2020 Ford Mustang Review: Smart packaging makes it more desirable than ever

The Mustang retains its hallmark exterior for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang is an iconic car. For decades it has been one of the most desirable muscle cars on the planet attracting everyone from celebrities and collectors to veterinary assistants and dental hygienists. It's a symbol of American prosperity that's continually being improved, even without major generational change.

The 2020 Ford Mustang is the product of those small but impactful adjustments that make the Mustang a comfortable cruiser with dynamic engagement at the ready. Even as we get close to 2021, the car still has a touch of nostalgia with switchgear that mixes modern design with the aerospace-inspired design aesthetics of the past.

But this isn't a car that wants to be piloted. It wants to be driven.

2020 Ford MustangThe Mustang's interior has unique design.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2020 Ford Mustang

When equipped with the 2.3-liter high performance Ecoboost engine and a six-speed manual transmission, the Mustang is plenty powerful even without the growl emitted from the backend of a Shelby GT 500. Unlike the gearbox in the Chevrolet Camaro, the Mustang's is tuned to properly encourage driving. Rev high and let the good times roll.

The model came equipped with a Performance pack that included a 3.55-inch limited slip rear axle;19-inch machined-face aluminum wheels with low gloss Ebony-painted pockets; summer tires; an active performance exhaust; black-painted strut-tower brace; an "Engine Spun" aluminum instrument panel; Magnetic-colored exterior mirrors; a Gauge Pack; GT Performance Package front splitter and belly pan; hood accent strip; heavy-duty front springs; larger brake rotors with four-piston fixed calipers; larger radiator; unique chassis tuning; unique EPAS, anti-lock brake system, and stability control tuning; and an upsized sway bar.

The Mustang's handling is engaging but doesn't constantly require input. The car sticks to the ground but doesn't pass on every lump and bump into the cabin.

Ford has given the Mustang a steering wheel that feels good in-hand and has buttons that area easy to operate on the fly.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Seating is comfortable, at least for front row occupants. The second-row seats of the Mustang remain best left for groceries, puppies, and babies.

The infotainment system is perfectly functional with Ford's SYNC system that makes picking and choosing what you want the system to do quick and easy. The 8-inch screen is plenty responsive.

Even with the Performance pack and manual transmission, the car remains a perfectly capable daily driver.

In rag top form, the Mustang still has the same appeal it did decades ago. It's a comfortable cruiser in warm climates but putting the top up creates a soundproof enough barrier in inclement weather that you won't wish you had the fastback version.

It's those improvements that make the Mustang, specifically this Mustang, among the best uses for $35,000 in today's muscle car marketplace. It's sportier and more fun than the Camaro and with the convertible option, gives buyers who love to drive a reason to get out on the open road int he spring, summer, and fall.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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