Ford Mustang EcoBoost Is Not Just For Gearheads

Ford is relaunching the legendary Mustang Mach 1 for 2021.  I’m excited for it and can’t wait to throttle its big powerful V8 engine.  I’m also a fan of the demonic Shelby GT500 and its 760 horsepower supercharged V8.  Both grace the dreams of gearheads.  But the Mustang we have here will find love beyond hardcore enthusiasts.  It runs with an EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which proves you don’t need big power to enjoy the drive.

If you just flipped through the photos, you would never think there’s an engine with only four cylinders beneath the long flowing hood and behind a classic pony-strewn grille.  No matter what’s between the fenders, this is my favorite Mustang design with an aggressive stance accentuated by 18” wheels, fastback roofline, and wide rump with triple-barrel sequencing taillamps.  LED headlamps, foglamps, and triple lit elements behind each lens connect the car’s past to its future.  Full-length racing stripes and a subtle rear spoiler are perfect touches.

Back to that engine.  The 2.3-liter turbo-four delivers 310 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque through a six-speed manual transmission.  Not only is it a joy to click-flick the shifter through the gears, but it also contributes to frugal fuel economy ratings of 21/30-MPG city/highway.  It wasn’t that long ago that a Mustang GT with a V8 barely produced that much power and it sure as Henry didn’t get compact crossover fuel economy.      

Choosing a four-cylinder doesn’t mean you have to shop in the bargain bin of interiors.  Our Premium trim comes with heated/cooled leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and stitched coverings for the traditional twin-cowl dash.  Metallic trim adds flair.  An intuitive touchscreen employs intuitive icons for audio, climate, navigation, and apps.  Connect devices with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi.  Crank up the thumping audio and enjoy.

In the lower dash is a push-button starter and a series of toggles for the stability control, steering, and drive modes.  The last two allow drivers to customize their experience.  Select from light Comfort to heavy Sport steering.  The other switch primarily configures throttle response and stability control intervention when you move through Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Track settings.  Launch control mode gets you cleanly off the line.

But, driving this Mustang allows you to focus on the refinement you might not expect from a high-revving power coupe.  Especially with this generation’s independent rear suspension, the car has evolved into a car that hardcore enthusiasts can appreciate, but also one that import intenders will feel meets their high standards.  Steering is spot on and the car feels solid and planted no matter the road.  It’s a daily driver that enjoys a good romp on the weekends.  Rev it up, shift down, and let it rip.

I can’t wait to review the 2021 Mustang Mach 1, but all of that attitude is not necessary.  I would be plenty happy to have the EcoBoost in my own driveway.  It looks sexy, goes fast, and thoroughly comforts passengers.  Best of all, efficient fuel economy makes it inexpensive to operate.  Mustangs start at just $26,670, but our Premium edition came to a value-packed $35,850.  Competitors include the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Subaru WRX, and VW GTI.

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