2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost. Image by Robin Warner

2024 Ford Mustang Review: Progress in a Nutshell

Raspy, energetic noises from the exhaust and 315 horsepower sent to the rear wheels makes the Ecoboost a worthy Ford Mustang. In fact, the Ecoboost coupe is the sharpest handler of the line-up.

What’s Good
Stout power and torque from the turbocharged 2.3-liter. Nice and raspy sound from exhaust. Lighter front end, gives the Ecoboost coupe nice, responsive turn-in.
What Could Improve
No manual transmission offered. Convertible structure is noticeably weaker than the coupe’s, which hurts the driving experience. Over 30K starting price.
My Conclusion
From a pure driving enjoyment point of view, the Ecoboost Mustang Coupe’s poise and fast reacting front end is a ball. But if you can afford the GT, the soundtrack alone is worth the price.

OVERVIEW

The 2010, S197 generation Ford Mustang GT weighed about 3550 pounds and its 4.6-liter V-8 produced 315 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft of torque. Now the 2024 (S650) base Ford Mustang, or Mustang Ecoboost, weighs about 3550 pounds, makes 315 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft of torque. And it does so with half the displacement and cylinders, albeit with help from a turbocharger. That’s progress in a nutshell.

Conversely, that’s not a big change from the outgoing S550 generation Mustang Ecoboost. The biggest difference here comes from the interior, which is now awash with digital screens. You get a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster, with several screen designs, my personal favorite being the 87-93 Fox body screen. And right next to it, a 13.2-inch center console touchscreen with tons of tricks up its sleeve.

2024 Ford Mustang. Image by Robin Warner
2024 Ford Mustang Fox body gauges. Image by Robin Warner

For a more in-depth review, please read my story on Gear Patrol

Solid Base Powertrain

Ford offers but one powertrain arrangement in the Mustang Ecoboost: a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four-cylinder engine that started life in the now defunct Ford Focus RS. It ties to a 10-speed automatic transmission and sends power to the rear wheels. Compared to the high-revving V-8, it sounds meh. But more broadly, Ford deserves accolades for tuning a stout, raspy exhaust note for its Mustang’s base engine.

It’s a bummer to not be offered a manual transmission, but as automatics go, this is one of the best to drive for enthusiasts. First of all, a simple brake torque will spin up the rear tires and deliver strong acceleration off the line. From there, you get fast shifts and generally nice gear selection. Ford also appropriately changes the shift pattern in the different drive modes. In track mode, the box reliably keeps you in low gears and high revs for good corner exit. It’s good fun!

DRIFT BRAKE

The big news, and the neatest of several neat tricks, is the Performance Electronic Park Brake or Drift Brake as everyone calls it. Developed with Vaughn Gittin Jr and RTR, the drift brake looks like—but takes the place of—a standard cable actuated hand brake and will electronically lock the rear brakes and send the rear axle sliding, but with a bit modulation to not make it an instant spin fest.

To have legit drifting capability—from the factory—is something to applaud. And it works…with practice. Getting the timing right of when and how much throttle to add after initiating the slide takes a bit of finesse. But once you’re honed in, it’s fantastic fun.

But you don’t need the drift brake to have a good time. It’s clear Ford is getting comfortable with an independent rear axle and turned the Mustang into a true, full fledged sports car. Especially with the performance pack, which includes adaptive shocks, a Torsen limited-slip differential, staggered wheels, and performance tires among other things. And that’s true for both the GT and Ecoboost Mustangs.

With it, you get lots of grip and chassis balance that leans lightly on understeer, but is easy to balance through a corner with the throttle. Chuck it in to a corner and you get good turn-in response and reasonable feel of the road underneath you. The Ecoboost weighs about 250 pounds less than the GT and, as a result, feels even sharper and more nimble.

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost. Image by Robin Warner
2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost. Image by Robin Warner

As long as you’re in the coupe. The convertible structure loses a lot of rigidity and limits how much sport engineers could tune-in to the chassis. The performance pack is largely wasted with the softtop, it’s much better for cruising the boulevard than carving up canyons. Enthusiasts: stick with the coupe.

IN CONCLUSION

Base price for a Ford Mustang Ecoboost starts above $33k. That feels a touch steep for a base Mustang. But driving it feels a step above what a “base Mustang” has traditionally been. It’s quick, engaging, and genuinely entertaining to drive. And fun tricks like the drift brake and real deal improvements like the performance pack give you options for real high level driving and solid performance.

COMPETITORS

Cadillac CT4
Subaru BRZ
Volkwagen GTI

SPECIFICATIONS
2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost: 2-door, 4-seat, coupe
Base price: $33,160
Price as Tested: NA

Powertrain:
Engine: Turbocharged 2.3-liter I-4
Power: 315 horsepower at 5500 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft at 3000 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Drive: rear-wheel-drive

Fuel Economy (std./Perf pack)
22/21 mpg City
33/29 mpg Highway
26/24 mpg Combined

Dimensions
Length: 189.4 inches
Width: 75.4 inches
Height: 55.0 inches
Wheelbase: 107.0 inches

Weights and Capacities
Curb weight: 3588 lbs.
Interior volume: 83 cu ft
Cargo volume: 13 cu ft
Government classified size: Subcompact car

Performance
Calculated weight to power (lbs./HP): 11.4:1
Mfr’s claimed 0-60 mph: NA seconds
Mfr’s claimed Top Speed: NA mph

Test Car Options: NA

Learn more about the Ford Mustang GT here

Looking for something more track focused? Check out the brand new Nissan Z Nismo.

2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost. Image by Robin Warner
2024 Ford Mustang Ecoboost. Image by Robin Warner

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