We’ve all hankered for a classic 1965 Mustang at some point in our lives, yes? (Or 1964 ½ if you want to get technical.)
Absent that bucket list item, the all-new 7th generation Mustang Ecoboost will slake most of your thirst for a Pony car experience. It’s also got a lot of things the old model didn’t have, like a digital cockpit inspired by fighter jets, a convertible top that goes up or down at the flick of a switch, or Remote Rev, providing the ability to rev the car’s engine remotely using the key fob.
Does it roar? No. (I had the EcoBoost, not the V-8.) It does sweetly burble at acceleration, which is a lot of fun, but a smokin’, stinky machine tearing up your neighborhood it’s not – and you don’t mind. Let’s have a look.
It’s appropriately chiseled, with a low, horizontal brow across the front emphasizing its frontal width. The upper grille design shape is influenced by the original 1960s design. Outside the vehicle, animated welcome lighting greets drivers as they approach and, upon entry, Mustang splash screens come to life.
It’s got the proverbial broad sprinting stance and shortened rear overhang. An extended rear deck houses a new crisp signature tri-bar lighting and redesigned diffuser for improved aerodynamic balance in the rear. Unlike some of the questionable body choices of the last 59 years, the DNA in the 2024 model is all Mustang.
11 exterior color options are available including two new shades, Vapor Blue and Yellow Splash, accompanied by new stripe colors and designs. Customers also can choose from three Brembo brake caliper color options: Black, Red and Grabber Blue, plus an all-new lineup of alloy wheels, ranging from 17-inch standard size on base models to 19-inch for GT with optional 20-inch alloy wheels.
It’s a tight squeeze, of course, with the back “seats” suitable for milk, a small dog or a guitar. My EcoBoost trims brought me Ford’s stylish ‘ActiveX’ synthetic leather upholstery with multiple color options. A flat bottom steering wheel looks sharp but there’s also a method to it – it lets you get in and out of the vehicle more easily. My trim had handsome red leather seat belts, and a simple, one-touch activation with a single-handle center latch opens and closes the fully lined and insulated fabric roof.
Two new engines are on deck – a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost, my tester, making 310 hp @ 5,500 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm. Also available is the Mustang GT’s most powerful-ever 5.0-liter Coyote V8. There was a nice throaty growl upon startup in my EcoBoost, and I felt the power in my feet. A sweet exhaust burble was audible around local streets, making this a satisfying ride visually, viscerally and audibly.
Mustang’s default instrument gauge setting has shifted from traditional, cool blue and light grey tones to an ultra-modern, copper appearance theme also shared with Mustang Mach-E. From there, almost everything in the displays – and the ambient interior lighting – can be configured to selected tones, while instrument clusters adapt to drive mode selection.
Based on the same Unreal Engine 3D creation tool used in video games when choosing personalized drive mode settings, the car’s current setup is displayed on the center stack as real-time graphical renderings. Settings can be adjusted by swiping the graphic to rotate the car virtually in a true gamified style.
The (available) B&O Sound System is optimized for the car’s interior, and the sound was outstanding across classical, metal, pop and Sinatra. Drivers can share their driving playlist through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which are fully compatible with SYNC 4.
Go for the the Bronze Design Series Appearance Package and you’ll get Sinister Bronze alloy wheels with bronze badges. It’s available on both EcoBoost and GT models, with or without the optional Performance Pack.
Steering effort, engine response, transmission and electronic stability control are adjustable through six available drive modes – Normal, Sport, Slippery, Drag, Track plus a customizable setting with up to six individual profiles, tailored to the driver’s view ahead of them. As each mode is selected, high-fidelity graphics in the digital instrument panel bring the mode to life.
The drive was Mustang-fun whether at speed or tooling around the neighborhoods of Santa Monica where my test took place, especially with Sport mode selected. I also got plenty of stares, not easy to accomplish in this ultra-luxe town.
The cornering dynamics were a great thrill – hold on, folks! – and the straight-line power is more than satisfying for a vehicle of this type. If drifting is your thing, you can take advantage of electronic drift brakes, unlocking the rear-wheel-drive drifting capability of the vehicle with the visual appeal and functionality of a traditional, mechanical hand brake. (The brake takes a sec to get used to – you lock it and unlock it by pushing down.)
A Performance Electronic Parking Brake comes standard with the Performance Pack on all Mustang models. This is about the most fun you’ll have in a vehicle at this price.
The 2024 Mustang Ecoboost Convertible Premium starts at $41,945. As tested with options, it came to $53,485.
The start-stop mechanism at lights takes a wee bit of a second to activate, and I wished I could have disabled it. But it does save you the bit of gas – mileage is a not-terrible 23 MPG city/highway combined. The car also beeps, burps, flashes and alerts as much as any modern machine from start to finish, but “you can’t stop progress.”
The exclusive Ford Co-Pilot360 features abound, including Speed Sign Recognition, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering Assist, Evasive Steer Assist and Reverse Brake Assist. Another key feature is Active Pothole Mitigation, included with the Performance Package, which continually monitors suspension, body, steering and braking input and adjusts suspension response accordingly.
There’s more, much more, but for the price and as equipped, this is every bit the Mustang you’ll need to get the job done.