The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Coupe is more likeable than you’d think.
It wasn’t that long ago that for a car enthusiast the difference between American and Japanese sports cars was as clear as night and day. Japanese sports cars came with small displacement engines that screamed, while American muscle came with large displacement engines with a very distinct rumble. V8 and V6 engines were the two options available for the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. V8s have survived for now, however Ford has dropped their V6 engine in the Mustang lineup, so we jumped behind the wheel of the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Coupe to see if the elimination of natural aspiration is worthy of the pony car.
Let’s move onto the EcoBoost engine that’s the object of much contention. This particular tune is the one out of the now-defunct Focus RS (reviewed here), and outputs 330 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 350 lb-ft. of torque at 3,000RPM. It’s significantly better than the standard EcoBoost offered, and the 10-speed automatic is brilliantly tuned. Ford Canada claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of about 4.5 seconds. To put things into perspective, just a decade ago, the Mustang GT with the 4.6-liter V8 weighed a few pounds more, and had 315 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque.
So, the 10-speed automatic may be brilliant, but it’s still an automatic instead of the six-speed manual which Ford thankfully still offers. In city settings, we found the transmission too eager to jump to higher gears, not letting it rev out. Give it more throttle however, and the transmission picks up on the driver’s inputs and holds gears longer. EcoBoost Mustangs we’ve tested in the past have had miserable transmission calibration, but this is a positive change. Paddles are available on the steering wheel for those who want to change gears on their own without a clutch.
If the Mustang is left in its regular settings without tinkering with the steering, suspension, exhaust modes, it will feel quite tame and lackluster. Adjusting it into “Sport” mode and the transmission and engine will come alive, pulling with authority and instantly putting a smile on the driver’s face. What does take getting used to are the sounds that come out of the Mustang EcoBoost. Driving an American pony car that releases pops and bangs more associated with a tuned Honda Civic just seems odd.
The suspension and steering do provide a good level of control, especially with the Handling Package equipped on our test vehicle. It also adds 19-inch wheels on summer tires, an upgraded 3.55 rear axle with limited slip, a larger rear sway bar, unique chassis tuning and more. Make no mistake though; these changes sharpen up the car but by no means does it handle like the Toyota GR Supra (reviewed here), as the Mustang still comes in at a heavy 3,500 pounds as equipped.
As with most turbocharged four-cylinder engines with performance tunes, fuel mileage leaves a bit to be desired. Ford rates this model at 11.2L/100km city and 7.3L/100km highway, a substantial difference. We averaged 11.4L/100km in a combined setting, about average for the segment. Ford does recommend premium 91-octane fuel for optimal performance and efficiency with this engine.
The Mustang’s interior is much smaller than the exterior would lead you to believe and the gauges, buttons and toggle switches haven’t changed since this generation debuted half a decade ago. Soft touch materials are located on frequent touch points and look average at best – the same goes for the leather used on the seats, steering wheel and shifter. The seats are comfortable and those with larger frames will feel right at home. The rear seats are basically useless when taller occupants are up front; there was about an inch of legroom behind my driving position. Trunk capacity comes in at 382-liters, which is more than a Camaro but falls behind the Dodge Challenger (reviewed here).
What is different in our 2020 Mustang EcoBoost is the large 12-inch LCD instrument cluster that is customizable, and a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system powered by SYNC 3. It also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The systems are easy to use and scroll through, and the car is equipped with a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, and more. Standard items such as airbags, electronic stability control and post-crash system alert are included. Our vehicle included rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.
Pricing for the 2020 Mustang starts at $28,873, a value proposition. The highly-optioned model tested here starts at $37,365. It was also equipped with the Handling Package ($2,600), 2.3 High Performance Package ($6,500), 10-speed automatic ($1,750) and a few other tidbits. This comes to $52,515 as-tested, including a total of $15,150 in options. Let’s not forget here that you can get into a V8-powered Mustang GT for significantly less than this, however the EcoBoost High Performance model caters to a more tuner-friendly demographic.
The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Coupe is more likeable than you’d think. While the V8 era is far from over, Ford and Chevrolet have both capitalized on the tunability of turbocharged four-cylinders, attracting a whole new target market for their performance cars. Weight is down, more track-friendly goodies have been added, and the car is far more open to the aftermarket performance world. The fact that this model is still available with a manual transmission is a wonderful thing, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for one of the most identifiable cars in North America.