2012 vs 2013 Ford Mustang

2012 vs 2013 Ford Mustang

Last Updated June 13, 2023 | C.J. Tragakis

For the most part, the 2012 and 2013 Ford Mustangs are very similar. They’re both part of the S197 generation and came after the 2010 refresh. The V6 and GT trims have virtually identical engine, transmission, interior, and technology options. However, the special GT500 trim received many revisions between the two years. And there are some small differences between the other models that might make one more interesting to you than the other.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Exterior

The retro-futuristic style of the S197 is readily apparent for both the 2012 and 2013 Mustangs. Both are of a slightly sleeker and curvier shape than the 2005-2009 S197s. Despite looking similar from afar, there are several areas that set them apart. These are fairly small details, but enough for many enthusiasts to prefer one over the other.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Front Fascia

Despite being very similar at first glance, there are some noticeable changes to the 2013 Mustang’s front fascia. The front grille curves upward towards the middle, giving it a more noticeable bump at the front of the hood. Below each headlight, the 2012 Mustang has a single faux air inlet. For 2013, a body piece splits it into two distinct sections.

2012 vs 2013 Ford Mustang Grille

Another noticeable difference between these two models was 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.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Headlights and Taillights

The 2013 was also the first Mustang to offer standard HID headlights on basic trims. They had only been an option up until that point. Besides being significantly brighter, the HID lights had a slightly different layout.

2012 vs 2013 Ford Mustang Taillights

Finally, one of the most noticeable exterior differences was the taillights. On the 2012 model, they look like a solid red module with two clear sections within each. For 2013, they were changed to resemble three clear modules on each side, with each surrounded by a red outline.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Colors

There were some differences in the available exterior paint colors. Gotta Have It Green has its die-hard fans, making it reason enough to opt for a 2013 for some enthusiasts.

2012 vs 2013 Ford Mustang Colors
Color2012 Mustang Colors (V6 and GT)2013 Mustang Colors (V6 and GT)Sample
Performance White
Ingot Silver Metallic
Sterling Gray Metallic
Yellow Blaze Metallic Tri-Coat
Gotta Have It Green Metallic Tri-Coat
Race Red
Red Candy Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
Lava Red Metallic
Grabber Blue
Kona Blue Metallic
Deep Impact Blue Metallic

Sample colors are for representative purposes and may not accurately portray actual paint color due to screen settings, metallic finish, etc.

Competition Orange was a unique color for the 2012 Boss 302. For the 2013 Boss 302, it was replaced with School Bus Yellow.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Interior

There isn’t much to separate the 2012 and 2013 Mustang inside the cabin. The most notable change to the interior was the design of the instrument cluster. Even though they’re the same size and shape, the 2012 Mustang’s gauges had a white background while the 2013's had a black one. The 2013 instrument cluster also featured an electronic screen between the two dials. The 2012 Mustang, on the other hand, had four analog dials in this space.

2012 vs 2013 Ford Mustang Interior

Both cars were some of the first to come with the second generation of Ford's SYNC system. SYNC with MyFord Touch was the first widely available version of SYNC to use a touchscreen. Prior to that, only a few vehicles were equipped with SYNC with Voice-Activated Navigation, which also featured a touchscreen. MyFord Touch was available on the V6 Mustang Premium trim level and up.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Trim Levels

Trim levels were the same for the 2012 and 2013 Mustang. Each could be had in a V6 or GT, with Premium levels available for both. The Boss 302 was a special performance trim, which you could also get in a more track-focused Laguna Seca variant. Check out our 2012 vs 2013 Boss 302 article for a full rundown of the differences.

The GT500 sat at the very top of the Mustang line-up and actually received significant changes between 2012 and 2013. Its engine was significantly ramped up in terms of power for 2013.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Engines

For both model years, the majority of the engine options remained mostly the same. The main difference between the 2012 and 2013 Mustang GT is that power was slightly increased. The 5.0 liter V8, which was shared across both years, saw an 8 horsepower boost. This was accomplished by changing the tuning.

White 2013 Ford Mustang Front

One of the new functions for the 2013 Mustang was its select shift capability. There are two modes on automatic-equipped vehicles: Drive and sport mode. In sport mode, you’re given the option to manually select which gear you can use, much like a manual transmission. This mode still contains the typical oversight of an automatic transmission that protects you from stalling or over-revving your engine.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang GT500 Engines

The biggest change between these years was to the top-of-the-line Shelby GT500’s engines. The 2012 Mustang came with a 5.4L V8 that made 550 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. The revised 2013 model came with a 5.8L V8 that made a significantly increased 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque. It was the only trim level to receive a substantial change between 2012 and 2013.

2012 Mustang Engines
V6 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 305 hp 280 lb-ft
V8 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 412 hp 390 lb-ft
Boss 302 5.0L Hi-Po Ti-VCT V8 444 hp 380 lb-ft
GT500 5.4L DOHC V8 550 hp 510 lb-ft
2013 Mustang Engines
V6 3.7 Ti-VCT V6 305 hp 280 lb-ft
V8 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 420 hp 390 lb-ft
Boss 302 Hi-Po 302 Ti-VCT V8 444 hp 380 lb-ft
GT500 5.8L DOHC V8 650 hp 600 lb-ft

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Dimensions

The 2012 and 2013 Mustang were identical in all dimensions besides weight. The 2013 Mustang’s curb weight was 50 lbs heavier than its 2012 predecessor. This was a minor change that will usually be offset by the weight of passengers and cargo. Plus, the 2013’s increase in horsepower actually gave it a better power-to-weight ratio than the previous year. It’s not certain what this weight increase came from, but it’s negligible when looking at the big picture.

2012 vs 2013 Mustang Dimensions
Dimension2012 Mustang2013 Mustang
Length 188.1" 188.1"
Width 73.9" 73.9"
Height 55.6" 55.6"
Wheelbase 107.1" 107.1"
Front Legroom 42.4" 42.4"
Rear Legroom 29.8" 29.8"
Front Head Room 38.5" 38.5"
Curb Weight 3,453 lbs 3,501 lbs

Is a 2012 or 2013 Mustang Right For You?

Given all the similarities between the 2012 and 2013 Mustang, it’s up to the driver to decide which they like better. That will mostly come down to personal preference of which front fascia and taillights are more appealing. The other differences are so subtle that they’re likely to be outweighed by factors such as mileage and price.

If you really want the standard HID headlights and digital screen in the gauge cluster, the 2013 is the way to go. But if you prefer the straighter front fascia and streamlined taillight design of the 2012, that may outweigh the small tech updates. If you’re fortunate enough to be looking at a GT500, the more powerful 2013 is the clear choice.

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Sources: 2012 Mustang Brochure, Ford | 2013 Mustang Brochure, Ford

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.