Top 10 Worst Mustangs Ever Made

Top 10 Worst Mustangs Ever Made

Last Updated May 9, 2024 | Bill Tumas

The Mustang has had a long and storied history, with some truly incredible models. But there have also been a few unfortunate flops. Whether it was in performance, design, functionality or sales numbers, some Mustangs certainly weren't the greatest of their generation.

Here are what I believe to be the 10 worst Ford Mustangs ever built. Now, before you get upset that your favorite model made the list, bear in mind, most of these Mustangs are only disappointing in comparison to other models. Some are still great cars in their own right.

10. 1996 Mustang GT

Still image of a 1996 Mustang GT

The first car on the list of the worst Mustangs ever is going to be the 1996 mustang GT. I'm a fan of the '96 GT. They make great driver cars and they're very comfortable, but they lost a lot of the soul the 5 liter Mustang had in 1995. They have about the same horsepower at 215 and a little bit less torque, but the torque curve on the mod motor was way different than the 5 liter.

The modifications to the motor eliminated all vibration and harshness, however this also hindered the driving experience. The 1996 GT Mustang offers only a 15 second quarter mile time in many cases. It wasn't until 1999 with improved valves that drivers truly got some of the Mustang's power and soul back.

In stock form, the 1996 GT is undoubtedly dull and lacks excitement when compared to other Mustang models.

9. 1999 Mustang Cobra

Still image of a 1998 Mustang Cobra

The next car on my list is going to be the 1999 Mustang Cobra. The 1999 model had the New Edge body style, and Ford brought back the Cobra name. In my opinion, the new Cobra featured one of the finest front bumpers in recent memory and boasted a brand-new Iris rear suspension. Nonetheless, its Achilles' heel was found under the hood.

Ford advertised these cars as having 320 horsepower, yet many Cobras owners experienced far less power when driving stock models. They often found themselves being left in the dust by GTs.

Ford realized this was an issue and replaced the computer, the intake, and several other things to get these cars back where they should be horsepower wise. They actually stopped making the Cobra in 2000 and brought it back in 2001 with all the issues fixed. If you have a '99 Cobra that never had the recall, you're making way less than the advertised horsepower.

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8. 1979 3.3 Liter V6 Mustang

The next entry on the list is the 1979 3.3 liter V6 Mustang. 1979 brought a brand new Mustang style. It was the first Fox Body Mustang, which was a nice improvement over the outgoing Mustang II. Unfortunately, the 1979 Mustang suffered from some of its predecessor's drawbacks.

The 3.3 V6 engine, which had been influenced by the rising fuel crisis, produced a meager 86 horsepower, making it painfully boring to drive.

The worst part for modders was if you wanted to swap a V8 into it, you had to replace the entire front suspension. This made it not worth the effort in most cases. Thanks to the poor performance of these cars there's probably very few of them on the road but if you ever see one there's a good possibility it can barely keep up with traffic, making it one of the worst Mustangs ever built.

7. Mustang SVO

Still image of a Ford Mustang SVO

Don't get me wrong, the SVO was a great car. It was just way ahead of its time as far as Ford enthusiasts were concerned. When this car came out in 1984, it had five lugs with four-wheel disc brakes. It had Coney shocks and struts and a turbo four-cylinder under the hood. It also had a five-speed transmission and one of the best stock seats ever in a Mustang.

The Mustang SVO was much more lightweight than the GT and offered superior performance. However it also had a lot of European influence, which many Mustang lovers were not thrilled about. It also cost nearly five thousand dollars more compared to the Mustang GT. It did handle better, but acceleration-wise, it was right there with the GT.

This marginal difference meant a lot of people had trouble spending the extra five grand. The high price made the SVO somewhat rare back in the day, and even more rare today. They were an excellent performance car, and a lot of the things the SVO had showed up in later mustangs. It was just too early for many enthusiasts.

6. 2015-2017 Mustang V6

Next on the list is the 2015-2017 Mustang V6. When the S550 chassis was released, it revolutionized the Mustang. It had a totally new frame and superior performance compared to its predecessors, making it the ultimate V6 Mustang when it first came out! It was a lower, wider car and enthusiasts loved it. The V6 was carried over with the 3.7 liter and it made over 300 horsepower, which was great for a V6.

However, you can tell the V6 was aimed at the rental car market as there were very few options available. The GT and the EcoBoost had a ton of options , but the V6 was basically only a base model.

With the EcoBoost being similar in price for a little bit better performance, they became very popular in rental car markets as well. This left the V6 with nowhere to go, and they were quietly discontinued in 2018.

5. 1980-1981 V8 Mustang

Next on the list is the 1980-1981 V8 Mustang. Because of the fuel crisis in 1979, the 5.0 engine once again went away and was replaced by a 4.2 liter 255 cubic inch engine. It was basically a smaller version of the 302.

This engine was designed for gas mileage but made a measly 120 horsepower, making it the least powerful V8 ever offered. In a Mustang, obviously the performance was not impressive.

Many owners opted for the 2.3 turbo, which made more horsepower and got better gas mileage. Thankfully that engine went away in 1982 when Ford brought back the 5.0 Mustang GT.

4. 2015 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Mustang

Still image of a 2015 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Mustang

The 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Mustang might be a surprise to you. These cars were available in either Wimbledon White or Kona Blue and came with a white interior. It was basically a premium Performance Pack S550 Mustang GT.

There were a lot of problems with these cars. Ford only produced 1,964 of them, and they were designed to be collectible. This means a lot of people are storing them in their garage and there's a lot of low mileage examples out there, which hurts the value.

Secondly, these cars were not very distinguishable from the 50th Anniversary appearance package, so a lot of people were confused over which was which.

The third problem is the biggest one and it's that the car is the wrong year. Every other year Ford has based their anniversary cars off 1964, so the 50th anniversary should have been a 2014. But Ford knew the S550 was coming, and they decided to wait to celebrate the anniversary until 2015.

So, while every other anniversary Mustang was based off that 1964 date, Ford decided to base this one off 1965. There's going to be a lot of these cars with low mileage for sale in the future, and even though they're only seven years old right now, the limited editions are not going for much more than a standard Mustang GT.

3. 2010 Mustang

Next up is the 2010 Mustang, which includes all 2010 Mustang models with the exception of the Shelby. What's wrong with the 2010 Mustang? Absolutely nothing. The 4.6 liter 3 valve was an excellent engine, and the 4-liter did a great job propelling the V6. The problem with the 2010 Mustang is that less than a year later, the 2011 came out.

The 2010 had a brand new look but the 2011 looked exactly the same. Plus, the 4-liter V6 was replaced by a 3.7 producing almost 100 more horsepower. The 4.6 was replaced by the Coyote, which also produced almost 100 more horsepower.

The worst part was that the price was only about a thousand dollars more than the 2010 model. The 2010 is a solid Mustang in its own right, but it's very much overshadowed by all the improvements made in 2011.

2. 1969-1973 Mustang Grande

It's time to give some love to the first-generation Mustang with the 1969-1973 Mustang Grande. The Grande was designed to be a more luxurious Mustang. Ford took the Mustang coupe (the least desirable body style), stuck a vinyl top on it, and dressed up the interior. Basically, they took all the sport out of the Mustang.

These cars were available with any engine, so you actually could get a 428 in your Grande. Most owners opted for a basic 302 though, making for a very boring sedan. These cars are somewhat desirable today because they are first-gen Mustangs, but overall the Grande definitely missed the mark with a lot of Mustang enthusiasts.

1. 2022 Mustang

Still image of a 2022 Ford Mustang

The last Mustang on the list might also be a surprise, and that's the 2022 Mustang. How could that be a flop you might ask? Well, as of July, they've only sold around 23,000 of these cars, making it the worst Mustang year in the history of the brand as far as sales are concerned.

Yes, there have been issues with chips and availability, but from a sales number perspective, the 2022 was the worst of any Mustang built.

Related: If you would like to learn more about the history of Mustang sales figures, check out our in-depth guide.

Honorable Mention: The Ford Probe

The Ford Probe almost became the Mustang, so it deserves a spot on this list. Back in the mid-80s, Ford decided they didn't think customers wanted RWD V8 muscle cars anymore. So they decided to use a Mazda-based FWD vehicle to replace the beloved Mustang.

Thankfully, Mustang enthusiasts hated the idea and lit up Ford with tons of letters telling them not to get rid of the Mustang. Due to their persistence, Ford saw the light and kept the Mustang, making the Probe as a separate vehicle.

These days the Ford Probe is long gone, but the Mustang continues to live on even with a mild flop every now and then.

Turn Even the Worst Ford Mustang Into Your Dream Ride

Just because a Mustang model made this list of worst Mustangs ever doesn't mean it has no redeeming qualities.

Whether you own a Mustang flop or a more popular model, we have you covered with the parts you need for any restoration or modification project. Now that you know the worst base Mustang models, check our list of the 6 Mustang mods you should avoid. Once you know what mods are best for your pony car, be sure to visit our Mustang parts to upgrade some of the things you don't love about your Mustang.

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.