Every few years in America, something special happens. Ford gathers up all the journalists and pulls a new Mustang into the spotlight. While the awe-inspiring return of the 5.0 V8 for 2011 and shock of independent rear suspension for 2015 got the people going, the new 2024 Ford Mustang leaves revolution off the table in favor of what appears to be a re-skinning of the current car. As a result, it has me feeling uneasy.
But, you can now rev your engine from your key fob, in the comfort of, I suppose, not even being in the car.
The Looks Of The 2024 Ford Mustang
Let’s start with the looks. On the outside, Ford seems to have gone a bit heavy-handed on the trim. While the outline of the new grille is great, the front end just feels overdone. On the plus side, I do appreciate how the 2024 Mustang looks a lot like the 2006 Giugiaro concept. Look at the straight leading edge of the hood, the straight upper character line and sloped lower character line on each door, and the creased trunk panel.
Creased trunk panel? Ah yes. The 2024 Mustang has one of the most controversial taillight treatments of any Mustang. Since Ford created a deep depression in the rear filler panel, the taillights had to follow that surfacing. The result is a pair of tail lights that look like open passports [Ed Note: Is that how Canadian passports open? It looks more like a matchbook to me which, I’m realizing, is something maybe you’ve never experienced before. – MH] [Editor’s Note: What about a flip phone or a Nintendo DS? – JT] . Think Mustang Mach-E without each center spar.
While the elements in each taillight look nicely diffused, the overall design of each taillight doesn’t blend particularly well with each quarter panel. Speaking of things that don’t blend well, look at how those wheel just disappear inside the arches. When the outgoing car was available with awesome 305-section tires, there’s precedent to follow up. The 2024 Mustang looks like it skipped leg day.
Then again, the styling of many recent Mustangs has been initially vilified upon debut. People complained that the 2015 Mustang looked like a Honda Accord Coupe, then that the 2018 Mustang was a step backward from the 2015 model. There’s a chance that the 2024 Mustang will look much better in person than it does in oddly-lit press photos, but I’m still a touch wary of the fundamentals. I guess I’ll know for sure by the time this article goes live.
The Interior Of The 2024 Ford Mustang
Inside the 2024 Mustang, it seems like tech has completely overrun actual design and usability. The dashboard is a mess of mismatched shapes, while placing the volume knob on the passenger side of the center stack seems like an ergonomic nightmare. In addition, the new infotainment screen and digital cluster are combined into one really tall bezel, a concerning sight for those who like to sit low enough for helmet clearance and still see out. In addition to the massive 13.2-inch touchscreen, there’s an optional B&O stereo available that’s likely terrible given Ford’s B&O system track record. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I don’t have particularly high hopes.
The Performance Improvements Of The 2024 Ford Mustang
While controversial looks and slightly iffy interior bits aren’t anything new in the world of Mustangs, there is a bigger problem with the 2024 Mustang: Ford’s staying light on details regarding performance improvements. Ford touts an all-new turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder base model, but that’s the same sort of engine that powered the old base model. Moreover, the 5.0-liter V8 gains twin throttle bodies, but that’s basically all we know. While Ford claims that the V8 makes more power than ever before, the Dearborn-based company didn’t divulge estimated power figures under embargo. While rev-matching on the GT’s six-speed manual gearbox is new for the Mustang, it’s not a particularly novel technology. So what sort of important performance stuff is actually new here?
For starters, there’s the steering. Ford’s quickened up rack ratios and stiffened up connection points between the steering wheel and tires in the pursuit of feel and agility. Steering was a bit of a weak spot in the old Mustang, so I’m interested to see if the new car rectifies the old one’s off-center vagueness. In addition to revised steering, the new Mustang features two gimmicks. Owners will be able to rev their cars from the key fob [Editor’s Note: Geez, finally – JT] , while models with the Performance Pack gain a special electronic handbrake that works like a hydraulic handbrake. Pull the lever and the rear wheels lock while in motion to initiate or tighten a slide. In essence, the new Mustang gives owners new ways to be obnoxious hoons, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m quite eager to test these new features out.
I can’t help but feel a sense of dread about the 2024 Ford Mustang. My childhood best friend had loads of the things. A 1994 GT with some light bolt-ons, a 1999 GT with subframe connectors and a tubular K-frame, a bone-stock high-mileage 2005 GT, the list goes on. Mustang GTs are still close to my heart, and the 2024 model seems to be Ford forgetting what made the Mustang GT an icon. So what if Mustangs of the past had subpar interior quality, few toys, and more structural flex than a wet piece of lasagna? They had soulful V8s, three pedals, low starting prices, and delightfully wayward handling. You didn’t buy a Mustang because you were sophisticated, you bought one because you either wanted the look or wanted to go quickly on a budget.
The mythos of the Mustang has created a bit of a paradox around the new car. It may be more refined, more gadget-laden, and more premium than ever, but there’s a chance it would be better if it were worse. It’s the end of the internal combustion engine as we know it. Forget sipping Chablis in a fitted blazer like a refined individual, we want kegstands and shitty tattoos. Then again, there’s also a chance that the 2024 Mustang might not carry a vastly different price tag from the current car. I guess we’ll just have to hurry up and wait to see.
All photos courtesy of Ford