The Ford Mustang has been an automotive icon for more than a half-century while managing to stay in the game with enough technical upgrades to keep consumers coming back for more. For 2020 there is a giant leap with a powerful base four-cylinder turbo that looks and sounds like its sibling muscular V8 for thousands less.

Pros: Robust performance, available handling package, standard Pass Connect

Cons: Cramped rear seat, small trunk, can get pricey

An EcoBoost 2.3-liter engine borrowed in part from the company’s Focus RS develops 332 horsepower. An available high-performance package included on our tester adds V8 styled larger brakes, heavy duty suspension and sticky Pirelli 19-inch paws.

The fastback coupe is based on the 60s model that inspired a generation to flock to dealerships and buy a piece of history then and now. Today’s pony car is flush with available safety equipment earning top scores in government crash tests.

A six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission is available. We liked the smooth shifting latter. In independent testing from a dead stop our tester reached 60 miles per hour in a respectable 5.9 seconds.

We noted minimal turbo lag with solid performance throughout the gear range making it an affordable and practical two-door that can be ordered as a base, premium or convertible from the high $20,000s to high $30,000s with options.

If money is no object and track speed is your goal there are more powerful GT trims featuring 460 to 480 horsepower in the Bullitt in the $40.000s.

Moving further up the ladder there are outrageous Shelby GT’s with up to 760 horsepower and a price tag in the $60,000s-$70,000s.

All Mustangs have a back seat although this is really a two-seater in disguise. Fortunately, rear seatbacks fold for additional pass through trunk space adding to its 13.5 cubic foot bin which is larger than rival Camaro.

The exterior of our test car looked every bit as aggressive as higher priced trims with hood scoops, raised blade decklid spoiler, hood accent, metallic grey stripes and quad exhaust. LED sequential rear turn signals are a nice touch too along with low gloss ebony aluminum wheels.

Cabin materials are okay with some padded surfaces but mostly hard plastics with aluminum panels. Base front seats are supportive and comfortable on lengthy trips. Our fastback seat adjustments were four-way manual offset with tilt and telescoping steering wheel positions to align the right driver feel.

Center instrument cluster adjustments include an exhaust mode that allows selection of quiet, normal, sport or throaty track exhaust. Pretty cool especially when law enforcement is nearby monitoring decibel levels.

A 4.3-inch center LCD screen displays audio information. Two large cupholders, USB ports and a small center console storage bin round out the base model.

Ford Pass Connect app is standard on all Mustangs. It works through your smartphone and monitors vehicle status, locks or unlocks doors and will remote start the engine among other adjustments.

Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at lenscarcorner@comcast.net.

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