Car Buying Strategies
Search Car Buying Strategies Makes & Models Select a Make and Model Makes & Models Select a Make and Model New Cars Prices Buying Advice
Home / New Cars / Ford Buying Guides / 2018 Ford Mustang Trims

2018 Ford Mustang Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2018 Ford Mustang Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Ecoboost vs GT vs Premium & Shelby
Select another year:

2021 | 2020 | 2019 |

What 2018 Ford Mustang Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between the Trims?

One of the icons of American muscle, the Ford Mustang was one of the first cars to offer drivers high performance and power at a very affordable price. Today’s Mustang continues this tradition, thanks to a starting price that easily falls in the compact or mid-size car range, and is less expensive than many sports cars.

Of course, as with all such vehicles, if you want more performance out of your Mustang, it comes with an increased price. Ford has refreshed the Mustang for the 2018 model year, giving the car a more modern look that gives it a more aggressive front end, a new transmission, and a more powerful engine for the top end of the model line.

Unlike most other cars, the Ford Mustang does not follow a straight line of continuously improving trim levels. Instead, it offers buyers a number of options, which combine together to form the various different trim levels.

There are two body types: a coupe that Ford calls a fastback, and a convertible. Both models come with either an EcoBoost four-cylinder engine or a 5.0-liter V-8. The former are unsurprisingly called EcoBoost models, while the latter are referred to as Mustang GT. Each of those configurations is also available in either a base equipment set or a Premium one, with the exception of the GT Convertible, which is Premium only.

Finally, the last two trim levels are the racing-specification Shelby models, that are available only in Fastback body and are called Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R.

While figuring all of this out may seem difficult, our guide is here to assist you. We list out each of the available trim levels, as well as noting the major difference between it and the other models available. This will let you spend less time poring over specifications and more time enjoying your new Mustang!

Compare the 2018 Mustang EcoBoost vs EcoBoost Premium Trims. What is the difference?

The lowest-cost model of the Mustang is the base EcoBoost. It is equipped with an EcoBoost 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which gives it a power output of 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. It is definitely quick compared to most other cars in the price range, though it is the slowest of the Mustangs. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a 10-speed automatic is also available.

Besides the mechanical components, the base Mustang comes with a decent set of features, including a rearview camera, automatic LED headlights, smart keyless entry, push button start, active noise cancellation, and a six-speaker sound system. It comes as both the coupe-like Fastback model and the drop-top Convertible model.

It can also be equipped with a long list of packages and individual options. The major 101A options package combines some of the most popular options, adding an 8-inch touchscreen running the SYNC 3 infotainment system with smartphone support, 9-speaker audio, dual-zone climate control, remote start, rear parking sensors, satellite radio, 18-inch wheels, and a rear spoiler.

Other options include the Black Accent Package, which also adds a spoiler and 18-inch wheels in addition to the black exterior accents.

The Wheel and Stripe package adds 19-inch wheels and a side stripe, while the enhanced security package adds extra security features and wheel locks.

Finally, the EcoBoost Performance package sets the Mustang up for track success with a limited-slip rear axle, 19-inch wheels with summer tires, extra sport gauges, tuned up chassis, suspension and traction control, and heavy-duty springs, brake rotors and radiator.

Several different wheel options, a navigation system, and a magnetic suspension system are all available as individual upgrades as well, though the MagneRide suspension requires the performance package and the navigation requires the upgraded infotainment system.

The EcoBoost Premium shares all of its mechanics with the regular EcoBoost, but adds a number of comfort and technology features, both standard and optional. It comes with a leather interior, and the front seats get heating and cooling. It also comes with dual-zone climate control, upgraded 8-inch infotainment, and heated side mirrors.

The Premium Plus Package, also called 201A, is an optional add-on that upgrades the instrument cluster to a fully digital one, adds premium trim, and includes both a heated steering wheel and a built-in navigation system. The EcoBoost Premium also comes in Fastback and Convertible variants, and offers all of the same optional packages as the regular EcoBoost, as well as a few additions.

The Pony Package is another appearance package, adding new accents and logos with the Mustang pony on them to the car, as well as a side stripe.

The Safe and Smart Package adds a number of active safety features: adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, forward collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and driver’s seat memory.

Finally, the Carbon Sport Interior Package adds Alcantara leather accents to the seats and the doors, and covers the dashboard and shift knob in carbon fiber. Aside from those, the options on the EcoBoost Premium remain the same as those on the EcoBoost.

The least expensive of the Mustangs, the EcoBoost and the EcoBoost Premium are both trim levels for drivers that are more fans of the Mustang style and ambiance than those looking for a high level of performance. Even these Mustangs offer a lot of power for the money though, making them a fairly good deal for performance enthusiasts with a budget to stick to.

The base EcoBoost comes with nice enough equipment and options to satisfy most, but if active safety equipment or leather are a must, then the Premium is the trim to go with. However, it does not offer as much value as the base model, given that it comes in at roughly $5,000 more. The price difference is similar when it comes to upgrading from the Fastback model to the Convertible.

Compare the 2018 Ford Mustang EcoBoost vs GT Trims. What is the difference?

The Ford Mustang GT is the first trim level in the lineup that is Fastback-only, and it is otherwise very similar to the base EcoBoost trim level. It adds LED fog lights, dual exhaust, and parking sensors to the base EcoBoost equipment, but its major addition to the model is its larger engine.

The 5.0-liter V-8 engine saw a tune-up during this year’s update of the Mustang, and now produces 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This is a big performance boost over the EcoBoost four-cylinder, and makes for a very fun driving experience.

The options on the GT Fastback are pretty much the same as those on the base EcoBoost Fastback and Convertible models. There are a couple of notable additions however. The GT offers a regular GT Performance Package that is mostly the same as the EcoBoost one aside from the tuning, but it also offers a Level 2 Performance Package, which adds magnetic suspension, a high performance front air splitter, and more performance tuning.

The other new available option is the Active Valve Performance Exhaust. It adds a number of settings to the Mustang, allowing you to change the volume of the exhaust note from quiet to loud, making it easy to both impress spectators at the track and not wake up the whole neighborhood on the way to work. 

The Mustang GT offers the best performance on the Mustang short of the Shelby models, that start at almost twice the price. The 460 horsepower makes a huge difference compared to the 310 on the EcoBoost, making the car really feel like the performance vehicle that it is. And like the base EcoBoost, it also comes decently loaded up with comfort features with options for more. For enthusiasts who are looking to balance their spending with their performance, this is going to be the most popular trim level.

Compare the Mustang GT vs GT Premium Trims. What is the difference?

The GT Premium trim level combines the performance mechanics of the Mustang GT with the comfort and technology features and options of the EcoBoost Premium. Unlike the base GT, it is available as both a Fastback and Convertible, but otherwise offers the same power and performance.

Similarly, the base feature set of the GT Premium is almost exactly identical to that of the EcoBoost Premium model, aside from the improvements that were introduced on the GT model. Like the GT, the GT Premium also offers the Level 2 Performance Package and Active Valve Performance Exhaust. Aside from those, the GT Premium is simply a more powerful and more expensive version of the EcoBoost Premium.

The GT Premium is basically a version of the GT for drivers who like their comfort features in addition to strong performance. The just from the GT to the GT Premium is approximately $4,000, which is less than the move from the EcoBoost base to the EcoBoost Premium, adding a little to the value of the trim level.

If you can live without the leather and the safety technology, the regular GT will save you a little money, but otherwise the GT Premium is a solid choice given the price range. It is also the sole option to get the 460-horsepower engine in a Convertible, and is also the most powerful Convertible Mustang model, as both of the Shelbys are Fastback-only.

Compare the Mustang GT Premium vs Shelby GT350 Trims. What is the difference?

The Shelby models are the dedicated performance vehicles in the Mustang lineup, aimed squarely at drivers who are planning on using them to race. Starting just north of $57,000, the base Shelby GT350 is over twice the price of the base EcoBoost Mustang.

All of that money buys a fairly sizable stable of horses - 526 of them from the 5.2-liter V-8 engine fitted to the model. Six-speed manual is the sole transmission option, as befits a track car like this. 19-inch wheels with racing tires are standard, as is the magnetic suspension.

The rest of the appointments on the car are surprisingly low-key for the price point. The seats are upholstered in cloth and suede, though they are made by Recaro. The radio is the basic unit found on the entry-level EcoBoost model. Both can be upgraded however.

The Convenience Package replaces the cloth with leather, and gives the front seats power adjustments, heating and cooling, and a memory function for the driver’s side. The Electronics Package adds dual-zone automatic climate control, the 8-inch infotainment system, navigation, satellite radio, and a 9-speaker sound system. Aside from those, the Shelby GT350 does not offer any other upgrades or options.

The Shelby GT350 Mustangs are aimed at a very specialized audience, and if you are a part of it, you likely already know. In terms of the features offered, it is almost certainly not worth the price point. Instead, its value comes from its extremely effective driving dynamics, powerful engine, and precise controls.

It is a vehicle made to be pushed to its limits, and most buyers are likely never going to do that. If you plan on taking your Mustang racing, this one will certainly give you an edge against the competition. If you are simply looking to enjoy highway drives and impress bystanders, then the GT or the EcoBoost would be a much more economical option.

Compare the 2018 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 vs Shelby GT350R Trims. What is the difference?

The GT350R is an even more specialized version of the GT350, optimized for even better performance at the expense of some comfort options. It comes loaded out with the same basic equipment, as well as 19-inch carbon fiber wheels, a carbon fiber wing spoiler, and a front air splitter. It also features a special chassis tuning for better performance.

Inside, it offers the same basic features, but less options than the GT350. The Electronics Package is available on the GT350R, but the Convenience Package is not, limiting the R model to the cloth-and-suede upholstery. It also comes with the options to delete the SYNC infotainment system and the radio in order to reduce total vehicle weight, and those are selected by default, meaning that unless you specially order a GT350R with infotainment equipment, it will be shipped without it. 

Being even more specialized than the GT350, the GT350R costs almost $8,000 more for small improvements in its track performance. For most outside of the competitive track scene, this will rarely be worth it, outside of the prestige of owning a high-performance model. Even in those cases, the GT350 will probably be better, as it also comes with more convenience options and nicer leather seats. In general, the GT350R Mustang is a car for an even more limited audience than the regular GT350. If you need one, you almost certainly already know all about it. 

Final Thoughts

While the 2018 Ford Mustang does have a slightly more confusing selection of trim levels than most vehicles, they make selecting the right version for you fairly easy. Simply choose a body type and an engine size, then decide if you require more upscale features.

The EcoBoost models offer good power without being too expensive, while the GT models unlock the Mustang’s potential. The Fastback coupes offer better value for the money, while the Convertibles provide greater enjoyment, especially at lower speeds. Premium models add on to both of those combinations to provide a greater level of features.

In terms of the best balance of features, performance, and cost, we would recommend the GT Fastback model or the GT Premium, as it has the 5.0-liter engine that makes the Mustang a real performance vehicle while at the same time not costing too much more compared to the EcoBoost models. 

Save Money on a 2018 Ford Mustang:
Ford Mustang Buying Guides:

Why buy a 2018 Ford Mustang? w/ pros vs cons