- Stunning V8 noise, performance and aura
- Genuinely affordable
- A brilliantly fun to drive machine
- The fuel consumption
- Sub-par safety rating
- Some interior quality niggles
Whenever we see a classic nameplate being revived in the automotive world, the results can go one of two ways. We either see a modern rendition that misses the mark completely and flops in the market, or we witness a sales success which harks back the roots and heritage of its ancestor. We’re happy to say that the 2021 Ford Mustang falls into the latter category. Seldom does a car have stronger lineage than the 2021 Ford Mustang, a car synonymous over the decades with speed and power; the quintessential muscle car. Never sold officially in Australia through Ford until 2015, the Mustang has been a sales success locally since its launch, with demand far exceeding supply year after year.
With the Chevrolet Camaro now discontinued in Australia, the 2021 Ford Mustang GT is the only ‘affordable’ V8 coupe on the market. Join us as as we test the 2021 Ford Mustang GT Fastback to see just how impressive Ford’s hugely successful ‘Pony Car’ really is.
Price & Specs: 9.0/10
Ford Australia has been tinkering with the Mustang’s pricing every year since launch and the 2021 Ford Mustang GT now starts off at $63,690 plus on road costs for the manual Fastback. For that money, the Mustang comes well equipped with LED headlights with auto high beam, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8.0-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 19-inch alloy wheels, an alarm, eight airbags, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a rear view camera with guidance lines, rear parking sensors and keyless entry and start.
Our model was the Mustang GT Fastback with the optional Recaro seats and the 10-speed automatic gearbox which will undoubtedly be chosen by the majority of buyers over the manual. Each option costs $3000, bringing in our car’s price to $69,690.
Although the Mustang does come with most of the modern safety features, it only managed to get a three-star ANCAP safety rating – blame the poor rating on the Mustang’s lack of protecting rear seat adults and children during side impacts. Adding kit such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and reverse auto braking would help as well. Cheaper sports cars such as the Hyundai i30 N manage to have perfect 5-star ANCAP safety ratings.
Some of the options available for the Mustang GT are the ‘over the top’ stripes in black or white for $650, a high-rise rear spoiler for $750, forged alloy wheels for $2,500, Recaro bucket seats (which deletes the heating and cooling functionality) for $3,000 and the Magneride adjustable suspension for $2,750. If you want an open top Mustang GT be prepared to pay a premium: the auto only 2021 Ford Mustang GT convertible starts at $74,890 plus on road costs.
Performance & Economy: 8.0/10
Under the long bonnet of the 2021 Ford Mustang beats a heart of epic proportions, with the the 5.0-litre ‘Coyote’ V8 engine producing 339kW of power and 556Nm of torque. All this power is fed directly to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual gearbox, or the optional 10-speed auto fitted to our car. The entire drive experience is completely unlike any other car on sale in Australia. No other car on sale marries old-school, big block V8 vibes together with affordability like the Mustang does. The engine is exactly 5 times bigger than the one in the Ford Puma which we recently tested. Yikes!
In a world of small, highly strung turbocharged engines, the Mustang’s naturally aspirated V8 is very much a delight, especially to the ears. From its hollow, bass filled idle, to the bark of the exhaust at higher revs, the noise is truly something special. Planting your foot on the accelerator from standstill will propel you to 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds, with the 10 speed gearbox snapping quickly through gears at the the 7000rpm redline. The whole experience is from the old school department, with a feeling of brute force in the entire Mustang experience, a true throwback to a days gone by and a world slipping away. A word of warning however for the gearbox, with 10 ratios, it can be a tad indecisive during normal driving, constantly swapping gears and taking away from the V8’s otherwise muscled and laid back feel.
Fuel consumption is a rather thirsty 12.7L/100km on the combined cycle, a terrifying result for what is essentially a two-seat car. A slightly irrelevant downside to the ‘Stang we believe, as we believe that there would not be a single prospective Mustang owner who thinks that fuel consumption matters. In the real world, the Mustang usually managed to match its claimed fuel consumption figures when not driven like with a lunatic behind the wheel. On longer highway stints, expect to even see the fuel consumption figure fall into the single digits.
The valved active exhaust anything but old school however, and changes according to the drive mode chosen. There’s even a ‘Quiet’ exhaust mode to prevent you from waking the entire neighbourhood in the morning when starting the Mustang.
Ride and Handling: 8.0/10
American muscle cars have long been laughed at for only being able to go quickly in a straight line with no cornering talent. This no longer holds true with the modern-day Mustang which has thoroughly modern suspension and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres fitted. The 2021 Ford Mustang is a true driver’s car with responsive, feelsome steering and a well balanced rear wheel drive chassis perfect for inducing grins from ear to ear. Getting on the power hard will unstick the rear during a corner and have the car rotating around you. Best to keep the traction control switched on to prevent any mishaps.
Ultimately, the Mustang feels every bit of its 1700kg weight in corners. Ford’s engineers have tried to hide the Mustang’s porky weight admirably but the handling always feels a tad crude, with the car carrying plenty of inertia through corners. The sticky Michelin rubber resists slip admirably and offers high levels of grip before things get messy.
We particularly liked the Race drive mode which turns the Mustang into an absolute hoot to drive, offering some slip in corners before having the ESC save the day before things get too hairy. The excellent braking system is backed by 380mm discs up front and 352mm at the back. The discs are gripped with aluminium Brembos which stop the large sports car briskly.
The ride comfort is on the rougher side with things getting better the faster you go, stiffer than hot hatches such as the Renault Megane RS. Around suburban Melbourne it can feel a tad firm over imperfect over inner city streets and a bit loud in the cabin over coarse-chip surfaces out of town.
First thing’s first: this is very much a two-seater car. The back seats are only for small children, or contortionists – or extra luggage. With that in mind, the 2021 Ford Mustang’s interior fares quite well. The sports seats up front are spot-on, figure hugging and comfortable, offering plenty in the way of adjustably and roominess. Overall, the interior leaves a rather good impression with stylish accents and a feel which is bang on with what would be expected of a modern rendition of a classic American muscle car. The hazard lights are even activated by a flip switch rather than a traditional button. Snazzy.
The digital dash transforms the cockpit and has nice crisp features with a rev counter that changes depending on what driving mode you’re in. It truly adds a modern touch to the Mustang’s interior, together with the customisable ambient mood lighting. Ford’s ‘SYNC 3’ system features on the centrally mounted 8.0-inch screen, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring and inbuilt satellite navigation. The 12 speakers are pretty good – perfect for cranking some tunes during a road trip.
All of the materials in the cabin appear to be decent quality and have been put together well, though certainly not to the standard of Ford’s European products. This is not a premium interior – the plastic shut-lines are uneven, rattles abound and the Mustang simply cannot compete with any sports car hailing from Germany, or even Japan. For the price however, and the level of performance on offer, this is something we would be happy to overlook.
The luggage space of the 2021 Ford Mustang Fastback is 408-litres, which is superb for the segment – the Chevrolet Camaro offered only 258L. The rear seats
Running Costs & Warranty: 7.0/10
The 2021 Ford Mustang is covered by Ford’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is very much the norm for a new car in Australia in 2021. Every time you get your Mustang serviced through Ford you receive an extra 12 months roadside assistance, which is available for seven years.
Servicing the Mustang comes around every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres and the total cost for servicing the Mustang over three years is $1,032. Servicing won’t break the bank it seems, even if the yearly fuel bill will.
2021 Ford Mustang GT DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.0/10
There is no mistaking it, the 2021 Ford Mustang GT is one amazing sporting coupe, priced to be cheaper than pretty much any other potential competitor. With its powerful V8 engine and rear-wheel drive, unmistakable heritage and stunningly good looks, this is truly a special car, one which might very well get killed off with the next round of emissions regulations due to come in.
The 2021 Ford Mustang represents brilliant value for money for those seeking a fast, modern V8, costing thousands less than any of its competitors. A remarkably fun car with tons of character and heritage. Just watch your fuel bills…