I’m surprised by the speed it carries into the first corner, a hard right-hander with minimal banking that tries to push my tonsils into my nose. Frankly, I’m just happy to be alive because the journey thus far has been—in a word—terrifying. It’s also been awesome, ripping around corners like I’m on rails. That’s because I am on rails. 

This isn’t a corner-to-corner narration of driving a 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible, which I recently took on an 800-mile grand tour of West Michigan. I'm talking about Shivering Timbers, a gargantuan wooden roller coaster tucked away in a small amusement park near the Lake Michigan shoreline.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible
Quick Specs 2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible
Engine Turbocharged 2.3-liter Inline-Four
Output 315 Horsepower / 350 Pound-Feet
Efficiency 22 City / 33 Highway / 26 Combined
Base Price / As Tested $40,615 / $49,455
On Sale Date Now

The Mustang, an EcoBoost ragtop in premium trim, got me and my wife there for a three-day weekend that was supposed to be fun and inexpensive. I soon discovered that inexpensive is relative, but I can confirm that much fun was had for both the journey and destination. Having owned three V-8-Mustang convertibles in the last 10 years, my EcoBoost experience left me with a nagging question. Do you really need eight cylinders to enjoy pony car life?

Day One: Dead Flowers

The long weekend kicked off with a 2.5-hour drive to Holland, Michigan, to buy my wife some flowers—lots of them. The city sees approximately 5 million tulips in bloom from mid-to-late May, celebrated through the annual Tulip Festival. But the endless fields of color we expected were actually acres of dead flowers looking like torn remnants of brown paper bags. Had I checked ahead of time, I would've learned the mild Michigan winter had Mother Nature a bit ahead of schedule the year. The tulips bloomed weeks before our visit. Bummer for sure, but the big windmill was awesome.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible

And so was the Mustang. It's supremely quiet with the fabric roof up, even at highway speeds where one would expect some wind intrusion. Open-air touring is achieved in roughly 15 seconds, though Ford requires you to stop before raising or lowering can commence. The seats are comfortable for long-distance running, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a compliant ride that balanced cornering poise with shock absorption. Traversing the ruined surface of US-31 across West Michigan, the Mustang was neither jarring nor wayward in its response to potholes. There was some unexpected cowl shake, though. Some things, it seems, never change.

Day Two: Facing My Fear

40 miles north of Holland is Michigan’s Adventure, a small theme park with one very large roller coaster. Shivering Timbers opened in 1998 and at over a mile in length, it’s one of the longest (and wildest) wooden coasters in the world. The first drop is 122 feet, sending riders to a top speed of 57 mph and it never lets up throughout the two-minute trip. Every crest is a prolonged zero-G experience, and when I rode it 12 years ago, it scared the funnel cake out of me. 

This time I was at least prepared for the insanity. But then something unexpected happened. I had fun. Maybe it was my prior experience tempering the surprise, or the death grip I had on the front bar from beginning to end that gave me an illusion of control. Whatever the case, I was ready to go again. My wife? Not so much. 

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible

Day Three: This Ain't No V-8

Nursing minor sunburns and headaches from a day at the park, we opted to keep the Mustang buttoned up for the trip home. We also ditched major interstates for a quieter, twistier route along Lake Michigan, relying on Ford’s navigation system to find the coolest spots. Apparently, heavily forested roads near one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes don't mesh with Ford’s SYNC 4 system, as communications were dropped in some locations. Google Maps didn’t suffer the same issue, and we eventually came upon a particularly twisty two-lane appropriately named Scenic Drive.

It was at this point I came to terms with how the Mustang sounds. Yes, I’m used to an eight-cylinder soundtrack from my pony cars and because of that, I was diligent about keeping an open mind. Many four-cylinder cars sound fantastic to my ears; Honda immediately comes to mind. But in the Mustang, Ford tries to make its four-cylinder EcoBoost rumble like a Coyote V-8. And it's not bad ... provided you don't actually drive anywhere.

It has a grin-worthy rumble at startup and an idle that's surprisingly deep. If you wring it out to redline, it’s not bad either. In track mode, you even get snarly pops and bangs when lifting off the gas, but normal driving is just annoying. The 10-speed automatic shifts so often that modest acceleration sounds like a tuba connected to a CVT. My tester had the optional active exhaust, which I switched to quiet for the majority of the trip. In fact, the last 200 miles or so it stayed there exclusively.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible

And then there’s the steering. Much has been said about the GT’s numbness, and the EcoBoost is no different. To be fair, most EcoBoost owners probably aren’t interested in mid-corner feedback to catch the perfect apex. But that’s no reason for Ford to drop the ball this badly on any car, sporty or otherwise. I drove off the inside of the very first corner I took simply because the steering was way too light. Sensing load on the front tires is virtually impossible, even in sport mode. The good news? It didn't make me hate the car, and after 800 miles, I was almost used to it. But Ford can do better here.

Not-So-Inexpensive Fun

Once upon a time, Michigan’s Adventure was the best budget theme park to visit. But in May 2024 I paid $120 for two adult tickets and another $25 just to park. At that price, I could’ve gone to Ohio’s Cedar Point, a much larger park with a plethora of wicked-awesome coasters to enjoy. But alas, I would’ve missed out on the dead tulips and my rematch with Shivering Timbers. 

The Mustang EcoBoost I drove wasn’t inexpensive, either. In Premium convertible trim, the ‘Stang had a starting MSRP of $43,540, including destination charges. That's a small bump over the standard EcoBoost Convertible's $40,615 price, but further optioned with the 201A Equipment Group, active exhaust, and a few other tidbits, the as-tested price landed at $49,455. That’s easily into Mustang GT territory, with room for a few options to boot. However, a similarly equipped ragtop pony with the 5.0 and a six-speed stick is a full $10,000 more. So yeah, inexpensive is relative.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible
2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible

V-8 Preferred But Not Required

I love big power and an eight-lung soundtrack as much as anyone, but I’m here to tell you we’ve all become jaded to performance. The GT with its 480-hp Coyote V-8 is way faster, and the Dark Horse is faster still. But that doesn’t mean the EcoBoost is slow and boring. 315 hp and 350 pound-feet of torque in a 3,700-pound convertible is plenty lively for a majority of buyers. It reaches 60 mph in around 5 seconds, grips corners with a satisfying bite, and there’s more than enough oomph to roast the tires. Not so long ago, these would be benchmarks for a V-8 pony car. And the four-cylinder is even good on gas, averaging 33 mpg on my 800-mile trip.

The EcoBoost Mustang doesn’t get much attention, but it should. The $325,000 GTD or $60,000 Dark Horse won’t keep Mustang alive— those are halo cars selling in small numbers. But an EcoBoost Convertible is still within reach of many new-car shoppers. And at this level, you don’t need performance packages or active exhaust. Buyers wanting such things will find a way to get a GT. Forget the appearance packages, too. It’s a Mustang, you’ll trick it out as your budget allows. The only thing my more expensive Premium had that I preferred was the single screen incorporating the dual displays.

2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible

Even that could be sacrificed in the name of inexpensive fun. And that’s exactly what this car is. Lower the roof, turn on the stereo, and devour the highway. With precious few convertibles left, it's nice to know Mustang still offers smiles at a modest price point. Relatively speaking, of course.

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2024 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium Convertible

Engine Turbocharged 2.3-liter Inline Four
Output 315 Horsepower / 350 Pound Feet
Transmission 10-Speed Automatic
Drive Type Rear-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH 5.5 Seconds (est)
Maximum speed 145 MPH (est)
Weight 3,741 Pounds
Efficiency 22 City / 33 Highway / 26 Combined
Seating Capacity 4
Cargo Volume 11.4 Cubic Feet
Trim Base Price $43,540
As-Tested Price $49,455
On Sale Now
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