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2016 Mustang GT : Impressions after 1000 miles

As some of you might be aware, I purchased a new 2016 Mustang GT a little over a month ago. I’d like to share some opinions that I’ve formed about the car over the first month of ownership. My particular car is the GT Premium, manual transmission, the only options are the Performance Pack, Navigation, and a racing stripe.

The highs:

  • The Coyote V8 is a gem, it’s smooth and powerful. The power comes on strongly from about 1800 RPM and doesn’t let up until redline.

  • Handling is a big improvement over the SN95 cars, the car doesn’t get upset by mid-corner bumps like the older Mustangs did.

  • Interior quality is much improved. Fit and finish is very good, much higher quality materials overall, the only compliant I have is that there is a bit of hard plastic trim on the top of the doors. Apparently you have to spring for the $395 premiere trim package to get rid of that.

  • Fuel economy isn’t as bad as you might suspect. For the first 3 tanks it got 19.5 MPG, 19.7 MPG, and 20.5 MPG overall. This is mainly on a very short commute (4 miles each way) on two lane roads. I have not done a meaningful amount of highway driving yet.

  • The trunk is pretty large for the type of car it is.

  • The proximity key is great, as long as you have the key on your person, it will unlock the doors if you touch the inside of the door handle, or lock the car if you touch the top of the handle, the car will also lock itself if the key gets more than 6-8 feet away from the car.

  • The rear-view camera is helpful, it’s also a must with this car.

  • The standard heated and air conditioned seats are very comfortable, they have just enough side bolstering. No need to opt for the optional Recaros IMHO.

  • The car warms up very quickly, on cold mornings (35 degrees or thereabouts) it will start producing heat in about 3 minutes or so.

  • The new Sync 3 infotainment system is big improvement over the old My Ford Touch. It’s responsive and has a simple layout. I’m eagerly awaiting the Android Auto update.

  • The A/C system is quite robust, it get’s plenty cold and the fan is more powerful than you’d expect a car with the amount of interior room it has to have.

  • The ambient light feature is neat, you can change the color of the accent lighting in the car as well as the gauge cluster back lighting.

  • The capless fuel filler is convenient and works well.

  • The small center mounted LCD screen in the gauge cluster is neat, you can bring up about two dozen bits of info about the car and it’s systems on it.

  • the HID headlights are outstanding despite their relative small size. The low beams have very sharp cutoff and the high beams have good range. the LED fog lights do a good job providing light off to the sides.

  • The Performance Package’s six piston Brembos make for strong braking performance.

  • The amount of road feel from the electrically-assisted steering is outstanding, on par with most hydraulically-assisted cars.

  • With the Performance pack, the ride is firm, but not kidney-jarring firm. I imagine the standard suspension would actually be considered a bit too soft by the driving enthusiast.

The Lows :

  • The back seat is basically ornamental, the other day, I had to transport a few 10 years olds, a few of whom were pretty short for their age, and they complained about a lack of legroom in the back seat.

  • Exterior fit and finish, while improved, is not up to the standard that one might see in other cars in the same price bracket ( entry level MB C class, Audi A4, BMW 2 series, etc.) body panel gaps are not up to Euro standards, and there’s a little bit of orange peel as well. I looked at the other Mustangs on the lot and level of fit and finish was pretty much the same, though the cars painted in lighter colors seemed less likely to have orange peel.

  • The wheels on Performance Pack cars are staggered, you won’t be able to rotate the tires

  • The shifter is rubbery and vague, my old Mustang had an aftermarket Steeda Tri-Ax short shifter, it had bolt-action precision. To correct this shortcoming, I’ve ordered a Ford Racing short shifter, and a Steeda shifter bracket to hopefully firm things up

  • The stock exhaust is far too quiet. This is due to EU noise regulations apparently. I ordered a Ford Racing Sport cat-back system, and now the car sounds like a proper Mustang, it’s not obnoxiously loud though.

  • The USB ports really aren’t up to the task charging a smartphone, despite being marketed as “smart charging” ports. The one on the dash below the screen can’t even keep up with the power demands of a phone at idle. If I plug in my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge to that USB port, it says it’s charging, but it actually loses a charge over time. The other USB port inside the center console at least charges my phone, albeit very slowly, if I plug it in to that one, the phone states nearly a 4 hour charge time to go from around 35% battery life to a full charge. My home charger takes about an hour to do the same, and my old cigarette outlet phone charger was much faster as well.

  • The side mirrors are very small, they do have integrated blind spot mirrors, but overall size of the mirror is smaller than you’d expect. I think if they increased the size by about 20% or so, it would be an improvement.

  • My car has the mid-level audio system, it has 9 speakers. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. I wish it had a bit more bass to it. It’s on par with the Mach 460 system in the 99-04 models overall.

  • The car has steering wheel mounted controls for about everything…except the HVAC controls. I would’ve liked to have fan speed control on the steering wheel.

  • The clutch is very, very light, it’s hydraulic with a spring assist on the clutch pedal, it also has higher bite point than I’m used to. It took a while for me to adjust to it.

  • The fuel tank is a bit on the small side. 16 gallons, or about the same size it’s been for the past 20 years, you’d think they could’ve enlarged it given the new Mustang is a physically larger car.

  • No spare tire is offered from the factory for any price if you car has 19 inch wheels or bigger

  • Gearing with the Performance Pack’s 3.73 final drive ratio is quite short. In normal driving, you’ll be in 3rd gear before you make it across the intersection.

  • The car feels wider than it really is, the first few times I pulled into a parking spot, I was concerned that I wasn’t leaving much room on either side, but when I got out, I could see there was plenty of space left.

  • The Performance Package wheels aren’t easy to clean, but they are black, so they don’t show brake dust much at all.

regarding the USB charging ports, many Samsung phones have an issue with glitching out and not allowing full-speed charging from some ports with the result that it says it’s charging, but the actual battery level drops. Try this to see if they work better:

Simultaneously press the volume-down button and the power button for 10-20 seconds. This will simulate disconnecting and reconnecting the battery and cause your phone to hard-reboot.

Now see if the charge rate from the USB ports in your car is better.

Thanks for the update and personal observations.

I am in the market for an S197 Coyote (5.0) equipped upgrade for my 2007, so 2011 to 2014 models. If I remember, your previous was an SN95 model so the “feels wider than it really is” comment is completely on target. Same for my '07, it feels huge.

With the right shocks, the solid axle can be controlled pretty well (Tokico Illumina adjustable shocks!) so the pull of the 2015/16 cars isn’t as strong. And I don’t like staggered wheel packages, either. I’d have to buy and second pair of rears so the car is square. I’d adjust stabilizer bars and alignment to suit.

One thing I DO want is the car to display the tire pressures somewhere, anywhere. My 07 has TPMS, tas do later cars but none of the 13 and 14 cars I’ve test driven can display the tire pressures. Does your car?


Yes, you can pull up tire pressures on the LCD display on the instrument cluster. One thing I forgot to mention was that when I took delivery of the car, on the way home the ride seemed jittery and the car seemed to be “nervous” (best way to describe it). I checked the tire pressures on the display and they were set to a @“Robert Gift” -inspired 45 PSI. The door placard specifies 32 PSI. Upon getting home I let about 10 pounds out of each tire. Someone obviously screwed up on the dealer prep.

You only need one speaker. The one under Your hood.
Congratulations with Your new Mustang, You’ll get countless of miles with a big smile on Your face with her.

So what’s it like 0 to 110, a full throttle rip…That’s what it was built to do right? On a car like this, none of the other stuff matters really. Is there a switchable traction control or is traction control strictly up to the driver…What’s the red line on the tach? At 80 MPH in top gear, what does the tach say?

Ohh Yeah! THAT might get me into a 15/16 Mustang. Drives me nuts knowing the data exists but I can’t GET to it! Even with an OBD2 comm tool, I still can’t get to the tire data. Outside temp and intake temp, yes, but not tire.

Enjoy your new Mustang, and thanks again for the review!

"At 80 MPH in top gear, what does the tach say? "

Tach’s don’t say anything, they just point.


So what’s it like 0 to 110, a full throttle rip.

I haven’t gotten it up that fast yet, but it’s overall about as quick as my old 03 GT with the supercharger. When the warranty is up, I suspect a supercharger will go on this one as well.

there a switchable traction control or is traction control strictly up to the driver.

Yes. the traction control and stability control are fully defeatable.

What’s the red line on the tach?

Redline is 7000 RPM. The whole gauge cluster’s backlighting changed to red when you hit 6750 RPM.

At 80 MPH in top gear, what does the tach say?

About 2300 RPM in 6th gear, that’s with a 3.73 axle ratio. Other choices are 3.15 (automatic only), 3.31, and 3.55

Excellent review. Far better than the self-centered bologna I read from so many highly biased auto journalists. You missed your calling. :smile:

Great update/review and thanks for posting. I am more for better handling than acceleration so let us know about that too.

I also really appreciate someone who has spent the money for themselves to enjoy. Quite a few of the performance car drivers I know would not be able to tell the difference between their car and let say a Camry. Most don’t know how many cylinders the car has.

Your review is light years better than the stuff you might read in Motor Trend or Car & Driver.

Congrats, FoDaddy! Great review–love the details.

sounds like a fun car, except for the loud exhaust, my neighbor’s loud car is generally hated in the 'hood… but good luck with it

Best car review I have ever seen, Post back in 5 years about reliability please. RE usb charging, We have tablets in many of our work vehicles, and usb connections have lower ratings, imagine we bought some dealer usb ports, plug in to a blank spot on the dash, and found their output was less than what was needed to allow the tablets to charge, ended up with powerpoint adapters at 5.6 watts I believe, I think the oem was 2.6 watts.

Good review there OP. Now you’ve had your car for 6 months or so, anything to add? And what about rroutine maintenance servicing ease? Any plusses or minuses there you’ve noticed? Easy enough for a diy’er to change the oil & filter?


There is are a few things to add

  • at around the 3200 mile mark the rear brakes started squeaking when light pressure was applied, I took it in and they said that there was a TSB about it and that a revised set of pads was needed. They said they were on back order but should be in the following week, and that they would call me when they were in. Three weeks later I called back to inquire about the status of the brake pads. I was told that they had come in two weeks prior, but I was never called. So I make an appointment to to have them installed. The new brake pads solved the squeaking issue.

  • In August the the A/C stopped working. I had noticed that in very hot weather the A/C took a long time too cool down. Like around 15 minutes to get around 30 degress below ambient. My old Mustang had much better A/C. In August it stopped cooling entirety. I hooked up my gauges to the high and low pressure ports, and found that the low pressure side was within spec, the high pressure side was running very high, the compressor was cycling on and off quickly. Since it was under warranty I brought it in and they said that it appears that it was “grossly” overcharged from the factory, and that they evacuated they system, pulled a vacuum to make sure there weren’t any leaks, and then recharged it back to what it was supposed to be. The A/C works much better now.

  • I didn’t care for the stock shifter, it had a short enough throw, but it was vague and a bit rubbery. To correct this I had a Steeda shifter bracket, a Steeda transmission mount bushing, and a Ford Racing (Barton) Short throw shifter installed. This made a dramatic difference, the shifter has much more direct feel and throw. The downside is that there was slight increase in NVH, nothing dramatic, but slightly noticeable. But the tradeoff is totally worth it IMO.

  • The Android Auto /Apple Carplay update for Sync 3 has been delayed twice so far, despite the 2017 models coming with it from the factory. At first it was supposed to be ready during the summer, then they pushed it back to the fall. Now they are saying December of this year. Rumor says that December 3rd is the roll out date, but we’ll see about that.

  • I was able to correct the slow phone charging issue by getting one of these
    it fits very flush with the 12v port in the center console. If you didn’t know better you’d think it was OEM. It charges my phone much more quickly than the stock USB ports.

  • Fuel economy remains quite decent (IMHO) for what it is. I get 20.3MPG -21 MPG on my 5 mile commute with thrift reaching upwards of 26 MPG on road trips.

  • I replaced the front incandescent turn single bulbs with LED swtichback bulbs that can change color from white to to amber depending on if if the turn signal or hazards are on… It looks better with the stock HID headlights, and LED foglights IMHO. As a bonus, resistors were not needed as apparently the stock wiring was made with LED lights in mind.

  • I’m eyeing the Ford Racing Power Pack Stage 2 right now. It’s warranty friendly and looks like it provides a healthy boost in torque across the rev range.

  • It’s had it’s first oil change at 5000 miles. The next one isn’t due until 15k miles. The first one was free at the dealership. The second one will not be, so I may do it myself. The sump holds 8 quarts of oil.


Definitely! The review was both comprehensive, and–overall–well-written.
And, I especially appreciated the following comment:


I think that the item most often overlooked during dealer prep is taking the excess air out of the tires before turning the car over to the customer. Right after buying my Chevy Citation, I checked the tire pressure as a result of the rock-hard ride, and found that they were all inflated to 50 lbs,.


Solid rear axle ? I thought they were independent now.

@dagosa The 2015+ Mustangs all have IRS. Previously, only the 1999-2004 Mustang Cobra and Cobra R models had IRS.