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 Mustang The 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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Honda is working with Verizon on self-driving cars technology.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The Mcity campus was designed to be a proving ground for new technologies. Honda and Verizon are utilizing it as such as they partner to explore how Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) can be used to ensure quick and reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles, and pedestrians.

The 5G technology leverages cloud technology to deliver lower latency, a large amount of bandwidth, and improved communication. This communication includes the way that vehicles interact with ther cars, traffic lights, pedestrians and emergency vehicles to improve threat detection and avoid accidents when seconds matter most. That's where the "V2" in acronyms like "V2V" (vehicle-to-vehicle) and "V2X" (vehicle- to-everything).

Honda and Verizon Test How 5G Enhances Safety for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles www.youtube.com

Honda has been working since 2017 to develop a technology that will help to create a collision-free society. The technology, called Safe Swarm, uses V2X communication to enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and share key information such as location, speed, and vehicle sensor data.

There are some obstacles, not the least of which is the need to outfit each vehicle with onboard artificial intelligence capabilities. The use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

"The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights," said Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. "When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94% of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers 'see' things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives."

Three safety scenarios have been explored as part of the testing:

  • Pedestrian Scenario - A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon's MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users assisted by Verizon's Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.
  • Emergency Vehicle Warning Scenari - A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon's MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
  • Red Light Runner Scenario - A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.

You can watch the video of Honda and Verizon's Mcity tests at http://honda.us/5GResearch.

Honda isn't the only company exploring what 5G communication can offer. Pirelli has installed the tech in its tires and BMW recently updated its My BMW app to make it compatible with the new technology. Audi is working on similar technology out on the road in Virginia and Georgia.

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Ford dealerships will be adding Bronco showrooms to their portfolio in the coming year.

Photo courtesy of Ford via Automotive News

Reporting by Automotive News reveals that Ford is enabling its dealership network to opt-in to build Bronco-specific showrooms. The stores are designed to be near or connected to existing Ford dealer locations, but will feature the Bronco horse logo rather than the traditional Ford Blue Oval.

Ford currently has two Bronco models: Bronco and Bronco Sport. All this for two models? Not quite. Ford is reportedly working on a Bronco-based pickup truck. Could it be Ranger Raptor-like? We'll have to wait and see.

Renderings of Bronco storefronts feature those models and vintage versions of the beloved off-roader alongside 3,800 square feet of building space that includes an outdoor fire pit and room to display three vehicles. There's also a wall that showcases Bronco merchandise including some of the over 200 accessories Ford is promising will be available for Bronco models.

Ford Bronco standalone showroom renderings

Photo courtesy of Ford via Automotive News

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The overall aesthetic is very much in line with what you'll see at your local REI. There's back-painted ceiling lining, exposed concrete, a gray stone entryway, and wood accents throughout the modern structure as well as plenty of windows that show it all off.

Dealers are able to modify the design that Ford has come up with. One dealer, in Arizona, told Automotive News that he is planning to build out a 12,000-square-foot space but hasn't included a fire pit in the plans because of the location's desert climate.

If dealerships don't opt for a separate showroom, dealerships can choose from other Ford-backed options to display the Bronco that are more traditional in nature. Andrew Frick, the head of Ford sales in the U.S. said that there are three options: a standalone showroom, an expansion of existing showrooms or displays that can be added to a showroom. All the options are available and recommended, but not required, kind of like the Sasquatch Package on the Bronco itself.

"It's an announcement to the world we're back; the Bronco is back," Tim Hovik, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, Ariz., and chairman of Ford's national dealer council, told Automotive News. "It's such an iconic product that in an absolute way, we feel a Ford dealer is really adding almost an additional franchise."

Last month, Ford revealed that of its 190,000 reservations for either the two- or four-door Bronco, two-thirds of those have turned into firm orders. Deliveries of the redesigned Bronco are slated to begin in June. Early models are already making their way out onto the streets under the car of Ford employees.

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