Buy Smart: New vs Used Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang is an iconic muscle car, full of power and style. Should you buy a brand new one or find a gently used model? Read our review to find out!

Is Better to Buy a New or Used Ford Mustang? | |  |  Shop Ford Mustang on

The Ford Mustang has been around for so long and been so popular that you probably can’t find a person who doesn’t know what a Mustang is. And, there is good reason for its popularity. The modern Mustang builds on the foundation formed by its predecessors by offering alluring style, crisp driving dynamics, and some impressive power under the hood. If you’ve been dreaming about owning a Ford Mustang, you’re probably wondering if it’s better to buy a new one or save money by purchasing a used one. Read one to learn our thoughts on which route is best. If you want to know about the best Fords of 2021, read our comparison here.


2018 Ford Mustang 2.3L I4 -
2018 Ford Mustang 2.3L I4 -

There are lots of available options for the Ford Mustang, which is great on the one hand but could make it challenging to settle on your desired specification. For our comparison, we’ll consider the options offered on a 2018 model. In 2018, the Ford Mustang was offered with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that produces a stout 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque thanks to turbocharging. The other option is a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are offered with a six-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic.

The 2022 Ford Mustang has those same two engine options, paired with the same transmission choices, but offers two additional options. The Mach 1 trim has the 5.0-liter V8, but produces 470 horsepower. If you want maximum power, you’ll need the Mustang Shelby GT500 which has a larger 5.2-liter V8 with a supercharger. This GT500 produces 760 horsepower, 625 lb-ft of torque, and comes mated exclusively to a Tremec 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. If you want to learn more about different types of engines, check out our explanation here.

2022 Ford Mustang 5.2L V8 -
2022 Ford Mustang 5.2L V8 -

When it comes to handling, the Mustang of both model years has fully independent suspension to provide athletic responses and a smooth ride. The Mustang is offered with a variety of performance packages that include sharper suspension, better brakes, and larger wheels. If you go with a brand-new Mustang, you’ll be able to choose the exact handling options you want, but if you go with a used one, you’ll have to hunt more methodically to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Driving and Performance

2018 Ford Mustang -
2018 Ford Mustang -

Since there have not been any major changes to the Mustang in the last several years, it is pretty easy to compare the models in terms of handling and performance. The base EcoBoost engine provides good power and brisk acceleration, but only the V8 models really push you back in the seat. Fuel economy is best on the four-cylinder engine, where the 2018 model has a small EPA rating advantage over the 2022 model, achieving 25 mpg combined compared to 24 mpg combined.

The 5.0-liter V8 engines are thirstier, receiving an EPA combined rating of 18 mpg. The 2022 Mach 1 model drops to 17 mpg combined and the Shelby GT500 achieves just 14 mpg combined. The models offered with the 10-speed automatic do see small bumps in fuel economy, so that is worth considering if fuel efficiency is important to you. To learn about the top 10 most affordable sports cars, read our review here.

2022 Ford Mustang -
2022 Ford Mustang -

If you crave the ultimate performance, the GT500 not only has the most power, but its chassis and suspension have been specifically developed to conquer the race track. Grip and cornering speeds are immense and the dual-clutch transmission cracks off lighting fast shifts. If you want something between the standard models and the spicy GT500, the Mach 1 adds some heat with chassis components from the Shelby but the more approachable 5.0-liter V8.

Comfort and Interior

The interior of the Ford Mustang is a cozy place to spend time, and there is not much difference between the latest model years. The Mustang can seat four people, but the rear seat is tight. The dash layout recalls the Mustangs from the 1960s but adds modern amenities like a digital gauge cluster and Ford’s powerful Sync 3 infotainment system that comes with a large, 8-inch touchscreen display. Ford offers luxurious features like power-adjustable front seats, leather-trimmed seats with optional heat and cooling features, and even a heated steering wheel. You can also spec racier RECARO sport seats which are great at holding you in place in the turns, but can be less comfortable on long drives. You can read more about the interior options in our full Mustang review here.

Trims and Features

2018 Ford Mustang GT -
2018 Ford Mustang GT -

The trim levels between the new and used Mustangs lines up pretty well. The EcoBoost trim is the entry point, starting at $27,205 for the 2022 model year. It comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder, choice of transmission, and cloth seats. The EcoBoost Premium starts at $32,705 and get’s upgrades interior features like the SYNC 3 infotainment system, heated and cooled front seats, and an attractive aluminum instrument panel. The GT model starts at $37,275 and gets the 5.0-liter V8. The GT Premium follows the same trend with a more luxurious interior. Both the EcoBoost and GT models are offered in convertible form, allowing you to enjoy the sun on nice days.

2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 -
2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 -

The 2022 model year has two performance trims not offered in 2018. The Mach 1 starts at $56,000 and gets a boost in horsepower from the 5.0-liter V8, unique exterior styling, and enhanced handling thanks to parts from the Shelby GT500. The Shelby GT500 sits at the top of the range and starts at $79,155. It gets the supercharged V8, the dual-clutch transmission, an aggressive exterior design with optimized aerodynamics, and track tuned suspension.

Interested in reading more about the Ford Mustang? Read about our top 10 picks for the best Ford Mustang.


2022 Ford Mustang - |  |  Shop Ford Mustang on

Choosing between a new Mustang or a used Mustang ultimately comes down to your budget and your pickiness. If your budget is tight, a 2018 Ford Mustang in either the EcoBoost or GT trims, is going to drive and feel the same as the new models while likely saving you a few thousand dollars. The trade off is a chunk of mileage on the car and unknown service history. So, if you can stretch a little, buying a new Mustang might be better. The other consideration is your pickiness. The Mustang is offered with many different package options and buying new means you can build the perfect Mustang for you. If you go used, you might have to forgo certain features or options depending on what’s available. Buying new also opens up the high-performance Mach 1 and GT500 variants. Given the hot used car market, buying used won’t save you a ton of cash and buying new means you get exactly what you want, so our recommendation is to buy a new Mustang.

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Jim Carlson

For Jim Carlson, a passion for cars goes back to riding in his uncle's 1971 Corvette! That established a lifelong interest in cars that hasn't subsided. Whether he's detailing a car, going for a drive, or walking through a car show, Jim takes the time to appreciate what makes a car 'go.' He’s especially fond of sports cars. Jim's reviews and articles are filled with a broad knowledge about cars, but he also puts to use his fiscal expertise, thanks to a Bachelor's Degree in financial management from the University of Minnesota, Morris.

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