2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost HPP first drive review: Four is more
This 330-horsepower Mustang has the heart of a hot hatchback.
Ford Mustangs and V8 engines go together like beer and cheeseburgers, but that doesn’t mean they’re inseparable. Ford has offered a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine in the Mustang since the current generation’s 2015-model-year launch, and for 2020 the Mustang EcoBoost gets a major upgrade in the form of the High Performance Package (or HPP, for short). It boosts output to 330 horsepower, and includes upgraded suspension and brakes for improved handling.
Why would Ford bother making a sportier four-cylinder Mustang when buyers can still get a V8? The idea isn’t unprecedented. From 1984 to 1986, Ford sold the Mustang SVO, a performance model powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine – just like today’s Mustang EcoBoost. Fast forward to 2019, and Ford has stricter emissions standards to think about, not to mention gas prices that would knock the shoulder pads off a 1980s Mustang driver. Ford also has a ready-made rival in the form of Chevrolet’s four-cylinder Camaro 1LE.
So, can you really have the same amount of fun as a V8 with four fewer cylinders? To find out, we accepted an invitation from Ford to drive the 2020 Mustang EcoBoost HPP on roads around Sausalito, California. The performance package adds $4,995 to the base price of a 2020 Mustang EcoBoost (which starts at $27,765), and is available on both coupes and convertibles. We also tested cars with the optional Handling Package ($1,995), which ads MagneRide adaptive suspension and more aggressive tires.