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2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Test Drive Review

By Derek Shiekhi | March 22, 2020

The Ford Mustang is a classic - no matter how new it is. For the 2018 model year, the Blue Oval updated it cosmetically and technologically. You can get a new Mustang with full LED lighting, adaptive cruise control, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

But the 2020 model is still lovably old-school in many ways. It's still rear-wheel-drive and available with a V8 engine, manual transmission and cloth convertible top. With its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed stick, the EcoBoost Premium Convertible (starting price: $37,185**; as-tested price: $41,375) I recently spent a week driving was an enjoyable combination of the past and present. 

2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Exterior

2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost exterior

The weather down here in Central Texas has been getting warmer and warmer by the minute. It’s basically summer already. My Mustang test car looked totally prepared for it in its vibrant and playful Velocity Blue Paint. Ford added a bit of throwback styling by dressing it in the Pony Package, which comes with a chrome “corral” for the front Pony emblem, side stripes, 19-inch polished aluminum wheels and tri-bar Pony badge on the trunk panel.

Some convertibles don’t look their best when their roofs are up, but the Mustang doesn’t have that issue. Ford did a nice job of making sure that the fully lined fabric lid has a fastback profile that flows into the top of the trunk lid. Of course, the Mustang convertible is even more attractive when its top is out of sight.

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2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Interior

2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost interior

Getting unlimited headroom only required flipping down and turning a ring above the rearview mirror and holding down a switch. A few seconds later, I had nothing but sky above me. Whenever I had the roof down, I had all of the windows up, too, which did a great job of controlling wind buffeting and allowed me to carry on a conversation with my girlfriend Eli without shouting.

I loved the fact that my press loaner had unusual Midnight Blue leather seats trimmed with Grabber Blue stitching – and three-stage ventilation to combat all of the sun they soaked up. They made putting miles on the Mustang and a higher speed on the 201A Equipment Group’s 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster even more enjoyable. Another major part of that package was navigation, which I could use by issuing voice commands or tapping the SYNC 3 infotainment system’s 8-inch touchscreen.

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2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Powertrain

2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost engine bay

Ford takes a completely different approach to sound with the EcoBoost Mustang than it does with the GT model. The V8 cars are all about the roar coming out of their rear pipes. My press car’s turbocharged 2.3-liter I4 engine itself seemed to be more vocal than its exhaust system. Its raspy snort only grew louder when I flipped the toggle switch to change the drive mode from Normal to Sport.

Every chance I got, I dipped deep into the EcoBoost’s rev range and indulged in its 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The clutch pedal was well-weighted and forgiving of less-than-perfect footwork. Whenever I needed to change gears, the shifter for the 6-speed manual was always within easy reach. Throws were reasonably short and smooth. Third gear was my favorite and made my right foot greedy for higher and higher RPMs. That explains my fuel economy. According to the EPA, my press loaner was capable of getting me 20 city, 28 highway and 23 combined mpg.* My enthusiastic Sport-mode drive through the winding turns of the Texas Hill Country contributed to my average fuel economy of 21.2 mpg.

The EcoBoost Mustang’s steering came as a total surprise. Having driven so many V8-powered versions of the current-generation Mustang over the past several years, I was so used to feeling a lot of weight in its wheel. Even though the EcoBoost model has a lot of mechanical similarities to the GT, its steering experience is completely different. It’s much lighter and has a liveliness to it that made each mile I drove more pleasant than the last.

The evening before Ford picked up my test car, I went out to a park to take pictures of it. I got done at the perfect time. The sun was setting, leaving a sky full of orange and pink and purple streaks as it went down. It was the ideal time to put the Mustang in Sport mode, drop its top and cruise home. What would’ve otherwise been a mundane, forgettable commute turned into a drive that I didn’t want to end. I was in the most modern, advanced Mustang ever, but I felt connected to all of the ones that came before it because I knew people in decades past had experienced the same serenity and wonder I did behind the wheel of a Mustang convertible and under the infinite sky above.

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2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Safety

Ford Mustang EcoBoost infotainment screen

I was even more relaxed knowing that I had a variety of modern safety features around me. In addition to front, front knee and front side-impact airbags, my test car protected me with a rearview camera and a reverse sensing system. The 201A Equipment Group fortified that security with blind-spot and cross-traffic monitoring.

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2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Overall

Ford Mustang EcoBoost rear shot

Ford has spent more than 50 years improving and refining the Mustang. It’s made certain obvious and necessary concessions to modern times and consumer tastes, but it’s managed to keep its icon’s heritage and some of its old-school charm intact in models like the EcoBoost convertible I tested. Despite its turbocharged engine and touchscreen navigation, it still gave me the ability to shift for myself and enjoy the open-air driving that only a droptop can offer. You can have that kind of timeless fun, too. Just go to your local AutoNation Ford dealership and take the 2020 Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible for a spin.

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Ford Mustang EcoBoost Specs

Layout

2-door, 4-passenger, sports car

Engine/Transmission

2.3L I-4

310 hp / 350 lb-ft 

six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic

Mileage

20/28 mpg (city/hwy)

NHTSA Safety Rating

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.