Thursday, June 11, 2020


It was unveiled at the 1964 New York’s World Fair and made its movie debut the same year in the James Bond flick Goldfinger.

It appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek and was featured in commercials that ran simultaneously on all three television networks the night before it went on sale.

Almost 22,000 were sold the first day and over 400,000 in its first year, about four times what was expected, and hit the million mark in production just two years after being launched.

We’re talking here about the Ford Mustang, of course, which at 56 years old retains all the vibrancy and energy of a 20-something halfway through a case of Red Bull.

Even with COVID-19 fears slowing auto sales, the Mustang still came through with positive numbers for the first quarter of 2020. Ford, which suffered a decrease of 13.2 percent in sales for its fleet overall and a dip of 37.6 percent for its cars, reported an increase of 6.8 percent to 18,069 vehicles for the Mustang in the first three months of this year.

Apparently, though at one point in its over five-decade history the Mustang seemed to be slipping with blah styling overall and a lifeless 4-cylinder as a base engine, that is no longer the case. The 2020 model very much lives up to the Mustang’s glorious past in both its retro styling and upgraded performance.

Ford has added a new High Performance Package to its Ecoboost models that boosts power for the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to 330 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, which the company claims makes it the “most powerful four-cylinder sports car by an American automaker.”

The Shelby GT500 model sits at the top of the performance heap with 760 hp and 675 lb.-ft., but the 2.3L Ecoboost 2.3L model with the High Performance package delivers a very satisfying zero-to-60 mph time that Ford says is in the mid-four-second range when on premium fuel. Top speed is increased to 155 mph, a 10-mph gain over the 2019 EcoBoost Performance Package and 34 mph faster than the base EcoBoost Mustang.

Ford has given the Mustang’s interior a more refined ambiance with leather-trimmed seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as dual-zone climate control.

It also has simplified the top operation for the convertible that served as my test model. You simply need to release one latch and then press a button at the top of the windshield and the top lowers or raises in just a few seconds. (But you must be completely stopped.)

My test vehicle also came with the 6-speed manual transmission which adds to the fun, but if three-pedal driving is not your thing, a 10-speed, SelectShift automatic is available.

Fuel efficiency, by the way, is listed at 20 miles-per-gallon city, 27 highway, 23 combined with the manual and 20/28/23 with the automatic.

Other standard equipment on this 2020 Mustang 2.3 High Performance convertible included LED headlights with signature lighting, LED fog lamps, LED taillights with sequential turn signals, dual exhaust, push-button start, steering wheel buttons for cruise and audio control, two Smart charging USB ports, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Ford Pass/Connect wth 4G Wi-Fi, Sync3 infotainment system, and track apps.

Additional features on my test car included the 2.3L High Performance Package, hood accents and a carbon-fiber sport interior trim package.

Alas, pricing to cover all that was not listed on the spec sheet, but the MSRP for the Ecoboost 2.3L High Performance starts at $38,380 including destination and delivery charges. Figure the extras will take it over the $40,000 mark.

What I liked about the 2020 Ford Mustang Convertible 2.3L: You don’t have to go for the V8 if you want a lively performance. Though the GT packs a bigger punch, the Ecoboost 2.3L is pretty sprightly, especially with the manual transmission. The exhaust tone remains one of the sweetest in the industry, and it has a pretty good size trunk (11.4 cubic feet) for a convertible. Lowering the top involves releasing just one clamp manually and pushing a button. The standard Sync3 infotainment system with an 8-inch display is very user friendly

What I liked about the 2020 Ford Mustang Convertible 2.3L: Not a lot of room in the backseat, of course, and rear vision is somewhat restricted when the top is up. A flat-bottom steering wheel would be appreciated to ease getting into the driver’s seat. It can be kind of tricky, especially if there is a car parked or other object close to the left.

Would I buy the 2020 Ford Mustang Convertible 2.3L? In a heartbeat. I’ve owned only one Mustang in my life. Why stop there?

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