Model tested: 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible
Engine: 2.3-liter, high-performance EcoBoost 4-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Torque: 350 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 20/city, 28/highway, 23/combined
Base price: $32,780
As tested: Unavailable
Overview: Yeah, you read that right — an inline four-cylinder Mustang delivering 330 horses to the highway. Like most manufacturers, Ford has eschewed cars in favor of trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles — except for its iconic Mustang. The 2020 Mustang features familiar retro styling with contemporary performance and handling. EcoBoost and GT models come in fastback coupe and convertible versions; Bullitt and Shelby Mustangs are only coupes. The convertible is the vehicle this review focuses on. Redesigned in 2018, the 2020 Mustang boasts a new, higher-output version of its 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant — basically, the turbo-4 from the Focus RS — along with handling components from the GT’s performance package.
Walkaround: The 2020 Mustang takes numerous styling cues from the iconic, late-’60s versions while stylistically evolving, with a tilted-back nose and slim horizontal headlights above the wide fascia. With the top up, the convertible roofline hasn’t really changed. With it down, the smooth flow of the character lines run over the hood and along each door, while the front fender lines flowing into flared wheelwells are accentuated. The look is finished off with C-shaped taillights reminiscent of the 1968 Shelby GT500.
Interior: The retro look continues inside but is somewhat tarnished by hard plastics, although soft-touch surfaces, contrast stitching and carbon fiber trim negate some of that. The Mustang offers ample space for two adults. The back seat is mostly for show, not occupancy. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, with sufficient power adjustments and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with controls for several functions. Head clearance with the top up is sufficient — and, of course, unlimited with it down. Standard instrumentation is old-school — with a digital gauge cluster available. Trunk space measures 11.4 cubic feet in the convertible and 13.5 in the coupe.
Behind the Wheel: All Mustangs are performance-oriented. The upgraded turbo-4 in our test driver featured the high-performance package boasting 330 horses — V8 performance unheard of in a four-banger a decade ago — doing the 0-60 drill in less than six seconds. The turbo-4 hit peak torque at low engine speed and never felt short on power, while the six-speed stick in our test driver was quite smooth. Handling is agile, nimble and quick, enhanced by communicative steering and available magnetic dampers that also smooth out the ride while improving handling. Ford offers numerous active safety features — however, none are standard. Options include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert.
Whines: The exhaust note sounds like a teenager with a big muffler on a ’94 Dodge Neon.
Bottom Line: Agile handling and a comfortable ride combine to make the 2.3-liter 2020 Ford Mustang a serious performance-car value. While we were initially skeptical about the four-banger, how can you argue with 330 horses?