21 Best & Worst Ford Mustang Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic cars ever made, with roots dating back to the early 1960s.

Modern versions are available in a wide range of engine choices and an expansive suite of performance packages.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best and worst years of the definitive pony car…

2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Ford Mustang Are:

The best Ford Mustang model years are 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2009, 2004, 2003, and 1997. The worst model years of the Mustang are 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2000. This is based on industry reviews, NHTSA stats, problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Ford Mustang?

The Mustang has been around a long time and we’ve detailed the best model years below.

2022 and 2023 Ford Mustang

The latest iterations of the Mustang are our top picks as they feature the most up-to-date tech, safety equipment and powertrains.

There were no major revisions for the 2023 Mustang as Ford launches the Mustangs 7th chapter in 2024.

For 2022, Ford provided customers with a more varied selection of add-ons and appearance packages to give a more unique vibe to each steed.

This included a special-edition package named the Ice White Edition, a blacked-out Stealth Edition and the return of the California Special for the GT model.

2023 Ford Mustang:

  • Edmunds: NA
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA
  • Car & Driver: 8.5 / 10

2022 Ford Mustang:

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA
  • Car & Driver: 8.5 / 10

2023 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Great engine, runs insanely good and I highly recommend to anyone who loves cars. Oh and the red makes it pop so it looks beautiful”

2022 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I love my new 22 Mustang GT. Fast, comfortable, and easy to drive. Plenty of power and torque. My only complaint is the backseat, why does it even exist? Delete the backseat!”

2020 Ford Mustang

For 2020, the four-cylinder Mustang received an upgraded turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder which has enough oompf to leave V-8 Mustangs of old in the dust.

The FordPass Connect smartphone app was made standard across the range and a sharper-looking set of 17-inch alloy wheels for the EcoBoost models was introduced.

Four new body colors were added, namely Iconics Silver, Red Hot Metallic, Grabber Lime, and Twister Orange.

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100
  • Car & Driver: 8.5 / 10

2020 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I bought the 2020 EcoBoost HPP 3 Months ago. Was the first owner of one in my state. This car can move. It has a lot of power and accelerates very quickly. It handles corners very strongly and blind spots are non existent. Feels great when accelerating and on corners. Loaded with modern convenience. Never have I had more compliments on any vehicle I’ve ever owned in 43 years. I would buy it again and again.”

2019 Ford Mustang

Winner of Car and Drivers “Editors Choice” award, the 2019 Mustang is one of the best all-around muscle cars of the 21st century and it received a few notable updates.

One of which was the reintroduction of the brilliant Bullitt model, which was inspired by what Steve McQueen drove in the film of the same name. 

Speaking of returns, the limited edition California Special package which imitates the original 1968 model also made a comeback.

In addition, the V8 coupe received more horsepower and performance tweaks.

For the base 2.3-liter 4-cylinder model, the touted High-Performance package is now an optional add-on.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100
  • Car & Driver: 9 / 10

2019 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Love my Bullitt. My first American car in 25 years and boy is it fun. Fast and loud. Love how you can set up the driving modes. Handles wonderfully although the ride is very slightly choppy. It’s fuuny how you get so much attention and thumbs ups. Got a great deal too. I’m back in love with American muscle. My wife loves to drive it too.”

2018 Ford Mustang

The 2018 Mustang offers strong power from both the four-cylinder and V8 engines and oozes road presence.

For this model year, the exterior design received a slight refresh, the powertrain was significantly improved in terms of performance, and the V6 engine was removed to make way for the 2.3-liter inline-four for the base models.

The V8 variant added horsepower and torque, and a new optional 10-speed automatic transmission was made available.

New features such as active safety assists, a 12-inch digital instrument panel, and adaptive suspension are also included in the list of updates. 

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100
  • Car & Driver: 8 / 10

2018 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Always liked and wanted a Mustang. Kids are grown and wife said if you really want one let’s look. Found a magnetic gray one with ecoboost and 101A package. It gave me SYNC 3 with the big screen radio without having to get the premium package since I did not want leather. Drove home 6 hours after getting it and got 33-34 mpg going 70-75, not bad for a 310 hp Mustang. 13000 miles and 18 months later still love this car. No mechanical issues and averaging 29 mpg. 29000 miles and 3 years later, still as fun as the day I bought it and now averaging 33.5 mpg. Who needs an electric car? This looks way cooler.”

2018 Ford Mustang V8 GT

2017 Ford Mustang

Offering better reliability than its 2016 predecessor, grippy handling around turns, and multiple engine choices, the 2017 Mustang is another great pick.

The only updates for this model were re-designed 19-inch Ebony Black alloy wheels (for the Black Accent package) and the removal of several paint colors.

Gone are Competition Orange, Deep Impact Blue, and Guard, which were replaced by Lightning Blue, White Platinum Metallic Tri-coat, and Grabber Blue. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100
  • Car & Driver: 8 / 10

2017 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Just purchased the Mustang, V6, auto, last week. Impressive car. I have owned 11 mustangs in the past and this is by far the most capable Mustang yet. The V6 has plenty of power and the transmission shifts at just the right times. The independent rear suspension is great and provides an aggressive yet comfortable ride. Although I haven’t put too many miles on the car yet, averaging 24.5 mpg with a 60/40 mix of in-town and freeway driving. This is great. The interior is very good with soft materials where you want them and the seats are very supportive and comfortable. Impressive implementation of the instrumentation…”

2009 Ford Mustang

Boasting eye-catching retro styling, the 2009 Mustang was the least problematic model of the fifth generation (2005-2014).

For the 2009 models, the V6 and GT Premium trims received an upgraded interior design, multi-color ambient lighting, and satellite radio capability.

These trims were also offered with a glass roof option.

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100
  • Car & Driver: NA

2009 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I love my car it has nice power to weight control, paired with a 5 spd Hurst short throw manual transmission paired against a stage ll race clutch. (The clutch is not overly heavy.) The front end design for the S197 was under engineered. There is no adjustment to the camber/caster without secondary modification (not overly expensive). All traditional trademarks you could ask for have been designed into this vehicle for a rather handsome price.”

2003 and 2004 Ford Mustang

The 2003 and 2004 Mustangs were the most reliable and the most refined models of the fourth generation (1994-2004).

The standard 2003 and 2004 V6 and V8 Mustangs were essentially carryover years receiving little changes.

However, the SVT Mustang Cobra was heavily revised, achieving 390 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque as a result of the integration of an Eaton supercharger.

For those who love manual transmissions, a new six-speed manual transmission system was also added. 

Finally, a limited-production Mach 1 model was introduced, possessing a 4.6-liter V8 engine, a functional shaker hood with ram-air scoop, unique leather seating, black striping, and retro-style Magnum 500 alloy wheels, accompanied by a Mach 460 audio system to complete the entire package. 

2004 Ford Mustang:

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA
  • Car & Driver: NA

2003 Ford Mustang:

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA
  • Car & Driver: NA

2004 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“My parents bought this car for me for my first car. I am definitely a car person and was thrilled to get a Mustang. This car is so reliable. Every time I need to go somewhere I know that it will get me there safely. I also get excellent gas mileage. I usually get between 23 and 26 highway driving.If you take good care of your Mustang and treat it right you will not have any problems.”

2003 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“This is the 2nd Mustang I have owned, the first being a 01 Mustang Conv. It’s simply the best 4 seater convertible for the money. The car looks great with the top down and the auto top is easy to use and opens quickly. It has enough power to be fun but not dangerous. It’s a solid smooth ride which is exceptional for convertibles.”

1997 Ford Mustang

For those looking for an older, great-looking and reliable model – the 1997 Mustang is a top choice.

This model boasts an excellent seating position, a sporty interior and large clear gauges.

The GT models and base convertibles received new color options, and the automatic transmission versions were fitted with a more ergonomic, thicker shift lever

The Passive Anti-Theft System was also integrated across the lineup, and an all-new set of 17-inch aluminum wheels are an optional add-on for the GT trim.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

1997 Mustang, Kelley Blue Book review:

“My 1997 mustang GT is 23 years old with 210000 miles and still going strong! I’ve only spent about $500 on repairs over the life of the car (excluding maintenance, tires …) It still runs as good as when it was new. I did have to replace the drivers seat due wear and tear of getting in and out for 20 years! Get some good all-season tires if you plan on driving in the snow. I would recommend this car to anyone. I plan on getting another mustang… I just hope it holds up as well as the 1997”

Consumer Scores For Best Ford Mustang Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Mustang model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds 
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
Car & Driver
2023 Ford MustangNA4.7 / 5.0NA8.5 / 10
2022 Ford Mustang3.9 / 5.04.7 / 5.0NA8.5 / 10
2020 Ford Mustang4.7 / 5.04.7 / 5.085 / 1008.5 / 10
2019 Ford Mustang4.6 / 5.04.7 / 5.083 / 1009 / 10
2018 Ford Mustang4.5 / 5.04.7 / 5.083 / 1008 / 10
2017 Ford Mustang4.2 / 5.04.7 / 5.083 / 1008 / 10
2009 Ford Mustang4.7 / 5.04.7 / 5.082 / 100NA
2004 Ford Mustang4.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NANA
2003 Ford Mustang4.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NANA
1997 Ford Mustang4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NANA

What Are The Worst Years For The Ford Mustang?

The Mustang has been around for decades, and as you may expect some model years are more troublesome than others.

2016 Ford Mustang

The 2016 Mustang saw a spike in complaints for various engine and powertrain problems; most commonly owners lost power whilst driving which was often attributed to a failed throttle body.

Customers also complained about doors flying open whilst driving, AC consistently failing and numerous electronics-related problems including a faulty backup camera.

The 2016 Mustang had a total of 68 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 299 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Vibration while driving
  • Engine stalls while driving
  • Lost power while driving
2016 Ford Mustang GT

2015 Ford Mustang

The 2015 Mustang was the first iteration of the sixth generation and it got off to a bumpy start.

A large number of owners complained about problems with the brakes – here is one owner’s report which was echoed by many other owners:

“Brake pedal pad failed, causing car to suddenly brake even though brakes were not being applied. Ford dealership recommended replacing brake light switch assembly. Brake lights stayed on even after the car was turned off. Had to disconnect the battery to prevent drain.”

There were also a large number of complaints about doors opening whilst driving, the a/c not blowing cold air and windows that would go up and down on their own.

The 2015 Mustang had a total of 109 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 447 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Paint is coming off
  • Evaporator stopped working
  • Driveshaft vibration

2014 Ford Mustang

The 2014 Mustang was recalled for its Takata made airbags which contained ammonium nitrate in the inflators, which can cause them to explode and cause injury.

To make matter worse owners were left waiting a long time for repairs.

Another big problem with the 2014 Mustang was paint bubbling, as described by one owner below:

“I can’t believe Ford makes such beautiful cars with sh*tty paint jobs. I popped my hood the other day and found that the paint was missing from around the outer lip of the hood. I did some research and found out that my car had the deadly hood corrosion that all Fords are known for.”

The 2014 Mustang had a total of 76 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 396 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Power steering failure
  • Paint bubbling
  • Airbag issues

2013 Ford Mustang

Similar to the 2014 model year, the 2013 Mustang was affected by the Takata recall and many owners lodged complaints about the amount of time Ford took to fix their cars.

There were also widespread complaints about paint bubbling.

The 2013 Mustang had a total of 76 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 396 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Paint bubbling and peeling
  • Water pump failure
  • Throttle body failure

2012 Ford Mustang

The 2012 Mustang models were notorious for powertrain-related issues whereby the car would downshift on its own accord.

Here’s what the owners had to say:

“While driving the car shifts down into first gear on its own while the dash goes blank and the speedometer stops working. It will also show a wrench light at times.”

“I was driving on the highway and let off the gas, the transmission downshifted suddenly to a lower gear causing the engine to rev up to 4000 rpm.”

The 2012 Mustang had a total of 115 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 548 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Corrosion on hood
  • Transmission slipping
  • Loss of acceleration
  • Paint peeling off hood 
  • Takata recall

2011 Ford Mustang

For the 2011 Mustang, the biggest problem was the failure of its manual transmission.

Here’s what the owners had to say:

“Transmission will not go into 1st, 5th and 6th gear. Ford replaced 2000 dollars worth of equipment in my Mustang and it is much worse than before.”

“2011 Ford Shelby Mustang gt500 transmission problems. Grinding and difficulty downshifting into 4th and 2nd. Loud whining in 1st gear.”

There were also a large number of complaints about the car losing all power whilst driving which was caused by a faulty throttle body.

The 2011 Mustang had a total of 93 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 561 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Paint flaking off front end of hood
  • Body corrosion under paint
  • Transmission failure
  • Car lost power whilst driving
  • Takata recall

2007 & 2006 Ford Mustang

The 2006 and 2007 Ford Mustangs both received large numbers of complaints due to their notorious, exploding, shrapnel-shooting Takata airbags.

Owners lodged complaints due to unacceptable waiting times due to the unavailability of parts.

These models were also plagued by body paint problems and battery-draining issues which left owners stranded and unable to drive.

On top of all this, there were a notable amount of complaints about the transmission failing which typically occurred at 65,000 miles.

The 2007 Mustang had a total of 101 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 681 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2006 Mustang had a total of 247 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 618 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Paint bubbling
  • Water leaking into interior
  • Battery continually dies
  • Shifting problems

2005 Ford Mustang

The 2005 Mustang is the most problematic model year of all-time, according to online data and statistics.

Many owners complained of erratic and failing gauges such as the tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge.

Here’s one owners account:

“I’m having the same issue everyone else is with their speedometer, tach, fuel gage. It was working fine, the weather warmed up and it would work sometimes. Then it just stopped working completely. I’m afraid to drive the car because I have no way of telling how fast I’m going.”

These models also had their share of engine problems due to a failed throttle body as well as transmission failure.

The 2005 Mustang had a total of 181 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 973 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission gone
  • Oxidation under paint
  • Faulty gauges
  • Water leak on passenger floor
2005 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

2000 Ford Mustang

The 2000 Mustang had various engine and powertrain issues with owners reporting stalling whilst driving, overheating, oil leaks and engine failure.

Here’s one owner’s testimony:

“While driving vehicle, engine began to overheat. Steam rolled from under the hood. Discovered crack in manifold where it connects to thermostat housing. Coolant dripping on the engine; I do not know if internal components are damaged. Researched it online and found that there was a recall on this model and that Ford corrected this in subsequent models by changing manifold to aluminum from the plastic.”

The 2000 Mustang had a total of 20 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 381 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine makes ticking noise
  • Sticking front brakes
  • Cracked intake manifold 

Related: Ford Mustang Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Listed below are the number of reported complaints and problems for each model year of the Mustang. 

Model YearComplaints (CarComplaints.com)Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 Ford MustangNANA
2022 Ford Mustang01
2021 Ford Mustang110
2020 Ford Mustang344
2019 Ford Mustang1464
2018 Ford Mustang13105
2017 Ford Mustang25176
2016 Ford Mustang68299
2015 Ford Mustang109447
2014 Ford Mustang76396
2013 Ford Mustang58291
2012 Ford Mustang115548
2011 Ford Mustang93561
2010 Ford Mustang58279
2009 Ford Mustang30200
2008 Ford Mustang55365
2007 Ford Mustang101681
2006 Ford Mustang247618
2005 Ford Mustang181973
2004 Ford Mustang31131
2003 Ford Mustang24195
2002 Ford Mustang37184
2001 Ford Mustang19237
2000 Ford Mustang20381
1999 Ford Mustang26251
1998 Ford Mustang18294
1997 Ford Mustang3199
1996 Ford Mustang12279

What Problems Do Ford Mustangs Have?

  • Corrosion on the hood
  • Paint blistering
  • Transmission failure
  • Paint bubbling
  • Water leaking into interior
  • Oxidation under paint
  • Water leak on passenger floor
  • Slipping
  • Stops accelerating
  • Paint peeling off the hood

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Ford Mustang?

Take a look at how the Mustang fares against its direct competitors. 

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Ford Mustang8.9$27,470 – $76,820City: 12 – 21 /Highway: 18 – 32
Subaru BRZ8.7$28,595 – $32,795City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 27 – 30
Mazda MX-5 Miata8.4$27,650 – $38,550City: 26 /Highway: 34
Toyota GR868.3$27,900 – $32,000City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 27 -31
Dodge Challenger8.2$30,430 – $64,830City: 13 – 19 /Highway: 21 – 30
Nissan Z8.2$39,990 – $52,990City: 19 /Highway: 28
Chevrolet Camaro8.1$25,000 – $69,000City: 13 – 22 /Highway: 20 – 31

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: Ford Mustang: 11 Common Problems (Useful Guide)










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...