Eight is Not a Magic Number

There are enough articles about EcoBoost Mustangs that begin with some declaration about eight being the magic number for the number of cylinders a Ford Mustang should have. I’m no different. I like the V8 Mustang. The words mesh together beautifully, like the phrase two-day shipping or the number 357 in front of the word magnum.

However, Ford has been shoehorning the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine into their prince pony car for half a decade now. Recently, Ford gave me the opportunity to spend a week with a 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost with the top down and six-gears to manually shift. The main thing I took away from this experience is the EcoBoost engine is the low-cal V8 option. 

Exterior 

What we are looking at is possibly the last of the current sixth-generation Ford Mustang as news of an all-new Mustang is said to be hitting showrooms as soon as 2022. Like a new haircut, one gets used to seeing just before it’s time to go back to the barbershop or salon.

The Ford Mustang’s Velocity blue paint lassoed the eye into paying attention to it as it drove by. The subtle Metallic Gray hood stripes contrast with blue give the car a proper American sports car look. 

The narrow, angled headlamps give the Mustang a cocky but not overly confident fascia. It’s a handsome car that proved to be photogenic. A Ford Mustang is by no means a rare sight on the road, but even still, the 2020 Mustang stands out in a crowd. 

Interior 

This Ford Mustang is equipped with the premium package that offers heated and ventilated leather bucket seats.  The convertible top folds up and down in seconds after moving a handle in the center of the windscreen’s frame. Panoramic sunroofs retract slower than it takes the 2020 Ford Mustang to undress its soft-top.

While cruising around downtown San Antonio, my cowboy hat stayed on my head without feeling the wind wanting to whisk it away. With the roof on, the Mustang is surprisingly quiet, reducing the outside roar to a whisper. 

Premium midnight blue seats are comfortable and supportive, but the ventilation motor is noisy. When the seats are cooling, it sounds like the AC is on full blast directly behind you and not powerful enough for Texas in August.

The trunk is larger than you’d expect once you get past the narrow opening with plenty of room to fit several luggage cases or squeeze in a foldable baby stroller. 

Performance 

The standard 2.3-liter turbocharged Ecoboost engine produces 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. If you opt for the 2.3-liter high-performance spec, that power output gets bumped to 330 horsepower. Either or delivers more than enough grunt to make the turbocharged four-banger Mustang a genuine sports car.

Inside the cockpit, the engine has a satisfying and instigating rumble as you accelerate off the line. But before you get excited, you should know that like a 50 dollar diamond ring – it’s fake. The engine noise you hear on the inside is not what people will listen to on the outside as you zoom past at 4,000 rpm. 

The EcoBoost Mustang uses audio to bump in engine rumble noises into the cabin. Some have argued that this is cheating and would rather listen to the engine in its true voice. However, the other side of the argument is “what’s the harm?” The fake engine noise is mainly for the driver’s benefit. While artificial, the noise is what you want to hear in a car of this pedigree. 

The EcoBoost Mustang convertible featured in this review is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The short-throw shifter is ergonomic and is right where you need it when your right leaves the steering wheel to shift.

While driving, I found shifting from third down to fourth to be my favorite as it slides in a pinky finger’s worth of effort and rewards the driver with a steady pull of power. 

During my “empty road in Mexico” test, I discovered that the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible doesn’t want to go faster than 122 mph. Much less than the hardtop model, and it means that most 2.0-liter turbocharged sedans on the market will outrun this pony car on a long enough straight away. 

I expected the mpg to be better. During a week of testing that included two 150 mile drives, I averaged 22 mpg combined and 25 mpg on a highway. Better than a V8, but not by much.

The convertible EcoBoost Mustang’s starting price is $32k, with the premium model starting at $37k. The 2020 Mustang EcoBoost convertible shown in this review was priced at $40,280. 

Final Thoughts 

If you want a 2-door sports car that’s larger than a Mazda MX-5, more powerful than a Subaru BRZ, available with three pedals, with room in the back for miscellaneous cargo. The Mustang EcoBoost checks all the boxes.

This four-cylinder turbocharged pony car offers competitive handling, classic styling, and rear-wheel drive fun. It’s a sports car you can drive to work and be the hero car of a weekend adventure. Yes, the engine note you hear may be fake, but it doesn’t hurt the car’s appeal. 

The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible delivers a satisfying blend of comfort and agility. It is a suitable sports car for crossing state lines on an open-ended road trip or hitting the apex on a twisty back road.

EcoBoost Mustangs can run in their own herd. The days of looking down on four-cylinder Mustangs are all but gone – thanks to the EcoBoost engine proving it can do as much with less. It’s a performance car with fewer calories, a V8-lite.