Review: 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium
Can the newest generation of an iconic American sports car fit a family? We traveled around town putting the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium to the test by grocery shopping, trying to get into downtown Atlanta during rush hour, and volunteering the kids to sit in the backseat for an hour straight.
Under the Hood
The 2015 Mustang EcoBoost is equipped with a 2.3-liter inline-4 cylinder engine. Among other high-tech gadgetry the EcoBoost features a twin-scroll turbocharger designed to mimic the quick response of two turbochargers. The EcoBoost pushes out a surprising (and very satisfying) 310 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque—torque that is available almost instantly thanks to the turbocharger. All that power is pushed through to the rear wheels via Ford’s SelectShift 6-speed automatic transmission with wheel-mounted paddle shifters if you are so inclined.
The Mustang is in its sixth generation with the redesigned for 2015 model. The previous generation was a great nod to the design of mid to late 60’s, a look Ford’s VP of Design at the time referred to the look as “retro futurism.” We felt that look was a lot more retro while the current design captures the futurism element. The Mustang has been one of the country’s most popular sports cars for half a century and still looks every bit like a muscular American.
That said, the 2015 Mustang is a beautiful car. It is I-remember-my-reaction-to-seeing-it-the-first-time beautiful. The trapezoidal grille and tri-bar headlights work with the long hood to make the car look like it is going 100mph when it is standing still. Creases along the hood and doors make it look sculpted to run. The stance was widened and lowered for the 2015 model year and gives the Mustang a lean, muscular look. Even with the muscular appearance, the Mustang still manages to not look heavy. The deck lid was lowered a touch and the rear glass was a little more steeply raked contributing to the athletic fastback look.
The size of the side view mirrors fits with the overall exterior aesthetic of the Mustang. We did have one gripe with them in that the viewing from inside seemed a bit small. Puddle lights in side mirrors are one of our favorite modern automotive conveniences. Even better when they are in the shape of the iconic running pony Mustang logo like our tester came with.
The Mustang has always been a sports coupe. It remains a driver-centered sports coupe. There are some descriptions in merchandising that refer to the vehicle as able to seat four. While there are a few four seater coupes out there, this ain’t one of them. Think of it as more of a 2+2 design and you won’t be unhappy when passengers refuse to fold themselves into the back.
Additionally on the negative side of the ledger, while that sexy pony car fastback looks fantastic as it steals headroom from the back seat making it so only those able to fit in with the paltry legroom are able to fit the rest of their body. The sloping roof also makes accessing the rear seats a chore best left to the smallest of riders. Our tween testers were not happy about their backseat experience.
Hopefully no one looking at purchasing a Mustang is doing so with a family hauler in mind anyway. We think of it more as something to use to escape the kids, and what an escape it is. The front seats wrap around each occupant in the comfortable, supportive way a sports car should. Deep side bolsters run up the length of the seat backs of the two front seats and provide that support. One front seat passenger found them a bit uncomfortable after a long trip in the passenger seat. From the driver’s seat however, it’s just a nice hug from your car friend letting you know “we’re going to straighten this curve together.”
Fit and finish inside the Mustang was solid. The leather seats were truly a thing of beauty. While the cockpit was close, it never felt cramped, or limiting. The long doors cause the B-pillars to be pushed back and Ford decided to send the seatbelts with them. This made reaching the seatbelts an event befitting a contortionist. Two cupholders are set into the console. They are adequate and nothing really special save for some soft ambient lighting in the bottom. There is adequate storage under the console armrest, but it requires the same bendy arms as the seatbelt.
We were big fans of the dash and center stack design. Everything we needed was easily within reach. Nothing required us to move our eyes from the road for more than a split second. The design is a perfect blend of retro and modern.
The center of the Mustang’s infotainment hardware is a MyFord Touch 8” touchscreen that is plenty big enough for both front seat occupants to see and control the SYNC software. Ford’s touchscreens are designed to require a deliberate touch and almost gives the feeling of pushing an actual button. It is easy enough to choose your option without inadvertent selections. SYNC continues to be one of the easier systems we have used.
The 8” screen takes up a large portion of the center stack, a stack which is necessarily compact to maintain the driver focused sporty cockpit. Ford manages beautifully. Analog audio and HVAC controls are mounted below the screen in a unique layout that made sense as soon as we saw it. The layout, size, and arrangement of the buttons created a sophisticated simple look.
The Mustang drives really well. Road conditions are communicated through the wheel and pedals enough to give feedback without any harshness. Our issue was we felt we were driving a well-made mid-size sedan as opposed to an icon of the American muscle and sports car scene.
The EcoBoost engine pumps out an unexpected 300 horsepower, and it does so smoothly with no feeling the engine is working hard and there are no noticeable turbo issues. There was no engine roar, no expectant burble at idle tempting us to stomp the throttle. Driving dynamics can be adjusted via toggle switches at the bottom of the stack. Steering, engine and transmission responsiveness, and electronic stability control can be manipulated to customize your driving experience. We tested out the steering Sport mode which gave us a more dynamic driving experience. We just felt there could be more to it.
Important Numbers for Families
- 4 – Ford calls the Mustang a four passenger vehicle. Ford’s being generous. It has four seats.
- 27 – Our automatic fastback was advertised to get 21 city/32 highway. We averaged 27 mpg in a mix of city and rural road stop and go driving. On the highway, we got the advertised 32.
Family 5 Test
- Car Seats – Don’t try it. Just… yeah, don’t.
- Coffee Cups – The Mustang’s two cupholders are functional. If you’re looking for rear cupholders for your backseat passengers, you’re asking too much (and leaving us wondering why you’re subjecting people to riding in the backseat).
- Luggage – The trunk of the Mustand provides more storage room than you’d think. We comfortably fit two carry-on suitcases plus a backpack in the boot.
- Golf Clubs – Call a friend and ask them to pick up your clubs and take them to the range for you. Or, throw them in the back of your F-150 and drive that.
- Groceries – While you’re not going to get an entire Costco run in the trunk of the Mustang, there’s more than enough space for a full grocery run’s worth of bags and a case of beer.
If you are looking for a sensible get-away-from-the-kids option, the Mustang with the EcoBoost should be at the top of the list. It’s got get-up-and-go aplenty, craftsmanship evident throughout, and an un-muscle car like average 24-26mpg fuel economy. If getting away from the kids doesn’t require practicality, save up a little more and go for the 5.0.
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all photos courtesy of Ford