Skip This Ford Mustang Model Year For a More Reliable Version

There’s nothing like letting go of your inhibitions and getting behind the wheel of a sports car. Understandably, reliability might be the last thing on your mind. However, you might want to hold up before purchasing a used Ford Mustang. One of the pony car’s recent model years has some serious long-term concerns.

Even the base Mustangs from recent years are more potent than most people would believe. So, it’s tempting to jump into a lightly used Mustang at an ultra-affordable price. However, don’t sign the dotted line before investigating your exact vehicle’s reliability history.

Which recent Ford Mustang model year is the most unreliable?

A blue 2018 Ford Mustang driving down a country road
The 2018 Ford Mustang in action | Ford

Particular Fords have had dependability issues in the past few years, and the 2018 Mustang is one of the brand’s problem children.

We’d be remiss not to mention that this sports car is enjoyable to drive. Despite Ford dropping the Mustang’s V6 for the 2018 model year, it still delivers a heck of a punch with its 310-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. And its thrilling driving dynamics will energize your morning commute.

However, you won’t have a smile on your face if your used 2018 Ford Mustang makes frequent trips to your mechanic.

This specific iteration of Ford’s pony car is so troublesome that it landed on Consumer Reports’ ‘Used Cars to Avoid Buying’ list.

The 2018 Ford Mustang is nothing but a headache

A look at the rear of an orange 2018 Ford Mustang and its iconic taillights
The rear of the 2018 Ford Mustang | Ford

RELATED: Sticker Shock: Every 2021 Ford Mustang Trim Got a Price Bump

How did such an iconic car make a ‘worst of’ list? Well, you might not notice its problems right away.

Consumer Reports noted that the drivers are generally happy with everything the 2018 Ford Mustang offers. Thus, it gave the car a 4/5 rating in that particular category.

However, reliability ended up being the 2018 Mustang’s downfall. Consumer Reports gave it a dismal 1/5 rating in this category, indicating that Ford’s pony car is a risky purchase.

The publication analyzes 17 potential trouble spots on each vehicle that factors into its reliability score. 

It found that the 2018 Ford Mustang had significant issues in seven areas. These include body hardware, transmission (minor), transmission (major), body integrity, engine (minor), suspension, and exhaust. Each of these components earned a worrisome rating of 1/5.

Why should you trust Consumer Reports’ analysis?

RELATED: Is a Honda Accord 2.0T as Fast as a Ford Mustang EcoBoost?

Notably, other outlets such as J.D. Power weren’t as harsh on the 2018 Mustang, giving it an 85/100 quality and reliability rating. 

However, each publication uses vastly different methods to measure this attribute. Consumer Reports gathers data from its members every year, collecting information about a vast range of vehicles. These models range from old to new, spanning back to as far as the 2000 model year.

In other words, Consumer Reports frequently has new data pouring in for old models. Meanwhile, J.D. Power bases its quality and reliability rating off of initial ownership experience.

Thus, the 2018 Ford Mustang likely didn’t have as many problems when it was fresh off the dealership lot. However, owners discovered that these models have more long-term issues, and they reported the issues to Consumer Reports.

What should you buy instead of a 2018 Ford Mustang?

RELATED: The 2021 Ford Mustang Just Became an Incredibly Better Value Buy

Thankfully, Consumer Reports gave other Mustang model years much better reliability scores. 

The current-generation Mustang began in 2015, and so far, it’s been a mixed bag. Consumer Reports also identified issues with the 2015 and 2016 model years. The 2017 Mustang showed improvement, earning a 4/5 reliability score.

However, you’ll likely want to set your sights on a newer version. For instance, the 2019 iteration seems much more dependable than its predecessor, earning a 5/5 reliability rating. Best of all, upgrading to a more trustworthy model shouldn’t cost you too much extra cash. 

Consumer Reports estimates that the 2018 Ford Mustang has an average retail value of $20,750-$48,625. Meanwhile, the publication states that you can buy the 2019 model from anywhere between $22,300-$53,250. Spending the additional money is well worth its weight in peace of mind.