Comparing 2020 vs 2021 Mustang

2020 and 2021 Mustang

When it comes to different model years of vehicles, very slight details can cause a world of change. Mid-cycle refreshes can bring about changes to cars that are on their way out, as well as just to redesign the vehicle's appearance and image in the community. With the slight image changes associated with these refreshes come performance changes, different options, paint choices, and new trim levels too.

Between model years 2020 and 2021 for the Mustang, a few major changes happened. As the S550 body style entered it's 6th year, the car was due for some upgrades in terms of performance and design. The S550 has aged particularly well, keeping a modern and aggressive look that has allowed even the 2015 models to look modern years later. As the S550 Mustang has aged, it has stayed relevant through its looks and performance, and going to the 2021 model did exactly that to improve itself.

While on the surface, there may not be any discernible differences to the untrained eye but when looking in-depth at the two cars there are changes throughout. To make sure the differences are recognizable, we have compiled data from our work with these cars as well as from tech specs we've found. To the Mustang enthusiast, we want to make sure these changes are made clear so you can stay informed on which Mustang is right for you.

Trim Levels Technology Exterior Performance

mach 1 drift

2020 vs 2021 Mustang Trim Levels

With the 2020 model year, specialty vehicles like the Bullitt and the GT350 were the mid-to-higher range performers that were slightly different from the normal Mustang GT models. Both titled as limited production vehicles, the GT350 and Bullitt featured different setups than the standard GT with more power, different gearing, and much more. In the 2020 model year, there were a total of seven trim options for the S550 Mustang (EcoBoost Coupe, EcoBoost Convertible, GT Coupe, GT Convertible, Bullitt, GT350, GT500). These trims all offer something different for each driver, whether that means as a daily driver or as a track toy or anything in-between. These trims covered a range of over 400 horsepower and 3 liters of displacement from the EcoBoost through GT500. While some of these trims could overlap in sales from each other, the 2020 trims covered every possible buyer for the vehicle.

For the 2021 model year, we said goodbye to two trims. With the end of their runs, both the Bullitt and the GT350 bowed out from the lineup. As unfortunate as it may be, the new addition to the lineup bridges the gap between the standard GT and the 700+ hp GT500. With the introduction of the Mach 1 as a replacement for the GT Performance Pack 2, Bullitt, and GT350, the car is offered with both the 10-speed automatic gearbox or the manual Tremec from the GT350 that outperforms the manual in any other trim under GT350. Additionally, the Mach 1 took cooling components from the GT350 as well. This trim level creates a result of a highly track-usable car that works as a great everyday vehicle as well while bringing back memories of the Mach 1's history.

2021 mustang interior

2020 vs 2021 Mustang Technology

When it comes to improving technology, newer models tend to receive changes that seriously aid or benefit the driver, and this is no exception. While the 2020 Mustang was already loaded with advanced technology including the Track Apps and multiple programmable features, the 2021 model year added features like adaptive cruise control to the Mustang's options. The optional adaptive cruise control allows you to drive without worry since sensors recognize accelerating or decelerating traffic and can adjust your car's speed accordingly. Additionally, the 2021 Mustang made the Active Exhaust system more user-friendly for customers to enjoy. With the 2021, additional tech improvements to Ford's SYNC and infotainment can be found, too.

2021 mustang exterior

2020 vs 2021 Mustang Exterior

With the S550 being the most aggressive Mustang design yet, the visual changes from year to year are noticeable mostly if you pay very close attention. The most obvious differences in the past have been with the lower lip being made more aggressive. However, going from 2020 to 2021, there are a few more changes that are noticeable between them. On first glance of the Mach 1, a major change can be seen in the front upper grille. Compared to the GT, the Mach 1's is narrower and more assertive. This is no doubt to both update the looks as well as to improve airflow for the car. Additionally, the fog light setups and front end are a bit more aggressive as well.

yellow headlights

Another external difference comes in the paint options. As the 2021 model came into production, so did the new color palette. The 2020 paint options had offered bright and colorful options like Grabber Lime and the subtle Kona Blue. With the 2021 model, Grabber Lime was replaced with the equally bright Grabber Yellow.The color options outside of the addition of Grabber Yellow to the lineup are fairly the same as in 2020. The different trim models have other features, such as the Mach 1 using a completely different grille setup than any other Mustang.

2021 mustang engine

2020 vs 2021 Mustang Performance

Across most of the lineup, there are very few performance changes. With 2020 receiving the EcoBoost High Performance package and the GT being given 460 horsepower, the “average” Mustang became seriously competitive. With the Performance Pack 2, Bullitt, and GT350 gone, the 2021 Mach 1 is the only Mustang to receive major mechanical updates over any model. The Mach 1 received the cooling setup and Tremec manual from the GT350 which allows it to perform on the trac more effectively, especially when paired with the rear wing and other elements from the GT500 in the Handling package. With the 480 horsepower from the Bullitt setup as well, the Mach 1 keeps the higher performance of the Bullitt available, but this time with the optional reworked 10R80 gearbox.

Image Credit: Ford Motor Company

Related Articles