2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
Ford Mustang is one of three iconic pony cars that leads a second life in the 21st century. Like GM’s Camaro and Dodge’s Challenger, these vehicles still provide a driving pleasure on the road and track. Of course, while maintaining their retro designs, they are equipped with modern safety and comfort technology.
Most if not all baby boomers who drove the first-generation Mustang in the 1960s can associate this vehicle with a roaring V8 engine. By then, boosting the performance via a turbo was not widespread. However, times have changed, and in the second decade of the twenty-first century, we are not surprised to see even an all-electric vehicle that carries the Mustang name. We will revisit this topic in the next few months. Let’s talk about our tester in this article: 2020 Ford Mustang Fastback with the 2.3L EcoBoost engine is a viable alternative to more traditional Mustangs with a V8 or V6 engine. And any driver who time-travelled from the last century will be pleasantly surprised that this is a powerful vehicle that can make you even forget the V8.
Exterior and Interior
Like the rest of the Pony cars, the 2020 Mustang has its original design elements date back to the 1960s. Unlike the new Camaro, the Mustang has a more traditional design, yet it has modern and sporty lines all around the exterior. This is a nice balance in this segment when it comes to the overall design as it offers a great equilibrium of being retro and sporty.
Things are not very different when you get inside the Mustang. You have a huge steering wheel, and lots of oval-shaped gauges, buttons and knobs. All important controls have physical buttons, but you can still use the infotainment system for many features. Overall interior quality is not bad at all in the Pony car segment. However, if you compare it with German sports cars, you would be disappointed as you will find more hard touch plastics in Mustang’s cabin. Obviously, we have to take into account also the price difference.
Though it is expected at this price point, as modern Pony cars offer a lot of car for the money, and Mustang is no exception. Ford decided to spend more money on technology implementation, as it has the latest Ford infotainment system and digital gauge cluster. We enjoyed both systems as there is a minimal lag, and they have great resolution. They are easy to read, and Mustang’s digital cluster is great when it comes to customization. There is no other alternative in this segment other than the Mustang if you are looking for a fully digital instrument cluster.
Overall, like the exterior, Ford did a great job combining classic, and modern design elements, as well as technology implementation. Not only that, but compared to the other muscle cars, this interior is significantly more spacious and easy to live when it comes to daily driving. Rear seat legroom and headroom is also not too bad, still not the greatest place for long-distance rides.
Engine and Transmission
Yes, it makes you forget the V8, if you are coming straight from the 1960s, or have hearing problems. 2.3L turbocharged engine produces 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The number is very impressive for 1960s standards, as it matches or beats all V8 engines from that era, but pretty normal in 2020. No matter how good it sounds, it is still 4 cylinder and it will never be as good as a V8. There is nothing you can do about it.
Actually, the 2.3L EcoBoost engine offers a great torque down low and in the mid-range, there is nothing wrong with it. However, no matter which spec you get the Mustang, it still sounds and moves like a rear-wheel-drive Focus. In our test, Mustang consumed around 13.0L / 100 km, which is not the best, considering you will get around 15.0L / 100 km with the V8 engine, we think the difference is not too much.
Mustang Ecoboost comes with two different transmission options. They are manual and 10-speed automatic transmissions. Our tester had the automatic and we weren’t pleased with it. First of all, this is a transmission developed by both Ford and General Motors as a joint venture. Both rivals tuned the same transmission in their own way. For daily driving, most of the time it is smooth, but not the best. When you drive it spiritedly, it can sometimes be indecisive, shifting back and forth and always hunting higher gear. It definitely needs a better tune, as we know how good and refined it can be from our Camaro review.
Ford Mustang is a great muscle car, or pony car, or whatever you want to call it. 2.3L EcoBoost engine is also a great platform, it is super smooth and lots of torque down low. It is a proven drivetrain with other Ford models. However, combining great platforms may not give you the best recipe. It is like having the best football players in one team but getting mediocre results in the Champions League. Ford Mustang EcoBoost is a great example of this situation. No matter how powerful or efficient the 4 cylinder EcoBoost engine is, it will always be an entry-level sports car, and it will be boring without the V8.
Well, the question is, do you need an entry-level sports car? Why not? If you want to learn the basics of rear-wheel drive, this could be a great option. Mustang EcoBoost offers very predictable feedback when it is on the limit, it has lots of teachable points. For sure, it is less snappy and much more forgiving than the V8 version, as it has less horsepower. Then let me ask you: Would you pay $55.000 CAD for an entry-level sports car to learn the basics?
If you buy the Mustang just for the looks, or having retro looking car and not prioritizing the fun factor, EcoBoost would be a good option as the torque curve is very easy to use day to day basis. There is minimal turbo lag, and it loves being in the mid range, but starts to fade a little bit at higher rpms. Regardless of the engine choice, it is a great machine for daily driving, just missing the drama without the V8 engine which you must have if you want any type of spirited driving experience.
Conclusion, Pricing and Specs
If you are looking for an entry-level performance oriented rear-wheel-drive car, there are many cheaper options in the market. If you are looking for a muscle car and specifically looking for the Mustang, get it the right way. Mustang V8 is a great machine that has much more horsepower. Regardless of the engine, this is the most daily drivable option in this segment. It offers more interior space, surprisingly good cargo accommodation and great features such as the latest infotainment system, digital cluster, LED headlights etc. with retro design as well as sporty driving dynamics.
For the details of pricing and specifications, please see the window sticker below:
For more detailed and up-to-date information, please visit http://www.ford.ca
Article and photos by Dan Gunay & Varol McKars