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The Ford Mustang Convertible packs an updated look, an improved interior, a choice of three engines and a more advanced suspension. The V8-powered, 435-horsepower GT Convertible model usually receives all of the glory, but even less expensive four- and six-cylinder-powered versions discussed herein have plenty of pep.

Buyers looking to experience the 'Stang without the soft top can opt for the less expensive fastback model.

Derived from Ford's Evos show car, the Mustang's style blends new with old. Up front, it adopts a version of the design language that debuted on the Ford Fusion, but the look is clearly more aggressive than before. From its tail, the Mustang is more evolutionary than revolutionary, continuing the vertical lamp arrangement of so many of its predecessors.

The topless 'Stang offers a multi-layer cloth soft top that automatically retracts at the push of a button. Ford promises the top opens and closes twice as fast as the outgoing pony car's soft top.

Under the Hood
The base Mustang is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine that generates 300 horsepower at 6,500 rpms and 280 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpms. Buyers after better fuel economy can order the Mustang with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine tuned to make 310 horsepower at 5,500 rpms and 320 lb-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpms.

Both engines send power to the rear wheels via either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic unit controlled by shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The Mustang packs a limited-slip differential regardless of which transmission is chosen.

Gas mileage checks in at 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with the four-cylinder and the six-speed automatic.

Life Aboard
The Mustang Convertible's interior is highlighted by a sporty dual-cowl dashboard design, easy-to-read vintage-inspired gauges and an oversized three-spoke multi-function steering wheel. Aviation-inspired toggle switches mounted at the bottom of the center console let the driver turn the traction control system off and adjust the car's electric power steering, which can be adjusted between standard, sport and comfort modes.

All Mustang Convertibles come standard with SYNC, Ford's Bluetooth-based connectivity system that allows smartphone users to place calls and stream music by using voice commands or steering wheel-mounted buttons. SYNC can also read incoming texts aloud to help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road, and allows the use of Ford-approved apps like The Wall Street Journal news and Pandora radio.

Select models also come with MyFord Touch, an infotainment system that builds on SYNC by letting users control everything from navigation to climate control to the sound system with voice commands. MyFord Touch also replaces conventional sound system knobs and buttons with a center-mounted eight-inch touch screen, dual 4.2-inch displays in the instrument cluster and touch-sensitive controls in the center stack. Many consumers report that the system is a "love it or hate it" item, so those interested in the Focus are advised to try before they buy.

When called upon to haul a full load of sun-worshippers and cargo rather than deliver impressive performance numbers, the Mustang Convertible functions fairly well - the rear seats can hold two small adults in a pinch (though long journeys aren't recommended), and the trunk offers a respectable 11.4 cubic feet of stowage space.

Trim Level Breakdown
The Ford Mustang Convertible is offered in two trim levels: Base and EcoBoost Premium.

The base-model Mustang comes standard with a A/C, a locking glove box, a four-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, power windows, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an AUX input and six speakers, SYNC with MyFord, a rear-view camera, keyless entry and start, HID headlights and 17-inch aluminum wheels.

Opting for the EcoBoost Premium model adds dual-zone automatic A/C, heated mirrors, six-way power-adjustable front seats, the aforementioned MyFord Touch infotainment system, aluminum trim on the dashboard, ambient lighting, SiriusXM Satellite radio, a nine-speaker audio system with an amplifier and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Buyers can spruce up their base-model Mustang by selecting the optional 051A equipment package that adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, a trunk-mounted spoiler, LED fog lights and a six-way power driver's seat.

EcoBoost Premium models can be purchased with the 201A equipment package that brings an upgraded stereo, memory driver's seat and mirrors as well as a blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert.

Highlights from the list of standalone options list include rear parking sensors, a spare wheel and tire, all-weather floor mats and a host of different wheel options ranging from 18 to 20 inches in diameter.

Occupant Safety
All Mustang Convertibles are fitted as standard with dual front and side airbags and a driver knee airbag in addition to traction and stability control systems, a post-crash alert system and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Key Competitors
The Mustang Convertible's most direct competitor is the V6-engined version of the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, which is heavier and less agile than the Ford but not without its own charms.

The only other comparably-priced, driver-focused convertible is the modestly powered but extremely entertaining Mazda MX-5 Miata.