A Modern Retro-Styled Pony car
Does every Mustang have to be a 460+ horsepower, fire-breathing monster to have any fun? Spend some time in the 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost, and the answer becomes quite apparent—the hp is not needed.
The 2019 Mustang comes in three versions: GT, Bullitt and EcoBoost. Clean Fleet Report spent a fun-filled week in the Mustang EcoBoost Convertible Premium, coming to the realization that our recent time in the GT may have been exhilarating, but not at all indicative of what owning a version of the base model Mustang is all about.
Healthy Power and Performance
The rear-wheel drive Mustang EcoBoost comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter I4, producing a very usable 310 horsepower (hp) and 350 pounds-feet of torque. The engine is smooth, predictable and responsive as you go through the gears on the six-speed manual transmission. Ford has positioned the leather-trimmed shifter perfectly for angle and grip size, for slow or hard shifting. The clutch, with a good feel and smooth engagement, produced shifts with enough heft that reminds you this is a 3,676-pound Pony Car. In different iterations the 2019 Mustang is a true track star, and is now used in NASCAR.
The six-speed manual transmission allows the Mustang EcoBoost to be driven in a civil manner, including the option of leaving it in second gear to get around town. However, when it was go-time, the turbocharged 2.3-liter I4 came to life and was ready-and-able to spin the rear tires. The exhaust note was not nearly as throaty as on the GT with the 460-hp V8, but did have a satisfying grumble that increased when ramping-up to full throttle. Zero-to-60 mph times were right around 5.1 seconds. The acceleration is linear with no turbo lag. Pushback in the seat comes at 3,000 rpm and stays consistent and stout through the 6,500-rpm red line.
The EPA has rated the EcoBoost at 20 city/28 highway/23 combined. In 410 miles driving around Southern California we averaged 24 mpg, so right about as estimated. However, in a 100-mile run with the cruise control set at 65 mph, we averaged 34 mpg, exceeding the EPA figure. This fuel economy is encouraging, but it will take a wide-open road to equal it. The real world of driving fun, or getting hung-up in stop-and-go traffic, will use more fuel.
The fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific. They represent the reviewer’s driving experience, but should be similar to most drivers living in our reviewer’s cities. If you live in cold weather, high in the mountains, spend time in the city or stuck in rush hour traffic, your numbers may differ.
Top Down Fun
Clean Fleet Report took delivery of a 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible in December 2018. If not in Southern California, this may be an iffy time of year to put the top down, but heck, never tell someone from California they can’t do something. As it turns out, we had six beautiful days and one with rain. For a drought-stressed state, there are no complaints. The power top on the Mustang is operated by turning three latches and the pushing of a button. Up and down was a matter of a few silent seconds. When down, the cabin is largely protected from wind, especially with the windows up. With the top up, noise is well damped-down as the top is lined and insulated.
Once out on the road, the 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost has an easy learning curve. The electric power steering delivered good road feel, aided by Pirelli P Zero 255/40R summer tires on optional 19-inch aluminum wheels. The grip was excellent, thanks in a big part to the independent rear suspension, only under the hardest of cornering did the rear end have to catch-up with the front. This became predictable as the optional MagneRide damping system kept the rear tires planted.
The 2019 Ford Mustang interior has a comfy and retro feel to it. Gauges are large and easy to read, with black backgrounds with white letters. All controls, including the large dual zone climate control wheels, are within easy reach of the driver. Clean Fleet Report’s Mustang came with the Performance trim level that included leather-trimmed, black leather power seats with accent stitching on the seats, console and heated steering wheel. The materials were designed to be exposed to the elements, so they may not appear to be as upscale as found on other cars. The front seats were comfortable, while the rear is best for those of a smaller stature. Folding the split rear seat gives the Mustang the most versatility for stowing luggage and bags for long road trips.
The nine-speaker infotainment system includes navigation and SiriusXM/FM/CD/HDAM with MP3 playback capability. USB ports with iPod connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, music streaming via Bluetooth and hands-free phone capability complete the system. All this is viewed through a 12-inch, high-resolution LCD touch-screen. The SYNC Connect 4G LTE Wi-Fi supports up to 20 devices.
The Classic Mustang Look
A long hood with a short trunk lid sums-up the classic Pony Car design. Made famous in the 1960s by the Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger (and others), the look on all three continues to this day. The 2019 Mustang has its own personality.
Most Mustangs will be sold as a coupe which has the distinctive fastback design and is done in a modern retro-style, harkening back to the 1965 Mustang. From the LED head and fog lights to the sequential turn-signal taillights, the 2019 Mustang is a good-looking car. To be a bit unique, our test Mustang came in green, but not just any green—Need For Green!
Convenience and Safety
The 2019 Ford Mustang has available features of cruise control, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, rear vision camera, power and heated exterior mirrors, power windows with one-touch up and down, keyless start and entry, passive entry system and a theft deterrent system. Safety features include frontal and side impact airbags, tire pressure monitor and a reverse sensing system.
Pricing and Warranties
Clean Fleet Report’s 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible Premium had a base price of $36,360. With the 201A Package and other optional equipment, the MSRP came to $44,120. All prices exclude the $995 destination and delivery charge.
The 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost comes with these warranties:
Bumper-to-Bumper Three years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Five years/60,000 miles
Roadside Assistance Five years/60,000 miles
Corrosion (perforation) Five years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible Premium
What a fun car with affordable performance and attractive styling! The performance was more than adequate for a sporty drive, whether on mountain curves or cruising leisurely your favorite highway or back road. Where I live in Southern California, the Mustang convertible is a very frequent sight on Pacific Coast Highway or in the desert, where going topless is as de rigueur as anything else considered cool in the Golden State.
When visiting your Ford dealer, tell the rep you want to drive the EcoBoost and the GT coupe and convertible. This way you will know which of the iconic Mustangs could be right for you.
Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car. Happy Driving!
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Photos: Lex Adams
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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