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Are Mustangs Good First Cars? How Reliable? [ We Answered ]

Are Mustangs Good First Cars? How Reliable? [ We Answered ]

Buying your first car involves a strategic decision. You have plenty of factors to consider, including ease of handling, insurance costs, comfort, mileage, reliability, and most importantly, safety. The Ford Mustang wouldn’t be the perfect car under these parameters. Of course, this model from the branded automobile manufacturer appeals to many with its style and reliability. However, a sedan or a hatchback can be a better purchase as the first car for young drivers.

Well, if you are wondering why Mustangs are not good first cars, we have got that covered in this article.

Are Mustangs good first cars?

No, Ford Mustangs are not good first cars. Even though the car offers standard airbags, safety, and reliability, new drivers require cars that are easier to maintain. Moreover, owning a Mustang with low insurance costs would be challenging for new drivers.

Besides, Mustangs involve high maintenance costs. The annual maintenance cost of a Mustang GT is around $709. On the other hand, models like Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, and Honda Accord are cheaper to maintain. With any of these models, new drivers would be forking out anything between $368 and $428 annually.

The gas mileage for Mustangs does not look too impressive as well. Considering these drawbacks, Mustangs would not suit teens or new drivers.

Is a Mustang a good first car for a teenager?

No, a Mustang would not be the ideal first car for teenagers.

While buying a new car for teenagers, particularly those aged between 16 and 19, parents would obviously prioritize their safety. Although this car comes with adequate safety measures, it has a low-reliability score. At 3.5 out of 5, the reliability score doesn’t look too good for new drivers. You have plenty of mid-sized cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla with better reliability ratings.

With most teens experiencing an adrenaline rush as they hit the road, how could you guarantee that your child wouldn’t be racing? With a Chevy or a Honda, chances of rash driving are less. Even if they drive responsibly, the gas mileage, high insurance costs, and expensive maintenance would make it a bad purchase.

Please note, the Mustang is of course a safe car. However, safety depends on whether or not the teenage driver adheres to the best practices.

Is the Mustang a reliable car?

Yes, the Mustang is definitely a reliable car. In fact, its reliability rating of 3.5 is above average. Also, certain models of this car have outclassed other models in terms of consistency. With a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 (according to RepairPal), the Ford Mustang finds its place in the 20th position out of 24 models in the mid-size car category.

Moreover, the car has bagged a reliability score of 86 out of 100 as per J.D. Power. Moreover, the Ford Mustang emerged in the first position out of eight sports cars according to the US News & World Report.

The figures speak tons about the reliability and performance of this car. With proper maintenance and handling, the Ford Mustang would deliver you an impressive performance over the years. However, teens would find it challenging to handle the car gently, which might lead to additional expenses on insurance and maintenance. This explains why the Ford Mustang would not be a good choice for new drivers.

Why Mustangs are not a good choice as a first car?

Well, it’s natural to wonder why a Ford Mustang would not be a good choice for teens or new drivers despite being safe. To clear your doubts, here are the factors that make it a bad purchase for young drivers.

Mixed reliability rating

While some models of Mustang have outperformed others, the average reliability rating revolves around 3.5. Between 2015 and 2019, the figures are 1/5, 1/5, 4/5, 1/5, and 5/5. The Mustang 2021 model has a reliability rating of 3.5/5. On the other hand, cars like Honda Civic have a far better score at 4.5/5. In a nutshell, the Mustang models have failed to maintain consistency over the last seven years. Corolla, Civic, and Accord would be better options for young drivers, considering their reliability scores (all more than 4).

Poor gas mileage

For teens and new drivers, gas mileage happens to be a crucial deciding factor for the driving experience. Considering the MPG ratings, Mustangs show poor performance among sports cars. At 19 MPG, you would expect the car to deliver better mileage. Take the instance of Ford Fusion. For first-time drivers, this car records 23 MPG and 34 MPG in cities and highways, respectively.

The Mustang is a powerful car, and you should expect the gas mileage to oscillate when you go for a model with this horsepower.

Expensive maintenance

Once the Mustang clocks 10,000 miles, it would need the first oil change. At 20,000 miles, you need to change the filters as well as the oil. For standard cars, this is quite normal.

However, at an annual maintenance cost of $709, the cost seems far too high. With a Honda Civic, teens need to shell out around $368. A corolla or a Mazda3 would involve annual maintenance of around $388 to $433.

The common repair costs for Ford Mustang include the clutch ($950 to $1000), drive belts ($125 to $150), and ball joints ($250 to $300). Well, these costs might not be exceptionally high for a Mustang. However, Ford has discontinued manufacturing the V6 engine. You might find it challenging to source some of the parts as well. This explains why maintaining a Ford Mustang happens to be so expensive.

Insurance is expensive

Considering the safety and other features, Mustangs involve high insurance costs. Again, when the insurer gets to know the age of the driver, it would burn a hole in your pocket. Considering high insurance expenses, Mustangs are not suitable for new drivers.

The figures speak for reality. While a 40-year-old driver bears an annual insurance cost of $1,571 for a Mustang, the amount would escalate to $5,128 for an 18-year-old!

As you know, insurers analyze past trends using historical data. It’s evident that young drivers do not perform well with Mustangs.

Negotiating adverse weather conditions

Mustangs fail to deliver their optimal performance unless you have a warm climate all around the year. Teens wouldn’t be enjoying the provision of an all-wheel drive with this model. Slippery road conditions might prove to be challenging for these drivers, with some of the wheels getting stuck in the mud.

Moreover, driving through the snow might turn out to be a Herculean task, given that the rear wheels of this car have the actual power. Young drivers would find it too difficult to negotiate the challenges under adverse weather conditions.

Only if you reside somewhere that enjoys the sun all the months, purchasing a Mustang makes sense.

How much mileage can you get out of a Mustang?

With proper handling, maintenance, and care, Ford Mustangs can serve you over 300,000 miles. In fact, you will come across five-decade-old Mustangs from the 1960s that are still active today. However, these first-generation models do not represent the entire breed of cars.

With zero collision and proper maintenance, most of these cars cruise along more than 200,000 miles in 10 to 20 years. You simply need to keep changing the oil and follow up the routine service schedule. In winter, try to keep the Mustang away from salted roads. From time to time, get new parts installed in place of the worn-out ones.


Ford has manufactured over 10 million Mustangs ever since the inception of this car. Most strikingly, a significant number of these cars are still operational on the roads. To be precise, around 65% of the Mustangs are perfectly operational on the road.

Now, you know why a Mustang wouldn’t be the best car for teenagers. However, it can be the perfect mid-sized car for experienced drivers!