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The bottom line on the 2018 Mustang is that there's never been a better time to consider a pony car, and the Mustang was the first one.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The new Mustang remains one of the best-looking cars on the market. The Mustang's sleek design suggests speed and power, without looking like it's trying too hard.

The Mustang is the car that has given Ford Motor Company its soul for the last 50 years or so. Sure, they've made millions of F-150 trucks and Taurus sedans over the years, but in the modern era, the Mustang is the quintessential Ford car. Now for 2018, the tradition of affordable performance continues, and the trusty old Mustang has never been better.

The base engine for the Mustang is a 2.3-liter Ecoboost turbocharged four cylinder, rated at a whopping 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Coming from a fairly small four-banger, that's nothing short of amazing. Even with all that power, you'll see 21 MPG in the city and 31 MPG in highway driving.

But what really activates the 2018 Mustang is the 10-speed automatic transmission. Yes, you can still get a 6-speed manual, but the automatics have gotten so good, the stick-shift is no longer the performance or fuel economy choice. With 10 gears to choose from, the automatic keeps the engine right where the power is, and you can select your own gears if you want to.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Among the available upgrades are a voice-activated touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, parking proximity alarms, and a magnetic response suspension system.

The new Mustang remains one of the best-looking cars on the market. The Mustang's sleek design suggests speed and power, without looking like it's trying too hard. There's a nod to the performance Mustangs of the past, but the 2018 version is also forward-looking, and completely up to date.

Inside, the Mustang is comfortable, for the front seat passengers anyway. While it's technically a four-seater, you wouldn't want to put adults in the back seat for more than a short ride. Like the outside, the interior has classic touches but all modern conveniences are included in the Premium package. Among the available upgrades are a voice-activated touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, parking proximity alarms, and a magnetic response suspension system.

On the road, the turbocharged Mustang drives like a recent V6 or an older V8 – which is to say that there's plenty of power whenever you want it. Part of that is the 10-speed automatic transmission. It shifts very smoothly and quickly, but you will notice it shifting a lot. The Mustang is eager to get up and run. The magnetic suspension keeps the car level and tight, so you'll definitely notice that you're driving the sports car. The latest generation of Mustang is a powerful performer on the race track, and that carries over to the most basic street cars.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Inside, the Mustang is comfortable, for the front seat passengers anyway. While it's technically a four-seater, you wouldn't want to put adults in the back seat for more than a short ride.

The bottom line on the 2018 Mustang is that there's never been a better time to consider a pony car. With strong offerings from Chevrolet and Dodge to keep Ford on its toes, the 2018 Mustang is both impressive and affordable.

2018 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Coupe Premium

Base price: $26,080

Price as tested: $32,690

Type: Sports coupe

Engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged inline 4 (310 hp, 350 lbs-ft)

Transmissions: 10-speed automatic; 6-speed manual

EPA estimated mileage: 21/32

Overall length: 188 inches

Curb weight: 3,532 pounds

Final assembly: Flat Rock, MIchigan

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