2015 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost

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You Don’t Need a V8 to Enjoy an American Classic

American muscle and V8 go hand in hand. While this may be a lawful saying, but the Ford Mustang begs to differ with its downsized 2.3L EcoBoost engine.

No, you’re not going to get that rumbling V8 engine noise upon engine startup; neither are you going to earn bragging rights for second gear burnouts. But the Mustang EcoBoost still holds a strong value in its performance capability with 310 horsepower, and 320 lb-ft of torque. And that’s all done while achieving a well respected fuel economy of 26/38 MPG in the city and highway respectively.

Bad Ass Looks

Design wise, the Mustang is simply a beautiful looking car. And that’s done while carving out modern super car curves while retaining some of the classic traditional Mustang elements such as the massive front grille and front hood, ultra short wheel overhangs and its long wheel base. The front and rear headlamps are both unique and awe inspiring with triple diagonal LED headlights followed by the same rear tail lights with sequential signals.

In terms of custom styling, Mustang offers a long list of purchase options including 12 available wheel designs with diameters ranging from 17 to 20 inches.

Interior decor details are minimal – and that could be intentional given its budget at hand. Overall scheme is homogeneous black with an 8″ infotainment screen with its cabin space insulated by somewhat decent plastic paneling. Steering wheel is small and feels assuring to the grip, but still could’ve have been made with better materials used.

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Our tested model came with an $1,800 Recaro bucket seat upgrade which provides excellent lateral support and cushioning – though sitting in a performance inspired position for prolonged period of times can be deemed to be uncomfortable.

More Than Just Looks

Ford definitely put in the engineering effort to improve the handling of the Mustang. Compared to previous generations, the new one now comes with independent rear suspensions for added stability, reduced body roll, and improved handling responsiveness and and handling precision. Technology is also incorporated into its electric power-assist steering offering 3 selectable modes between Normal, Sport, and Comfort.

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Things get serious when you move into the Track-tuned Shelby GT350. This one comes with dynamic MagneRide suspension, system capable of adjusting its damping settings thousands of times per second, finely tuned spring, sway bar and dampers, lighter chassis components, Michelin Pilot wheels and massive 15.5″ Brembo front and rear brakes with vented discs.

Road Practice

Unfortunately, the rated 310 horsepower engine output is only achieved with premium. We don’t have test results on regular, but a good guess would be around 285 hp. On low gears, the Mustang EcoBoost feels capable with its engine work output peaking in the 5-6k RPM range. Normally, there’d be lag inherent in any turbo system, but the twin turbo design in the EcoBoost engine helps with liberalizing the power output; though boost buildup is still noticeable.

Mated to the engine can be chosen with either a 6 speed automatic and 6-speed manual with our tested model configured with the latter. It’s definitely got a good throw with a very forgiving clutch pedal, but the transmission just feels too soft and lazy for any fast quick shifts.

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The Mustang has never been well known for its handling except for the elite trims, and this one shows. Simply put, it’s got a long wheel base with its chassis designed more for the launch off the straight line. Turning feels stiff and un-precise, but still manageable in the recreational level.

Despite its flaws (which all cars have), it’s still a fun car to both look at and drive in. And for its Coupe price point, the Mustang is perhaps one of the best looking cars with a well thought modern design pattern. Acceleration is silky smooth and the voice of the 2.3L EcoBoost in the cabin space is subtle and pleasant.

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What can be most appreciated with the 2.3L EcoBoost is its extraordinary EPA fuel ratings of 26/38 MPG in the city and highway – practically numbers unheard of in the performance category. Interestingly enough, the 2.3L EcoBoost engine power output is rated more than its 3.7L V6 at only 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.

Of course, if the 2.3L EcoBoost doesn’t hype up your adrenaline, the 5.0L V8 can be had in the GT model with an output rated at 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.

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