2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Coupe Premium Review

More show than go for the turbocharged four-banger


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Decent power from a four-cylinder turbo, still fun to drive, nice visual tweaks in front, muscle car ethos is strong.
Negatives: The four-pot still doesn't sound all that great, interior ergonomics are dated, plasticky rear fascia, doesn't feel as nimble as the Camaro.
Bottom Line: We love the fact that you can upgrade to a more powerful EcoBoost engine, but the base mill still leaves us wanting. We do love that you can still get it with a stick, at least. The look of the Mustang remains iconic.
The EcoBoost Mustang is an interesting pony car that goes against the tide of the traditional V8 engine. Ford also killed the less powerful V6 mill from the Mustang two years ago. Whatever criticism there was for the turbo four can at least be partially dispelled by the introduction of an EcoBoost engine that's the detuned version of the 2.3-liter from the now-defunct Focus RS. But that more potent engine is only available with the High Performance Package. There's still the base EcoBoost engine we've become familiar with, and we tested the 2020 for a week to see if it still has appeal for those who either don't want or can't afford the big V8 mill. Read our full review below.
 

Driving Experience

7.6

 

It's too bad we received our tester during a Chicago winter right when the snow hit, and it didn't even have snow tires on it. The all-seasons were fine, but we weren't able to exploit the Mustang with its manual transmission the way we wanted to.

Ride Quality: The Mustang is comfortable over most surfaces, but it is on the firm side. The good thing is that it still feels composed.

Acceleration: 0-60 comes in just under six seconds, which is good but not great. It just doesn't feel all that fast to us, probably because of the weight and size of the car. It feels like power doesn't spool up quickly enough to be exhilarating.

Braking: The Mustang's brakes provide good stopping power, and we didn't sense any grabbiness or non-linear pedal feel.

Steering: You can easily pivot the nose of the Mustang. In fact, it always feels like it's pivoting around the back of its hood, an interesting feeling.

Handling: The EcoBoost Mustang has some body roll, but the car handles well in the turns. It just feels big going in. Exit presents no major issues.

Technology

8.1

 

SYNC3 is starting to feel a bit dated now that the SYNC4 system is out. It's still one of the better systems around, and it certainly makes up for some of the ergonomic issues in the Mustang.

Infotainment System:The Ford SYNC 3 system is quick to respond, easy to read, and has no problem providing easy toggling through menus.

Controls: The Mustang sacrifices some ergonomic issues for the sake of aesthetics. The toggle switches are easy to actuate but hard to read. The climate controls are cylindrical for no apparent reason.

Styling

8.2

 

The Mustang in this paint scheme with the white stripes and five-spoke wheels just looks great, much better than just the solid colors all by themselves. It keeps the Mustang style alive and just looks good from tip to toe.

Front: The front end has bee nicely refreshed to look sharper, especially the lower fascia and the headlights.

Rear: There's still a little too much piano black between the triple LED taillights for our liking, but the lip spoiler addition gives it a bit more aggression and style.

Profile: We like the side view of the Mustang. The front end could use less curvature, but overall the proportions are muscle car correct.

Cabin: The interior is still a bit kitschy to us, but it is very American. The digital cluster looks great, and thank goodness the "Groundspeed" text is long gone.

Comfort

7

 

The Mustang is clearly just for two people, and it does a fine job of providing a good level of comfort for everyday driving. As you guessed it, the visibility is not the best. Materials are also less than superb.

Front Seats: The bucket seats are supportive and well-cushioned. The seating position still makes you feel like your a couple of inches too deep to manage that big hood.

Rear Seats: Don't put anyone you like in the back seat. It's not meant for anyone except tiny kids and packages.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Mustang feels solid inside, but you can hear the sewing machine thrum of the engine when you push it.

Visibility: It's sometimes hard to place the Mustang where you want it due to the big good. Forget about good rearward visibility since it's a fastback coupe with big pillars.

Climate: The climate system works well, and it's quick to fire up. No issues here.

Safety

7

 

The Mustang provides basic levels of safety and gets five-star crash ratings from the NHTSA and mostly good ratings from the IIHS.

IIHS Rating: The Mustang earns mostly good crash ratings and an acceptable in the small front overlap crash test, but it fails to attain the top ratings for safety by the IIHS.

Standard Tech: The Mustang comes with a rearview camera and a Reverse Sensing System. it's a pretty basic set.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with a Blind Spot Monitoring system with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

Storage/Cargo

5.4

 

Don't expect a lot in the way of space for the Mustang owner. The cabin is a bit shy on decent storage options, and the trunk is about average.

Storage Space: No one buys a Mustang for practical reasons, really, and the storage options reflect that. The small center console armest isn't especially large and provides just a small amount of storage space. There's no convenient cubby in front of the shift knob for smaller items, so you end up tossing your phone into the big cupholders. Door pockets are decent but on the shallow side.

Cargo Room: The trunk has a rather average 13.5 cubic feet of space, and the opening is on the short side. You'll end up using the rear seats more than you'd like.

Fuel Economy

6.5

 

We weren't very impressed and couldn't hit the EPA numbers, even though it's a muscle car. We just thought a four-banger turbo would do better. Our average was based on all local driving, but we weren't especially aggressive, so the numbers are tepid.

Observed: 16.4 mpg

Audio

6.5

 

Our stock system was fine. We didn't listen to it all that much mostly because it was pretty much run-of-the-mill. If you're going to have a muscle car, it should have a sound system that goes with it. Maybe this is right because of the less than enthralling powertrain.



The EcoBoost Mustang is more about the look than the feel. It's still a good driver's car, but it fails to impress in the power department. Upgrade to the more powerful EcoBoost engine, and that should change the game. But if it's real shock and awe you want, always go with the V8. We'd advise getting one now since the next-gen Mustang will be all electric, and that's a travesty.
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