(Editor’s Note: Welcome to NAPA Knows New Cars with the 2020 Ford Mustang High-Performance EcoBoost 2.3L convertible. This is not your normal new car review. This series focuses more on the nuts & bolts of the vehicle that are not usually covered by other outlets. The intention is to inform, not endorse. Ultimately the decision to buy a vehicle should be based on an individual’s needs and situation.)
There was a time when turbocharging was seen by the public as an exotic means to produce extra engine horsepower. For Mustang aficionados factory turbocharging was a means to coax more power from the 2.3L inline four cylinder engine without adding the weight of a V8. Debuting in the 1979 Mustang the little turbo engine made only eight less horsepower than the same year V8 option. Ford took things a step further with the SVO model which eventually made 205 horsepower. But time and technology marches on, which is where we are now with the sixth generation Mustang and its impressive 330 horsepower 2.3L turbo engine.
We have arrived at a time when every model across the Mustang line is a fun performance drive. No more jokes about secretary cars or little sister graduation presents. When paired with a manual transmission the 2.3L turbo engine makes for a highly entertaining drive. Off boost there is plenty of predictable power for normal commuting needs. But pushing into the higher revs brings on the boost in a delightful rush of acceleration.
One interesting feature is the Active Valve Performance Exhaust System. Changing driving “Sport” or “Track” modes signals a pair of actuator valves within the exhaust system to reroute exhaust flow in a more direct route through the muffler. This makes for a more aggressive tone. Adding to the soundtrack is the now popular cackling “backfire” that many high performance automakers have now programmed to trigger when lifting off the throttle.
Climbing behind the wheel of the 2020 Mustang it is obvious just how far this model has evolved over the decades. The feeling is more “cockpit” than “cabin” thanks to the high belt line and deep bucket seats. Rear seating is fine for two adults but leg room is tight. The short-throw shifter is far forward on the center console but does not interfere with any controls. The driving controls all fall to hand as expected with no odd surprises. Both front driver and passenger spaces have plenty of space and ample leg room. The center console features two deep cup holders and a modest storage storage compartment tucked beneath the arm rest. The center stack mounted touch screen is sharp and easy to navigate through the various infotainment functions. The continued use of knobs and buttons (rather than touch screen menus) to control the radio and climate control is appreciated.
With an engine compartment originally designed to hold a DOHC V8 engine, nestling the 2.3L inline four in place leaves ample room. As with most modern vehicles, the engine cover must be removed for certain services such as changing spark plugs. The supplied Mustang was equipped with a strut tower brace which can be removed for easier access around the engine. The battery is located on the passenger side rear of the engine compartment near the cowl. Access to the battery is easy and only requires removing a plastic cover which is held on by hand fasteners (no tools needed). The engine air filter is located on the driver side at the front of the engine compartment. The filter can be easily changed with no tools required.
The oil filter is located underneath the engine on the driver side with plenty of room for hands or an oil filter wrench. The metal oil drain plug is also easily accessible with no undertray or guards to remove. The engine holds 6 quarts of oil and uses 5W-50 full synthetic oil. Note that the 2.3L EcoBoost High Output engine uses different oil than the normal 2.3L EcoBoost Base engine. The manual transmission fluid level can be checked via the filler plug on the right side of the transmission case. Power steering is fully electric and does not require any fluid maintenance.
2020 Ford Mustang High-Performance EcoBoost 2.3L Convertible Specifications:
- Engine Type: EcoBoost high-performance single turbo inline-4
- Engine Displacement: 2.3 liters
- Engine Horsepower: 330 hp
- Engine Torque: 350 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed Getrag MT82-04 manual transmission
- Rear Axle Ratio: 3.55:1
- 20 city / 27 hwy / 23 combined mpg
- Length: 188.5”
- Width: 81.9”
- Height: 54.9”
- Weight: 3,758 lbs.
- 19″ aluminum
- Front: 13.85″ Diameter Disc
- Rear: 13″ Diameter Disc
- Head room: 37.6″ front / 35.7″ rear
- Leg room (max.) : 45.1″ front / 29.2″ rear
- Hip room: 54.9″ front / 43.7″ rear
- Shoulder room: 56.3″ front / 44.7″ rear
- Seating Capacity: 4
- 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost 2.3L convertible – $32,170
- 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost 2.3L convertible with High-Performance package– $37,505
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With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of this many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.