2015 Ford Mustang Review

2015 Ford Mustang - The 2015 Ford Mustang's popular four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is a good compromise between a Mustang V-6 and V-8.


Price: $29,300

Many sporty car buyers desire the best of two worlds. That is, they want power and good fuel economy, which long were mutually exclusive with regular gasoline engines.

Ford came up with an answer for folks by creating the turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, which does well in its sporty Mustang. It's no surprise that the EcoBoost has been a hit in 2015.

The rear-drive Mustang got sleeker styling for 2015, along with an upgraded interior and an independent rear suspension for a smoother ride and improved handling.

The EcoBoost isn't very large at 2.3 liters, but it develops a muscular 310 horsepower and 320 pound/feet of torque, thanks to a design that uses direct injection, dual overhead camshasfts 16 valves,  variable valve timing and, most importantly, turbocharging.

I recently tested a Mustang EcoBoost and found its engine provides fast acceleration in town and on highways. It lacks the throaty sound of the Mustang V-8, but comes close. The 0-60 m.p.h. time is approximately 5.6 seconds.

The EcoBoost has a welcome broad, flat torque curve that delivers instant response with either the standard 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. I could detect no "turbo lag" with this engine.

My test car had the 6-speed manual. It has a firm, precise but occasionally notchy action and works with a stiff, long-throw clutch that takes some getting used to.

Other Mustang engines are a 3.7-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower and less torque than the EcoBoost or a storming 5-liter V-8 with 435 horsepower.

The EcoBoost has estimated fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on highways with the manual and 21 and 32 with the automatic. With a V-6, the estimates are 17 city and 28 highway with the manual and 19 and 28 with the automatic, despite the V-6's lower horsepower.

As might be suspected, the mighty V-8 provides an estimated 15 and 25 with the manual and 16 and 25 with the automatic.

While billed as a four-seater, the Mustang EcoBoost is really suited for only two adults up front and kids or very short adults in the rear.

Although it's technically a "pony car" or "sporty car," the Mustang is widely referred to--usually by uninformed media folks--as a "sports car." But, considering that it's essentially a two-seater for adults, that description isn't too off the mark.

As with many sports or sporty cars, you must "drop into" the low-floor Mustang and climb out to leave it. Getting in the rear seat is a trial for a taller adult, with limited entry room and a seat belt that gets in the way.

The Mustang has a good-size trunk for a sporty car, but it has a rather high--although wide-- opening. Rear seatbacks flip forward to allow more cargo room, but don't sit entirely flat.

The interior is quiet, but has few storage areas. A humorous touch is a  speedometer that has the words  "ground speed," besides conventional speed markings. Console cupholders are conveniently placed.

 A plaque also says "Mustang since 1964," as the car was introduced in the spring of that year, although it was officially a 1965 model.

The Mustang EcoBoost is well equipped. Standard items include a button start, heated and cooled power and leather-trimmed driver and front passenger seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium sound system and 18-inch aluminum wheels.

There also are cruise control, tilt/telescopic wheel,  rearview camera, remote keyless entry and power windows, locks and rearview mirrors with turn signals that fold back to help prevent close-quarter parking damage. Sun visors even have mirrors with dual lights. And, naturally, the dual exhaust system has bright exhaust pipe tips.

For extra-hard-charging drivers, my test Mustang EcoBoost  had such options as the $1,995 EcoBoost Performance Package with such items as 19-inch summer performance tires on black aluminum wheels, heavy duty brakes and unique suspension tuning. The rear spoiler is deleted with this package.

Toggle switches on the console adjust steering effort, engine response and transmission and electronic stability control settings using available selectable drive modes.

There's Normal, Sport, Track and Snow/Wet modes. The electric steering gets heavy in Track mode, which really isn't meant for street driving. The car rides firmer in that mode, but the suspension remains supple. The traction control system automatically shuts off in Track mode. And the brakes work very effectively with no extra pedal effort.

Other options for my test car included $1,595 Recaro bucket seats that help hold you securely in place during brisk driving and are best suited to accompany the Performance package.

There also was $295 reverse park assist, $1,195 adaptive cruise control and a $795 voice-activated navigation system.

Safety items include a variety of air bags.

Nobody once thought a major automaker would come up with a production 300-horsepower V-6, but Ford has gone a big step beyond that with its four-cylinder EcoBoost.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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