Pushing the pedal to the metal along the scenic Big Tujunga Highway in Southern California’s Angeles National Forest, the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost has a comforting sense of familiarity yet feels distinct. Despite the similar dynamism of the seventh-generation Mustang, it offers a wealth of new technology for drivers to explore.
The latest Mustang iteration, internally labelled S650, doesn’t significantly diverge from its predecessor, the S550 model.
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This isn’t an issue, as we perceived the S550 Mustang transitioning from a pony car to a sports car, especially with the 2018 revamp that further enhanced the independent rear suspension introduced with the S550 in 2014.
2024 Ford Mustang Track Apps
2024 Ford Mustang: A Multitude of Screens
The 2024 Ford Mustang reveals a fresh exterior design, echoing the evolution of the S550 with a hint of Chevrolet Camaro, particularly in the accentuated rear haunches. The most substantial shift is inside the car, where the classic double-binnacle instrument cluster is replaced by a cluster of screens that function as more than just a technology hub.
In front of the driver, a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and a 13.2-inch touchscreen create an interesting contrast with the cabin’s retro elements. The Sync 4 infotainment system boasts twice the processing power of the Sync 3 system found in the previous model. The screens employ Unreal Engine graphics used in many popular first-person-shooter video games, and the system can be updated over the air either automatically or on a schedule.
I extensively explored the system’s features after a preview at Ford’s headquarters in March, and I can now confirm it elevates the overall Mustang experience. The instrument cluster offers five themes based on the driver’s preference: Normal, Sport, Track, Fox Body ’87-’93, and Calm. The Track theme features a supercar-like hockey stick tachometer, Sport mode offers upward sweeping speedometer and tachometer graphs, and Fox Body recreates the analog gauges of the late third-generation Mustang.
I’m navigating with the Fox Body theme because, why not appreciate the Mustang models that spurred Vanilla Ice to cruise in his 5.0?
Cluster themes generally coincide with drive modes, except for the absence of a Calm drive mode (which wouldn’t suit a Mustang). Ford also adds Drag Strip, Slippery, and customizable Custom modes. Every Mustang includes all drive modes, allowing even the comparably mild EcoBoost access to a range of performance features.
Accessing these is straightforward through the MyMustang button on the center stack, which opens a screen allowing drivers to program custom drive modes, view auxiliary gauges, select from four sound settings for the available active exhaust, choose a cluster theme, set the ambient lighting color, and crucially, use the Track Apps performance features.
The Track Apps permit drivers to keep an eye on telemetry such as braking distance, acceleration, and lap times. Here is also where drivers can engage launch control, line lock, the new Drift Brake electronic parking brake, and in the GT with manual transmission, the rev matching feature.
But since I’m testing a lightly equipped EcoBoost model with a journalist who experiences motion sickness, I’ll reserve the more juvenile fun for a GT with the Performance Package.
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost: Well Balanced and Under Control
Although less flashy than the Mustang’s new tech suite, the mechanical upgrades are generally beneficial. It all begins with the firm and finely-tuned platform carried over from the previous model.
Steering presents the most noticeable dynamic change. The steering column is more rigid, a rubber bushing has been eliminated for enhanced directness, and the ratio has been marginally accelerated from 16.0:1 to 15:5.1. The goal was to marginally increase responsiveness and road feel. Concurrently, Ford lightened the steering weight, and I find it slightly too light on these winding roads, necessitating frequent small adjustments. I’m driving in Sport mode, which exhibits a heavier “sport” feel. The choices appear to range between light, lighter, and lightest. I wish Ford would include a setting to stabilize the wheel.
I’m testing an EcoBoost Premium model equipped with 255/40R19 Continental ProContact all-season tires. This vehicle doesn’t have any of the optional performance features, like the $1,750 magnetic dampers or the $3,475 Performance Package. The latter adds Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer-performance tires, a strut tower brace, an expanded rear sway bar, a 3.55 Torsen limited-slip rear axle, the Drift Brake, heavy-duty front springs, enlarged brakes with front Brembo calipers, paddle shifters, and a rear wing spoiler.
Operating on the fundamental architecture of the Mustang’s rear-wheel-drive, the car performs admirably here. Despite the lack of steering weight, the car swiftly reacts to steering inputs and the wheel informs me about road conditions. The tires offer sufficient grip to prevent me from skidding through turns, even during an exceptionally energetic six-mile trek through twisty roads while my driving partner is waiting at a rest stop.
As I approach turns, the car’s base brakes—comprising four 12.6-inch rotors with two-piston front calipers and single-piston rear calipers—perform reliably. The brake pedal feels robust and progressive, maintaining the same resistance throughout my drive. I can’t push the car’s limits for an extended period as I can’t leave my partner waiting too long, and I wouldn’t trust these brakes in such scenarios or on a track. However, they exceed the demands of Mustang buyers who would choose a base suspension.
Like other Mustangs, this model is equipped with new dampers, but they’re calibrated to behave similarly to those in the S550 model. In all configurations, they’re simply optimized for the new steering, as well as the chosen tire and brake package.
The dampers effectively control body tilt and contribute to a solid ride that offers ample road feedback but never becomes uncomfortable. The components work together harmoniously, ensuring good handling balance when cornering. Yes, you can make the rear end drift, but it takes deliberate effort and/or use of the Drift Brake (more on this later).
These rough roads create noticeable tire hum, though the combination of sounds is part of the Mustang experience. The tire noise isn’t particularly distracting as the next-generation 2.3-liter turbo-4 engine provides its own soundtrack. It emits a vigorous mezzo-soprano note that ranges from authoritative to rough and droning. Nonetheless, it’s always full of spirit, aligning perfectly with the Mustang’s outgoing personality.
The engine represents the fourth generation of the 2.3-liter turbo-4 that Ford endearingly names EcoBoost (maybe the “Eco” was more applicable 14 years ago when electric vehicles were merely a concept in the automotive industry and a Department of Energy loan was allocated to downsize and turbocharge Ford engines). The latest modifications enhance its power and efficiency. It introduces a new twin-scroll turbocharger that spools up faster. Port injection is also added to the existing direct injection, improving power and fuel economy. The updates marginally increase power, adding 5 hp for a total of 315 hp while maintaining torque at 350 lb-ft.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
What are the significant changes in the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost?
The 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost sports a new exterior design and a tech-rich interior, featuring a digital instrument cluster and a 13.2-inch touchscreen. Its Sync 4 infotainment system uses Unreal Engine graphics and can be updated over the air. Notably, the steering column has been stiffened for a more direct feel and the ratio quickened for faster responses. The EcoBoost model is now paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
How is the performance of the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost?
The 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost is well-controlled and sorted. Its fourth-generation 2.3L turbo-4 engine has been enhanced for better power and efficiency. Sport and Track modes optimize the powertrain for spirited driving, keeping revs high and power readily available. It’s agile and quick, with a 0-60 mph time in the low-to-mid five-second range.
What are the notable features of the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost’s infotainment system?
The 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost features the Sync 4 infotainment system with twice the processing power of the previous model’s Sync 3 system. A 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and a 13.2-inch touchscreen display offer different themes, and the system can be updated over the air. The MyMustang button allows easy access to custom drive modes, sound settings for the active exhaust, ambient lighting color, and the Track Apps performance features.
What is the new Drift Brake feature in the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost?
The Drift Brake, developed with pro drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr., is a unique feature included in the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost’s Performance Package. This electronic parking brake applies more braking power to the rear wheels the harder you pull the handle, enabling the driver to perform drifts more easily. It can also be used like a normal parking brake.
How does the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost handle on the road?
The 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost handles very well on the road. Its steering responses are quicker due to a stiffer steering column and quickened ratio. Although the steering weight has been lightened, the vehicle reacts promptly to steering inputs. New dampers control body lean effectively and contribute to a firm ride that provides plenty of road feedback but never feels harsh.
More about 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Official Website
- Road Test and Review: 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
- A Detailed Look at the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
- 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Performance Review
- Sync 4 Infotainment System