Ford’s Mustang GT Convertible is good, old-fashioned fun

It may lack the fit-and-finish of rivals, but there’s no replacing an American V8 and a drop-top.

The 2017 Ford Mustang is a lot of fun, even if it could use improved fit-and-finish.
The 2017 Ford Mustang is a lot of fun, even if it could use improved fit-and-finish. –Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang has been around in its current form since 2014 when it arrived as a 2015 model. A new model is right around the corner for the 2018 model year, so it’s as good a time as any to revisit this iconic pony car.

We spent a week with a 2017 Ford Mustang GT Convertible, arguably the most fun iteration of this vehicle, but you can also get the Mustang Coupe. Both come in Base and Premium trims.

The Mustang features aggressively styled headlights and a trapezoidal grille. Out back, it features sequential taillights, which became synonymous with the Mustang as a common aftermarket modification on previous editions. It became such a key part of the Mustang’s identity that Ford simply included it on this generation.

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There’s a lot of throwback style, and in more ways than one. In addition to the vintage dash aesthetic, the long, sculpted hood has contours that rise up into the driver’s field of view. It makes you feel like you’re driving an old-school Mustang Mach 1.

At the heart of that dash is the large touchscreen for the Ford SYNC 3 infotainment system. SYNC 3 has an intuitive layout with easy-to-read fonts. It’s easy to quickly glance down at the screen and find the menu you need out of the corner of your eye. Plug in your smartphone and you can also activate Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The SYNC 3 system is intuitive and has easy-to-read menus. —Ford Motor Company
Boston.com Dealer Specials:

The convertible top stows in just 7 seconds, but requires you to unlatch manually when lowering and re-latch when the top is fully up. When the top is down, there are two large panel gaps on either side. Ford provides covers for these gaps, but it’s pretty crude — not to mention pretty absurd you have to perform so many tasks on a convertible top in 2017.

There are three engines available on the Mustang: A 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4, a 3.7-liter V6, and the 5.0-liter V8. The EcoBoost I4 puts out 300 horsepower, while the V6 makes 310 horsepower. The range-topping V8, code-named “Coyote,” makes 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.

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Power is sent to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual or available 6-speed automatic transmission. The 6-speed manual shifter on our test model had nice action, with relatively short throws and a great feel when clicking it into gear. The clutch didn’t have a super-tight feel like some more hardcore performance cars, and that’s a good thing. The clutch engagement point is easy to locate, and you won’t need driving shoes to make precise shifts.

The Ford Mustang has a retro-inspired dash layout. —Ford Motor Company

It should come as no surprise that the GT V8 pulls exceptionally well, and working through the manual helps to optimize its power, compared with the automatic. Peak horsepower is made at 6,500 revolutions per minute, so you’ll be winding the engine up in hard acceleration. In doing so, it makes that perfect classic note of an American V8. There really is no replacement for that sound.

Fuel economy for the 2017 Ford Mustang GT with the manual transmission is 15 miles per gallon in the city, 25 on the highway, and 18 combined. We averaged 17.5 miles per gallon during our week with the car.

Standard safety equipment includes front- and side-impact airbags, LATCH child seat tethering system, rear-view camera, and SOS post-crash alert system. Optional safety features include blind-spot information system with rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

Base MSRP for the 2017 Ford Mustang is $25,185. A GT Fastback starts at $33,195, while a GT convertible like our test model starts at $37,195.

Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
Power: 435 horsepower / 400 pound-feet of torque
0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
MPG: 18 city / 27 highway/ 21 combined
Also Consider: Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet SS

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November 9, 2017 | 3:22 PM