By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com

It may not have the power of a GT, Bullitt or Shelby GT500 but the Mustang EcoBoost with the optional high-performance package will leave any potential owner thoroughly satisfied. As we were recently while testing out the 2.3-liter inline-4 turbo EcoBoost pumping out 330 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 350 pounds-feet of torque @ 3000 rpm. Basically, it is a Focus RS power train. Add MagneRide adaptive dampers to smoothen rough surfaces, 19-inch Pirelli Corsa summer tires, and a 3.55 Torsen limited-slip rear axle, and you are in for a thrill of a ride! Standard was the seamless six-speed manual gear box. Drive modes in the fully-lined cloth convertible include normal, sport, snow/wet, track and drag strip.

An independent double-ball-joint MacPherson strut front and integral-link with coil springs rear suspension isolates occupants from road noise. Guiding the classic American muscle car toward its destination is a three-mode electric power, rack-and-pinion steering system.

That this is the ever-recognizable Mustang is evident as you stare at the long sculpted hood meeting a blacked-out grille with the offset tri-bar pony crest while 2.3L High Performance Package badges deck up on both front sides. And if you step back, you will admire the eye-catching three-LED bar sequential blinking signal light. The cabin is equally pleasing with the traditional dual-cowl-style dashboard and easy-to-toggle switches. Sync3, which accesses audio, telephone, nav controls via a voice command, 8-inch touchscreen tap or button click, is simple to use. Standard amenities include dual auto a/c, leather seats, manual tilt/telescopic steering column, power windows and locks, ambient lights, two USB ports and push-button start.

Dual front and side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbag, rearview camera, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic stability and traction control, front and rear three-point seatbelts, tire pressure monitor and daytime running light come at no extra cost.

The iconic Mustang is renowned for being exciting and nimble to engage with a cool and hands-on feel to the cabin. And it has always been sold at an unbeatable price. Same applies to the EcoBoost and the alluring high-performance bundle, which will impress even the hardcore GT and Bullitt fans.


Wheelbase: 107.1 inches

Length: 188.5 inches

Weight: 3,758 pounds

Fuel capacity: 16 gallons

City: 20 mpg

Highway: 27 mpg

Base price: $27,865

Web site: www.ford.com