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Ford Mustang still delivers plenty of muscle

Considering all the changes that Ford made to the 2013 Mustang, one wonders what the Detroit automaker might be saving for next year.

Why is next year so important? It just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the esteemed Mustang, one of America's standard bearers in the "muscle car" category.

Not only did changes come this year, Ford has made modifications to the Mustang in three of the last four years. And you can bet next year will make four out of five!

The 2013 Mustang takes on a new exterior look and has interior changes as well.

Among the exterior changes are:

  • Standard xenon headlights with LED accents
  • Shelby-inspired grille
  • Restyled front and rear fascias
  • Updated taillights

The interior changes are not as numerous. The main alterations are a new performance information display
and making Recaro seats available in all models.

The biggest change this year in the five Mustang trim models is the Shelby GT500 versions, which has been re-engineered. The GT500 is more of a beast than ever, featuring a 5.0-liter, V8 that generates 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Unfortunately for me, this was not the test model.

Speaking of performance, Mustang made a conscious decision in 2010 to address the issue. After very few changes over a five-year period, for a muscle car, the Mustang was simply lacking real muscle.

That's no longer an issue.

This year the base and premium model (tested here) are a 3.7-liter, V6 that has 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The GT models are a step up in performance and the Boss 302 is nearly off the charts, a  5.0-liter, V8 with 44 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Note that the Boss 302 is also quite a jump in price as well - $42,200.

The Mustang has made improvements, but the knock against the interior remains space issues and too much hard plastic. Although most drivers will appreciate the abundant leg and head room in the front cabin, any adult relegated to the backseat will not be a happy camper. Entry and exit are difficult as well. The cargo space (decent 12.3 cubic feet) is good for a coupe.

The Mustang GT provides solid road handling and a firm ride with little road absorption. This rear-wheel drive coupe grips the road with tremendous accuracy and brakes with assurance. The Mustang has an improved suspension and the general opinion is it drives with more agility than either the Challenger or Camaro.

With the performance problem addressed, the Mustang can again effectively take on two of its primary challengers - the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. There's also a new challenger, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Judged in all categories, the Mustang stacks up quite well with all three.

2013 Ford Mustang Coup

  • Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 305 horsepower; 5.0-liter, V8, 420 or 444 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 15-29 mpg
  • Price: $22,200 to $42,200
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000

Weidel on Wheels author Jeffrey Weidel is an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region who has reviewed automobiles for more than two decades. He can be reached at
Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.

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