Freshened Mustang potentially here in late 2018

The update for NZ's favourite performance coupe is revealed. But there's no fast lane run to NZ for the refreshed Mustang


KIWI Mustang fans who like the idea of their pony ride gaining more power, a sharper ride, more gears – and gear - and an angrier face and more aero body need to hold their horses.

The update that delivers all these core improvements, including the huge technical change of a 10-speed automatic in place of the current six-speed unit, while announced in the United States today, is at least 18 months away from introduction to New Zealand.

The updated Mustang’s reveal today – initially in a brand-arranged Facebook video post featuring Dwayne The Rock Johnson - appears to have been ahead of initial schedule and provoked by images of the car being leaked onto the internet.

The freshen for a product that has only been in New Zealand for 18 months – but in that time caused a huge storm - also includes an interior redesign.

A key element of the new cabin is an eight-inch touch screen provisioning all the infotainment facilities, including the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces that are already availed to much of Ford’s other product here, including the Ranger utility that was the country’s best-selling vehicle here last year.

Ford New Zealand spokesman Tom Clancy said as best he knows the refresh is coming in 2018 – very late in 2018 insofar as this country is concerned.

That’s an approximation, he enforced today. “It could be earlier but we won’t know until production timing is announced.

“North America hasn’t even announced an on sale date or production timing for LH (left hand drive).

"Based on not knowing when LH drive goes into production and then on sale I could only speculate at this point as to a quicker or slower delivery time for RH (right hand drive).”

Despite being snubbed by the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild for consideration for the 2016 New Zealand Car of the Year, the top national motoring award, Mustang has been a massive hit for Ford New Zealand.

An impressive 984 registrations in 2016 made it the country’s best-selling coupe by a huge margin and customers are still on a waiting list.

Last year’s tally was more than double that for the Fiesta small car and just 172 units shy of the count for the Mondeo medium model. The Focus remained Ford biggest selling passenger car, with 1364 units.

The 2018 revision’s official premier came in the video in which Johnson gives a Mustang away to Marlene Rodriguez, a US Army combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. The covers also came off at a function in New York overnight.

The update delivers a new front-end styling – with a different headlamp style and grille - and the body is lower to the ground. American media suggest the car’s new face will split opinion but suggest that, up close, the bodywork is a notable step up from previous model years.

For the 2018 model year, Ford has dropped the 3.7-litre V6 that restricted to the US, opting to focus on the 2.3-litre EcoBoost four cylinder, which provides more torque and better fuel efficiency than its predecessor.

Ford isn't turning its back on the V8 5.0-litre for its quintessential American muscle car; the engine in update form will present more low-end torque and power in high rpm ranges. The exact figures are not being disclosed.

The 10-speed automatic is thought to be a response to the Chevrolet Camaro updating to that type of gearbox.

Ford has also recently announced it is working on a hybrid variant for the Mustang, although this will not appear until the next generation of the car, due in 2020.

The car featured in Ford’s publicity shots here also debuts a new hero colour, Orange Fury.