The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, January 22, 2021 3:06 pm

Review: 2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost

CASEY WILLIAMS | Special to The Journal Gazette

Ford is relaunching the legendary Mustang Mach 1 for 2021. I'm excited for it and can't wait to throttle its big powerful V-8 engine. I'm also a fan of the demonic Shelby GT500 and its 760 horsepower supercharged V-8.

Both grace the dreams of gearheads, but the Mustang we have here will find love beyond hardcore enthusiasts. It runs with an EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which proves you don't need big power to enjoy the drive.

If you just flipped through the photos, you would never think there's an engine with only four cylinders beneath the long sexy hood and behind a classic pony-strewn grille. No matter what's between the fenders, this is my favorite Mustang design with an aggressive stance accentuated by 18-inch wheels, fastback roofline and wide rump with triple sequencing taillamps.

LED headlamps, foglamps, and triple lit elements behind each lens connect the car's past to its future. Full-length racing stripes and a subtle rear spoiler are perfect touches.

Back to that engine. The 2.3-liter turbo-four delivers 310 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque through a six-speed manual transmission. Not only is it a joy to click-flick the shifter through the gears, but it also contributes to frugal fuel economy ratings of 21/30-MPG city/highway. It wasn't that long ago that a Mustang GT with a V-8 barely produced that much power, and it sure didn't get compact crossover fuel economy.

Choosing a four-cylinder doesn't mean you have to shop in the bargain bin of interiors. Our Premium trim comes with heated/cooled leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and stitched coverings for the traditional twin-cowl dash. Metallic trim adds flair. An intuitive touchscreen employs icons for audio, climate, navigation and apps. Connect devices with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G Wi-Fi. Thump the audio and enjoy.

In the lower dash is a push-button starter and a series of toggles for the stability control, steering and drive modes. The last two allow drivers to customize their experience. Select from light Comfort to heavy Sport steering.

The other switch primarily configures throttle response and stability control intervention when you move through Comfort, Normal, Sport and Track settings. Launch control mode gets you cleanly off the line if you want to test your skills on a track.

Beyond chasing acceleration, driving this Mustang allows you to focus on the refinement you might not expect from a high-revving power coupe. Especially with this generation's independent rear suspension, the car has evolved into a car that hardcore enthusiasts can appreciate, but also one that import intenders will feel meets their high standards.

It's more Audi than Cobra. Steering is spot on and the car feels planted no matter the road. It's a daily driver that enjoys a good romp on the weekends. Rev it up, shift down and let it rip.

I can't wait to review the 2021 Mustang Mach 1, but all of that attitude is unnecessary. I would be plenty happy to have the EcoBoost in my own driveway. It drools swagger, goes fast and thoroughly comforts passengers. Best of all, efficient fuel economy makes it inexpensive to operate.

Mustangs start at just $26,670, but our Premium edition came to $35,850. Competitors include the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Subaru WRX and VW GTI.

Casey Williams is an Indianapolis automotive journalist. Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

  • Four-passenger, real-wheel-drive coupe;

  • Powertrain: 2.3-liter T4, six-speed manual transmission;

  • Output: 310 horsepower/350 foot-pounds torque;

  • Suspension f/r: Independent/Independent;

  • Wheels f/r: 18-inch/18-inch alloy;

  • Brakes f/r: disc/disc;

  • Must-have features: Style, engine;

  • Fuel economy: 21/30 mpg city/hwy;

  • Assembly: Flat Rock, Michigan;

  • Base/As-tested price: $26,670/$35,850


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