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Is The Ford Mustang A Sports Or A Muscle Car?

Is The Ford Mustang A Sports Or A Muscle Car?

Are you wondering whether your Ford Mustang is a sports car or a muscle car? This can be a perplexing question for everyone, especially if they are not car enthusiasts. After thorough research and navigating through the technicalities, we found that the answer is not as simple as it seems.

The 1964-68 Ford Mustang were sports cars if they have I6, I4 engines, the ones with a small-block V8 are considered pony cars. From the end of the first gen to the fifth-gen, Ford Mustang became the original pony car with small-block V8 engines. Few models such as Bullitt and Cobra were sports cars due to their high power/weight ratio. The sixth generation mainly produces sports cars and pony cars using I6, V8 engines.

But the actual answer to this question is not as simple as it seems. Many different specs determine whether a car is a sports car, a muscle car, or a pony car. After careful consideration, we have cataloged different generations of Ford Mustang in their respective categories. We have used engine specs, weight, design of the car, and drive system to determine which Ford Mustang belongs to which class. This detailed article uses authentic facts and figures to answer your questions about Ford Mustang!


The specifications of a car’s engine play an important role in determining whether it is a muscle car or a pony car. Certain engine specs are seen in nearly all muscle cars. These include a heavy build V8 engine that weighs a lot.

When we see the engine specs of a typical sports car, there are several technical differences. Sports cars usually have less powerful engines than muscle cars that resultantly weigh less. Sports cars offer much better handling; their decreased weight assists them in doing so. Generally speaking, sports cars are characterized by the presence of an inline 6-cylinder engine. Of course, there is no hard and fast rule in this case. Some sports cars use a V8 engine as well, but that is uncommon.

Let us take a look at the engine specs of Ford Mustang models throughout the generations.

1st-Generation (1964-73)

  • 2.8L I6, 3.3 L I6, 4.1L I6, 4.3L V8, 4.7L V8, 4.9L V8, 5.7 L V8, 5.7 L V8, 6.4L V8, 7.0L V8

2nd-Generation (1974-78)

  • 4.9L V8

3rd-Generation (1979-83)

  • 4.6L I6, 2.3L I6, 2.8L V6,

4th-Generation (1994-2004)

  • 3.8L V6, 3.8L V6, 4.6L V8

5th-Generation (2005-14)

  • 2.0L V8, 2.3L I4, 3.7L V6, 4.0L V6, 5.0L V6, 5.0L V8, 5.4L V8, 5.8L V8

6th-Generation (2015-PRESENT)

  • 2.3L I4, 5.0L V8, 5.0L V8

It is evident from the information above that the first generation produced many models with I4, I6, and small-block V8’s. Thus, they were originally categorized as sports cars or pony cars.

However, the later models of the first generation did not fit into the definition of sports cars or muscle cars. They had heavy-build V8 engines with 7.8L displacement and high power. They were heavy cars with good acceleration and excellent handling. Thus, a new term was coined for them. They became known as pony cars.

Apart from a few engines such as Ford Bullitt and Ford Mustang GT, most Ford Mustangs until the latest generation can be categorized as pony cars. Ford Mustang GT was launched with several engine modifications such as lesser engine weight, improved suspension, and better handling, making it one of the best sports cars known to the general public.

However, the latest generation of Ford Mustang cars is advertised by Ford as sports cars. This is because of more focus on handling and introducing features such as electronic line lock and independent rear suspension. The 6th generation with the 2.3 Ecoboost can best be considered a sports car, whereas the 5.0 V8’s are pony cars.  

Also read: The Types Of Gas A Ford Mustang Takes (Explained)


The design also plays a key part in determining the type of a car: whether it is a sports car, a pony car, or a muscle car. Classic muscle cars generally have two doors. In the past, nearly all muscle cars had a V8 engine behind a two-door coupe. Enormous trunk, wide stance, and sweeping fenders were a few common things in the design of these cars. However, these designs have changed slightly with time. Nowadays, muscle cars have big grills on the front for maximum cooling of the engine via airflow.

Although the majority of sports cars now have two doors as well, their design is drastically different. They are much sleeker and smaller than muscle cars. Race cars need to fight air resistance to achieve maximum speed. Therefore their design is more focused on aerodynamics. Apart from this, their center of gravity is kept low to provide better handling. 

The design of the Ford Mustang has seen many changes over time. The initial design of the 1964 Ford Mustang looks like that of a muscle car, but engine specifications say otherwise. The gigantic front grills make it look like a muscle car, but calling it a muscle car is a bit of a stretch. We typically categorize it as a sports car, but it can also be called a pony car (based on the design).

The second-generation Ford Mustang (Fox Body) and subsequent models do not look anything like sports cars. They have large grills in front, and they are not much aerodynamic. This tells us that they belong to the muscle car category. However, due to their engine specs and power rating, we usually categorize them as pony cars.

Coming to the latest generation of Ford Mustang, we begin to see a certain ‘sports car look’ in them. They are compact, have I6 and I4 engines, and don’t have an enormous grill on the front. They have excellent handling and are categorized as sports cars.

Also read: Is The Chevrolet Camaro A Sports Or Muscle Car?


Another factor that comes into play in this discussion is the weight of the car. Generally speaking, we have this classification when it comes to weight.

This is not an absolute classification. Automobiles Experts use different weight ranges for different types of cars. But we will be using this classification to determine the class of Ford Mustang.

As evident, sports cars have the least weight of them all. This is because a lower weight helps them in turning sharp corners, and the handling is enhanced.

Muscle and pony cars are generally heavier cars designed for swift acceleration in a straight line.

Coming to the weight of the Ford Mustang, we see that the original 1964 Ford Mustang weighed somewhere around 2100 pounds (unladen). This shows that they were sports cars. The later models, including Ford Mustang GT and Ford Mustang GT Shelby, weighed 3800 pounds. This helps us categorize them as pony cars.

The Ford Mustang models of the latest generation lie in a similar weight range. The 2019 Ford Mustang weighs 3849 pounds, making it a pony car as well.

This gives us the conclusion that the initial models of the first generation (1964-68) were mostly sports cars. The later generations were mostly pony cars.

Also read: Is The Dodge Challenger A Sports Or Muscle Car?

Drive System

The drive system is also an important point to discuss when arguing whether the Ford Mustang is a muscle car or a sports car. The rule of thumb, in this case, is that muscle cars are always going to be cars that have rear-wheel drive. The same is considered true for pony cars as well.

When it comes to sports cars, the answer is different. Although many sports cars of this age have RWD, many of them also come with AWD for better traction. The AWD’s 50-50 weight distribution dramatically increases the handling, making it a good choice for sports cars manufacturers.

When we look at the Ford Mustang, we see that each generation has an RWD (rear-wheel drive). Combining this RWD with an I6 or an I4 engine makes it a sports car. Later generations also had a small-block V8 which then classifies them better as pony cars.

Is the Ford Mustang considered as a Sports Car for Insurance?

Whenever a car is bought, its insurance and resale values are taken into account. The type or class of a car changes the cost of insurance. This begs the question: Is Ford Mustang considered a sports car or a pony car for insurance?

When it comes to insurance, Ford Mustang is considered a sports car. The reason behind this is that Ford lists all of the models of Ford Mustang under the list of sports cars. Insurance companies decide the type of any car based on how their parent company advertises it.

However, the insurance cost of all models is not the same. Insurance companies decide the cost of insurance based on many factors such as its condition, model, generation, among others.

Using, you can find the insurance cost for your Ford Mustang. We found that Progressive offers the cheapest insurance cost. Check out the rates for a Ford Mustang here on the website of Progressive.


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