March 01, 2016 By Vince Pornelos

2016 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost

Words and photos by Vince Pornelos

I honestly didn’t know what to expect of the Ford Mustang EcoBoost. The GT version, I’ve become familiar with, what with its carryover 5.0L V-8 that signifies affordable American performance. This EcoBoost, however, turns that concept on its head a bit.

In 2014, Ford released the all-new 6th generation Mustang along with the announcement that it will be for a global market. Design-wise, we can’t really say that it’s styled for global appeal because it’s still signature pony car all throughout. The long hood, the wide stance, the fastback profile are all signs that this is a Mustang and not any other pony car. The EcoBoost that Ford sent us actually differs little in appearance from the V8 we drove earlier with the exception of the GT emblem in the back and the black wheels. This one actually came in a very handsome shade of dark gray, giving the Mustang EcoBoost a rather sleek but stealthy look.

Open the long doors and the same, premium interior greets you. Practically all the features that were in the GT are here; surprising given that this is the local “entry” grade variant of the ‘Stang. If I was to go bit by bit, it’s actually hard to distinguish this cabin from the GT as well; about the only tell-tale sign is the presence of an oil pressure gauge and a vaccuum/boost gauge on the dash instead of a third central A/C vent.

The steering wheel is the same. The shifter for the automatic gearbox is the same. The pedals, SYNC, A/C, toggles and other features are the same. The big difference, however, are the Recaro seats. Expect a snug fit as these seats are designed to hold you in place during hard cornering.

Push the start button and the engine gets going. This 4-cylinder motor is half the usual number of cylinders one would expect in an American muscle or pony car, and at 2.3-liters is less than half the displacement of the V8. Despite that, at 310 bhp and 320 lb ft of torque, the EcoBoost (turbo direct injection) got 75% of the horsepower and 80% of the torque, all coursed to the rear wheels via a 6-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters.

On an everyday commute, the Mustang EcoBoost drives like any other normal car; well, apart from the challenge of parking with that long snout ahead. The engine and transmission combo are good, making for rather convenient driving in the city. The real surprise came in the suspension; unlike the GT, this one is quite stiff. So much so that it actually behaves (somewhat) like a European sports car, not an All-American one.

Once the turbo spools and the boost kicks in, this Mustang will surge forward with the arrival of thrust. 5.9 seconds is all it takes to dispatch 100 km/h from a standstill. Acceleration is not linear like the naturally-aspirated V8, but it’s certainly entertaining. Juvenile, but fun.

The same suspension that we found stiff showed off what it can do with the Mustang EcoBoost. There’s not much leeriness here; just good body control in tight bends and a planted footprint thanks to the Mustang-first independent rear suspension. The tires are also more performance-oriented Pirelli P-Zero rubber, not the P-Zero Nero version that was on the GT. No, this isn’t a one trick pony meant for quarter mile runs; it can brake and take on corners like no other production pony car before it.

Great and fun as the performance is, there is one thing seriously lacking: drama. As a driver, you know it has some good handling dialed in and the EcoBoost engine punches at a level above its displacement, but the turbocharged heart doesn’t have the audio that the V8 GT offers. There’s no 8-cylinder snarl at idle, that gruff note when you prod the throttle, or that macho roar when pushed into the higher limits of the RPM. And that’s a shame.

Ford did great with the Mustang EcoBoost’s overall performance, pricing and more. But cars like the Mustang are supposed to be bought for the experience, the sensation and the drama. Good as that EcoBoost is, the lack of sound takes away from the soul of this thoroughbred.


2016 Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost

Engine: Inline-4, 2253cc dohc 16V, turbo, 6-speed AT
Max Power: 310 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max Torque: 320 lb ft @ 3000 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 5.8 sec.
Top Speed: 240 km/h (governed)
Fuel Milage: 5.2 km/l City / 10.7 km/l Highway
Price as tested: PhP 2,499,000
+: Good power, better handling than expected
-: No V8 soul or drama
Editor’s ratingG: 9/10

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