Ford approached the 2017 North American International Auto Show with an eye on the future. In addition to introducing a brand new F-150 and teasing us with announcement of the return of the Ford Bronco in 2020, Ford held an all-day symposium at Joe Louis Arena where they spent the bulk of the day talking mobility and autonomous travel. Once the bells and whistles were done, Ford got back to the nuts and bolts of what car enthusiasts have loved for years: The Mustang. And now, even millennials have fallen in love with the iconic American car.
After great success with the then newly designed 2015 Mustang, Ford has taken what they call “the perfect canvas” in the 2015 generation and created a jewel in the redesigned 2018 Ford Mustang. The automaker claims that it is the most advanced Mustang ever from a performance, design and technology standpoint.
Although the 2018 did not receive a complete redesign—that is rumored to be coming in 2020-the interior, exterior and under the hood improvements are highly noticeable. The new Mustang offers customizable technology and a few performance features that were borrowed from the awesome GT350, three new paint colors, 12 different wheel choices and a smart digital instrument cluster.
The first thing consumers will notice about the 2018 Mustang is the front end that is almost completely new. Whereas the last iteration had round and “safe” features, the redesigned model feels like a classic Mustang. It sits lower, has a wider stance, a new grille, LED turn signals and a new lower hood and hood vents. “As a GT350 owner myself, I love the ability of bringing down the headlight and the nose, and in doing that you have the ability to bring down the aspect ratio of the vehicle so the car will appear to be wider,” says Mustang designer Melvin Betancourt. “We had the ability to make the grille wider and at the same token add a lot more emphasis as a bottom feeder which will give you the leaner, meaner, agile and aggressive look.”
In contrast, not much has changed in the rear of the vehicle. Slightly different LED tail lamps and a new bumper are the highlights. The 5.0 V8-powered Mustang GT gets a standard quad-tip exhaust—which looks similar to the exhaust on the GT350.
The journey that Ford has taken with the Mustang in the twenty-tens can be described in one word —growth. The 2015 model marked the first time that Mustang was made available globally — sold in 140 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. Ford will bump that up to 146 countries for the release of the 2018 Mustang.
With the evolution and growth came a new customer as well — the millennial.
Ford has sold 9.8 million Mustangs worldwide since 1965, making it the best-selling sports car over the past 52 years, but in 2013 millennial buyers began purchasing the Pony car at a high rate as well. “It would be the 2.3L EcoBoost engine that’s attracting a whole new audience,” says Anika Salceda-Wycoco, Consumer and Content Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company. “We’ve had 8ppt increase in millennial consumers since 2013. And the 2.3L EcoBoost engine Mustang accounts for 40 percent of global Mustang sales.” In a time when 57 percent of millennials are not buying automobiles (according to a Kelley Blue Book study), Ford says that 40 percent of Mustang customers are millennials, a stat that is directly attributed to the energy efficient EcoBoost engine.
The 2.3 L EcoBoost, which replaced the outgoing 3.7-liter V6 returns for 2018 with Ford’s transient overboost technology uniquely calibrated for Mustang. There is also a new 10-speed automatic transmission (replacing the outgoing 6-speed) available for both the EcoBoost and the reworked V8 5.0 engines. Ford is calling it the best transmission they’ve ever offered due to its brand-new gear box which improves acceleration, responsiveness and performance. The optional MagneRide damping suspension system—also taken from the GT350—offers optimum handling and optional active valve exhaust affords complete auditory control.
True gear heads will be happy to know that the manual transmission option for both engines is not only still available, it has also been upgraded and in the V8’s case, completely redesigned to include a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel that increases torque capability and improves driving efficiency.
The 2018 Mustang interior is reworked as well, with several subtle material changes (both standard and optional) to give the vehicle a more polished look and feel. The center console adds a new hand-stitched wrap with contrast stitching and padded knee bolsters for added comfort in performance driving situations. The door handles, rings and bezels are finished in aluminum. Seats feature new patterns and color choices in cloth or leather.
Aside from the aesthetic changes, the new-Mustang also offers an all-new customizable 12-inch LCD Digital Instrument Cluster. Now drivers can pick between four different configurations that directly correspond to the vehicle’s drive modes. Drivers can switch between each look or pick one that suits them best and keep it on display even when changing drive modes. There is also an option to change the color of the display via MyColor. Performance heavy drivers will absolutely love the instrument clusters ability to record data from individual passes. It is yet to be determined how much memory the cluster will contain, but Ford confirmed that drivers will be able to compare details on their various recorded track times on the display.
The 2018 Mustang will go on sale in North America this fall.