2020 vs 2021 Mustang

2020 vs 2021 Mustang

Last Updated June 12, 2023 | Meghan Drummond

No vehicle is the exact same from one year to the next, and the Mustang is no exception. 2021 Mustangs aren’t radically different from their 2020 predecessors, but there are some big changes that may make one year a better fit for you.

Here are all the things that changed between the 2020 and 2021 Mustangs.

Changes for All 2021 Mustangs

A select few changes impact all Mustangs, regardless of trim level or extra packages. These include new standard features and colors. While the colors are definitely eye-catching, the real head-turner is the inclusion of Co-Pilot360 as a standard feature.

Bright Blue Mustang driving down the highway

2020 vs 2021 Mustang Colors

Several of the colors introduced for 2021 borrow inspiration from classic Mustang history. Grabber Yellow brings back memories of the always popular grabber-family of colors. Fighter Jet Gray references the inspiration for the Mustang’s original name. Other colors, like Antimatter Blue, are entirely new but sure to be quick favorites.

Some popular colors, like Kona Blue and Magnetic, didn’t make it to the 2021 lineup.

2020 vs 2021 Mustang Colors
ColorSample2020 Mustang2021 MustangNotes
Twister Orange
Grabber Yellow
Grabber Lime
Lucid Red Pearl
Known as Rapid Red for 2020
Velocity Blue
Ford Performance Blue
Absolute Black
Known as Shadow Black for 2020
Iconic Silver Metallic
Kona Blue
Carbonized Gray Metallic
Dark Highland Green
Bullitt Exclusive
Fighter Jet Gray
Mach 1 Exclusive
Race Red
Oxford White
Antimatter Blue

If you’re interested in seeing what the colors look like, check out our 2021 Mustang Colors guide. We also have a guide for 2020 Mustangs.

Co-Pilot360 Standard for 2021

Ford calls its driver-assist technology suite “Co-Pilot360.” These safety features have been available, but before this year they were a premium addition. Now, the five most crucial safety features will come standard: auto high beams, BLIS, lane keep assist, pre-collision assist, and rain-sensing wipers.

Ford Co-Pilot360 Standard Features

Most of these systems can be disabled if you find them distracting. You can also adjust the sensitivity using the five-way control on your steering wheel and the information panel.

These safety features are a great addition. For drivers who want more safety equipment, Co-Pilot360+ is available as part of the Safe and Smart package. The upgraded safety package includes adaptive cruise control and voice-activated navigation.

Pricing Goes Up for All Models

Prices for all Mustang models saw an upward shift for the 2021 year. Considering the addition of Co-Pilot360, this is to be expected. It’s a relatively minor price bump, all things considered.

As many have pointed out, the largest price increase was still under $500. And getting a whole suite of driver-assist technologies for under $500 is a bargain.

2020 vs 2021 Mustang Prices
Mustang Model2020 Price2021 Price
EcoBoost Fastback $26,670 $27,155
EcoBoost Premium Fastback $31,685 $32,175
GT Fastback $35,880 $36,120
GT Premium Fastback $39,880 $40,120
EcoBoost Convertible $32,170 $32,655
EcoBoost Premium Convertible $37,185 $37,625
GT Premium Convertible $45,380 $45,620
Bullitt $46,705 N/A
Mach 1 N/A $52,720
Mach 1 Premium N/A $54,315
GT500 $72,900 $72,900

Other Changes

There are a few more minor changes for 2021. For example, the glove box is no longer illuminated. While this is a small change, it definitely took a few drivers by surprise.

Integrated turn signals were also removed from all but the top-notch packages. That means the EcoBoost Premium and GT Premium no longer have them. The slightly upgraded Premium High packages still include them though.

EcoBoost Mustang Changes

EcoBoost Premium Mustangs have a major change in interior materials. Whereas 2020 Premium Mustangs came standard with leather-trimmed seats, 2021 models have ActiveX.

Interior picture of an EcoBoost Mustang with Ebony ActiveX

ActiveX is a high-end synthetic leather. On the plus side, it’s more stain resistant and durable than genuine leather. While it doesn't feel like real leather, it is certainly more practical.

2020 EcoBoost Premium Mustangs also came equipped with a 6-way power front passenger seat. For 2021, the passenger seat will only be 4-way.

While these are controversial shifts, they do reflect how people tend to use these Mustangs. EcoBoost Premium models tend to be daily drivers that benefit from stain-resistant seats. And most daily drivers don’t haul passengers.

You’ll still have the option of adding leather-trimmed, premier leather-trimmed, Recaro leather-trimmed, or Recaro premier leather-trimmed seats to your EcoBoost Premium Mustang.

Mustang GT Changes for 2021

Aerial view of bright orange GT Mustang

One of the more surprising changes for 2021 was Ford’s decision to drop the GT’s Performance Package II option. Performance Package II was only unveiled in 2018, but it had already become a quick favorite. It appealed mostly to track fans, with sticky tires that didn’t work quite as well for daily drivers.

The Mach 1 does a good job of filling the void left by the absence of the PP2, Bullitt, and GT350. More cost-sensitive drivers can still create their own PP2 by opting for MagneRide and adding mods on their own.

2021 Performance Edition Mustangs

The Mach 1 is without a doubt the most significant addition to the Mustang lineup this year. Unfortunately, it has very big shoes to fill, since the GT350/GT350R and Bullitt were all discontinued at the end of 2020.

The Mach 1 and Shelby GT500 are the only performance editions available in 2021. The GT500 is the most capable Mustang, but comes with a price tag to match. On the other hand the Mach 1 has a solid mix of flashy appearance and performance features for a much more reasonable price.

Shelby GT500

Close-up of GT500’s Carbon Wheels

Only introduced in 2020, there weren’t many expected changes for the 2021 GT500. The biggest addition for 2021 is the Carbon Fiber Handling Package, which includes everything from the GT500’s handling package, plus a set of 20” carbon fiber wheels. The retail price on the wheels is over $7,000 each, so the $10,000 package is actually a bargain.

The more expensive Carbon Fiber Track Package comes in at $18,500, but it adds enough extra equipment to make the GT500 track-ready straight from the dealer.

2021 GT500 Packages Comparison
Carbon Fiber Handling PackageCarbon Fiber Track Package
Price: $10,000 Price: $18,500
20” black-painted carbon fiber wheels 20” exposed carbon fiber wheels
Adjustable strut top mounts Adjustable strut top mounts
Splitter wickers Splitter wickers
Catch can Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 Tires
Gurney flap Rear seat delete
Exposed carbon fiber instrument panel
Exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing
Recaro leather trimmed seats
Wheel locking kit

Mach 1

For the first time in two decades, Ford is making the Mustang Mach 1. While we can debate the wisdom of having a new Mach 1 the same year Ford unveiled the Mach-E, it’s still a great addition to the lineup.

Perhaps most importantly, the 2021 Mach 1 has a Tremec 3160 6-speed manual. The same transmission that was in the GT350. Considering the GT500 only comes with a dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Mach 1 is the best choice for Mustang enthusiasts who want to row their own gears.

The Mach 1 also has three optional packages that can further enhance its appearance or performance.

2021 Mustang Mach1 with Appearance Package

Appearance Package

  • Price: $1,000
  • Fighter Jet Gray exterior paint
  • Ebony/Orange interior
  • Orange brake calipers
  • Black/Orange hood and side stripe
  • Seatback accent color

Elite Package

  • Price: $1,295
  • 12-speaker B&O sound system
  • CD player
  • HD radio
  • Subwoofer in trunk
  • Enhanced security

Handling Package

  • Price: $3,500
  • 19” x 10.5” tarnished dark-painted aluminum wheels (front)
  • 19” x 11” tarnished dark-painted aluminum wheels (rear)
  • 305/30R19 front tires
  • 315/30R19 rear tires
  • Adjustable strut top mounts

2021 Mustang Packages

Most package options stayed the same between the 2020 and 2021 Mustang models. Only a few saw price changes.

Click on any package in the table below to see what’s included.

2021 Mustang Packages
Package2020 Price2021 PriceEcoBoostEcoBoost PremiumGTGT PremiumNotes
2.3L High Performance Package $4,995 $6,095
Black Accent Package $995 $995
California Special Package $2,000 $2,000
Carbon Sport Interior Package $1,195 $1,195
EcoBoost Handling Package $1,995 $1,995 Fastback Only
Ford Safe and Smart Package $1,000 $725
GT Performance Package $5,195 $6,295
Pony Package $995 $995
Wheel and Stripe Package $895 $895

2.3L High-Performance Package

The EcoBoost High Performance Package debuted in 2020, replacing all former performance packages. The HPP added some serious performance parts to the EcoBoost, and they remain the same for 2021.

There aren’t many changes for this year. Anything painted Magnetic in 2020 is now Carbonized Gray, since Magnetic was discontinued.

Bright Orange EcoBoost Mustang with High Performance Package


  • 3.55 limited slip rear axle
  • 19” x 9“ machined-face aluminum wheels with low-gloss Ebony Black painted pockets
  • 255/40 R19 Pirelli summer tires
  • Active valve performance exhaust
  • Black painted strut tower brace
  • Engine-spun aluminum instrument panel
  • Carbonized Gray side mirror caps (previously Magnetic)
  • Gauge pack
  • GT Performance Package front splitter and belly pan
  • Hood accent stripe
  • Heavy-duty front springs
  • Large brake rotors with four-piston fixed calipers
  • Larger radiator
  • Raised blade decklid spoiler (Carbonized Gray) for fastback, no spoiler for convertible
  • Unique chassis tuning
  • Unique EPAS, ABS, and stability control tuning
  • Upsized rear sway bar

Black Accent Package

The Black Accent Package is mostly the same. 2021 Mustangs with the Black Accent Package will get a new wheel style compared to 2020, as well as black mirror caps.

A black and silver 5 spoke wheel beside a solid black 5-spoke wheel
2020 Wheel on Left, 2021 on Right


  • 19” x 8.5” Ebony Black painted aluminum wheels (New)
  • Black badging
  • Black spoiler
  • Black Mirror Caps (New)
  • Black Painted Roof

California Special Package

The California Special Package, like the Pony Package, is an option with a lot of history. Since the ‘60s, this package has offered a way to add custom style to your Mustang.

Silver S550 Mustang Convertible with California Special Package


  • 19” x 8.5” machined-faced aluminum wheels with Ebony Black painted pockets
  • Special badging on the strut tower brace, instrument panel, and faux gas cap
  • Carbon hex aluminum instrument panel
  • Floor mats with red contrast stitching
  • Miko suede door inserts with red contrast stitching
  • Pedestal rear spoiler
  • Performance Package front spoiler
  • Side scoops
  • Mid-body side stripe
  • Unique front grille

Carbon Sport Interior Package

The carbon sport package is available for all Mustang models with the Premium trim. This package further upgrades the Premium interior, adding in attractive carbon fiber details.


  • Alcantara door inserts
  • Alcantara seat inserts
  • Carbon fiber instrument panel
  • Carbon fiber shift knob

Ecoboost Handling Package

In terms of “value per dollar” few packages can compare to the EcoBoost Handling package. MagneRide substantially improves the responsiveness of the suspension, and premium brakes improve your stopping power. The summer tires and limited-slip differential are also great upgrades.


  • 19” x 9.5” Magnetic painted aluminum wheels
  • 265/40R19 Pirelli Corsa 4 summer tires
  • 3.55 Torsen limited-slip rear axle
  • MagneRide Damping System
  • Premium brakes

Ford Safe and Smart Package

The package that changed the most this year was, surprisingly, the Ford Safe and Smart package. Previously, most driver assist technology was contained in this package. Since all Mustangs now come standard with that equipment, this package was reimagined. It’s also much less expensive than it was in 2020 as a result.


  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Voice activated touchscreen navigation with Sirius XM Traffic and Travel Link

GT Performance Package

Now the sole Performance Package for the GT, the cost of this package increased significantly for 2021. The equipment is the same as it was in 2020 except for the color of the strut tower brace, which is now black instead of silver.


  • 19” x 9” (front) and 19” x 9.5” (rear) Ebony Black painted aluminum wheels
  • 255/40R10 (front) and 275/40R19 (rear) summer tires
  • Brembo six-piston front brake calipers
  • Engine-spun aluminum instrument panel
  • Gauge pack
  • Heavy-duty front springs
  • K-brace
  • Larger radiator
  • Performance rear wing
  • Black painted strut-tower brace (New)
  • Torsen differential with 3.73 axle ratio for manuals, 3.55 axle ratio for automatics
  • Unique chassis tuning
  • Unique stability control, EPAS, and ABS tuning
  • Upsized rear sway bar

Pony Package

The Pony Package is a popular addition for EcoBoost Mustangs. It’s a throwback to the classic Mustang option, and is the EcoBoost’s equivalent to the California Special.

Red EcoBoost Mustang with pony package wheels and side stripe


  • 19” x 8.5” polished aluminum wheels
  • Unique upper grille and Pony logo with corral design
  • Side stripe
  • Tri-bar Pony badge on rear
  • Premium carpeted floor mats with Pony logo
  • Bright beltline and window surround on fastback

Wheel And Stripe Package

Inarguably one of the simplest packages, the wheel and stripe package is an inexpensive way to add a little flash to an EcoBoost Mustang.


  • 19” x 8.5” machined-face aluminum with tarnished dark-painted pocket wheels
  • Hood stripe
  • Side stripe

Should You Get the 2020 or the 2021 Mustang?

Dark Red 2021 Shelby GT500 on highway

The addition of the driver assist technology makes the 2021 Mustang a better choice for daily drivers, or anyone who planned to get the technology anyway. The Mach 1 is also a great addition to the lineup, and only available for the 2021 year.

The 2020 Mustang’s GT350 and GT350R are, sadly, unparalleled by anything in the 2021 year. If you’re looking for a true performance/track Mustang with a manual transmission, then you’ll need to start scouring the market for a 2020 GT350/GT350R. Likewise if you’ve got your heart set on a GT with the Performance Package 2, you’ll need a 2020 model.

For most, the differences between the 2020 and the 2021 Mustang aren’t enough to make one a “must get” and the other a miss.

Whether you decide to purchase the 2020 or 2021 Mustang, you’re getting a lot of value for your dollar. One of the reasons the Mustang has been the best selling sports coupe for the past six years is that it offers a lot of performance on a realistic budget.

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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.