The Ford Mustang is a lot of things: American icon, muscle car, pony car, fastback, and now an electric car with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. It's easy to overlook the Mustang in one of its best forms, however, as a convertible. With a 6.2 out of 10 TCC Rating (read more about how we rate cars) the drop top Mustang edges out the Mazda MX-5 Miata as our Best Convertible To Buy 2021.
Unlike the Miata, there are four seats in the Mustang, but those rear seats are better for handbags than humans. There are other compelling convertibles, including the 2021 Chevy Corvette, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and others that don't qualify for our award because they cost more than $50,000. The 2021 Mustang convertible starts just over $33,000 and can be had with one of two potent engines and either a lovely 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
The 5.0-liter V-8 that makes 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque with the standard 6-speed manual is the obvious choice for that all-American V-8 rumble and a 0-60 mph time under 4.0 seconds with the $5,195 Performance Package. It adds 19-inch aluminum wheels, front splitter, rear wing, larger front springs and bigger brakes, but it takes the price above $50,000. The 2.3-liter turbo-4 with a 10-speed automatic transmission can also be had with a Performance Package to optimize power and grip, while still keeping the price under $40,000. It boosts output from 310 hp to 330 hp and lowers 60 mph times from the mid 5 seconds to the mid 4 seconds.
The independent suspension makes the rear-wheel drive Mustang sharper on the track and comfier while cruising, where the convertible is at its best. Plastic covers have to be removed from above the rear seat area, and a roof latch must be turned before pushing the button to drop the soft top, which can be done at speeds no more than 3 mph. The upside is the convertible can still stow 11.4 cubic feet of space in the trunk, which is at least 50% more than in the Chevy Camaro or Miata.
The Mustang looks even better with the soft top down. Its long nose, twin peak hood, standard 17-inch alloy wheels and long wheelbase evoke an even greater sense of freedom without a top. Inside doesn't appeal as well, with its hard dull plastics everywhere. But that can be optioned up to soft-touch surfaces, from cloth to leather seats, carbon fiber trims, an available 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and an available 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster.
The best safety features come optional as well, but the Mustang earns good crash-test ratings from the NHTSA and IIHS. Automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors cost extra.
The 2021 Ford Mustang convertible combines the power of a muscle car with the open sky fun of a drop top. It's a hoot.
Read all about the winners of The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 awards—and find out which vehicles took home our annual Driver’s Choice awards as well as top honors from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.