2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium – Real-World Fuel Economy

Miles to Date: 15,894

Eric WeinerWriterJake HolmesPhotographer

The bar is high for this 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost, especially because it has the optional Performance Pack. We expect fun, fuel economy, striking looks, and performance to be bundled together in a tight two-door package. We already got our kicks wheeling it out at the Tail of the Dragon, squealing tires at an open track day, and impressing friends old and new with the EcoBoost's flashy Halloween-edition paint scheme. With all that out of our system, it came time for serious business: A real-world fuel economy test to see just how daintily the turbo-four sips its premium unleaded.

For comparison, and because we couldn't resist driving one, we also invited a 2015 Ford Mustang GT along for the 109.4-mile loop of mixed highway and back-road driving. The 310-hp EcoBoost is clearly no match for the 435-hp Mustang GT in pure brawn, but maybe, just maybe, its combination of fuel efficiency and performance would be enough for us to believe this four-pot pony is the better deal.

Over our drive loop, the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost trounced the GT even worse than we expected, despite pushing both cars hard on twisty rural two-lanes.. The EcoBoost averaged 29.5 mpg compared to the GT's 22.3 mpg. The EPA rates the EcoBoost at 21/32/25 mpg city/highway/combined, versus 15/25/19 mpg for the Mustang GT.

Considering that the base Mustang GT coupe is already $6,750 more expensive than the base EcoBoost ($33,295 versus $26,545), the four-cylinder makes a strong case for an enthusiast on a budget, someone who has to commute on the highway and doesn't want to shell out for frequent fill-ups. What's more, a lot of what made us choose the 2015 Ford Mustang as an AUTOMOBILE All-Star is still present in the EcoBoost version. "Sharp looks, great transmission, comfortable driving position, good body control, well-done interior," reflects daily news editor Jake Holmes. "You get a lot of steering feedback, and the Performance Pack's upgraded brakes are nicely progressive and strong. "

Unfortunately, that's about where our praise for the EcoBoost ends. For all of its efficiency and power, the failings of Ford's 2.3-liter inline-four are even more obvious when it's up against the GT's tried-and-true V-8. The turbo-four is often hesitant to respond to throttle inputs in traffic, and then feels and sounds strained even under moderate load. It just whines and moans in a way that saps your confidence to push the car harder.  

We still think there's a place for the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost in the ponycar stable. There are clearly lots of people out there who either can't afford the GT, don't want to pay for the gas, or just care about driving a cool-looking sports car at the most accessible price point. But don't be fooled into thinking that the EcoBoost Performance Pack is the best of both worlds, especially when it commands a $4,000 premium over the base EcoBoost. If it were our cash, we'd work overtime until we could afford the GT and its thirst for 91-octane.

Overview

  • Body style 2-door coupe
  • Accommodation 4-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest. ) $30,125
  • As tested $36,700

Powertrain

  • Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
  • Displacement 2.3 liters
  • Power 310 hp @ 5,500 rpm
  • Torque 320 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed manual
  • Drive Rear-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 21/32/25 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.2 turns
  • Turning circle 37.8 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs
  • Wheels 19-inch aluminum
  • Tires Pirelli P-Zero summer
  • Tire size 255/40R Y 19

Measurements

  • Headroom F/R 37.6/34.8 in
  • Legroom F/R 44.5/30.6 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 56.3/52.2 in
  • Wheelbase 107.1 in
  • Track F/R 62.3/64.9 in
  • L x W x H 188.3 x 75.4 x 54.4 in
  • Passenger capacity 84.5 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity (rear seats up/down) 13.5 cu ft
  • Weight 3,532 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 52/48%
  • Fuel capacity 15.5 gal
  • Est. fuel range 496 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)

Equipment

  • Standard equipment

    • Front and rear independent sport suspension
    • Limited-slip rear axle
    • Front and rear disc brakes
    • Selectable drive modes
    • Leather-trimmed seats
    • Heated and cooled front seats
    • Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
    • SYNC touchscreen display with MyFord Touch
    • Push-button start
    • Universal garage door opener
    • Satellite radio connectivity
    • Track apps
    • USB/iPod interface
    • Cruise control
    • Front daytime running lights
    • Air conditioning
    • Heated, manually folding mirrors
    • HID projector headlights
    • Automatic headlights
    • Rear diffuser
    • 60/40-split folding rear seats
  • Options on this vehicle

    • Package 201A: Shaker Pro 12-speaker premium sound system, Blindspot monitoring - $1,795.00
    • EcoBoost Performance Package: 255/40R19 Summer tires, rear spoiler delete, 3.55 ratio limited-slip axle. Torsion bar, rear sway bar, 19-inch ebony black painted aluminum wheels -- $1,995
    • Premier trim with color accent -- $395.00
    • Recaro leather sport seats -- $1,595.00
    • Six-speed manual transmission - $0

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