2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Review
Four-cylinder 2015 Ford Mustang is the real deal.
Some enthusiasts would consider a four-cylinder Mustang an oxymoron.
For those old enough to recall the sad, rust-prone coupes that wore this badge during the mid to late seventies, I’d heartily agree. Those Pinto-based plodders were Mustangs in name only, with horsepower from their four-pot engines not even breaking three digits.
Fast-forward to the mid-eighties, and certain Fox-body Mustangs also received a 2.3-litre inline four – turbocharged this time and with performance underpinnings that made these SVO variants not half-bad for their time.
That was Mustang’s third generation. We are now in the sixth. And the current 2.3-litre Ecoboost models, which joined their V6 and V8 siblings for 2015, are light years ahead of any predecessor.
The Ecoboost even made my “top-five” list for vehicles tested in 2014.
Mustang turned 50 last year and in designing the current generation, Ford engineers improved their iconic ponycar in nearly every way.
I won’t address all the exterior tweaks, but the net result is a more muscular look with the signature long nose and short rear deck complemented by big shoulders, high beltline and pronounced fenders.
Depending on model, the large wheel openings are filled by alloys that span 17 to 20 inches, with my base Ecoboost tester ($27,999) getting optional black-painted 19-inchers that set a sinister tone against its black grille and lower fascia.
Also framing the grille are projector headlamps with angled LEDs that follow its contours.
The roofline is steeply raked, contributing to arguably the sweetest Mustang silhouette ever, but leaving little head room for rear passengers. No matter, as there’s also little room for their legs. My kids were fine in back, but neither top five feet.
These deeply sculpted 50/50 rear seats, however, fold down to expand the trunk’s 382-litre capacity.
The rest of the passenger cabin is well put together with a combination of soft touch materials and grained plastic, complemented by metallic accents.
Leather upholstery comes standard in the 2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Premium, but the base car still gets cowhide around the parking brake handle and steering wheel. The latter is tilt/telescopic with audio and cruise controls.
HVAC and audio on the centre stack are managed by knobs and large easy-to-read buttons, and there’s chrome trim around all instruments, vents, centre cupholders and shifter boot. It’s a more premium look than in Mustangs past.
Aluminum appliques are part of the $3,000 Ecoboost Performance package, as are centre-mounted twin gauges for oil pressure and turbo boost.
A pair of cloth Recaro sport buckets added yet another $1,500. These are deeply bolstered and really hold you in the corners, but if you’re a little wide in the back and buttocks, I’d recommend saving the dough.
On that note, you can save $3,000 by opting for the base Mustang with 3.7-litre V6 and six-speed manual. It’s a decent ride for just under $25K, but having driven both, I’d still recommend loosening the purse strings.
The 2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost does up the ante with a few niceties like six-way power front seats and active noise cancellation. And more upgrades are available at this level, such as the Recaros and black painted 19-inch alloys mentioned above.
More importantly, it offers more power than the six. Its 2.3-litre direct-injected and turbocharged four cylinder delivers 310 hp and 320 lb/ft of torque (compared to 300 and 280 from the 3.7-litre). And it arrives sooner, for a longer and flatter powerband.
My press car also came with a six-speed manual and short-throw shifter that was a joy to work. A six-speed automatic is available, packaged with remote start for $1,500.
The above-mentioned Ecoboost Performance option includes some additional mods like sport-tuned chassis, upsized rear sway bars, heavy-duty front springs, larger brake rotors with four-piston front calipers, bigger radiator and the 19-inch alloys.
These contribute to a driving experience that may not match its V8-powered sibling in raw power, but with its lighter front end and independent rear suspension (replacing the solid rear axle), the Ecoboost won’t let you down when carving corners.
And with 137 hp per litre, the 2.3-litre is no slouch. There’s minimal turbo lag, and with a 3.55 rear axle ratio (also part of the performance package), there’s loads of pull off the line. Mash the pedal, and each gear climbs quickly to red line with a nice throaty growl that punches well above the engine’s small displacement.
The Mustang lineup includes two other Ecoboost models: the Premium starting at $33,499 and Premium Convertible at $38,999.
These include more amenities like heated/cooled leather front seats, automatic climate control, upgraded audio, MyFordTouch voice commands, blind spot information system (with cross-traffic alert), and additional interior bling.
For those wanting the full-bore V8 experience, be prepared to pay even more, with the base GT Fastback starting at $36,999 and the GT Premium Convertible at $47,999.
Mustang, historically, has offered enthusiasts a vehicle that was fast, fun and affordable. I’m hesitant to call vehicles north of $40K “affordable”, but the Ecoboost definitely fills that bill.
There are other vehicles to shop in this segment and price range – like the 3.8-litre Hyundai Genesis Coupe and V6 Camaro. Both start a little higher, and neither will match Ecoboost’s fuel economy.
That aside, there are few vehicles that turn as many heads as a recent-generation Mustang, and with the 2015 models, there are even fewer – at any price.