2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost High Performance Package First Drive (TTAC)
During Ford’s product presentation, held just north of the famed Golden Gate bridge on a chilly Bay Area morning in September, one of the men who worked on the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost High Performance Package trotted out a not unexpected comparison.
He brought up the old LX trim available on Fox-body Mustangs of yore, and compared today’s four-cylinder Mustang to that model.
It’s not the world’s worst comparison, although the LX back then was available with the same renowned 5.0-liter (yes, I know it that it’s really a 4.9) V8 that was under the hood of the GT. The LX’s claim to fame was that it was lighter, cheaper, and perhaps less expensive to insure, while still offering V8 power and a five-speed stick. That’s why your author bought a used ’89 example in the late 1990s.
As someone who owned that LX Fox body for five years, I sniggered a bit, since the Mustang parked in front of us had just half the cylinder count, but of course today’s turbocharged four-banger could smoke the V8 of yore. I understood where Ford was going with this, though – the EcoBoost Mustang High Performance Package is meant to be the value performance buy, and not just a rental-fleet darling or the car for Mustang shoppers who care more about show than go.
Of course, when I relayed this spiel to the ne’er do wells in the TTAC Slack channel, contributor Chris Tonn shot back “SVO”, typed out repeatedly, a la Nicholson’s manuscript in The Shining.
Regardless of which comparison works best, there’s no denying that this ‘Stang offers a lot of what the GT does for less money. Not to mention while passing more fuel pumps.
This Mustang started out as a bit of side project, after Ford engineers, perhaps feeling a bit cheeky, did some experiments involving putting the Ford Focus RS motor in the Mustang. This lead to the development of a new version of the RS’ 2.3-liter turbo four, meant specifically for Mustang.
The final result? Three-hundred thirty-two horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque when running premium fuel.