The Blue Oval has shared some disappointing news about the EcoBoost model.
The 2024 Ford Mustang is finally here. After a long wait and plenty of speculation, the Dearborn-based brand unveiled America's favorite muscle car at the Detroit Auto Show. In the months leading up to the reveal, many feared Ford would abandon the manual transmission in favor of automatics. But a teaser confirmed the three-pedal layout will return, much to the relief of many.
And while that's true, it seems this doesn't apply to the 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost. The automaker told Road & Track the entry-level engine will no longer be offered with a manual transmission, meaning those who want to row their own gears will have to spring for the V8-powered models.
This is quite a strange announcement, though. Upon launch, Ford's technical data revealed that both the EcoBoost and V8 models would receive a Getrag six-speed manual 'box. The manufacturer even provided gear ratios for both models. So, what happened? We're not quite sure, but the likely explanation is an error in the spec sheet.
For those who consider a four-cylinder Mustang sacrilege, this news won't be of any importance. But for those who know, the turbocharged four-pot is a surprisingly rambunctious little engine. Equipped with the 330-horsepower High-Performance engine and the $1,950 Handling Package, the outgoing model is quite a sprightly performer. With a manual 'box, it's even better.
For now, the 10-speed automatic transmission will be the sole option, unless you opt for the Mustang GT - or the incredible Dark Horse variant. Then again, there's a small possibility that Ford may reintroduce the option for a manual variant if demand is strong enough.
We're not complaining, though. The fact that Ford revealed an entirely new, ICE-powered muscle car late in 2022 is a miracle in itself. As its aged Challenger rival from Dodge prepares to make way for electric muscle cars, traditionalists will appreciate the Mustang's existence. And, besides, it's not like there's no manual at all. You'll just have to pony up for the privilege of owning one, that's all.
The manual transmission has become somewhat of an endangered species. Commuters aren't interested in shifting their own gears and frankly, we don't blame them. Manuals are great, except when you're snarled up in a traffic jam and your clutch is particularly heavy. But keen drivers are willing to put up with the downsides - and some brands understand this.
Aside from Ford, Toyota finally succumbed to the demands of Supra enthusiasts and announced a manual gearbox earlier this year. Interestingly, the Japanese brand followed a similar approach to Ford, only offering the more powerful model with a stick shift. The four-cylinder derivative remains auto-only.
With regards to the Mustang, this news comes as a disappointment. But we're just relieved a manual is still available.