7 Best Mustang Tuners & Buyers Guide (2019)
7 Best Mustang Tuners & Buyers Guide (2019)

7 Best Mustang Tuners & Buyers Guide (2019)

by · automotive expert
Published
Updated

Whichever vehicle you are lucky to be a holder of, sooner or later you’ll start thinking of making its performance better and upgrading its features. Being a Mustang owner doesn’t make any exceptions.There is a range of ways how to do it.

Firstly, you can definitely try buying various aftermarket parts and they will definitely do good to your vehicle. However, there is another way - getting a tuner and upgrading the features through electronic interface.

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We recommended:

our pick

SCT X4 7015

Shut up and take my money

This tuner comes with SCT's pre-configured tune loaded on it. It's gonna be a great option for you if you're looking for more of a general tune instead of a more custom pre-loaded tune. It's also a great option for you guys out there that are looking for a device to take to a custom Dyno tune.

runner up

Lund Racing nGauge

Price/quality is guarantee

The Lund Racing nGauge is the perfect choice if you`re looking for a state-of-the-art tuning device and one of the best tunes available for your 15-19 Mustang.

best value

SCT BDX Tuner

The small monster that will carry your Mustang

So, this device comes with an SCT pre-loaded tune on and it's gonna be perfect for those of you out there who aren't quite ready for a custom tune yet. The device does also support custom tuning though if you ever want to go down that road. It has a full-color display. And it's Wi-Fi enabled for direct device updates.

premium

Cobb Accessport V3

The most expensive tuner on market, but damn, it`s worth it

While you are spending a lot more money initially for the Cobb device, I think you're going to be getting more bang for your buck in terms of unique features and again, those preloaded or off the shelf tunes are definitely doing their job.

The latter will provide you with an endless list of modifications you can apply to your car. In fact, any part of your vehicle can be tuned easily and effectively. Thus, this article will depict the best Mustang tuners to pick up one which will serve you for years!

You should bear in mind that it’s highly recommended to purchase tuners only from reliable sources!

What’s the Difference Between a Canned Tune and Custom Tune?

As soon as you decide to tune your truck, you’ll start finding it difficult to select one out of a bunch. Have a quick look through the main types of tuners for a Mustang. There are two of them: Canned Tune and Custom Tune. The main difference is the target that should be reached.

Thus a canned tune is a such kind of tune that can fit any car and the modifications can’t be changed and the main point of the tuner is be able to work with any stock car and with the most basic modifications.

Whereas the custom tune is adjusted to a particular car meeting the needs of a particular customer. It goes without saying, the custom tune provides your truck with more power.

Table of best Mustang tuners

NameOur ratingScreenWi-Fi updatesPre-programmed tunesCustom tunes Required yearsPriceShops
SCT X4 7015
LCD displayYesYes101996-2018$$
Lund Racing nGauge
2.4 LCD displayYesYes102015-2019$$
SCT BDX Tuner
4 LCD displayYesYes202015-2019$$
Cobb Accessport V3
4 LCD displayYesYes1002015-2019$$$
Diablosport inTune i3 8145
2.1 screenYesYes (3)11996-2018$$
SCT Livewire TS+
4 LCD displayYesYes101996-2017$$$
SCT GTX Tuner
4 LCD displayYesYes202015-2017$$$

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How we decided

14
models considered
53
hours spend
7
experts interviewed

Best Mustang Tuners

Our rating:
5.0

It`s significantly smaller in size from the previous generation - the X3, SCT packed with a lot more features into this great device, including a large fully programmable color screen and unlike the X3, the X4 now allows the cord to unplug from the device.

The X4 also features a diagnostic trouble code reader, uses the scan and detects vehicle fault codes and simply clears them as necessary. Detecting your specific make and model through the OBD 2 port, the X4 automatically updates itself to provide the exact preloaded performance tunes that are available for your Mustang and will also store to 10 custom tunes.

It even offers a built in Wi-Fi feature for easy access to wireless auto-updates.

The X4 provides controllability for custom tunes with options such as gas octane, rear o2`s sensors on and off, cold air intake tunes from various manufacturers like Steeda, JLT, BBK and air raid, and once you`ve approved the settings, the X4 tuner will then tune your car to make the max horsepower and torque along with improves overall acceleration.

Key features:

  • Wi-Fi
  • custom tunes for different needs

Product score:

  • performance (9/10)
  • quality (9/10)
  • price (7/10)

TOTAL SCORE: 8.3

Pros
  • different variations of preloaded tunes
  • quality
  • price
  • +10 HP and +13 TQ
Cons
  • long configuration time

Our rating:
5.0

Lund Racing will provide you with one custom tune for your manual or automatic 2018 or newer GT, along with the extremely user-friendly and attractive nGauge device.

So if you've been around the Mustang world for any amount of time, then chances are you've probably heard the name Lund or Lund Racing thrown around and for good reason. That's because they're easily one of the most trusted names in the game and have been that way for many years when it comes to tuning your late-model Ford, including some of the fastest Mustangs in the world.

In fact, the team at Lund Racing is behind the tuning for the eight-second stock motor and trans 2018 Mustang GT along with some of the other fastest 2018s out there at this time.

The Lund Racing nGauge will make some small adjustments to both cam and ignition timing, along with some changes to torque management or clutch protection depending on your transmission.

Now if you do happen to have one of those new 10-speed automatics, the crew at Lund Racing will have your car driving and shifting like a completely different animal keeping you in the power band under wide-open throttle pulls at all time.

Now it is important to point out that 2018 and newer GT owners out there do have a few different options when it comes to the Lund tunes. Your most basic or entry-level option will be your pump gas tune, which will also be your most affordable. From there, you can step into the E85 or flex-fuel tune which will allow you to run straight E85 or pump gas or any combination of the two. This is a very useful tune if the ethanol availability in your area is a bit hit or miss as you don't have to change your tune when changing your fuel.

Key features:

  • Resistive Touch Screen
  • 2 Analog Inputs
  • 6 Programmable LEDs
  • Light Sensor with Auto Dimming
  • 2 High Speed CAN Channels
  • Firmware Update Thru USB or MicroSD

Product score:

  • performance (8/10)
  • quality (9/10)
  • price (7/10)

TOTAL SCORE: 8

Pros
  • +16 HP and +30 TQ
  • price/quality
  • makes your Mustang more violent
Cons
  • the screen has bands of dead white pixels running vertically

Our rating:
4.0

This is currently one of the most affordable handheld tuners, but it also packs plenty of power for your Mustang. This thing comes with a really kick-ass pre-loaded tune and you can store up to 20 custom tunes.

The pre-loaded tune on this device will help with drivability and might even increase your miles per gallon. And, of course, it's gonna help with throttle response. It has gauges that can easily be customized on it.

Now besides the performance gains with this device, the wireless functionality is pretty cool too. Most of the time with other tuners you gotta plug it into the computer and do all kinds of software and stuff like that, but with the BDX, you can actually download and upload custom tunes and preloaded tune files to the cloud server from SCT and you can even upload your data log files wirelessly for troubleshooting or custom tuning later on down the road.

You can also read and clear your diagnostic trouble codes with the device, so it's pretty nice to save a couple of bucks instead of having to go to the dealership or the little Jiffy Lube down the street and spending some money just to figure out why you got that check engine light, right.

Besides that, it's a very user-friendly device. Since this is SCT's latest device, it's pretty fast and responsive. It's got a really cool simple touch interface, anybody can use this thing.

The installation, if I could even call it one, is a very soft one out of three wrenches on my difficulty meter. All you gotta do is plug the device in and let it update and you should be good to go.

Key features:

  • pleasant to the touch
  • 20 custom tunes
  • Wi-Fi

Product score:

  • performance (8/10)
  • quality (8/10)
  • price (7/10)

TOTAL SCORE: 7.7

Pros
  • different variations of preloaded tunes
  • quality
  • price
  • +79 HP and +117 TQ
Cons
  • very slow flash times

Our rating:
4.0

The Cobb Accessport is going to appeal to a wide variety of EcoBoost owners out there for a few different reasons. Now first and foremost, it's going to be for the guys who are looking for the one of the most capable handheld tuning devices on the market today. In addition to that, it's going to be for the EcoBoost owners at home who want to take advantage of Cobb's preloaded tunes for stock to lightly-modded EcoBoost rides or use the Cobb device to deliver a custom tune for more heavily-modded setups.

Now before I really start dissecting the V3 here, I do want to quickly mention the unboxing process. Now rarely does that really mean anything when it comes to buying car parts, but Cobb makes it really nice here with the Accessport.

You are getting the V3 itself which is about the size of your Smartphone at home. You are getting a few different faceplate options here which is going to allow you to change up the look a little bit. They're throwing in a nice mounting bracket. You can mount it to your windshield, dashboard, whatever you want. Different cables here getting this thing hooked up, and finally they're even throwing in a nice little carrying case just to allow this thing to be stored without getting scratched whenever it's not in use.

For starters, you're going to be looking at a bright, full color LCD screen, easy-to-navigate button layout and this thing can hold up to 100 tunes at one time which is definitely a standout feature for me. Hand-read and clear those diagnostic trouble codes or check engine lights as well. Now this thing can also read a bunch of information from your car's ECU, display it in real time on your tuner here in the form of gauges, up to six at one time, as a matter of fact. Old favorites such as RPM, intake air temperature, boost, things like that, and many, many other features.

Now one thing I do really like here with this is that it does feature a shift light option which is pretty cool, very easy to see as well, I do want to point out, especially depending on where you have this thing mounted. The V3 can also be used as a performance evaluation device which is essentially the same thing as your Mustang's track apps. Here you can measure your zero to 60 time and your quarter mile time in trap speed.

Now if you ever did want to take your Mustang back to stock, the Cobb does have a nice uninstall feature which will return your car's ECU completely back to stock.

While all those features are nice, I do want to talk about some of the stuff that separate

the Cobb from some of the other options here, and I'm going to start with my favorite, the on-the-fly mapper tune switching. Now, this essentially allows you to switch between five different maps on the fly without having to shut the car down, reload a different tune which on other devices can sometimes take a good amount of time. With this you can actually set it up using your cruise control buttons on the steering wheel without having to dive back into the tuner while driving, making things a little safer in the process.

Another thing or things I like about the Cobb Accessport here is that manual cars do have access to a launch mode in addition to a flat foot shift mode, although both manual and automatic cars can play with a burnout option. Basically this is just going to limit you to around 5000 RPM when doing a big smoky burnout. Now again, these features are really cool and unique to the Cobb.

With most of the features pretty much covered, let's quickly talk about the tuning process, Cobb does offer you some preloaded or off-the-shelf tunes as Cobb calls them. Now two of these tunes are not even performance-related but they are pretty cool. One is an anti-theft mode which will not allow the car to start even with the key, so if you keep it stored for a long period of time this might be a good option for you.

And the other non-performance-related tune is a valet mode which basically is not going to allow the car to rev past 3000 RPM or go over 30 miles an hour, so very handy if you valet your car a lot.

Basically, it's not going to allow anyone to beat on your car. In addition to those handy tunes, you are getting some performance-related tunes. There's a Stage 0 which is especially a factory equivalent tune. A Stage 1 91 octane, and a Stage 1 93 Octane, depending on what kind of fuel you have available in your area.

Now these Stage 1 tunes are essentially going to be for a factory or light bolt-on car,basically, your cold air intake, your exhaust, things like that. However, once you start getting into some bigger mods, such as catalyst down pipes, larger inner coolers, you're going to want to step up to a custom tune. As far as the install process really couldn't be easier and you won't even have to get your hands dirty.

At that point, it's going to prompt you to install or marry the tuner to the car which will take you roughly 20 to 25 minutes. It's going to be the longest part of the process, but after that, the flashing process is much quicker.Either way just follow the instructions on the screen, and you should be good to go.

Key features:

  • multi-gauge layouts
  • full map descriptions
  • on-the-fly mapper tune switching

Product score:

  • performance (10/10)
  • quality (10/10)
  • price (3/10)

TOTAL SCORE: 7.6

Pros
  • an hold up to 100 tunes at one time
  • +47 HP and +88 TQ
Cons
  • price is too overcharge

Our rating:
4.0

You should be taking a look at the i3 tuner from DiabloSport if you're looking for a quick and easy out of the box solution to tuning with preloaded tunes for 87, 91, and 93 octane. DiabloSport offers a ton of additional features, in addition to actually tuning your vehicle.

First off, let's talk about those tunes. 87 is your street tune. It alters some of your parameters to give you a nice sporty drive on the road, 91 bumps it up to a little bit more performance savvy, and then 93 is their Diablo tune or the race tune for all-out octane. That is gonna give you the most gains, the maximum amount of potential out of this tuner running it on the 93 tune.

This has a couple other features, you can expect data logging capabilities, Wi-Fi connectivity, software updates via the Wi-Fi, USB connectivity to your laptop. You can also expect a DTC code reader and the ability to clear codes. Check engine light pops up, see that with a full description and, of course, clear those codes.

Another feature here is to store some of those custom tunes and erase them. This being the i3 tuner has gotten a nice update with the actual hardware. What you get for this device looks a little bit different than the i2 tuner, it's a little bit bulkier, it's got nice grip on the sides, a really cool plastic casing around the device. This is something you can easily mount to a windshield mount or onto your vents, gauge pods. Whatever you gonna use to mount this thing, you can have it within arm's reach of the driver's seat.

Because of its so small, this 2.1-inch touch screen with the LCD, you can just tuck it away in your center console, your glove box, your cup holder. Whatever the case may be, whatever floats your boat, but this thing here is really small. It's also really easy to use.

It's smaller than a smartphone, it's as responsive as a smartphone. Each tap of the screen brings you to the next menu very, very quickly. I'm pretty impressed with that.

Not a lot of tuners have a really quick response time with the user interface.

I'm a really big fan of the DiabloSport here and given that it is more affordable than the i2 by about 30 bucks, you can pick this up for $380. This is a little bit more affordable.

So, if you're looking for that really affordable tuning solution with a preloaded tuner, this is the way to go. Installation - about 15 maybe 20 minutes from start to finish. It takes a few minutes to save your stock file onto the device and then a few extra minutes to upload the file of your choice.

Key features:

  • Blazing Fast Vehicle Read/Write Times
  • OBD-II Data Logging
  • Windows, Mac OSX and Linux Connectivity
  • Purchase Multi-Vehicle Licenses

Product score:

  • performance (8/10)
  • quality (8/10)
  • price (6/10)

TOTAL SCORE: 7.3

Pros
  • different variations of preloaded tunes
  • quality
  • price
  • +33 HP and +32TQ
Cons
  • sometimes doesn’t bring much a difference that was claimed

Our rating:
4.0

This device comes with pre-configured tunes from SCT loaded on them. It has a four-inch, full-color touchscreen display. Also has built-in WiFi, which means that it'll auto-update your firmware, so you no longer have to plug into your PC for your firmware updates.

It has a pretty cool performance calculator in it too. This gonna be a good option for you if you just want a general tune, as opposed to a more custom pre-loaded tune. It's also a good option if you just need a device to take with you to a custom dyno tune.

Key features:

  • custom tuning
  • adjustable interface

Product score:

  • performance (8/10)
  • quality (8/10)
  • price (6/10)

TOTAL SCORE: 7.3

Pros
  • on-the-fly technology allows you to alternative between power levels while driving
  • quality/price
  • +18 HP and +30 TQ
Cons
  • takes long time to switch modes

Our rating:
3.0

This device comes with an SCT tune pre-loaded on it. But it can also support custom tuning. If you guys are really looking for horsepower and torque gains, I'd recommend to go the custom tuning route. It can hold up to 20 custom tunes at one time. This device auto updates through Wi-Fi. And SCT calls it the most advanced and easy to use device that's on the market right now.

So the GTX is one of SCT's most advanced and easiest to use device on the market. So it does have a little bit of a different setup than what we typically see. And the way that this works is we actually gonna plug into the back of the device.

Key features:

  • wide model fit
  • cloud delivery (Wi-Fi)
  • removable monitor

Product score:

  • performance (8/10)
  • quality (8/10)
  • price (5/10)

TOTAL SCORE: 7

Pros
  • easy to install
  • quality/price
Cons
  • customer service is spotty

Best Mustang Tuners Buying Guide

What’s the difference between Chips and Tuners?

Chips and tuners give you a chance to customize various features of your vehicle by adjusting the factory settings to what you really need. However, in fact they manage really different functions. Thus, chips are developed to enhance the performance of the truck but remaining the factory features.

They normally need to be programmed to the make, model and year of your vehicle. The installation of chips is really simple and not time-consuming, what’s more, they don’t require any adjustments after being installed.

On the other hand, tuners give you a range of modifications you can apply to your vehicle. You can reach any level of power you may ever wish. Overall, they provide you with more tuning control.

What Mustang modifications require a tune?

Your Mustang will definitely benefit from a tune since factory parameters are quite conservative and rated at daily use of the car. They do offer a powerful and comfortable truck but there is no limit for perfection. So the main advantage of a tune is getting more power and making throttle response better, also it provides much better fuel economy and more aggressive shift points in automatics. All in all, general drivability of your vehicle enhances and opens new horizons. There are some other mods that require tuning, such as: cold air intakes, cylinder heads, fuel injectors, full exhaust systems or headers, intake manifolds, nitrous systems and others.

Conclusion

If you’ve done with the article, you must have already gotten the ideas which tuner to purchase. As you might have already understood, the tuners have various capacities to upgrade any part of your vehicle and even beyond your modest expectations.

What’s more, you can modify not only the performance of your car but along with it, make your car more comfortable, thus, for example, automating windows, locks and so on. As you can see from the article, the market offers an incredible range of tuners and at a really different price span. So anyone can afford one.

CURRENT RATING:
5.0
Based on 2 Users
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