First Drive: 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible 2.3L EcoBoost
When you think Mustang, you think all American Muscle – big V-8 engine – manual transmission – pure adrenaline of raw power at your fingertips. So when Ford’s latest EcoBoost Technology found its way into the new generation Mustang – it had us needless-to-say, curious. Because while this new tech works great with the new F-150 and Edge, is it enough to entice buyers into buying what supposed to be an iconic symbol of American Muscle?
On paper, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost has all right vocabulary that us guys are looking for: 310-horsepower, 320lb-ft of torque, and rear-wheel drive. It’s a receipt that should work. Hitting just over 6 seconds to 60 mph, the Mustang’s 2.3L is no chump when it comes to hustling into traffic junction and even though our tester arrived with an optional $1195 six-speed automatic, it was constantly smooth sailing. But there is a problem with the convertible, according to other sources the 3.7L V-6 can hit 60 mph half a second quicker and the 2.3L Fastback (with the roof attached) is even quicker than that, so it makes us wonder why would we go with the 2.3L EcoBoost Convertible in the first place?
Two main reasons for that, first, the 3.7L V-6 was mostly designed for rental fleets, so you won’t be able to get all the goodies that come with the 2.3L EcoBoost – like the leather seats and touch screen infotainment system. Second, the 5.0L V-8 GT starts around $43,000, so if you want an open top cruiser with all the latest gizmo’s the 2.3L is going to be your best bet. Besides, a convertible isn’t always about performance, it’s about cruising, and enjoying the drive… Wind in your hair, open road…
During the day-to-day mush of traffic lights and stop-n-go traffic, the 2.3L EcoBoost is a smooth riding engine – it accelerates effortlessly and the six-speed autobox shuffles through its gears pleasantly. It was once we put our foot down however, it was to say, a muted, uninspiring experience. But there is a fix – popping the gear lever into Sport and adjusting the Drive Mode out of Normal into Sport +, the whole driving dynamic changes. The gearbox becomes more assertive and ready by holding its gears, throttle responsiveness increases and the steering wheel gets tighter. The change was so dramatic we wanted to leave it in that mode during the duration of our week – but we wanted to be somewhat economical with our fuel consumption. There is an eagerly pleasing Track Mode where a helmet illuminates on the dash and turns off the traction control system – we’re adventurous, but not that adventurous on public roads.
In previous generations, where the Mustang’s chassis wasn’t actually built for curves or ride quality, this new generation fixes all of that. Thanks to the new rear independent suspension system and front double-ball-joint MacPherson strut suspension system – both with stability struts – the ride quality is a lot smoother and controllable than before. Under everyday driving conditions the suspension copes well with the day-to-day drama and once we decided to do a little misbehaving, the suspension allowed us to be little hooligans without having an over dramatic response . Cornering was firm and snug providing minimal body roll but at the same time though, we weren’t trying to break its confined limits. With the Electric-Assisted steering system, there are three available modes Normal, Sport and Comfort – all designed to adjust the firmness in the steering wheel that allows for a certain level of feedback, Comfort works best for parking and Normal is great for everyday – Sport is much more dynamic with its inputs. We found Normal mode to be good enough for our needs and provided relatively decent feedback of road feel.
One of things we didn’t care for on the previous Mustang was its over compensating looks and cheap interior feel. This 2015’s sleeker design profile and relatively aggressive front fascia design give the Mustang presence – a much more premier look. The standard 18-inch aluminum wheels come off rather basic, but do look good against our Deep Impact Blue Paint. Adding standard HID headlamps with LED fog lights and a signature three-bar LED daytimes lights is a nice touch of quality. But the icing on the cake was our Mustang illuminated puddle lamps – to us it was a bit cheesy but the public thought differently every time we went to unlock the car – it’s a nifty touch to something we didn’t expect to have.
Most improved however, the interior refinement. The cabin incorporates a good use of soft touch materials and a higher quality use of accent trims. Most of all though, it’s the little details that make it theatrical and adds a little pizazz like the push button starter, the stainless steel switches and the gear lever release – it all has a quality feel to it and looks pretty grand. The design works very well here incorporating hidden details of old mustangs – everything is laid out in an easy to access function and even though our steering wheel was loaded up with buttons, it’s quick to figure out. You can even change the ambient mood lighting and gauge clusters color – how unnecessarily cool is that!
Our featured black leather interior was surprisingly comfortable and very well bolstered. Even though they were power adjustable, some manual adjusting was still required, which was a little strange. No matter, both front seats were also heated and ventilated. And while there is plenty of room for the front occupants to move about, rear passengers will have a hard time finding something nice to say – not exactly adult friendly.
Let’s talk convertible – taking up to 10-seconds to open the roof, you’ll never have to worry about head room. With the roof up, the cabin is reasonably quiet – minimal wind and road noise and has no problem keeping the cabin cool during hot days. With a convertible, blind spots are a huge problem, with this, there is some, but not as intense as we have found from other convertibles – plus our Mustang included Blind Spot Monitoring, which was nice. Roof down, and wind noise is still relatively considerate – even with the windows down, we could still talk with our passengers, listen to the radio and even talk on the phone.
Included with our tester featured the $795 voice activation Navigation with MYFORD SYNC touch screen infotainment system – the system has gotten better over the years and is much more intuitive. The touch screen is responsive and easy to navigate; however, the voice activation was not so much – it didn’t understand addresses or contacts. The optioned $1195 Adaptive Cruise Control is always a nice a feature to have, and works well here with the Mustang, adjusting its speed smoothly, never harsh like some automakers (who shall remain nameless.)
When looking at the purpose of the 2.3L EcoBoost, fuel consumption is its main objective – EPA rates the Mustang Convertible at 20/30/24 (City/Highway/Combined) – we tried our best, but only managed to average 22 mpg combined on premium fuel and approximately 400 miles of range.
Starting at $34,800 the Mustang Convertible 2.3L EcoBoost seems like a reasonable all-around cruiser that were happy to write a check out for – after tackling on a few more options like the $1795 Equipment Group 201A (Includes Shaker Pro 12-Spearker Audio, Memory Driver Seat, HD Radio, and Blind Spot Monitoring), $395 Premier Trim with Clear Accent GRP and $295 Rear Park Assist (which will park for you), we were out the door $41,295 after its $825 destination charge. It’s bit expensive for our taste and would almost be worth forking out the $42,800 (starting) for the 5.0L GT V-8 – sure it won’t have Navigation or Adaptive Cruise, but let the smile on your face tell you otherwise.
|Price (As Tested):|
|2015 Ford Mustang Convertible Premium EcoBoost:||$34,800|
|Reverse Park Assist:||$295|
|Premier Trim with Color Accent:||$395|
|Voice Activation Navigation System:||$795|
|Six-Speed Select Shift Automatic:||$1,195|
|Adaptive Cruise Control:||$1,195|
|Equipment Group 201A:||$1,795|