2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Review
Isaac Bober’s 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Safety, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: The Mustang EcoBoost is the cheapest way into a Pony car but while it has the looks, the four-cylinder engine may turn some off.
2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Specifications
Price From $49,990+ORC Warranty five years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety three star ANCAP Engine 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Power 224kW at 5600-5700tpm Torque 441Nm at 3000rpm Transmission six-speed manual (as tested); 10-speed automatic Drive rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4789mm long, 1916mm wide, 1387mm high, 2720mm wheelbase Weight 1705kg Boot Space 408 litres Spare Space Saver Fuel Tank 59L Thirst 8.5L/100km claimed combined
The Ford Mustang EcoBoost arrived in Australia towards the end of last year and followed the release in June of the updated V8-powered Mustang GT. With the arrival of the EcoBoost, Ford crowed about having the most customizable Mustang line-up ever. But, the question remains…is a four-cylinder Mustang really a Mustang?
Watch our video review of the Ford Mustang EcoBoost.
What’s the price and what do you get?
The exterior and interior changes for the Mustang EcoBoost reflect those on the Mustang GT that arrived here in June last year. And that means, the sleeker looking, vented bonnet, new grille and headlights, bumper and sharks gill taillights to better tie in with the front lights. There are 19-inch, black alloys as standard.
On the inside, you get a similarly updated cabin reflecting key changes in the V8 Mustang GT. That means, soft-touch materials across the dash, as well as heated and cooled front seats, dual-zone climate control, 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Ford’s latest-generation SYNC3 operating system and a12.4-inch digital display instead of an analogue cluster. There’s also a 12-speaker 1000W Bang and Olufsen sound system as standard.
The Ford Mustang EcoBoost also falls into line with the active safety features added to the V8 Mustang, including autonomous emergency braking. The Ford Mustang EcoBoost we’re testing is priced from $49,990+ORC making it the cheapest way into a Mustang. The next step up is into the Mustang GT at $62,990+ORC.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
Besides the handbrake being too far to the left (a hangover from the transition from left- to right-hand drive) the cabin is largely a triumph. The material fit and finish is good with soft-touch plastics just about everywhere you place your hand. The dials and switchgear are all nicely finished too and I particularly like the rocker-style switches at the base of the centre stack.
The seats are heavily padded and bolstered and are both comfortable and grippy when it comes to throwing the Mustang EcoBoost through corners. There’s decent adjustment on them although the back rest can be tricky to get in the right position; for me it was either too upright or too laid back – but I’m quibbling.
There’s not a lot of storage space in the front of the Mustang for things like your phone or wallet or even the key given it is keyless start. The door bins are quite small and if you use the cupholders then you can’t change gear as anything in them blocks use of the manual shifter. There’s a small centre console bin and the glovebox is on the small side too.
What about the backseat? Well, it’s okay-ish for children if you’ve got a booster seat that you can squeeze into the back but it’s impossible for adults to use. There’s no legroom, minimal footroom and no headroom and there’s no rear headrest. If you watch the video above you’ll see how I try and crumple myself into the backseat; it wasn’t comfortable.
The boot offers around 408 litres of storage space and unlike the Mustang GT which only offers an inflation kit, the Mustang EcoBoost gets a space saver spare. Sure, it’s not as good as a full-size spare but it’s better than a can of goo which is only capable of patching a leak or small puncture and only while you limp to a tyre repair centre.
What are the infotainment and controls like?
We’re familiar with Ford’s SYNC3 system and while it’s very functional it’s not the most graphically appealing. The voice control component works well, though, and the breadcrumb function on the native sat-nav is handy, allowing you to find your way back from somewhere unfamiliar. The system also includes Apple and Android connectivity if you want to keep your interaction with it simple.
The controls for things like audio and climate are well laid out, if a little fiddly and I like the fact that the climate system can be controlled both via the touchscreen and via hard buttons and dials. The sound system is by Bang & Olufsen which has got plenty of punch and clarity of sound.
Then there’s the 12.3-inch digital instrument display. This thing is customizable, either via driving mode, colour and look. You can get it to display gear-shift points, g-force and even a track timer. You can delve into its functionality via the ‘pony button on the steering wheel. This also allows you to adjust the way the Mustang EcoBoost sounds.
What’s the performance like?
This is where we start to get to the meat. There’s no doubting the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine is a fine engine but it’s not a V8 and it doesn’t sound like a V8. No matter how you fiddle with the sound enhancement functionality, it’ll never sound like a V8. And that, I think, colours your drive experience because you’re not hearing the noise you think you should be hearing when you see the ‘pony’ badge on the steering wheel.
Noise is one thing, but what’s the engine actually like? Well, it offers 224kW and 441Nm of torque which is a decent amount of grunt but this thing lacks the urgency in power build-up the V8 offers. Sure, it gets along fine when you put your foot down and you’re in the right gear but there’s never really any surge ahead.
And, drop back a cog to overtake and there’s a moment where it feels as if the thing is taking a breath and then it starts to build. The difference in characteristics between the V8 and four-cylinder is not so much in power but in torque, the V8 just has so much more torque that everything feels effortless. In the Mustang EcoBoost it feels like it’s working harder to achieve the same end.
Our test car was fitted with a six-speed manual, so, whether the engine would feel different/better with the 10-speed automatic, I can’t say. The manual transmission offers a mechanical-feeling shift and the clutch action is nice and progressive. It’s an easy and well behaved shift whether you’re being slow or fast with it.
What’s the ride and handling like?
This is where things move a little in favour of the Mustang EcoBoost but only in so far as turn in is concerned. The lighter engine means you don’t get the nose-first attitude of the V8 Mustang, meaning it’ll hold off understeer a little longer. Indeed, the Mustang EcoBoost certainty feels more agile through corners than its V8 sibling.
And being a little lighter and with less grunt to overwhelm the tyres means the Mustang EcoBoost feels a little grippier than the V8. Even on a wet day during our test, the thing really had to be provoked to get the rear to step out and then when it did, a simple lift was all that was needed to bring it back into line.
Where it would be worth investing, though, is in the ride. The Mustang EcoBoost is available with Ford’s fantastic MagneRide dampers ($2750) and they’re worth every single dollar. In standard form the ride is a little too bouncy and especially so in the rear.
At low speed the bump recovery is fine but when you increase the speed, or introduce, say, a mid-corner bump then the dampers struggle to keep control of the body movement with the rear taking a moment or two longer than it should to recover composure. The rear end bobble can be a little disconcerting when travelling at speed, and something you don’t experience in a Mustang with MagneRide dampers.
Can you tow with it?
No, the Mustang isn’t designed for towing.
Does it have a spare?
Yes, a space saver spare which is speed and distance limited. It’s intended to help you limp to a tyre repair centre and not be driven around on for days.
What about ownership?
The Mustang EcoBoost is covered by Ford’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. The service schedule is set at 12 months or 15,000km with prices ranging from $345 to $400. Depending on your service plan, buyers are eligible for auto club membership, sat-nav map updates, low price tyre guarantee and more, so read the fine print.
What about safety?
The Mustang EcoBoost carries the same three-star ANCAP rating as the Mustang GT. It gets eight airbags, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam which is very effective, responsive and one of the better systems we’ve experienced, Ford MyKey which allows you to set parameters for the second key, lane departure warning and lane keep assist when the adaptive cruise is activated. There’s also autonomous emergency braking, rear parking sensors and a wide-view reversing camera although the picture is a little grainy, and tyre pressure monitoring system.