We’ll be waiting a little longer to drive the new 2024 Ford Mustang before it goes on sale this summer. In the meantime, we’ve had a chance to wander around the interior for just one afternoon and test-drive the new wall of screens this Mustang is rocking. Much has been said about the new interior design that does away with most of the hard buttons, but despite the digital transformation, the new Mustang still feels familiar inside.
Like the Mustang before it, the seating position is slightly higher even in its lowest seat position. Visibility is still better than in the Chevrolet Camaro, but that’s not saying much. Material quality is about what you’d expect in a Mustang built for the price. Some of the plastics look nicer than before, but this Mustang isn’t what we’d call luxurious to the touch or looks.
The conspicuous lack of buttons in the center stack contrasts with the borderline excessive number of buttons on the steering wheel. There are nine on each side of the wheel. Even if you count the start/stop and volume knob on the center stack as “buttons,” this area still has less than half the number of controls located on the steering wheel.
It’s a good thing, that the sync-powered touchscreen infotainment system is a delight to use. Ford stuck all the relevant climate controls at the bottom of the screen where they stay 100% of the time. Even when Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is put into full-screen mode, climate control sticks around, allowing quick access to temperature changes, heated/cooled seats, defrost settings and more Is. However, if you want to change the direction of airflow, it requires an extra tap in the climate menu.
The fundamentals of controlling the car are generally acceptable, but the fun with the infotainment system is cut short when you access the MyMustang menu. Press the galloping horse button at the bottom of the screen, and Ford’s collaboration with Unreal Engine reveals itself. This 3D computer creation tool allowed Ford to bring video game-like animations and interactivity to the screen. That’s cool if you’re always diving into the latest innovations in gaming technology, but otherwise, you might not care. The benefit of this fancy software is an unmistakably smooth touchscreen experience with the graphics you’d expect from a modern video game. When you go through and set up a custom drive mode, specific parts of the car you’re changing will expose themselves in stunning detail in the Mustang animation on screen. It sounds like you’re customizing a car in “Forza Horizon” or “Gran Turismo 7,” but instead, you’re adjusting the damper settings and exhaust noise on your actual Mustang. Other neat features that run on the Unreal Engine are the new auxiliary gauges, the Mustang Track app, MyColor customization, and the digital gauge cluster theme.
Coming from an existing Mustang running the relatively rudimentary Sync 3, this new technology is truly an eye-opener. It doesn’t matter whether you opt for the big single wall of screen or install the separate lower-spec screen set in the Mustang, either – both will get Unreal Engine integration. The only disappointment is that you can’t change the color with the ever-changing Mustang graphic. Ford says it kept them all silver to better match the background, but we’d prefer a Mustang graphic that matches the exterior color of the Mustang you’re in. To take this customization effort even further, Ford must match the wheels, brake calipers. The color and aero package for the specific vehicle you are in is displayed on the screen. As it stands, the generic silver car is a bit boring in the context of gaming software this powerful.
The rest of the infotainment system is pretty standard Ford Sync fare. Its radio is easy to use. The navigation system is nothing fancy, but it is fast and has a clean layout. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be set to full-screen or partial-screen mode. Partial screen mode allows you to choose from several other displays for the far-right portion of the screen. There are also menu icons permanently docked on the left side of the screen, making it easy to go back and forth between Sync and the Apple/Android interface. Sync 3 and 4 lack this and it’s disappointing.
Ford orienting the screen towards the driver is appreciated, as it gives the cabin a driver-centric layout befitting a performance car. And finally, the “Star” button in a row of buttons at the bottom of the screen is a real rockstar of a button. You can map a number of controls to its operation, but most importantly, you can map its exit mode. Only a tap is needed to put the Mustang’s exhaust into “track” mode, and considering the Mustang’s specific clientele, it’s an important shortcut.
The last major highlight of the interior is the digital instrument cluster. Specifically, Ford added a special 1987-1993 Fox Body Mustang gauge layout for the 2024 Mustang, and it’s rad. The drive mode doesn’t matter, you can make it a permanent display, or you can pair it with a custom drive mode to use only on occasion. Any Mustang history enthusiast is going to love it, and the white-backed gauges only get cooler when you turn on the headlights and they turn green to simulate the green-backed light from those old Mustangs. Are. Other display modes are similar to the digital cluster layout of the previous generation, but they’ve been tweaked to look more modern and take into account the sleeker infotainment system. All of the animations between drive modes are especially enjoyable, as Ford insisted on creating smooth, engaging graphics.
Overall, the interior of this Mustang is going to appeal more to those who prefer digital over analog experiences. We’re sad to see the sweet airplane-inspired toggle switches go, but for the most part, Ford’s touchscreen controls are an agreeable development. Like the Mustang Mach-E, it’s got a screen-controlled interior that’s done with thought and care for the user.