2019 Ford Mustang vs. 2018 Subaru BRZ

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mustang offers optional Pre-Collision Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The BRZ doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Mustang’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The BRZ doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Mustang Premium’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The BRZ doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Mustang Premium’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The BRZ doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Mustang’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The BRZ doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Mustang has standard 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The BRZ doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Mustang and the BRZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The Ford Mustang weighs 707 to 1119 pounds more than the Subaru BRZ. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

There are almost 5 times as many Ford dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Mustang’s warranty.

Reliability

The Mustang has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The BRZ doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Mustang first among midsize sporty cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The BRZ isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The Mustang has more powerful engines than the BRZ:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Mustang 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

310 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Mustang GT 5.0 DOHC V8

460 HP

420 lbs.-ft.

Mustang BULLITT 5.0 DOHC V8

480 HP

420 lbs.-ft.

BRZ 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. Auto

200 HP

151 lbs.-ft.

BRZ 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. Manual

205 HP

156 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mustang GT is faster than the Subaru BRZ (manual transmissions tested):

 

Mustang

BRZ

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

6.7 sec

10.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.7 sec

16.4 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

1.9 sec

3.3 sec

Quarter Mile

12.6 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

115.1 MPH

95.5 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Mustang EcoBoost is faster than the Subaru BRZ (automatics tested):

 

Mustang

BRZ

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.2 MPH

91.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Mustang Fastback EcoBoost Manual gets better fuel mileage than the BRZ Manual (21 city/31 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Mustang uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The BRZ requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Mustang EcoBoost’s standard fuel tank has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the BRZ (15.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Mustang GT’s standard fuel tank has 2.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the BRZ (16 vs. 13.2 gallons).

The Mustang has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The BRZ doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is available on the Ford Mustang, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the BRZ.

The Mustang Manual’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The BRZ doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mustang’s brake rotors are larger than those on the BRZ:

 

Mustang

Mustang GT

Mustang GT opt.

BRZ

BRZ tS/Performance Package

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.9 inches

15 inches

11.6 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13 inches

13 inches

11.4 inches

12.4 inches

The Mustang stops much shorter than the BRZ:

 

Mustang

BRZ

 

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mustang has larger standard tires than the BRZ (235/55R17 vs. 215/45R17). The Mustang Premium’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the BRZ (265/35R20 vs. 215/45R17).

The Mustang Premium’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the BRZ tS’ 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mustang Premium offers optional 20-inch wheels. The BRZ’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Mustang has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The BRZ’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Mustang offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The BRZ’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mustang’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the BRZ (107.1 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mustang is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 4.5 inches wider in the rear than on the BRZ.

The Mustang GT Premium Fastback handles at 1.00 G’s, while the BRZ Limited pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Mustang GT Premium Fastback executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.6 seconds quicker than the BRZ Limited (24 seconds @ .83 average G’s vs. 26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Mustang (except Performance Pack) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The BRZ doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Mustang uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The BRZ doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Mustang Fastback a Subcompact car, while the BRZ is rated a Minicompact.

The Mustang Fastback has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the BRZ (82.8 vs. 76.5).

The Mustang Fastback has .5 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 2.1 inches more rear hip room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the BRZ.

Cargo Capacity

The Mustang Fastback has a much larger trunk than the BRZ (13.5 vs. 6.9 cubic feet).

The Mustang Fastback’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The BRZ’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

A standard locking glovebox and optional locking center console keeps your small valuables safer in the Mustang. The BRZ doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The Mustang has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The BRZ has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Mustang to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the BRZ.

Ergonomics

The Mustang Auto offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The BRZ doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the Mustang Premium, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, suspension setting, power steering assist and outside mirror angle. The BRZ doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Mustang Premium’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The BRZ doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Mustang’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The BRZ does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Mustang’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the BRZ can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Mustang’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The BRZ’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Mustang’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Mustang detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The BRZ doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Mustang has standard extendable sun visors. The BRZ doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Mustang Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The BRZ doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Mustang Premium’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The BRZ doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Mustang has a standard center folding armrest for the driver and front passenger. A center armrest helps combat driver fatigue. The BRZ doesn’t offer a front seat center armrest.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Mustang offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The BRZ doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Model Availability

The Ford Mustang comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Subaru BRZ isn’t available as a convertible.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Mustang third among midsize sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The BRZ isn’t in the top three.

The Ford Mustang outsold the Subaru BRZ by almost 20 to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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