We fully understand that having a muscle car is about having a gnarly V8 under the hood that can roar away at stoplights and eat “ricer Civics” for breakfast. Although, some of those Civics can be pretty fast. So if you can’t beat them, join them, with the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. This base model Mustang has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood and has the handling prowess of a much smaller car, all for a price tag that’s well under $30,000.
A high-performance proposal
Believe it or not, one of the best parts of the entry-level Ford Mustang is what you see upon lifting up the hood. Powering the base model is a 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 330 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough power for daily driving duties. If more power is what you desire, then you can opt for the Performance Pack will net you 332 horsepower and 350 lb-ft, thanks to a Focus RS-derived engine.
Transmitting the power to the rear wheels is either a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. You can expect 0 to 60 times to be in the five-second range for the base model and somewhere in the four-second range when it’s equipped with the Performance Pack.
It can handle it
The Ford Mustang has long been known as more of a straight-line performer, thanks in part to the live rear axle setup that older Mustangs had. However, the 2020 Mustang has an independent rear suspension (introduced on the 2015 model) so it can take corners just as well as any other canyon-carving sports car.
According to U.S. News, the Mustang EcoBoost is light on its feet and delivers an engaging, yet comfortable ride with solid steering feedback and athletic cornering capabilities. Those are some strong words for a car that used to have more muscle than fancy footwork, but times sure are changing.
The Ford Mustang EcoBoost has a starting price of $26,670 which gives you 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, four-way manually adjustable seats, push-button start, and Track apps, which display performance information like lateral acceleration. If you really need options like the SYNC 3 infotainment system, bigger wheels, a spoiler, and dual-zone automatic climate control, then you’ll have to step up to the Premium trim level that costs just over $30,000.
While the Ford Mustang EcoBoost is shunned by some Mustang enthusiasts, we would say that it could be one of the smarter buying decisions in the Mustang lineup. While having 480 horsepower could be loads of fun, it’s not always needed on a daily commute. In fact, having a smaller and less-powerful engine means that you can rev it out in between stoplights without worrying about getting into too much trouble.
However, we will advise that the Ford Mustang EcoBoost is still a four-cylinder at the end of the day, so it won’t sound as muscular or as loud as you might hope. Then again, you could always add a freer-flowing aftermarket exhaust, but then you’ll run into the danger of sounding like a “ricer Civic.”