2012 vs 2013 Ford Mustang DifferencesLast Updated August 4, 2019 | Sam Padgett
Compared to plenty of other subsequent Mustang generations, the 2012 and 2013 Mustangs aren’t all that different. They share the same body style, and most of their more desirable interior amenities are shared across both models. This is not to say that they are exactly identical though. Beyond the subtle design changes that transpired between these two model years, there are a number of important technological advancements made to the 2013 Mustang that can certainly change how this specific Mustang feels and handles behind the wheel.
2012 and 2013 Mustang Exterior Differences
Overall, the 2012 and 2013 Mustangs are clear examples of the S197 generation's design. This Mustang is covered head to toe in the futuristic yet retro styling, from its stockier appearance to the larger and more foreboding front grille emblazoned with the iconic left-facing pony logo.
There were minor visual upgrades made to the 2013 Mustang. The front grille curves ever so slightly upwards in the middle, and the front hood bulges up slightly as well. The front bumper was redesigned from 2012 to 2013, with the cutouts being flipped giving the 2013 model more of a smile. This was also the first Mustang to offer HID headlights by default on standard trims. HID lights had been optional up until this point, but the 2013 Mustang turned them into a standard feature. Besides being significantly brighter, the HID lights have a different layout. The turn signal lights on the HID lights are located on the outside of the headlights while they are on the inside of the headlights on the LED lights. Another noticeable difference between these two models is the revised grille design. On the 2013 Mustang, there’s a divide between the headlights and the grille. On the 2012 Mustangs, the edge of the grille blends seamlessly into the headlights.
The taillights underwent minor adjustments between these two generations as well. The taillights on the 2012 Mustang are solid red blocks, while they are scalloped on the 2013 model. Both of them do have sequential turn signals, as that has been a standard function since 2010. The sequential turn signals really accentuate the three-bar rear lights that are emblematic of the Mustang.
2012 and 2013 Mustang Interior Differences
Distinguishing either interior from the other is quite difficult as there aren’t any major differences or additions made between the 2012 and 2013 models. All in all, these two models of Mustang adhere pretty closely to the general design of the S197 generation. These Mustangs were some of the first Ford vehicles to come with the second generation of My Ford Touch software, which is available on the V6 premium trim level and up. One of the changes made to the interior between these two generations is the design of the instrument cluster. While they are the same size and shape, the 2012 Mustang has a white background to the speedometer and tachometer while the 2013's dials have a black background. In addition to a black background, the space between the two prominent dials is an electronic screen which can show a wide range of information. The 2012 Mustang, on the other hand, has four analog dials in this space. Regardless of how similar these two Mustangs look on the inside, the addition of the electronics makes a huge difference.
2012 and 2013 Mustang Trims
The 2012 and the 2013 Mustang share the same trim options, and both offered the Boss 302 and the Shelby GT500. Both of these track-centric trim options do offer serious performance, regardless of which year.
The Boss 302 Mustang, for both 2012 and 2013, comes with a sizeable selection of additional elements. Both come with adjustable shocks and struts, custom front and rear springs, a 25-mm rear stabilizer bar, and quad exhaust with 2 rear and 2 side outlets. On the inside, the Boss 302 comes with an Alcantara wrapped steering wheel and a black cue ball style shift knob. Finally, the Boss comes with a modified chin splitter and a painted set of stripes. The 2012 version of the Boss 302 has either a white or black painted roof with matching stripes and the 2013 edition comes with a paint job inspired by the 1970 Boss 302 livery, complete with hood and hockey stick side stripes. Perhaps the most unique feature shared across both versions is the track key, a separate red color key that when used to start the car unleashes its full power. This is certainly a good idea since you hardly need 444 horsepower to go to the grocery store.
Both the 2012 and 2013 Boss 302 Mustang come with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 444 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque all without the assistance of a supercharger. This naturally aspirated powerhouse also has a limited slip differential with carbon fiber plates and an overall stiffer suspension system for improved handling. This trim also was offered for modern Mustangs in 2007, although only 500 vehicles were produced then. The timing of the reintroduction of the Boss 302 makes plenty of sense. Ford was stoking the embers of the Mustang’s past with the post SN95 models, and bringing back a trim that last appeared in 1970.
Both the 2012 and the 2013 Mustang years also come with the option of an even more powerful option: the supercharged Shelby GT500. The 2012 Mustang comes with a 5.4L V8 that makes 550 Hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, and the 2013 model comes with a 5.8L V8 that makes a significantly increased 650 hp and 600lb.-ft of torque. The 2013 GT500 continues to use carbon fiber, this time on the drive shaft. All in all, the Shelby GT500, regardless of its year, is a dedicated track monster. Its signature rear spoiler, its SVT tuned suspension systems, and its tuned H-pipe exhaust systems all scream for the Shelby GT500 to be pushed way beyond the limit of any street legal speed limit.
2012 and 2013 Mustang Engine Options
For both generations, the majority of the engine options remain mostly the same. The 5.0 liter V8, which is shared across both years, saw a minor performance increase in 2013, receiving an 8 horsepower boost. The big change between these years pertains to the engines reserved for the Shelby GT500 Mustangs. The 2013 GT500 saw a whopping 100 horsepower boost and a 90 extra pound-feet of torque when compared to the 2012 model.
Both of these Mustangs do have some impressive MPG figures for their power. When equipped with the 3.7-liter V6 Ti-VCT engine and an automatic transmission, both the 2012 and 2013 Mustang have a combined MPG of 23, with 19 in the city and an impressive 31 on the highway.
One of the new functions to the 2013 Mustang is its select shift capability. On automatic equipped vehicles, there are two modes available, both the drive and sport mode. In sport mode, you are given the option to manually select which gear you can use much like a manual transmission. Sure, this mode still contains the typical oversight of an automatic transmission, protecting you from stalling or over-revving your engine.
|3.7L Ti-VCT V6||305 hp||280 lb-ft|
|5.0L Ti-VCT V8||412 hp||390 lb-ft|
|5.0L Hi-Po Ti-VCT V8||444 hp||380 lb-ft|
|5.4L DOHC V8||550 hp||510 lb-ft|
|3.7 Ti-VCT V6||305 hp||280 lb-ft|
|5.0L Ti-VCT V8||420 hp||390 lb-ft|
|Hi-Po 302 Ti-VCT V8||444 hp||380 lb-ft|
|5.8L DOHC V8||650 hp||600 lb-ft|
2012 and 2013 Mustang Dimensions
In terms of size, there are basically no differences between the 2012 and the 2013 Mustang. The only real change is the increase in curb weight by 50 pounds, which is small enough to be offset by the weight of the driver and any cargo. Since these two models are still contained within the same generation, they are more closely related than two consecutive Mustangs of different generations like the 2004 and 2005 models.
|Dimension||2012 Mustang||2013 Mustang|
|Front Leg Room||42.4"||42.4"|
|Rear Leg Room||29.8"||29.8"|
|Front Head Room||38.5"||38.5"|
|Curb Weight||3,453 lbs||3,501 lbs|
The differences between the 2012 and 2013 Mustang are simultaneously minor and significant. Individually, they are relatively minor, but the combination of all of them creates quite an effect. Overall, the 2013 Mustang is a significantly more modern car, or at least, it seems that way. The standard HID headlights, the redesigned taillights, and the updated instrument cluster really push the feeling of the Mustang being a truly technologically advanced driving machine.
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