An all new Mustang doesn’t come around very often, but when it does the car community never fails to notice. Coming in from a long line of legends, the Eco Boost is an American icon, of an all American entry-level muscle car and maybe the least Mustang Mustang of all the Mustangs. The wild pony has grown into a refined, capable thoroughbred, updated with the latest engineering and technological advancements. But don’t worry, though very modern, the iconic muscle car hasn’t abandoned its roots and pretty much retains its antiques. And has now found its way in the Kenyan market, no longer a luxury to just the Western World. The 2017 Mustang is an evolutional classic, notably with significant improvements in power delivery, handling and its coveted interior features, while retaining every ounce of its visceral appeal. No doubt, the 2017 Eco Boost is the best yet in the model’s 50-Year history. At first glance, the aggressive grill with a front mounted pony emblem giving the car a mean nasty look alongside a pair of HID headlights and accent lights, that are a throwback to the original 1965 Mustang, as well as a new three-dimensional interpretation of the classic tri-bar tail lights, fail not to strike one’s eyes. The redesign of its smooth trims and curves are proportional and unmistakable, long in front, short in rear. The new Mustang is lower and wider, with a wider rear track, rear fenders and a custom done aerodynamic front lip, giving it a more aggressive, hunkered appearance. With the car seated on 19-inch X 9-inch low gloss ebony black painted aluminum wheels to finish off its crisp and modern look.
In a nod to Mustangs past, coupes return to the fastback rear window. The new design helps the Mustang achieve a lower coefficient of drag, which helps it slip through the air more easily and perform more efficiently.
“It’s just a V6 Mustang.” A phrase that was so often spoken with derision and disdain, that it haunted owners of Ford’s more affordable and economical pony car since its inception. With 2015 marking the 50th Anniversary for the Ford Mustang, Ford went back to the drawing board, with the distinct goal of eliminating the stigma of the non-V8 Mustang. As well as making a less-thirsty Mustang, and they absolutely did. Even with aggressive driving the Eco Boost, consumes between 24-25 mpg city, with easy stretches in 6th gear, 31 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined.
It’s best to think of the new, four-cylinder, turbocharged Mustang EcoBoost as the entry-level model. But is this enough to appease those pony car fans that believe that only Mustangs with eight cylinders are worthy of the galloping stallion badge?
So what lies under the iconic long Mustang Hood you my ask. The 2015 Mustang gets power from one of three engines, including a new 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 EcoBoost engine that makes an impressive 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Base models use a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 hp and 270 lb.-ft.of torque. The Mustang GT gets a new 5.0-liter V8, with a new valve train and cylinder heads, as well as a new intake manifold for better low-speed aspiration. The 5.0 is no slouch, putting out 420 hp and 390 lb.-ft.
Unlike most car companies, Ford still has love for the manual transmission, as all car enthusiasts do. The standard gearbox on all models is a 6-speed manual with hill start assist, with just the right amount of feel through the gates, not too firm and not too sloppy. However, a 6-speed automatic sequential gear box is optional and available on the base model.
Even in normal mode, the transmission is geared on the sporty side, holding shifts longer and downshifting when revs drop and it does so without any histrionics or drama. All automatics come with paddle shifters, for those who want to click through their own gears.
The Mustang’s linear power delivery is bookended by some turbo lag at lower revs and boost that drops somewhat as redline approaches, however, Ford says the engine’s peak 320 foot pounds of torque is available between 2500 and 4500 rpm and 310 horses of power at 5500 rpm that drops off when approaching the redline. So it’s got torque, but is it fast? That’s depends on your definition of fast. Buff books say the EcoBoost ‘Stang will achieve 0-100 kph in just a shade over 5.5 seconds and complete the quarter in 13.9 seconds. That was fast some years ago, but today that’s hardly quick for some. When compared to a V6 Honda Accord it’s just two tenths faster through the traps. Fast or slow, you decide. However the EcoBoost Mustang requires a little persuasion to really move fast, whereas a V8 engine would seemingly have all the power, all the time. The addition of forced induction from the turbo charger however gives an extra punch in the boost more than enough to “nyama” the few aggressive drives out there. For a performance car, in the hands of a Kenyan stig, this is more than enough power for the Kenyan roads.
Handling is vastly improved on the 2015 Mustang, thanks to an all-new suspension. Up front is an independent double ball jointed MacPherson strut system, which also clears space for larger twin piston 12.5 inch vented rotors, down in the brake assembly. In back, the Mustang finally goes to an independent rear suspension (the setup of choice for most sports cars), using an integral-link setup that features retooled springs, dampers and bushings, helping to minimize body roll and isolate road imperfections for a responsive ride and precise handling.
The Eco comes with Aluminum rear knuckles and H-arms that reduce weight, replacing the previous live rear axle its predecessors had.
The car comes with various drive and steering modes letting you dial in the dynamics you want. There are four driving modes (normal, snow-wet, sport, and track) and three steering modes (comfort, normal and sport). With each restart they default to normal. All you have to do is flip the toggle switch on the center stack to get what you want. The Eco Boost features a dual exhaust with active valve performance exhaust which basically means that which means you can control the volume of your Mustang’s rumble.
Ford adds another level of finish to the Eco Boost Mustang. And you’ll feel it the moment you slide in – from the heated steering wheel with unique leather, to the color-accented leather-trimmed seats, to the unique color-accented door trim and Linked Graphite aluminum appliqué on the dash. Fitted with an 8-inch LCD digital cluster, as well as hand stitching on the center console, a wrapped knee bolster with accent stitching and shifter boot with stitching. The dash is nicely laid out, with all controls within easy carrying with it. The aviator theme delivers large clear gauges and information directly in front of the driver. The toggle switches and tactile knobs alongside a chrome-like trim or the “ground speed” speedometer, vented and powered leather seats, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, the list of perks is endless.
The Eco is well complimented by a nine-speaker stereo Shaker audio system and once seated, forward visibility over its long hood is very good and much improved over the previous generation. The Interior quality was significantly improved in the 2015 Mustang, with soft-touch materials, comfortable seats and an attractive, logical dash layout. More features come standard, among them pushbutton start and Ford’s Sync voice recognition system. Small, thoughtful touches equate to more comfort, including a narrower center stack that leaves more knee room for the driver and front passenger, and the repositioned cup holders on the center console that leave a clear shifting path.
The car boasts top of the line safety features.Safety equipment on all Mustangs includes a post-crash alert system, seven airbags, including dual stage frontal, front seat side impact, side curtain and driver knee; antilock brakes, electronic stability control and 911 Assist crash notification system. Optional safety features include reverse parking sensors, blind spot alert with cross-traffic monitoring and adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation.
The car is reasonably well specked for the money and with the keys in your pocket at the end of the day, you’ll be driving a 3,500-pound, turbocharged, rear-drive coupe with 310 horsepower. The Mustang badge on the nose is just a bonus.
by Leone Tsuma (Daimlar Motorsports Kenya)