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HomeThe MarketDriven: Mustang EcoBoost Premium

Driven: Mustang EcoBoost Premium

I would buy this car!

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In the course of three weeks, I drove three performance cars: the Chevrolet Camaro SS with 455 horsepower from a 6.2-liter small block with direct injection; the Dodge Charger Scat Pack with 485 horsepower from a normally aspirated 392 Hemi; and the Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium with 332 horsepower from a turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4.

All three of the aforementioned muscle cars were serious machinery, well-appointed and fun. Of the three, I actually would buy the 2.3-liter Mustang. Seriously… I’ll tell you why: It’s what isn’t under the hood.

The 2.3 EcoBoost I4 is derived from Ford Performance-Spain’s version of the engine in the Focus RS. It is a robust-feeling motor. Driving around town and on the highways, nothing frustrates me more than a car that “can’t get out of its own way.” Not the case with this economical pony car. Terrific mileage and plenty of oomph!

EcoBoost Premium, Driven: Mustang EcoBoost Premium, ClassicCars.com Journal

The Mustang makes 332 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque linked to a six-speed manual (an optional 10 speed automatic is available) and launches to 60 in the mid 4-second range with a top speed of 155 mph. The best part that is the EcoBoost engine weighs a whole lot less than the Coyote V8 in the more muscle-y Mustangs, which gives this car great balance in cornering and less weight to push around – and stop.

The componentry is well thought out. Big Brembo brakes from the Mustang GT and independent rear suspension with heavier springs all around. The result is a quick vehicle that gets up and goes and handles beautifully, although it definitely lacks a muscle car note from the dual exhaust known to its V8 brethren.

Mustang

Between around-town and some mountain driving, the Mustang was amazing. Well-mannered in stop and go traffic, and plenty of zest for a spirited drive. Big engines don’t have to be the end-all for decent horsepower. Let’s face it, 330 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.3 liter is plenty for the street – and enough for track days.

The trim package was sexy between the aero treatments and aluminum appointments in the cockpit. The center console screen was rather small – which is good as the driver spends more time looking at the road. The Mustang’s bright-orange color certainly made those around me quite aware. Perhaps, if you are not shopping for a “look-at-me car,” you might opt for one of the more understated colors.

HP 2.3

For the whole package of my tester, the price is an easy-to-swallow $36,755. Definitely a lot of car for the money. Truly fun to drive.

2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost High Performance

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe

Base price: $31,685
Price as tested: $36,755

Engine type: 138 cu in, 2261 cc turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Horsepower: 332 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 350 pound-feet @ 3,000 rpm

Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
Length: 188.5 inches
Width: 75.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,500 pounds
City/highway: 22/28 mpg

Final assembly: Dearborn, Michigan

Website: Ford EcoBoost Premium

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the ClassicCars.com Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.

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