2017 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Review

2017 Ford Mustang Ecoboost

2017 Ford Mustang Ecoboost

The Mustang EcoBoost is right for…

Drivers who crave a fine-handling pony car and consider a gas-slurping 435-horsepower V-8 overkill. The Mustang EcoBoost is arguably the best-balanced version of Ford’s four-seat coupe and convertible and uses a lively turbocharged four-cylinder engine in place of the Mustang GT’s heavier, more expensive – albeit, faster – V-8. Hone its road manners via the $1,995 EcoBoost Performance Package, stick with the standard six-speed manual transmission, add the worth-every-penny $1,595 Recaro bucket seats, and you’ve got a $30,135 two-door that looks as racy as it performs.

Pros include…

That gorgeous Mustang body and the opportunity to option any EcoBoost-version coupe or convertible with a plethora of show and go extras. EcoBoost is Ford’s marketing moniker for a family of sophisticated turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines. Mustang’s delivers an impressive 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque from a modest 2.3 liters. It’s forte is acceleration and throttle response from midrange speeds – perfect for quick passing or merging and for storming out of corners. Fuel economy is a palatable 24 mpg city-highway combined (on regular octane gas) — much better than the base V-6 or GT. The ‘17s are by far the best-handling Mustangs ever and the coupe – which is actually a hatchback – has good cargo space for a sporty car.

Cons include…

A back seat in name only: there’s virtually no legroom and passengers taller than 5-foot-3 have zero headroom beneath the coupe’s fastback rear window. Mustang’s classic rear-wheel-drive layout furnishes adept handling but can’t match the snowy-surface traction of front- or all-wheel drive. This is particularly true if you choose optional summer-tread performance tires, which are included in the Performance Package. While the EcoBoost four-cylinder is zippy enough – look for 0-60-mph in around 5.2 seconds with automatic transmission, 5.6 with manual – it’s a little lazy away from a stop and lacks oomph above 60 mph or so. Worse, this engine is coarse-running and the unexciting groans from beneath the hood and from the exhausts are inappropriate for a performance car. Finally, try not to get too smitten with that shinny EcoBoost convertible in the showroom; a loaded example in Premium-grade trim stickers for $43,885.

It costs…

Including Ford’s $900 destination fee, a 2017 Mustang EcoBoost coupe starts at $26,545 in base trim and at $30,545 in Premium form. The convertible comes only in the Premium grade, priced from $36,045. Add $1,195 if you want the six-speed automatic transmission, which includes steering-wheel paddle shifters. By comparison, base-price range is $25,545-$32,240 for less-sporty V-6 Mustangs and $33,545-$43,045 for the muscular GTs.

Base-trim EcoBoost Mustangs come standard with power front seats, keyless entry with pushbutton start, 18-inch alloy wheels, GT-grade brakes, xenon headlamps, and LED running lights and taillamps. Premium versions add heated and cooled leather front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, upgraded Sync 3 connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, turn-signal-incorporating mirrors, and other features.

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The best options are…

Those that set up the coupe for performance and position the convertible for cruising. For the coupe, get the Performance Package, which tunes suspension, steering and brakes for optimal handling; fits a limited-slip rear axle; upgrades interior trim and gauges, and supplies summer tires on 19-inch black-painted alloy wheels. To that, add the Recaro front seats; they lack power adjustments but are shaped to hold snug you and your passenger though even hairpin turns.

By offering the EcoBoost convertible in Premium trim only, Ford already figures droptop buyers have a taste for a bit more luxury. To complete the profile, add Equipment Group 201A ($1,795), with its blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic detection; memory driver’s seat and mirrors; ambient cabin lighting; and 12-speaker Shaker Pro Audio system. The Premium’s upgrade to Sync 3 makes it eligible for an imbedded navigation system ($795), which retains GPS mapping even without a cell signal. Rounding things out, add Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Mitigation ($1,195). This option upgrades the standard cruise control with software that can maintain a set distance from traffic ahead. It adds sensors that warn of an impending frontal collision and prime – but do not apply — the brakes. And it fits rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Superfluous options?

We’re gonna say the automatic transmission. It comes with remote engine start, which is a convenience, but it exaggerates the turbo-four’s vices. It makes the engine feel downright lethargic in the absence of turbo boost. In light-throttle cruising, for example, a stab at the gas pedal is met with a frustrating delay in thrust. Gone is your chance to exploit that opening in the next lane or to rapidly accelerate smoothly out of a corner. The slick-shifting manual is a far better match for this powertrain. Forego as well such gingerbread as the dorsal racing stripe ($475). The Pony Package ($995 coupe, $895 convertible) adds some unique visual touches but includes 19-inch wheels and tires that degrade ride quality without the benefits of the Performance Package’s enhanced handling. The black-painted roof ($695) is a similar affectation, though it does look pretty cool.

The Mustang EcoBoost is better than the…

Chevrolet Camaro 1LT with the turbo four-cylinder, which has less power and a less accommodating cabin; Mustang V-6, which costs only marginally less but offers no luxury or performance options; Dodge Challenger SXT Plus, a larger, heavier, far older V-6 pony car that suffers dull performance and offers no convertible.

The Mustang EcoBoost is not as good as the…

Mustang GT, rip-snorting coupe and convertible that crystalize what’s most exciting about this iconic Ford; Camaro SS, which costs more than $35,000 to get into and has that inhospitable cabin — but also 455 horsepower; and – steady now – the Honda Accord V-6 EX-L coupe with manual transmission, which has front-wheel drive, a creamy V-6, delightful shift action, a roomy leather interior, and sleeper performance.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]