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Staff Editor
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Discussion Starter #1
It’s funny that you can be all decided that you want to buy a Mustang and then get to the dealership and be completely overwhelmed by all the options. Even if you know you want a GT, there are still countless little options and decisions that can paralyze. So here, we’ve put together a nifty little post outlining all the stuff you could ever need to know about the 2020 Mustang GT.

The information assembled here is all from Ford, but we also have some experience having spent time behind the wheel of a number of Mustangs. Most recently, a Rapid Red GT. Although it was light on options—no heat for the seats, basic infotainment, mechanical seats—it did come with the performance pack (more on that later), so we know that even if you’re on a relative budget, the Mustang GT is a good choice.

But let’s start with:

What’s New for 2020

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The 2020 model year came with a few additions, but no major changes. A selection of new colors is probably the most obvious change. In come Grabber Lime, Iconic Silver, Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, and Twister Orange Tri-Coat. Gone, however, are Ingot Silver, Need for Green, Orange Fury Metallic Tri-Coat, and Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat. So fear not.

Inside, meanwhile, six-way adjustable seats have been replaced by 4-way adjustable seats, somewhat disappointingly. That’s all the changes for the GT, though some of its features were added to the EcoBoost, like a new 2.3-liter High-Performance engine and Magneride becoming available through the Handling Package. But were you really looking at one of those? (Actually, you should, they’re very good, but we’re concerning ourselves with the GT here.)

Pricing

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Pricing for the Mustang GT starts at $35,880 for the Fastback and $45,380 for the Convertible. That’s a remarkably reasonable price for the power, and it gets you dual exhaust with quad tips, LED fog lamps, SYNC infotainment, 18-inch wheels, and a few other standard features for the Fastback. If you’re looking for a little more comfort, the GT Premium Fastback is the way to go.

Starting at $39,880, it comes standard with leather-trimmed heated and cooled seats, SYNC 3, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, selectable drive modes, and a nine-speaker stereo system. If you’re wondering why the Convertible costs so much more, it’s because it only comes as a GT Premium model with the same extra features.

If you can find a dealership that still has them lying around, you could still get a Bullitt Mustang that starts at $47,705. For the 2021 model year, though, you’re looking at the Mach 1, whose price is a little higher. It starts at $52,915 but comes with a little more performance as standard. More on that later.

As we were writing this, pricing for the 2021s came out so we figured we’d share that, too. The GT both get a price bump of $240 to $36,120 and $40,120, respectively. The convertible, too, gets a similar price bump, making its starting price $45,620.

Options and Features

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The most important feature of any Mustang GT is the 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The features go farther than that, though.

Every Mustang comes with Track Apps that provide you with all kinds of useful information about your car. The Track Apps feature a number of passive apps that help measure your performance. An acceleration timer lets you measure how fast you’ve gotten 30, 60, or 100 mph; an eighth and quarter-mile timer helps you measure your drag times; an accelerometer lets you know how many G you’re generating in acceleration, deceleration, and cornering; and a brake performance feature helps measure your braking speed from 60 or 100 mph.

As for more active apps, the Mustang’s gauge cluster can turn into a drag racing-style countdown light. These cascade down to help hone your reaction times during drag racing. Launch control can help get you off the line better once you’ve reacted while line lock helps you warm up your tires for optimal performance by only stopped the front wheels, allowing the back wheels spin, warming the rubber up.

The Track Apps are also useful because they record your performance over the life of the car (you can delete that information if you like) allowing you to compare your performance over time and providing you data that can improve your performance. Naturally, these are all intended for track use only.

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As for the more mechanical features, you get a choice of either 10-speed transmission or a 6-speed manual. If you opt for the 6-speed, it comes as standard with rev-matching in case you aren’t a confident heel-and-toer. Brakes are 330 mm in the back and 353 mm units in the front with 4-piston calipers. The performance package, meanwhile, gets you 6-piston calipers from Brembo.

The rear suspension on the GT is independent with monotube shocks, grippy bars, and rear cross-axis suspension joints. The Performance Package, meanwhile, gets you heavy-duty front springs, a k-brace to keep the chassis stiff, a strut-tower brace, an upsized rear sway bar, and unique chassis tuning to keep it all balanced.

Getting the power to the wheels is a 3.55 limited-slip rear axle, which the Performance Package replaces with a TORSEN differential with a 3.73 axle ratio in the manual and a TORSEN differential with 3.55 axle ratio for the automatic. The Performance Package also replaces the standard car’s spoiler with a wing for more downforce and increases the size of the radiator for better cooling.

Inside, meanwhile, a six-speaker sound system is standard—nine speakers are offered on the GT Premium. It also gets you a leather-wrapped steering wheel and active exhaust, that can quiet the raucous 5.0 a bit.

Reliability

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The Mustang has been around for more than a few years now and its large unstressed engine and relatively simple design are good things for reliability. According to JD Power, the Mustang scores an 86 out of 100 in their reliability testing, which talks to owners to get their impression of the car. That’s not to say that the car is without issues, though. There are currently four active recalls of the 2020 Mustang in effect, according to NHTSA.

The backup camera can suffer from a bad electrical connection and blank out; the forward camera on some 2020 Mustangs were misaligned, which can have a negative effect on safety features; the Transmission Not in Park warning chime doesn’t last long enough on some Mustangs; and finally, the brake pedal linkage can break on automatic Mustangs produced in 2020. The manual has a different pedal housing and is therefore not affected.

Safety


Speaking of safety systems and recalls, the Mustang comes with a number of passive safety systems. On the Mustang GT Premium, you get a belt reminder to let you know when a seatbelt isn’t properly fastened, dual front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats, and knee bags for the front seats and curtain airbags, too. The Mustang also comes with Personal Safety System, which adapts the deployment strategy for airbags based on crash severity sensors and seat sensors to decide if airbags are actually necessary. It also comes with SOS post-crash alert system, which honks the horn and flashes lights to let people know you’re in distress.

Active safety features will cost you another $1,000 with the Ford Safe and Smart Package, which gets you pre-collision Assist and Automatic Emergency Braking. It also gets you automatic high beams, lane-keeping, adaptive cruise control, and rain-sensing wipers.

The Mustang still scores a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. It gets five stars in both driver and passenger side crash testing. The IIHS, meanwhile, gives the car a “Good” overall safety score. The IIHS gives the Mustang good scores in most areas, though the driver can move around during an accident, which hurts the score a bit, and the safety cell is rated as marginal in the driver-side front overlap crash. The child seat anchors are also difficult to use, according to the group. Still, the good news, it’s not a death trap. In fact, it’s reasonably safe.

Driving

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Finally, the Mustang comes into its own. Truly, this is where the Mustang GT shines. The model you see photographed is the one we used for a wider review more on which you can read soon. Put simply, Yes, the Mustang GT is extremely fun to drive around in. It’s an absolute animal, sounds like an angry symphony of cylinders, and moves just as well as anything this side of $200,000. Seriously, I defy you to find a car that costs less than that (aside from a Shelby) and gets off the line in a way that is noticeably better than the Mustang. Not in numbers, but in sensations.

So maybe it’s more useful to ask what’s not good about the Mustang. Not even not good, just less than perfect. For starters, it is at once a very small and a very large car. There isn’t a lot of room, the back seats are a joke, and it isn’t really a car focused on practicality. Fine. It doesn’t have to be. But that also means that it didn’t really have to be quite so large. It really eats up whole parking spots and just generally feels large on the road. That contributes to its feeling of alpha-ness, but it also means that it doesn’t exactly feel delicate or precise. The Mustang GT is less scalpel designed to carve apexes than it is a sledgehammer designed to crush them. But it crushes them well.

Few cars have a more direct link between the gas pedal and chaos. Each press causes a cacophonous riot and such an abundance of Gs that Wu-Tang wouldn’t mess with it. The steering, which can be optionally lightened or weighted, feels good, though feedback from what’s happening on the road isn’t exactly abundant. Again, I think the car’s size plays against it here. Big seats, big springs, and a big chunky wheel mean that only the more intense sensations make it through to you. Luckily this is a car that trades in intensity.

The manual transmission feels good and clunky. Like the rest of the car, though, it feels big and clunky and anything but delicate. The rev-matching, though, is a lovely feature. Fortunately, though, it truly is an added feature, because I find heeling-and-toeing very easy in the Mustang, even when you aren’t braking especially hard. The active exhaust is useful, too, though I only found the track mode button and subsequently had no interest in finding any other buttons. A bark of exhaust works better than the horn for intimidating other drivers who have displeased you.

The car rotates around you pleasingly, power is delivered linearly, and the Mustang’s dedication to fun is admirable. You could hardly hope for a better dream car.

Fuel Economy

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Well, the party had to stop sometime. Expect 16 mph in the city, 25 on the highway, and 19 combined for the automatic. The Manual, meanwhile, bucking historic trends, performs worse. The EPA reckons you’ll get 15 mpg in the city, 24 on the highway, and 18 combined. Owners report getting 7 MPG and having heard what happens when the throttle is applied, I can understand why.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a Mustang, there’s never a bad time to buy. The S550 is among the best Mustangs ever conceived of and is powered by an absolute classic of an engine. Ford’s work on the Performance Packages has turned the Mustang GT a real performer, and Ford’s designers penned something undeniably lovely. It goes like a muscle car, turns like a sports car, and coddles you like a GT car. What more could you want?
 

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Super Moderator
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7,891 Posts
Good overview of the 2020.
 

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Super Moderator
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2,488 Posts
Well written article, keep ‘em coming...
 
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