By on October 12, 2017

2018 Mustang GT, Image: Ford

Those Ford Mustang owners. Obsessed with just one thing — a feverish, burning desire to consume as little gasoline as possible.

No, that can’t be right. Mustang buyers know what they want when purchasing the original pony car, and it usually involves the velocity of wind through one’s hair. Ford Motor Company, however, doesn’t have the luxury of such simple-mindedness. For a number of reasons, the largest of them being regulatory, the automaker requires its newest vehicles to burn less fuel than the previous generation.

The 2018 Mustang is no different. For the coming model year, the massaged and freshened Mustang promises owners less time spent at the gas pump.

While Ford’s just-released fuel economy figures aren’t yet confirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency, but estimates aren’t likely to stray far from the mark, if at all.

For 2018, both four-cylinder EcoBoost models and traditional V8 powertrains receive Ford’s 10-speed automatic, instantly upping the number of gears by 40 percent. Further economy enhancements come in the form of aero improvements. Active grille shutters, a smoother underside, and a controversial squishing of the model’s face all conspire to boost the ‘Stang’s slipperiness.

What does that mean for fuel economy? Compared to last year’s model, a 2018 EcoBoost model with six-speed manual is estimated at 21 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. That’s a 1 mpg improvement for the highway and combined ratings.

Springing for the 10-speed brings about larger gains. So equipped, the EcoBoost now boasts a 32 mpg highway figure, 21 mpg in the city, and 25 mpg combined. That’s a 2 mpg increase on the highway, and a 1 mpg overall gain.

The 3.7-liter V6 doesn’t apply in this comparison, as the former base engine disappears from the model in 2018. The 5.0-liter V8, with a manual tranny, returns an estimated 15 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined. In other words, the absolutely no change for stick-shift V8s. Adding four more cogs to the Mustang GT’s automatic does bring about a change, however, and it’s the largest of the lineup. City, highway, and combined fuel economy all rise by 1 mpg in the automatic-equipped V8 model, for an estimated rating of 16/25/19.

We’ll have confirmation of the gains once the EPA gets around to posting official numbers on fuel economy.gov.

As for the hottest Mustang variants, don’t expect anything new for 2018. The GT350 and GT350R soldier on unchanged in output, economy, and appearance. With the elimination of the base V6 engine, the Mustang’s entry prices rises, but not by a lot. Getting into a lesser ‘Stang now means paying more for a V8, and less for a four-cylinder.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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40 Comments on “While Not Yet Official, Fuel Economy’s on the Rise in the Ford Mustang Stable...”


  • avatar
    S197GT

    while fuel mileage wasn’t a major concern for me when i had my mustang it was often on my mind because:

    it really sucked having to stop for gas so often, which admittedly was partly due to a smaller gas tank. but i rarely got 200 miles to a tank of gas (i try to stop at a quarter tank left). pure highway would get me closer to 250 miles for a tank.

    it was really annoying after a few years…

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I wonder if the “small fuel tank” has been a Mustang issue since the beginning of the breed?

      My 1967 has an 18 gallon tank and a popular thing to do is swap in a 22 gallon tank from one of the “Clydesdale” models built in the early 70s.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      How big was your gas tank? I was just flipping through my owner’s guide this morning, so I know the 2016 V6 and V8 models have a 16 gallon tank, while the turbo 4 cars have 15.5 gallon tanks.

      My usual range is about 250 miles around town, 350 on the highway (based on the trip computer’s estimates).

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        This is why EVs are so problematic – here we have people concerned about 200-250 mile range due to smallish fuel tank, but except for the Bolt and Tesla most EVs stuggle to do 100 miles on a full charge. The other day my warning chime went off saying I had 50 miles of range left and I started to get concerned about finding a gas station, but with most EVs 50 miles is more than half a tank and you can’t do a quick splash and dash to get home if you run out.

    • 0 avatar
      NeilM

      S197GT wrote: “i try to stop at a quarter tank left). pure highway would get me closer to 250 miles for a tank.
      it was really annoying after a few years…”

      Why every would you refill at a quarter tank? You could have reduced your annoyance a whole bunch.

      • 0 avatar
        Tennessee_Speed

        If the fuel tank level gets too low debris will go into the fuel pump and/or the fuel filter will be clogged a lot sooner. I try never to let the fuel level go below 25%.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Around town it blows but I’ve been able to knock down decent mileage on,the highway. When I owned the GT500 in its last state of tune ( 2.9 Whipple w/ 2.5 pulley and required tune) I could knock down about 24 mpg if I cruised around 60 mph. The GT350 has done a best of 27 mpg at around 60 mph.

      The GT500 with its moderate gearing would plod along at practically at idle off boost. The GT350 is a bit more frenetic with its gearing but I suppose free of the supercharger and with a more modern engine design it was able to eek out a bit better mileage.

      The GT500 bone stock returned a best of 26 mpg IIRC.

      In any event on trips it wasn’t too much of a hassle since I could generally get about 300 miles or a bit more in combined driving.

  • avatar
    VoGhost

    Math geek wants you to know that going from a 6 speed auto to a 10 speed is a 67% increase in the # of gears, not 40%.

  • avatar
    incautious

    Its funny when Bill Ford was at the helm he tried to push fuel economy among other things. The Mustang soldered on without much of a thought about MPG. Which is why I purchased a 2000 Camaro SS back then. 20% better highway fuel economy a 6 speed stick vs 5 for the GT. Oh and with the SLP dual dual exhaust 330 HP vs 260. the mustang may have outsold the camaro but 17 years later I’m still enjoying the SS and my original decision.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    It’s a toy for boomers, I’m pretty sure MPG is irrelevant.

  • avatar
    mca1686

    I daily drive a 1989 mustang 2.3 5 speed. It gets almost exactly the same mpg city/highway/combined as they are stating for the ecoboost. Granted my car had 88 horsepower when new.

  • avatar
    ahintofpepperjack

    I care more about range than mpg. On road trips, my Pentastar Challenger can go over 500 miles between stops. Most of the time I can go round-trip without having to fill up. But I’d like to get even more. A vehicle that could go 1,000 miles per tank… I’d only have to stop for gas every 3 weeks.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      Highway range isn’t that important to me – I need a pitstop before the car needs to be refilled anyway.

      And I’ve driven 1000+ miles in a day many times.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I know exactly what you mean pepperjack, my Pentastar 300 with its 18 ish gallon tank is a beast on the highway. I drive for work between San Diego and the SF Bay area all the time. It’s weird to drive almost 500 miles at Interstate 5 traffic speeds and still have enough gas left to go to TJ.

      Now I just need a reason to go to TJ.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The funny thing is that MPG is said to go up on the base 2.3 EB engine with the new automatic to 32 highway. I just looked at a 2015 Mustang equipped with the 2.3 EB and a 6 speed auto that was rated at 32 MPG. The 2017 2.3 EB 31 highway number seems to be a shell game by the manufacturers to make 2018 buyers think they are getting something better. GM did the same thing with the Malibu. For 2014-2015 it was rated for 36 highway MPG with the 2.5 and 6 speed automatic. Then mysteriously it dropped to only 34 on the 2016 Limited making way for the all new model and it’s much higher 37 rating. Well it just wouldn’t so to only have a one MPG improvement. Surprise the 2017 and 2018 drops to 36 highway once again.

    In a nutshell the mileage ratings on many of today’s vehicles is way off so I never believe the current window stickers. One perfect example was a rental 2017 Hyundai Elantra that carried a highway rating of only 38. The higher trims are rated for 37. Well as hard as we tried we could bare;ly get that figure below 40 even going 80 MPH!

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      If you check fueleconomy.gov, it looks like testing standards were changed somewhere along the line – it shows the ’15/’15 2.3/6A as currently rated at 21/31, down from the original 21/32. Curiously, the ’17 is apparently only capable of 30mpg hwy, so you might not be way off base with your shell game theory (just, the EPA’s to blame too).

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No the drop for the 2017 ratings was due to a change in the EPA correction formula for deriving the sticker numbers from the raw CAFE numbers. You’ll find several cars where the change was just enough to cause a drop in the sticker numbers.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    What were the 3.7 liter’s ratings? How much more does a 10 speed automatic cost that saves a little bit of cheap gasoline? CAFE just denied Mustang buyers the lowest cost of ownership model and drove up the price on the V8 to discourage demand. Thanks imbeciles who think they’re smarter than markets in allocating resources.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      If you believe that burning gas causes pollution and/or global warming – costs that are absorbed by the population at large and not just the car purchaser – then there is a rationale to attempt to increase fuel efficiency. That being said, the latest study I saw estimated that the CAFE rules are realizing about 4% of their targeted fuel savings as people are just driver bigger, faster vehicles. Just increase the damn gas tax if you want people to use less of it.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Isn’t that what the gas guzzler tax is for, allocating social costs incurred by large engines to the buyer? Most cars in the market manage to avoid it, V8 Mustangs included (392 Challengers with manual transmissions being the notable exception). I’d rather have a good transmission in a muscle car than one that’s tuned for CAFE performance.

  • avatar
    RockBottom

    It’s important to keep in mind that the V8 6 speed cars are gaining 25 hp and a pile of lift-reducing features without reducing fuel burn. That’s no mean feat, and totally worth noting.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    2011 300hp V6 with 31mpg

    Good job Ford. Less than 1% increase in fuel economy in 7 years.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I own a 15 EB Mustang bought new..We use litres, and Kilometres, rough math translates to maybe 27-28 Miles to a U.S, gallon. To deliver those numbers, requires a steady foot,to minimize Turbo mode. I don’t do that.

    I drive that car the way it was designed to be driven..I run 91 octane gas, and if I want the power that engine is capable of, I use it. My “real world “mileage, combined city, and highway, more like 23-25 MPG ? Yes it does have a small gas tank.

    Aging Boomer that I am, I guess I should drive a Malibu..Far more practical eh ?

    I don’t need, or want practical…I enjoy every minute behind the wheel of that car.

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      I have had three g6 Mustangs; ’15 EB w/PP A6, a’16 GT w/PP M6, and currently a ’17 GT350. The smallish fuel tank was not a problem with the EB, a minor nuisance with the GT, and real annoying with the GT350. My youngest son bought my EB, and I liked it better than the GT overall. The GT350 is in another league, save for the lousy fuel range…

      Remember to keep your fuel level above 1/4 tank as the in tank fuel pump electrical windings will last longer with a cool submersion in fuel.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Should I buy a GT500?

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Might as well share my mileage numbers, since I just drove from Ohio to DC in a ’16 GT with the old 6-speed auto.

    For the first 50 miles of the trip, on the flat NE Ohio turnipike, I was at 29.1 mpg, driving about 75. Flooring it to get around some moron while leaving the tool booth instantly dropped me to 28.4.

    After 264 miles, into hilly PA, I was at 27.7 mpg. Average speed of 68 mph. Not sure how I was driving so slow, since I was touching 80 at times, but that’s what I calculated from my trip computer.

    Ran into road construction with stopped traffic at 321 miles. Down to 27.4 mpg by the time I started again. Another bout of construction stalling had me down to 27.1 by the time I got off the interstate.

    Just my experience, numbers are based off the trip computer. Not bad for a heavy car with 430 hp. My ’09 Mazda3 hatch didn’t do any better on that trip.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    My ’07 V gets some kinda mileage, I’m sure, but I don’t really give a care what it is. It’s in a fine state of tune with good tires, which is about all I can do for a 10-year-old sports sedan with the aerodynamics of a house. It pulls hard when prodded and happily lopes along when not. I’m pretty sure I spend more money on coffee per day than gasoline. Job done.


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