​2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review

Like driving an actual Mustang horse

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Ford Motor Company of Australia 2016 Mustang Ecoboost
  • Ford Motor Company of Australia 2016 Mustang Ecoboost
  • Ford Motor Company of Australia 2016 Mustang Ecoboost
  • Ford Motor Company of Australia 2016 Mustang Ecoboost
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Gorgeous
  • Sexy
  • Goes fast in a straight line in the dry

Cons

  • Hates the wet
  • Doesn't like going round corners

Bottom Line

Thrilling and terrifying like driving an actual Mustang horse

Would you buy this?

Who loves this car?

Absolutely everyone loves this car. The kids love it. Ms. 3 said, “I like red, horsey car.” The neighbours all came out to look and point at it and ask for rides. The wives love this car, the guys love this car. We simply didn’t hear anything other than gushing about it. Looks from bystanders and van drivers at traffic lights were nods of approval if anything. There wasn’t a single wanker comment.

Is the car sexy?

In short, yes. We took our test lady-of-leisure out for a spin and she told us how much she's always loved Mustangs. So where in the car would she prefer to get frisky? After a slight pause and a cock of the head, we were given a resolute, “On the hood.” Others have since pointed out that, in America, Mustangs seem to be exclusively driven by middle-aged women, perhaps this should underline that the 2016 Mustang scores the highest sex-appeal rating that a car can - V8 version or not.

What about family types?

We fitted a toddler seat and a baby capsule in the back. This car will almost-comfortably fit four, but not if they all have long legs.

Engine?

2.3l Ford EcoBoost inline-four cylinder - 305 Horsepower (227kW).

What’s it like to drive?

A thrilling nightmare. In a straight line, in the dry, this car will put a smile on anyone’s face: it takes off fast and keeps on getting fast. But there are issues. On a mildly damp day, we damn lost the back end twice, just pulling away gently up a mild hill. On the second occasion snow/wet mode was engaged. From that point on, any desire to throw it around roundabouts and corners became an exercise in sphincter-tightening to the point where we really didn’t want to have the kids in the back for long journeys lest they be thrown out after the inevitable crash. Keyboard-wielding stunt drivers will scoff at this, but quite simply, getting anywhere near the edge of this car’s capabilities will be a fraught exercise for most normal people. It’s like driving an actual mustang horse. This is the epitome of stereotypical ‘Murican muscle car with all that comes with it. Here’s a video of one crashing while going in a straight line.

As for tootling around town, our main issue was having difficulty seeing the speedometer. The dial is obscured by the steering wheel from most angles. It just meant that in “safety cam"-rich areas looking to see how fast you were going could be quite an unsafe business.

In manual flappy-paddle mode, it's near undriveable unless you're already at speed. Accelerating from stand still while shifting from first to third will likely give you whiplash unless you're actually moving off the start line in a proper race.

Sound?

On a scale of car sounds which ranges from zero to the 1968 Mustang GT Fastback from Bullitt, this sounds like sadness and disappointment. At first. However, the performance that Ford has eked out of this four-cylinder engine deserves some serious respect. After our initial disappointment the mild, high-pitched whine started to put us in mind of the Millennium Falcon taking off. It’s a stretch. But it’s a comforting thought.

Build quality?

For a performance car this cheap, suspicions were raised. The leather seats are comfy while the important flashy switches all feel decent enough. There’s a great deal of plastic trim, though and some of the panels feel cheap, but as we saw with its admirers, absolutely everyone looks past that. This thing has got it where it counts.

That’s except for the flappy paddle manual gear changers. Gear shifters are regularly tactile things of beauty, instruments that connect flesh with machine in the most visceral way. Some particularly impressive examples can be seen here. Ford, however, has served up the design equivalent of Blues Point Tower. Perhaps they are trying to discourage people from using them which, frankly, is a good idea (see above).

Technology

The touch-screen display and accoutrements worked quite well and even the Voice Control understood what we said. However, this merely elevates it into ‘second rate’ bracket – the sooner all cars start using Android and Apple car software the better frankly – and we’ll keep saying that until we see an interface and screen that comes close to matching what a

Cruise control is adaptive meaning that it will match the gap with the car in front and automatically slow down when it does. The wipers are also automatic. Front seats are heated and cooled. Reversing camera is included.

Running costs

Expect to be getting around 16l/100KM (stated is 8.5 – 13.1). You can drive it more economically, but this is a Mustang. Why would you? Note however, that the EcoBoost version comes with thinner rear tyres than the V8 GT version. We feel this is a mistake not just for basic safety and performance reasons but because they spin up almost every time you pull away slightly-friskily. Rear tyres should probably be counted as a consumable. Front tyres, less so – they don’t seem to do much beyond keep the nose off the ground.

Prices

Fastback EcoBoost $50,000. Fastback EcoBoost Convertible $60,000 (our review model). GT Convertible $72,700.

Would I have it instead of a $10,000, 10-year-old Subaru Forester?

Read more: Subaru Liberty 3.6R 2016 review

No. I loved the Mustang. But not driving it for any purpose other than showing off. There are a few scattered around my neighbourhood now and I like looking at them. But that Forester sticks to the road (sealed and unsealed) meaning it goes round corners much faster. It also feels much safer for the fam. The Forester is slower off the mark and infinitely duller-looking, but for practical car ownership reasons… just no.

Verdict

Everyone loves this car, but driving one is the car equivalent of driving an actual mustang horse.

Having the top down doesn't always please people in the back.
Having the top down doesn't always please people in the back.
The kids love the illuminated "horsey on ground."
The kids love the illuminated "horsey on ground."
The wives loved it.
The wives loved it.
Unexpected family car.
Unexpected family car.
Trip Computer.
Trip Computer.
SatNav.
SatNav.
The 2.3l 4-cylinder EcoBoost Engine.
The 2.3l 4-cylinder EcoBoost Engine.
The keyles key: it's a bit plasticy, but it looks good.
The keyles key: it's a bit plasticy, but it looks good.


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