2015 Ford Mustang Fastback EcoBoost – The Statement Car

I have always had a soft spot for Mustangs, but my driving experience of a 2012 Ford Mustang V6 convertible left me second guessing what suddenly felt like an unjustified passion. The EcoBoost might have been the antidote to that.

I can hear you from miles away, all offended and stuff. A four-cylinder Mustang, what are you thinking? This is a pony-legacy sacrilege. The eighties proved us how terrible a four-cylinder engine in a Mustang can be. Those are normally the comments of people who haven’t driven said 2015 four-cylinder turbo version. Because let me tell you, you might change your mind. And then once you fall in love all over again,  you will tell me I was right and the little dancer inside of me will be doing the tarantella. Because I know I am right. And the 80s have absolutely nothing to do with it.

The four-cylinder is a novelty of the new generation Mustang. The model celebrated its 50th last year and for the occasion, it received a brand new design, a new platform and a new powertrain option. Everyone agrees to say that Ford surpassed themselves and built one of the best versions yet, but design-wise, the opinions vary greatly. In fact, the remodelling has been quite considerable and had to be adapted to the model’s new worldly calling. If you want my opinion, and I am going to guess you do, I absolutely love it. It grows on you. When the model was unveiled last year, I had to squint my eyes a little, step back and analyze what was in front of me. The feline headlamps and shark nose profile have added a touch of elegance to an otherwise muscular design. Because that’s what sells a Mustang.

It now has a little European flare blended in with the American character, like having an espresso with your T-bone steak. Just like me (that is, if you replace the American with Canadian)! We were destined to get along. And along we got. Cladded in race red, with 19-inch glossy black wheels and oversized calipers, that car is all up in your face. Taking its wheel is a statement and you better own it because it will not go quietly. I got a few thumbs up and watched a bunch of kids get excited over it and point fingers. That’s the Mustang effect for you.

The cockpit is elegant with a mix of soft-to-the touch materials and carbon-fiber appliques. And them Recaro leather seats! They will not fit any silhouette (in fact, a colleague told me he was too big for them, without him being all that big at all). Regular leather seats are also available and will cost you about $1,000 less, so don’t worry about having to diet to fit into your brand-new Mustang. The EcoBoost Performance package adds a pair of gauges to the dashboard, for oil pressure and boost. At the center of the console, a massive 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, SYNC, satellite radio and climate controls (and a lot more). Obviously, it’s a coupe, so seating at the back is ideally reserved for very tiny passengers, or for the people you don’t like. However, the trunk space is respectable and your weekly Costco razia will easily fit. Baby’s got back; a 382-litre back. And thank god for all those driving assists (rearview camera, blind sport monitoring and parking sensors) because the teeny tiny side view mirrors on that massive car are close to useless. On the other hand, 360° visibility wasn’t as bad as I had expected. You won’t get sedan or SUV-good sight, but considering the sloping roof-line, it seems like the curve has just the right angle not to entirely cancel the blind-spots out.

This new generation also receives a lighter and improved platform with (hallelujah!) new independent suspensions at the back for improved handling. A switch panel on the central console also allows you to select from a range of drive and steering modes that will add precision to the handling. I liked the more responsive Sport steering mode that felt a little heavier to the touch, more visceral, better grounded. The car and I were one. I was the car. Even in Normal or Comfort modes, the steering didn’t feel as lazy as I have sometimes witnessed in bigger (and even smaller) cars.

That automatic transmission though… In purely automatic mode, it felt like the system gulped at every gear change, something I hadn’t quite experienced before. The effect is not as obvious in Sport (manual) mode using the paddle shifters, but then the transmission cheats a little and doesn’t let you rev up the engine, changing gears for you when it decides you’ve had enough fun. Despite being laggy, the transmission works well with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. Rated at 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, most of that awesomeness is available to you as soon as you hit the throttle. Unlike the former generation’s V6 everyone likes to talk about, that totally didn’t do it for me. Don’t hit the throttle too hard though, because then you get the usual split-second hesitation all automatic transmissions get. The secret is to press gently, like you don’t want to startle it, and you will find the acceleration much more satisfying.

The fuel economy is actually pretty close to Ford’s predictions. The car’s specs announce a 9.4L/100km combined average, and after a very let’s-call-it-dynamic week at the wheel of the ‘Stang, I managed to get a 9.8L/100km combined average. Kudos to Ford for the realistic numbers. The entry level version of the new 2015 Ford Mustang starts at a little over $24,000. The version I had for the week was equipped with a range of features, including the EcoBoost Premium and Performance packages and the Recaro leather seats, bringing the price up closer to $43,000. However, you do not need to pay your car $45k to get something worth considering as there are plenty of packages and options that will allow you to get your Mustang, your way. I might not have had the occasion to drive the four-cylinder version from 30 years ago (because for most of the eighties, I wasn’t even born), but welcome to 2015 where the four-cylinder Ford Mustang EcoBoost is kicking the V6 in the gut.

 

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Sabrina is a woman who loves cars, but hates writing her own biography.

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