2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

It’s been a long wait for Shahzad Sheikh to finally sample the new Mustang, what did he make of the Ecoboost? Here’s the definitive review

By Shahzad Sheikh

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

For 2015 the Mustang got all new looks, as well as body, suspension, interior, in fact pretty much all-new everything except for the good ole five-point-o. I still think the 2010-14 Mustang is the second best looking Mustang ever after the 67-68 Fastback, but this new 2015 car with its lower, sleeker, less upright and more swept-back style is a very sexy head-turner.

Plus it gets a totally revamped interior and the suspension is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century with indies on the rear mounts. And how can you not love the cool Mustang logo projected from the side mirrors at night?!

I’ve been desperately waiting 15 months to sample the latest iteration of this legendary muscle car – and here I finally get my first taste, albeit in its least musclely form featuring half the requisite muscle car cylinder allocation.

See my video review

What’s an Ecoboost?

This is actually the mid-range Mustang, not the entry-level car – believe it or not, that’s the V6 version. This 2.3 four-cylinder Turbo unit makes a little more power and a load more torque churning out 310bhp at 5300rpm and 320lb ft of torque at 3000rpm (V6 manages only 300bhp and 280lb ft).

The Ecoboost will get from rest to 100kph in 5.5 seconds utilising a six-speed auto in this case – obviously through the rear wheels – and will reach 240kph (I mistakenly said 250kph in the video above). Ecoboost price is AED175,000, or AED185,000 for this ‘full-option’ car as tested here.

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

How is it inside?

Whilst the signature doubled-hooded Mustang dashboard and large twin dials remains, the quality, fit and finish of the cabin will be unrecognisable to previous Mustang owners – it’s that much improved. Okay it’s not quite at Audi levels and perhaps the shiny bits are a little too shiny, but the layout and design are superb, and I adored the little details like the toggle switches. There’s a proper handbrake, a manly transmission lever and a slightly dished steering wheel.

Stuff I don’t like is that I couldn’t see a way to display the speed on the digital screen between the dials, the sat-nav appears an after-market after-thought and there’s too many buttons on the steering wheel, but I’ll save my biggest bugbear for the seats.

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

They look great and offer manual tilt adjustment with powered sliding and powered lumber, plus the head restraints are both height and tilt adjustable, but for some reason, try as I might I could not get comfortable. Perhaps it’s more to do with my tall ungainly frame, but it felt like for my upright seating position the lower part of the backrest dug into my back, whilst offering insufficient support for my upper body.

Aside from that, the fronts don’t automatically slide forward for access to the rear, which can make it difficult to enter and exit the rear, not that full-size adults would be comfortable back there. It’s strictly a 2+2 and the rears are best left for occasional use or small children if at all – even then be mindful that for the driver’s seat, as soon as you switch off, it slides back by itself and the kid behind is going to start screaming into your ear – mine is still ringing!

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

Having said all of that, there is a lack of vibration and harshness, and a quietness and refinement, not to mention a smooth and supple ride, not heard of before in a Mustang. Seats aside, you could go miles and miles in this car in supreme comfort – it actually makes for a very good grand tourer.

Other things worth mentioning – an SD card slot, two USB slots (one in the cubby, one in the dash), Bluetooth connectivity, a fantastic Shaker stereo with great bass, touch screen display, the instrument lights go blue at night, plus there’s climate control, collision alert and an excellent active cruise control.

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

Fast? Does it handle?

The on-paper numbers suggest it’s quick and the real-world experience confirms it. It’s not a grunty, meaty, thundering sort of quick, but an urgent, eager, frenetic sort of quick when the turbo’s really on song. What that means is that it won’t break traction at the off, but it will hook up and gather significant momentum until it runs out of puff at around six grand.

In a straight-line that’s alright, but if you’re negotiating a series of bends like in the video above, you find that you need to keep it on the boil in one of its six gears to keep it in the torque band. Knowing how soon you’ll exhaust that, you try to blip down for a lower gear into a sharp uphill bend, but as the revs and speed take a while to die down, the transmission won’t let you have the lower ratio which it locks out. By the time you engage it, you’re already through the exit point.

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

Using the paddles is fun, but the response isn’t as snappy and instant as I would have hoped, and it may well be better to just leave it in Sports mode. By the way, in addition to Sports mode for the tranny, you get driving mode options including Sports, Sports+ and Track, as well as Sport or Comfort mode for the steering. I’d recommend keeping the steering in Sport for the nicely weighted feel, but leaving everything else in normal until you’re on it, then selecting Sport+.

Whilst this is a more composed and less manically alarming car to haul through corners than the previous Pony, it does have some typical Mustang traits. There is a nose-heaviness about it, a bit of understeer as you work to coax the front into the corner, then it settles in as the newer suspension takes over and you get a neutral (though not oversteery) run out of the corner. There can be a bit of float like an old Mustang and you do feel the mass and bulk of this car when you really start to wrestle it through the twisties.

Having said that, it handles difficult roads way better and with more eagerness than its predecessor, although I think a manual gearbox would be better – not just for more fun, but in order to access the motor’s torque and engine braking when you need it. In longer, faster sweepers though, it holds momentum very well and its mass is less obvious.

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

Verdict

It’s a beautiful thing, better put together and presented than ever before. It’s got all the toys, is a joy to be seen in, and a cool car to beat around town with. With a manual gearbox and a lower starting point for price, it would be a threat to Japanese sport cars like the Nissan 370Z and Toyota 86, but that glorious long bonnet stretching out before you from the windscreen (great to see they’ve kept that character trait) suggests there should be, and needs to be, a much more substantive lump within.

Pricewise it’s only a short jump up to a V8 (add in five grand to get into a manual) and the fuel savings won’t be that significant, at least not the way I drive. I managed to get the fuel consumption figure as high as 16.7L/100km average over a long run, that’s not exactly thrifty, though I wasn’t sparing many of the 310 horses. Drive it gently and you’ll save fuel, but is that why you want a Mustang?

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Video Review

Quite aside from the fact that it simply doesn’t have the low speed burble and the high-reaching growl, the Ecoboost engine – such a delirious delight in the Focus ST (in 2.0-litre guise) – just doesn’t feel like a Mustang power unit to me personally. What I am delighted to report though, is that the 2015 Mustang body does seem to retain its illustrious forebear’s DNA, and you get the sense that this is a car demanding to be satiated with proper muscle.

We’re in the Middle East after all, where you don’t buy sports machines for low pollution and fuel consumption qualities, you buy them for grins per klicks. The Ecoboost Mustang is a worthy new contender and there is a lot that I like about it, but not enough to want it over traditional American V8 muscle. Bring on the five-point-o!

2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost 2.3 – The Specs

Price: AED175k-185k ($48k-51k)
Engine: 2.3-litre Turbo four-cyl, 310bhp @ 5300rpm, 320lb ft @ 3000rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 5.5secs, 240kph, 9.8L/100km
Transmission: 6-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1650kg

Let us know what you think of the Ford Mustang Ecoboost below

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