I've always wanted a Ford Mustang. As a youngster, I often daydreamed about cruising down the highway with the top down and the wind in my hair. Many a homeroom game of MASH ended in disappointment -- not because I got stuck living in a shack or married to a boy who pushed me down at recess, but because the luck of the draw left me with something other than a Mustang.
I never would have guessed that the first time I'd sit behind the wheel of my dream car would be as an environmental journalist -- about to punch the pedal of the most fuel efficient Mustang ever made.
For the model's 50th birthday, the folks at Ford Motor Co. decided to do things a bit differently by launching the first Mustang with EcoBoost. Available with both manual and automatic transmissions, the EcoBoost model promises 32 miles per gallon on the highway. Now, before you get too excited, I'm not talking about the V8 version -- or even the V6. The 2015 Mustang EcoBoost comes equipped with a 4-cylinder engine. But at 2.3 liters and 310 horsepower, it still has a good deal of pep. The 320 pound-feet of torque doesn't hurt performance either. In fact, the EcoBoost produces more horsepower and torque than the Mustang GT engines did just 10 years ago.
Unlike many 'eco' vehicles, there's no lag when I put my foot on the gas, and the car pushed me back in my seat as I took off from a red light. The Mustang EcoBoost may not have as much rumble as the GT, but its smooth steering and curve-hugging agility make for a good time behind the wheel. It definitely lived up to my childhood fantasies, and its fuel economy raises the bar for Mustang.
Under the hood, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost is the first Ford engine to use a low-inertia, twin-scroll turbocharger. For those who aren't up on the technical terms, this feature provides quicker boost response while enabling lower emissions and improved efficiency. The cylinder head features an integrated exhaust manifold that separates the inner and outer pairs of cylinders into each of the two inlet passages to the turbo. The result is similar performance to a more complex twin-turbocharger configuration, meaning quicker torque delivery when the driver needs it for passing maneuvers. The separated exhaust ports also enables improved fuel consumption.
Active grille shutters help make the EcoBoost engine even more fuel efficient by further reducing drag at higher speeds when extra cooling capacity is not needed.
Mustang is known for its gorgeous interiors, and the 2015 EcoBoost model does not disappoint. The interior dash features a slick look that was modeled after the cockpit of an airplane. Although it's tough to knock the luxurious race car feel of all-leather seating, my vegetarian lifestyle (and fondness for all things sustainable) makes me partial to the Repreve fabric alternative -- which is actually made from recycled plastic bottles and post-industrial waste. Additional sustainable materials include soy-based foam in seat cushions and seat backs, as well as recycled denim insulation.
As Tom Barnes, Ford Mustang vehicle engineering manager, put it, the EcoBoost model "satisfies the Mustang enthusiast while introducing Mustang to a different group of people."
Speaking of bringing Mustang to the masses: Ford plans to roll the vehicle out in 140 countries this fall -- its largest market ever. The company is also going on a 10-city tour to show off the Mustang's new 'green' look. The 'Mustang Bucket List' tour heads to Orlando and Miami at the end of this month, then to Houston and Dallas in mid-November before wrapping up in Los Angeles Dec. 2-7. So, stop by to make your Mustang dreams come true -- just like I did.
Monday on Triple Pundit: Keep an eye out for an in-depth look at how Ford is revolutionizing sustainable materials in the auto industry.
Images by Mary Mazzoni
Editor's Note: Travel accommodations for the author and Triple Pundit were provided by Ford.
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a senior editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and the Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.
Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit. She is also the co-host of 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands LIVE! and the producer of 3p’s sponsored editorial series. She is based in Philadelphia and loves to travel, spend time outdoors and experiment with vegetarian recipes in the kitchen. Along with TriplePundit, her recent work can be found in Conscious Company and VICE’s Motherboard.