Black 5.0 Mustang

EcoBoost vs 5.0 Mustang: how to decide which one is right for you

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no winner when comparing the EcoBoost vs 5.0 mustang. I own a 5.0 Mustang because I like the feeling and sound of a big V-8. However, every EcoBoost Mustang that I’ve ever driven has left me grinning from ear to ear. In my opinion, it comes down to this:

  • The 5.0 Mustang is better for people who crave brutal straight line acceleration.
  • The EcoBoost Mustang is better for people who prefer a better all around driving experience. It’s quieter, gets better gas mileage, and as much as 5.0 owners such as myself hate to admit it, it’s almost as fast.

If that still not enough to help you decide between these two of cars, don’t worry. It’s not an easy decision to make, but hopefully what I’m about to write will get you leaning one way or the other.

Is the 5.0 Mustang faster than the EcoBoost Mustang?

I figured I’d get this one out-of-the-way first. As an owner of a 5.0 Mustang GT who has driven countless EcoBoost Mustangs over the years, I can tell you from absolute certainty that the EcoBoost is not faster than the V8.

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s slow. I recently put nearly 300 miles on a 2021 EcoBoost Mustang in Florida, and I was shocked at how quick it was in sport mode. It scoots.

2021 Mustang Ecoboost engine
Yeah, it looks about as sexy as a lawnmower engine, but I can tell you from experience that the EcoBoost is a lot more fun to drive.
  • The advantage that the 5.0 Mustang has over the EcoBoost is torque. Although the Coyote 5.0 isn’t as torquey as the previous generation V8, it provides an insane amount of low end grunt very low in the power band.
  • In comparison, the EcoBoost requires being revved to get any power out of it.

In other words, power is available nearly instantly in the 5.0 Mustang, but in the EcoBoost Mustang, you’re going to have to build up boost pressure before it starts feeling fast. There is a much bigger difference between these engines than, say, a Dodge Challenger vs Ford Mustang.

5.0 L Coyote V8 2012 Mustang GT
The 5.0 L Coyote V8 is a completely different kind of engine than the EcoBoost. Not only does it have more torque, I give it bonus points for looking like a real engine.

Which car is more fun to drive?

This is purely subjective I know, but I always have more fun driving a 5.0 Mustang compared to an EcoBoost Mustang. While the four-cylinder turbo charged version can be fun at high RPMs, nothing compares to the sound (and feel) of a high output V8.

Again, everyone is different, and you may not agree with me. One person I know for a fact that doesn’t agree with me on this is Adam LZ. I watched in horror as he replaced the flat plane crank V-8 in his Shelby GT 350 with a turbocharged V6, and I haven’t been able to forgive him since.

TJ Hunt recently did something similar. He put an RB26 V6 in a 1965 Mustang, and quite frankly, it makes me weep.

Driving Mustang GT in the rain
Remember this pic from my 2016 Mustang GT review? Even in the wet, the 5.0 GT is ridiculously fun to drive. Yeah, in hindsight, it was probably foolish of me to take one hand off the wheel to get this pic, but at least I was having fun.

The V8 Mustang, even in completely stock form, sounds incredible. I like The feeling of power instantly available to me very low in the rpm range. And the way that a pulls (ridiculously hard) all the way to redline is incredibly addictive.

The EcoBoost Mustang is a fun car for daily driving, but my opinion, it’s too mild to be considered a fun secondary car.

Driving a 2021 Ecoboost Mustang POV
Taking a hand off the wheel while driving an EcoBoost Mustang isn’t as scary, but it could still get messy if the boost kicks in when you least expect it. I learned that lesson (the hard way) a long time ago when doing my 2015 EcoBoost Mustang review.

Is the EcoBoost better than the V8 Mustang?

Again, this is completely subjective based on my own experience, but I personally feel that the V8 Mustang is better than the EcoBoost Mustang. Not only in terms of the way that it feels and sounds, but also in its simplicity.

Even though the EcoBoost has four less cylinders than the V8, it’s a far more complex engine. Turbocharged inter-cooled engines can be finicky, and difficult to diagnose problems when things go wrong.

Mustang 5.0 badge
Rollin’ in a 5.0 means less headaches when it comes to repairs. Maybe that Vanilla Ice guy was smarter than we thought!

The 5.0 Coyote V-8 in my 2012 Mustang GT has been absolutely bulletproof. It’s a very simple engine (as far as modern engines go), and I can sleep easy at night knowing that I could take it to nearly any repair shop in the US and get it fixed properly. The first time.

That being said, EcoBoost engines have been known to be very reliable.

  • 3.5L EcoBoost life expectancy is quite good for a turbocharged four-cylinder (in my opinion).
  • 2.7 L EcoBoost problems have been minor, and it has been proven to be quite a reliable engine as well. Not as much as the 5.0 V8, but pretty good for a high-revving turbocharged motor.

Is the EcoBoost Mustang worth it?

Whether or not you consider an EcoBoost Mustang to be worth it over a 5.0 depends entirely on the way you plan on driving it. Even though I’m a very happy owner of a 5.0 Mustang, I’ve given serious thought to buying an EcoBoost Mustang as my workhorse daily driver.

Red 2021 EcoBoost Mustang side view
Say what you will about 4-cylinder Mustangs, but I think this is sexy AF.

The nice thing about the EcoBoost is that (even though it’s a high-revving turbocharged engine), it gets pretty good gas mileage.

The 2021 EcoBoost Mustang that I recently drove in Florida shocked me in many ways, but most significantly when it came to gas mileage. I drove that thing hard, but in nearly a weeks worth of driving and over 300 miles, I still had nearly a half a tank of gas left.

  • If gas mileage and lower insurance premiums are important to you, then the EcoBoost Mustang is absolutely worth it.
  • However, if you can afford it, the bang for the buck you’ll get with a 5.0 Mustang is out of this world. To me, there’s no better car for the money. It’s stupid fast, sounds incredible, and is dirt cheap compared to what you’d have to spend on other cars to get the same kind of fun.
EcoBoost Mustang gas mileage
Gas mileage in the EcoBoost Mustang is surprisingly good. It certainly shocked me!

Comparing the handling of an EcoBoost Mustang vs Mustang GT

One of the things that I like about the Mustang the most (both the GT and the EcoBoost) is that it’s an incredibly consistent car – no matter what engine you opt for.

Although the Mustang GT is available with stiffer suspension options, the EcoBoost model is no slouch in the corners. For daily driving, I honestly cannot tell the difference between the highest spec’d 5.0 Mustang GT vs the lowest spec’d EcoBoost Mustang. It’s not until you get them on a race track that will start to notice a difference.

Sitting in a 2021 Ecoboost Mustang
The nice thing about the EcoBoost is how low it feels (which is very similar to the GT). No matter which version you opt for, you’re going to get a well handling car for its size.

And for what it’s worth, a Mustang isn’t going to satisfy any diver who wants laser-focused handling. A 350Z might be a good option instead (as I explained in my 350Z vs Mustang GT comparison).

EcoBoost Mustang exterior vs 5.0 Mustang exterior

Just as what I was saying about how similar the EcoBoost and 5.0 versions are in the handling department, the same applies to the way they look. If you didn’t know exactly what to look for, it’s extremely difficult to tell these two cars apart just by looking at them. I like that. Some people don’t (especially GT owners).

The main difference between the GT and EcoBoost Mustang is 5.0 badge on the GT. Yes, the GT is available with a variety of aero enhancements (spoilers and front lip splitters), but even then, the difference isn’t all that significant. You basically have to be an auto enthusiast who knows about Mustangs to be able to tell the difference.

These similarities are great for anyone who chooses the EcoBoost model because they can’t afford the 5.0. It’ll look like they spent a lot of money, when in reality, they actually didn’t.

Black 5.0 Mustang
Take away the 5.0 badge, and this looks nearly identical to an EcoBoost model. Whether or not that’s a good thing is entirely up to you.

EcoBoost Mustang interior vs 5.0 Mustang interior

I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but by now I hope that you’re getting the sense that there’s really not all that much of a difference between an EcoBoost Mustang and a V8 Mustang other than the engines. The same thing very much applies to the interiors.

2021 Ecoboost Mustang interior
EcoBoost or 5.0 interior? Don’t worry…it’s pretty much impossible to tell the difference these days. (This is an EcoBoost btw).
2016 Mustang GT interior
For comparisons sake, here’s the interior of a 2016 Mustang GT. There have a few improvement since then, but overall, this isn’t any nicer than what you’d get in the 4-cylinder version.

If you’re willing to spend the money, you can spec the interior of your EcoBoost Mustang to be just as nice as the GT version. You can get the same seats, the same technology, and the same audio systems.

Nobody chooses to buy a 5.0 Mustang over an EcoBoost for a better interior.

Conclusion: which of these two cars do I prefer for daily driving?

As I’ve already mentioned (several times,) I am a very happy 5.0 Mustang owner. I love my car. Yes, I admit that it’s slightly overkill for daily driving here in the heart of San Diego, but it puts a huge smile on my face at every freeway on ramp.

And even though it kills me to say this, I wouldn’t be all that sad to trade my 5.0 in on a new EcoBoost Mustang if the primary goal for it was to be my daily driver.

Red 2021 Mustang Ecoboost rear 3/4 view
Dat a**.

The four-cylinder turbocharged Mustang looks and corners incredibly similar to the V8 model, and when you’re sitting in traffic, the plush interior is not going to make you wish that you opted for the GT instead.

Yeah, I would totally rock an Ecoboost Mustang (and I’m proud to admit it). But there’s no way that I’m giving up my 5.0 if I really don’t have to.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply