- Looks. To the casual observer, you’ll have a Mustang, which means you’ll be the subject of plenty of admiring glances and service station chats if our experience is anything to go by. As long as the engine isn’t running, few will be wise to the fact that there’s a four-cylinder under the bonnet.
- Handling. If you have any preconceptions about how an American car drives, it’s likely the new Mustang will completely blow them away. It’s not an out-and-out sports car, but there’s lots of grip, it turns into corners really well and gives the driver lots of confidence.
- Economy. Not a traditional muscle car strong point, but Ford claims the Mustang EcoBoost’s 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder drinks 9.4L/100km on the combined cycle. That’s quite a lot for a four-cylinder, however it’ll go a lot further between fill-ups than its V8 sibling.
- Rear seats. Don’t laugh, many a coupe purchase has been knocked on the head by the realisation that you can’t put anyone or anything in the back. There isn’t masses of room in the rear of a Mustang, but there’s easily space for a couple of small children, which could be the clincher for the enthusiast mums and dads out there.
- Value. Starting from $45,990 this is an awful lot of car for the money. There’s really nothing out there that can offer this combination of looks and performance for even remotely the same price.
- Interior. While the design’s ok, some of the materials used in the Mustang’s interior are very much below par. Yes, this is a cheap car for what you get, but some of the plastics, particularly those on the centre console and door trims, would barely pass muster in a $15,000 city car.
- Engine. With 0-100km/h taking around six seconds, the Mustang EcoBoost certainly isn’t slow, but equally the engine is unable to cash the cheques written by the excellent exterior design.
- Image. The Mustang EcoBoost is a very good car, but it’s difficult to see why anyone would buy one - every time the engine is started there’s a strange sense of disappointment. It’s an enthusiast’s car, and any muscle car enthusiast is going to want the V8.
Toyota 86, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Volkswagen Scirocco R, Nissan 370Z
Read our full review of the Ford Mustang range here.