oriented picks for the money.
That’s part of the reason why it’s a nominee for The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2015. But it’s not all, as what this Mustang adds up to is something more cohesive than this model has in the past.
But first, some of the details—like horse power: What’s under the hood of the 2015 Mustang is a mix of the fresh and the familiar—just as with the last-generation Mustang there’s a choice between a 300-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 or 435-hp, 5.0-liter V-8—and yes, manual or automatic transmissions—but what takes the new car off on a new path is the mid-range EcoBoost model, packing a turbocharged 2.3-liter four making 310 hp and 320 pound-feet, yet achieving an EPA highway rating of up to 32 mpg.
The 2015 Mustang GT that we recently rounded up for our editors to drive alongside other Best Car To Buy nominees, with the GT Performance Pack, was able to hold its own against the BMW M4 on some tight canyon roads, while the ride stayed compliant and the rear wheels predictable and mostly glued to the pavement—and all the while we arguably felt more involved in the driving experience. Steering and braking are better than ever, and we probably wouldn’t have guessed that the Mustang is a little heavier than before.
In all, we’re happy that Ford has truly made the GT into what the name implies: a top-notch grand-touring sports coupe—one with cabin appointments that are now at least as nice as those of an affordable mid-size sedan.
Then there are the toys, too. With things like launch control and line lock, it seems that Ford is making clear that the Mustang hasn’t grown up that much.
There are a few design and packaging disconnects, in an otherwise perfectly executed coupe. We think the combination of carried-over chiseled elements in the front airdam, headlights, and taillamps isn’t the best pairing with the the smooth, French-curve swoop of the roofline into the shoulders; it’s an odd contrast—not that Mustangs haven’t always had some of those, of course. Another one is the engine note of the GT, which, inside or out, sounds a little muddled and remote for the mission—as if Ford were withholding ferocity for the upcoming GT350.
For the most part, the Mustang does exactly what it’s always done so well: Offer up an astonishing amount of performance-car capability—and personality—for a price that’s in most cases a flat-out bargain. Yes, a loaded GT like the one we had tops $40k; but the V-6 and EcoBoost models start at $24,425 and $25,995, respectively.
Does the Mustang’s greater sophistication in nearly every way detract from its pony-car credentials? That’s up to you to determine, but let’s just say that we best many current Mustang owners—and yes, plenty of Camaro owners—will be very happy to make the trade up to the ’15.
Read our full review of the 2015 Ford Mustang, and stay tuned for a deep dive into each of our Best Car To Buy nominees each day until November 10, when we announce the big winner. And in the meantime, don’t forget to vote below on which model you think should win.This year there are 11 nominees ranging from family sedans, crossovers, a pickup truck, and even ... in The Car Connection Polls on LockerDome