What began nearly 60 years ago with a blue sheet of paper is today one of the most widely recognized nameplates in the U.S. auto industry. The document was an order by then-Ford President Lee Iacocca to begin the formal development of a new sports coupe taking aim at a new generation of car buyers.
A lot has changed since the first Ford Mustang made its debut as a 1964-1/2 model. In the weeks ahead, a seventh-generation pony car will begin rolling into showrooms across the U.S. — and, eventually, into dealerships on every continent but Antarctica.
The 2024 Ford Mustang likely won’t shock potential owners. The look and feel is largely evolutionary, though there are a handful of surprises, including the all-new interior. But there’s plenty that should appeal to everyone from those original Baby Boom buyers to the Gen-Z shoppers that the automaker hopes to win over.
To get a feel for what the gen-7 Mustang is like, we headed to Los Angeles for a chance to give it a first drive. In the coming years we can expect to see an array of special editions, such as the new Mustang Dark Horse. But, during three days in the suburb of Arcadia, I drove the two key models: the Mustang EcoBoost and Mustang GT. This review focuses on the more affordable 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost package.
It’s the longest-running nameplate in the sports car market, and Ford is bringing back the Mustang for 2024 in what it claims is an all-new form. In reality, the seventh-generation model really just builds on the gen-6 package but, for the most part, that’s a great place to start.
Not to be confused with the all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV, the 2024 Ford Mustang retains the outgoing model’s basic dimensions. It boasts a 107-inch wheelbase, and measures 189.4 inches nose-to-tail. It stands 55 inches in height, with a width of 81.9 inches if you include the mirrors.
The overall design is close to that of the outgoing model, as well, though a closer inspection reveals significant steps were taken to improve the pony car’s aerodynamics. While subtle, new features like the slit-like sequential headlamps give the 2024 Mustang an even sportier and more elegant look. And that’s further enhanced by interior upgrades that include a new, twin-screen digital display.
Initially available in three packages, including the familiar GT, the new Dark Horse and more affordable EcoBoost, which delivers a significant boost in performance at 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
In auto-speak, the 2024 Ford Mustang gets an “evolutionary,” rather than “revolutionary” update to its exterior design.
As has long been the norm, there are some notable differences, depending upon the trim. The EcoBoost package, for one thing, doesn’t share the new and functional heat extractor found on the hood of the Mustang GT. But it shares most other design updates, including rear haunches that flare out a bit more, giving the 2024 model a more aggressive and sinister look.
Overall, the design is more sharp-edged, from the new, slit-like sequential turn signals, and LED headlamps that flow into the front quarter panels, to the kinked back end.
For those who like to drive al fresco, the good news is that Ford is carrying over the Mustang convertible. It claims the new model’s top folds and unfolds faster than before — though, curiously, Ford continues to use a manual locking mechanism you’ll find at the top of the windshield.
Oh, and as has become increasingly common, Ford designers incorporated some Easter eggs into the 2024 Mustang’s styling. Here’s a hint: at the very bottom of the coupe’s backlight you’ll find a detail that offers a nod to all seven generations of Mustangs.
Where the exterior updates might be modest to the point of being easily missed, it’s another matter entirely inside the 2024 Ford Mustang. The automaker has referred to the new look as “disruptive,” and here long-time buyers likely will be in for a surprise, starting with the loss of the long-running double-brow instrument panel.
Slip behind the new, flat-bottomed steering wheel and the first thing you’ll notice is the single piece of glass that stretches across much of the IP. It actually conceals a new, 12.4-inch gauge cluster and a separate, 13.2-inch infotainment screen. Both are readily reconfigurable, especially when you switch from minimalist “Calm,” to “Normal” and “Sport” modes. (The GT also adds “Track.”)
If I can sound one complaint, it’s the decision to move climate controls onto the infotainment screen. Though it’s relatively easy to get to them, it still creates a bit of a distraction to adjust temperature or turn on or off the seat heaters.
In years past, base Mustang packages were frequently derided as “secretary cars.” Despite the sporty exterior styling they all too frequently were grossly underpowered. As Mustang Brand Manager Jim Owens acknowledges, the top selling point for the 2024 EcoBoost is likely to remain its styling. But buyers no longer will have to apologize for any lack of performance.
Quite the contrary. At 315 horsepower, the 2024 model stampedes out as many ponies as past GT packages made through 2010. And at a hefty 350 pound-feet of torque, the EcoBoost package can readily spin its wheels.
As its name suggests, it’s powered by a fourth-generation upgrade of Ford’s 2.3-liter turbo-4 engine. Among the most significant revisions, the powertrain gets a new turbocharger, as well as enhanced cooling that allows you to push hard, whether on the street or, as I had a chance to experience, on an autocross course at Irwindale Speedway.
Better yet, the upgraded powertrain delivers an estimated 26 mpg in the EPA’s combined cycle, a 4% improvement for the Mustang EcoBoost coupe, and a 12% increase for the convertible.
As has been the case with the six prior generations, the 2024 Ford Mustang sends power to the back wheels. Meanwhile, buyers will have a choice of either a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.
Safety and Technology
The twin digital displays comprise the most readily apparent tech update to the seventh-generation and they use so-called “unreal gaming technology” to deliver high-res imagery and impressive animation. Ford has done a solid job of programming the interface. It’s easy to learn and attractive to the eye. It also makes it possible to customize all manner of vehicle function, from the audio and navigation systems to the gauge display.
There are several USB plugs and an optional smartphone wireless charger. Ford has made both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard on all models of the 2024 Mustang. And you can use both the Ford Streaming and Amazon Alexa features to not only adjust vehicle settings but to do things like remotely open your garage door or turn on your home lightning.
The new Mustang also permits smartphone-style over-the-air updates to much of its onboard software.
As for safety, the 2024 pony car expands on its list of smart safety technology. These include standard features like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, and active cruise control. There are a number of options, as well. The Performance Pack even incorporates an active pothole mitigation system to soften impacts.
When the sixth-generation Mustang debuted in 2015 it took many fans — and reviewers — by surprise. We’d expected the usual boost in power but it also delivered some much-needed improvements in ride and handling. Ford has again upped the game with the 2024 edition.
No, the gen-6 Mustang doesn’t deliver as sophisticated a ride as you’d expect from, say, a Porsche 718, but it’s notably better in handling than the outgoing model, with its improved steering and stiffer body making for more predictable cornering. My time on the autocross setup showed the 2024 model readily lived up to expectations.
As you’d expect, there are some trade-offs with the convertible. Buyers will have to decide whether they want peak handling or trade off a bit of body stiffness for the ability to feel the wind in their faces.
One of the more enticing features on the 2024 Ford Mustang — both EcoBoost and GT models — comes with the Performance Pack option. Working with Vaughn Gittin Jr., the legendary king of the Formula Drift series, the pack introduces a first-ever drift brake. Build up some speed and start to turn, you pull on the brake to get it to lock up the back wheels, amidst a cloud of rubber smoke.
It takes a bit of time to get the full hang of the drift brake, but once you do, it’s a blast to use. Just expect to burn through tires a little faster than before.
The original ’64-1/2 Mustang was a revolutionary introduction and, nearly 60 years later, the pony car remains — at least by Ford’s definition — the world’s bestselling sports car.
That said, the world is rapidly changing. Sports car sales have steadily declined. But so have the competitive offerings. The Chevrolet Camaro is in its final year, as are the Dodge Charger and Challenger. Meanwhile, Ford has adapted to changing times with the introduction of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E which also adopted an SUV body style. That EV is expected to outsell the Mustang coupe for the first time this year, and the gap is likely only to widen in the years ahead.
But for those who want a classic pony car, the 2024 Ford Mustang delivers pretty much everything Ford has promised. It’s stylish, sporty and loaded with new features. And, at a starting price of just $30,920 for the Mustang EcoBoost coupe, you get significant value for your hard-earned dollars.
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost — Frequently Asked Questions
What is different about the 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost?
The 2024 version of the Ford Mustang EcoBoost gets an updated design, inside and out. It also gets a major update to its turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. The new package now makes 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
How much will the 2024 Ford Mustang cost?
At launch, there will be three different versions of the 2024 Mustang. The EcoBoost package will start at $30,920 for the coupe, though the convertible will carry a price premium. The GT starts at $41,495. And the new Dark Horse will carry an MSRP of $57,970.
Will there be a supercharged 2024 Ford Mustang?
At launch, the Mustang EcoBoost will use a turbocharged EcoBoost engine, with the GT and Dark Horse editions powered by a naturally aspirated V-8. It would surprise few if a later package gets supercharged. And tuner Hennessey Performance has announced plans for a customized Dark Horse package that, among other things, adds a “blower” to boost power.