A four-cylinder engine has joined the 2015 Mustang range, and if you keep it on the turbo’s boost, you can have a lot of fun with it.
Few nameplates are as storied as the Mustang‘s.
The redesigned 2015 emphasizes the original fastback’s look.
Everything about this car looks strong. This is your view forward as you reach for the door handle.
The front end is sharp with angles and a squinty expression. Where the original Mustang had a wide-open look with round headlights, this new one has a predator’s gaze.
The hood strakes present a muscularly rippled view from behind the wheel, but sometimes, the right strake can keep you from accurately placing in traffic the sheetmetal that lies to the other side of it.
There’s a neat complexity to the front end’s elements. They all relate in a thoughtful way, and the fit and finish on the test car was admirable in pulling together lines between three different body panels.
Mustangs are available in three basic trim levels with three different engines.
This harkens back to the ’80s, when both Mustangs and Camaros could be had with weak family-sedan fours that got their sedan brethren rolling through their errands, and you could upgrade to a six or eight.
In the 2015 Mustang‘s case, the six is the standard engine, and it’s not just for errands. For $24,700 including destination charge, you can have a V6 Mustang with 300 horsepower.
Unfortunately, you can’t have much else; here is where Ford apes other manufacturers who limit options on their base models to kick buyers up the price ladder. You can get the HID headlights, Reverse Park Assist and the Active Anti-Theft System With Perimeter Alarm…
…but you can’t get most of the other options that the EcoBoost and GT offer.
Stepping up from the V6 to the $26,200 EcoBoost turbocharged four adds 10 horsepower and dual six-way power seats, an aluminum-finish instrument cluster, Active Noise Cancellation and a wider variety of performance options.
The test car was the EcoBoost Premium, which adds leather, satellite radio, premium interior trim, dual-zone climate control, and heated and cooled front seats.
Just as the base Mustang V6 is excluded from certain options, so too are the non-Premium EcoBoost and GT.
You must get the Premium if you want Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning and Rain-Sensing Wipers, for instance.
Same with the Navigation and the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert – they’re offered only on the Premium trims. It’s always disappointing to see safety features being restricted to the most expensive versions, when these are systems from which all drivers could benefit.
The EcoBoost‘s turbocharged four-cylinder made a convincing case for itself, albeit not in the way we typically expect muscle cars to react.
As with any turbo engine, there are two periods: boost off, and boost on. Off the line, this engine lacks the grunting torque of the GT, and so this period of being off-boost isn’t as inspiring as the launches you could pull with the GT, or perhaps even the base V6.
Fortunately, there isn’t much waiting for the boost-on period to begin above 2,500 rpm, and the accompanying thrust feels strong and expansive. It’s more indicative of the EcoBoost’s 310-horsepower rating, which Ford notes was measured on 93-octane premium fuel, even though it’s listed as needing only 87. So you may need to spend a bit more at the pump to get the fullest of your EcoBoost’s potential.
The test car had the $1,195 six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and its gear changes were firm and quick. Its Sport mode allowed for long runs up the rev range, which the EcoBoost engine didn’t seem to mind.
The test car also $1,995 EcoBoost Performance Package. In addition to a 3.55 ratio limited-slip rear axle, it includes these Pirelli P Zero summer tires mounted on 19-inch wheels. The Mustang already has little body roll and communicative steering, and these tires helped to make it even more tossable.
The real fun was kicking out the rear end in tight curves; this behavior was easily controlled and readily accessible, especially if you had the turbo on the boil.
In these instances, the mid-sized Mustang felt almost flickable, and you didn’t need to hit superlegal speeds to have a bit of sideways fun. An occasionally jiggly ride is one side effect.
Inside, the EcoBoost Premium’s cooled seats were great at keeping your back dry on a hot summer’s day.
Side support is generous, and those broad of shoulder will appreciate the wide berth these seats give.
Unfortunately, the driver’s side power lumbar support is not adjustable for height, and so it dumbly pressed into my tailbone.
For that reason, I’d request a test-sit in the $1,595 Recaro sport seats.
The rear seat is kid-sized…
…and the seatbacks fold down for longer cargo.
The trunk is shallow but has decent depth. The 12-speaker Shaker sound system plugs in the subwoofer on the right.
The instrument panel reflects the quality upgrades brought by the 2015 redesign.
The Premium’s aluminum trim is striking…
…and the gauges turn green when the lights are switched on.
Ford’s upgraded Sync 3 system is scheduled to hit the 2016 Mustang, and so the 2015 test car made do with the current generation. Sync 3 promises simpler menus and quicker reactions to your touch, and we’d certainly welcome those improvements.
The Mustang EcoBoost’s claim to efficient performance – its overall 25 mpg EPA rating beats the base V6 (22 mpg) and the GT V8 (19 mpg).
As with any turbo, you’ll need discipline to keep your foot out of the boost to reach that rating, even though the meat of the Mustang’s fun is smack-dab in the middle of the turbo’s urge.
So if you’re looking at Mustangs, you’d want to give both the EcoBoost and the GT on some long test drives. Each has their own appealing flavor.
Restrictive option availability
2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium
Base Price: $29,300
Price As Tested: $37,790
Equipment Group 201A – $1,795
Shaker Pro Audio System With Hard Drive
Memory Driver’s Seat And Mirrors
BLIS (Blind Spot Information System With Cross Traffic Alerts)
6-Speed Select Shift Automatic – $1,195
Enhanced Security Package – $395
Active Anti-Theft System
Wheel Locking Kit
EcoBoost Performance Package – $1,995
255/40R19 Summer Tire
Rear Spoiler Delete
3.56 Ratio Limited Slip Axle
19-Inch Ebony Black Painted Aluminum Wheel
Reverse Park Assist – $295
Voice Activated Navigation System – $795
Destination Charge: $825