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One of America’s truly iconic cars, the Ford Mustang, has been a cherished and revered “pony car” for the past 51 years. And with a well thought out new redesign for 2015, expect the Mustang to keep adding admirers.

Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964 and it was the first of the so-called pony cars, which were characterized by being compact, affordable, stylish and possessing high performance. Wanting to capitalize on the new concept, many imitators quickly followed.

The Mustang developed a following instantaneously and has gathered many more in its five decades of production, evidenced by the more than 9 million-plus in sales generated over that time span. The Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger remain the Mustang’s most formidable rivals.

2015 Ford Mustang

* Performance: 3.7-liter, V6, 300 horsepower; turbocharged 2.3-liter, four cylinder, 310 horsepower;  5.0-liter, V8, 435 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 17-28 mpg; 21-32 mpg; 15-25 mpg
* Price:  $23,800 to $46,170
* Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000

There has never been an issue of mistaken identity for the Mustang. Despite the considerable redesign, that quality remains. The Mustang retains its long hood, tri-bar taillights and sloping fastback, which all combine to give it an aggressive appeal.

That aggressive appeal carries over to the engine, another cherished Mustang quality since its inception. No matter what model is chosen, performance continues to be a huge selling point.

New this year is the 2.3-liter, turbocharged four cylinder that produces 320 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Don’t be too quick to judge. While not as robust as the two other engine options, the turbo model that was driven here for a week goes 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and gets an estimated 22-31 mpg, easily the best of the three in terms of making a tank of gas go the furthest.

The standard Mustang engine is a 3.7-liter, V6 with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. For excess performance, the 5.0-liter, V8 that generates 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque is the pick. It goes 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and gets an estimated 15-25 mpg.

The most significant change for the 2015 Mustang is finally getting rid of the live rear axle and replacing it with an independent rear suspension. The result is better ride comfort and handling. Ford says the 2015 Mustang offers additional stability and steers more precisely. The smaller, leather-wrapped steering wheel – that tilts and telescopes – is a nice plus as well.

Another significant area of improvement is the interior. Overall the modernized cabin has added more high-quality materials, is roomier, and all models come standard equipped with a back-up camera, which is needed due to the Mustang’s narrow rearview makeup. Optional safety features like blind-spot monitoring and forward collision alert are a nice touch.

The Mustang interior has Ford’s “sync” voice activation system that can simplify working the audio, phone and navigation systems. Critics still voice their disapproval of the MyFord Touch interface due to its complexity.

Although the front seat is relatively comfortable, that’s not the case for the other two passengers. The back seat is still cramped in either the coupe or the convertible, and it’s difficult getting in and out of the back seat.

If you were a fan previously of the Mustang, then you’re really going to like the 2015 version because it’s superior to any previous model.

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