The iconic Ford Mustang, the original pony car, ups the ante for 2018 with more power, more technology, and more customizable choices than ever before.

Besides the overall classic fastback or convertible silhouette, one of the first things that will get your attention is the 2018 model’s redesigned face. The front of the hood now wraps lower and the grille is less pronounced. This is a more athletic and contemporary exterior design than we’ve ever seen.

Exterior Cues

New LED headlamps, new front park/turn lamps and a new front splitter that was reworked to improve handling and reduce drag, provide the 2018 Mustang with a more distinctive and modern design theme.

Around back, the new look includes revised LED sequential taillamps and either dual bright exhaust tips for turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost models, or dual exhaust with quad tips for V8-powered GT models.

Engine Options

The V6 engine has been discontinued and the base model for 2018 is the Mustang EcoBoost. It features a 2.3-liter turbo-4 engine that has been modified to produce an additional 30 pound-feet of torque. It still delivers 310 horsepower, but it now produces a more likable 350 lb.-ft. of torque.

The turbo-4 is surprisingly responsive and strong. EcoBoost models (pricing starts at about $26,000) are still very formidable and include standard performance goodies like a limited-slip differential, Track Apps, launch control and an electronic line-lock to lock the front brakes for making fabulous smoky burnouts or getting the tires extra sticky prior to blasting down the quarter-mile.

EcoBoost models come standard with a performance-oriented 6-speed manual gearbox and short-throw shifter. An all-new 10-speed automatic is optional.

Suspension System

A sophisticated optional variable damping suspension system that can deliver comfort for commuting or firmness for track-time fun is available across the line.

For those who demand a pavement-pounding V8 engine, the Mustang GT (pricing starts at about $36,000) features a 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 with an extra 25 more ponies for 2018. It is rated at 460 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.

Manual Transmissions

Like EcoBoost models, GT models can be had with a standard 6-speed manual or optional 10-speed automatic transmission. If you are an enthusiast who demands more control, the 6-speed manual gearbox is the way to go. Regardless of which Mustang you choose, acceleration is great, brakes are strong and ride and handling are exceptionally good.

For those who must know, EcoBoost models accelerate from 0-60 mph in about 4.4 seconds and run the quarter-mile in the mid-twelves. GT models accelerate from 0-60 mph in just under four seconds and run the quarter-mile in the high-elevens.

Shelby

If your thirst for power and your budget are even greater, the V8-powered Shelby GT350 ($57,240) or Shelby GT350R ($64,470) feature a 526-horsepower, thunderous 5.2-liter flat-plane crank engine and 6-speed manual gearbox.

Ford offers a long list of standard and optional technologies, and newly available safety technologies for its new Mustang.

Technologies Impress

Available advanced technologies include a fully customizable 12-inch LCD all-digital instrument cluster that was designed by video gamers, Active Valve Performance Exhaust that can vary the amount of throaty rumble emitted out the tailpipe, and driver-assist technologies like pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist and driver alert system.

The 2018 Ford Mustang has so many likable traits. Even though it has some cheap-looking interior trim, a tight cabin with very little room for two rear passengers, and a small trunk (13.5 cu.ft. for coupe, 11.4 cu.ft. for convertible), those shortcomings should not be deal breakers.

The 2018 Ford Mustang is fun to drive year round, comfortable enough for moderate touring, and it is track-ready right out of the showroom.