top of page

Mixed Messages: The 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost front 3/4 view

There are definite advantages to driving two versions of the same car back to back.

Last week, I reviewed the 2024 Ford Mustang GT. Now I've driven the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost rear 3/4 view

I drove both versions (well, BULLITT and Ecoboost) in the last generation, but about three months apart---and I always wondered why more people didn't like the EcoBoost. Same body, lighter nose, better fuel economy and under five-second 0-60 times. All for about eight grand less in base price than the GT.

And look, it's good---really good---especially at the price point. But I get it now.

The GT is better. And I can make that comparison because I drove them back to back.

Part of the problem is that Ford has made two performance versions of the Mustang here.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost hood up

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost engine

The Mustang EcoBoost has a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. 315 horsepower, 350 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 in 4.9 seconds and an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined city/highway.

The GT's 5.0-liter V8 makes 480 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. 4.3 seconds to 60 and 18.5 mpg combined city/highway.

Which, on paper, looks like a pretty significant penalty for 6/10ths of a second to 60. But you don't drive paper, and zero to 60 is just one metric.

As I said in my review of the Mustang GT, it's a car you can leave in third gear and instead of downshifting when the revs drop, just punch it. That torque---gobs of it---is always right there.

To access the thrust in the EcoBoost, you pretty much have to rev the daylights out of it, to keep the engine in boost, avoiding the little bit of lag when you wake the turbo up. If you could get a six-speed manual in the EcoBoost, you could do that. But the only transmission available---a ten-speed automatic---fights you, shifting to the highest gear and the lowest revs possible every chance it gets, even in "Sport" mode. That's its job---lowering revs and working with a turbo four to get decent fuel economy.

Yes, you can put the automatic into "M" and use the paddle shifters, but there's a good two-second lag in the upshift from first to second and a fraction of a second for every gear change after that.

And it might not be so irritating if the Mustang EcoBoost weren't otherwise filled with performance potential---if it were like the old six-cylinder automatic Mustangs that offered the looks of the car without any expectation that you were buying a performance car.

But every Mustang Ecoboost comes with a limited-slip rear axle, selectable drive modes and track apps, which sets an expectation the powertrain struggles to meet.

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost trunk open

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost trunk

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost rear seat

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost front seats

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost front seat detail

In the case of our tester, the extra-cost options just raise the bar even higher. $1,650 RECARO seats, an active valve performance exhaust ($1,225), the 2.3 High Performance Package (3.55 Torsen rear axle, 19-inch carbonized gray-painted aluminum wheels on 255/40ZR summer tires, Brembo brakes with performance linings and black calipers with a white logo and the Magneride damping system) for $3,475.

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost instrument panel

The base price of a 2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Premium is $38,040. Standard at that price are approach lighting, automatic headlamps, LED headlamps and taillamps, rain-sensing wipers, a six-way power driver's seat with power lumbar (swapped out in our car for the optional RECAROs), ambient lighting, dual-zone electronic climate control, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, illuminated sill plates, leather-trimmed seats and a healthy suite of active safety features.

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost steering wheel and information display

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost center console

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost center stack

There were also non-performance related extra-cost options on our car---$3,000 for Equipment Group 201A (Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+, a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system, premier trim with a color accent, a security package and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system), and $200 for floormats.

That puts the bottom line on the window sticker at $47,590.

And that is just $2,905 less than the as-tested price of the 2024 Mustang GT I reviewed last week. Unless you're sweating insurance premiums or fuel costs (in which case you're probably not shopping Mustangs), it's hard to make a case for not just buying the GT.

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost front view

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost side view

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost rear view

Ford has a lot invested in perpetuating the performance image of the Mustang. Judging purely from how many I see in rental-fleet lots, the EcoBoost probably delivers a healthy paycheck in terms of fleet sales. So it needs to exist.

But does it need to be a performance variant---especially with the GT so close and the Dark Horse above that? Is there a case to be made for the Mustang Ecoboost being a 275-horsepower car, available as a coupe and a convertible with sporty looks but no sporting pretensions?

Ford didn't ask me, but I think that would be a Mustang with broader appeal and a target that's considerably easier to hit.


MHC Banner.png
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • X
bottom of page