Ford Mustang Mach-E: A New EV Player Has Arrived
It took a while, but Ford has brought a solid crossover EV contender to the market.
Ford was patient about bringing an EV to life, and doing so with a Mustang badge was a bold move. Particularly when it's attached to a crossover. As a new EV competitor to pay attention to, the Mustang Mach-E brings some cool looks, a more functional cabin, and plenty of range.
Ford's entry into the attainable EV class brings the heat versus Tesla's Model Y, and is a bigger package than the affordable Chevrolet Bolt I tested last summer. Everyone has to get over the naming convention matter, because Ford is sticking to its guns, and I think it's a good move. Seeing how the Mach-E performs and lives up to the name is the real challenge.
Covering The Specs
Ford offers the Mustang Mach-E with a handful of available trim levels, and your choice of rear-wheel-drive or its eAWD system. My Iconic Silver tester was a premium trim eAWD model with the extended-range 88 kWh battery option, which hits the sweet spot in the Mach-E lineup. Producing 346 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque--which is available as soon as you press the throttle pedal, thanks to its electric single-speed powertrain--the Mach-E I tested can shoot from 0-60 MPH in just 4.8 seconds. Not bad for a 4,900-pound crossover.
EPA-confirmed ranges are 230 miles for the standard-range RWD Mustang Mach-E, 300 miles for the extended-range RWD, 211 miles in the standard-range eAWD model, and 270 miles in the eAWD extended-range model I tested. All of these figures met the ranges Ford targeted ahead of EPA testing.
Base price--before federal tax credits--for the Mustang Mach-E is $42,895, and the Premium trim level starts at $49,700. Opting for the extended range battery costs $5,000, and the destination charge is $1,100, bringing the total MSRP to $55,800. Consider the federal tax credit of $7,500, and you're really looking at a net price of $48,300. There's a performance-focused GT model coming soon, which will start around $60,000, if you feel the need for speed.
A Great EV For City Use
Rather than feeling like an appliance with wheels, the Mustang Mach-E feels good on the road. Steering is a bit more electric and disconnected than I prefer, but it's not awful. If you're just rolling around town to run errands, put the Mach-E in Whisper mode, which softens things up and reduces energy consumption, while not feeling too slow. Continental PremiumContact 6 tires are better than the usual rubber you'd expect on an EV, give decent grip, and are quiet for your daily driver. I appreciate Ford opting for a tire with some good sidewall, as potholes and bumps suck.
I'm not a big fan of crossovers, but Ford designed the Mustang Mach-E to be a bit more like a shooting brake when you look at the profile. A swept roofline is a bit of an optical illusion, thanks to a black panel used for the rear end of the roof, but the proportions look great. Even with that swept line, you aren't giving up much headroom in the back seat, with good space for actual adults to stretch out comfortably. The panoramic fixed-glass roof not only lets in a ton of natural light, but also makes the cabin feel more spacious.
Cabin appointments are a mix of some Ford parts bin switchgear, but the dash panels are a nice blend of carbon fiber-looking plastic and fabric over the huge Bang & Olufsen speaker panels. The seats, while comfortable, could use a bit sportier look, but Ford kept things practical in the more conventional models to maintain a reasonable price point. Overall, the interior quality is pretty good.
Because there's no conventional engine up front, the Mach-E gets a big waterproof storage area with a removable divider that came in handy on a grocery run. Out back the storage area is big for a crossover of this size, and the back seats fold down if you need even more space. During my real world test that included a bit more higher speed highway driving than most people will likely do, I was still achieving over 250 miles on a charge. Later in 2021, Ford will introduce its Active Drive Assist functionality to the Mustang Mach-E, providing drivers a supplemental hands-free driving experience, without falsely--and dangerously--claiming that the car is self-driving.
Can It Perform Like A Mustang Should?
Switch the Mach-E into its Unbridled drive mode, and this EV screams. Everything in the chassis tightens up, throttle response quickens to hummingbird-wing speeds, and the Mustang name gets its respect. I giggled at the propulsion sounds option (which can be switched off) that sounds more like an EcoBoost four-cylinder. I wish Ford either made it sound like a spaceship or went the other way and made it fake the noises of a Coyote V8 from the Mustang GT. A customizable drive mode would be cool to have too.
Cornering is sharp and feels connected, considering there's an electric steering setup in your hands. No EV is going to top the steering feel of the Porsche Taycan, but that costs way more. While there are more all-season focused tires equipped, not once was I complaining about the Mach-E's cornering abilities when I flogged it on a favorite twisty road, and the eAWD setup seems to provide a good rear-wheel bias. You won't forget you're in a crossover that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, but the Mach-E can confidently conquer the bends in a manner you don't anticipate in your typical EV. It definitely hauls more than groceries, and massive brakes easily cope with the extra weight when you need to shave off speed, while providing good pedal feel.
If you want a faster Mach-E, Ford will start selling two GT variants soon, which have a starting price of $60,000. Both Mach-E GTs are expected to pack no less than 480 horsepower and over 600 lb-ft of torque, while knocking more than a second off the 0-60 time of the Premium. Before the Tesla fanboys annihilate the comments section: No one really cares about 0-60 times when they're enjoying driving their car on a daily basis, and they don't think of gimmicks in the infotainment as hot buttons to buy a car either. Keep sipping that Kool-Aid.
Those burnout marks weren't from me. I swear.
Packed With Practical Tech
Rather than trying to be too cool and minimalist, Ford have the Mustang Mach-E a surprisingly functional interior, filled with gadgetry you can easily use. A simple yet useful gauge pod is placed ahead of the steering wheel, giving you quick access to your speed, mileage range, and charge percentage remaining. I'm not sure why other OEMs have tried to take away this vital feature, and are forcing drivers to look away from what's ahead of them.
I'm thankful that the Mustang Mach-E includes normal controls for cruise and audio on steering wheel, while also having a big volume knob on the SYNC 4A infotainment screen. Tesla could take a page from Ford here. The massive infotainment tablet is helpful, and its size makes info large and easy to read, but I do think the toggles for numerous settings are a bit too much like iOS, and will make you stop if you want to safely update your configurations.
Ford's E-Latch door handle system replaces conventional door handles--which add energy-consuming drag while disrupting the flowing body lines--with a quick button on the pillar that you press to open the doors. Side-view mirrors are also more compact than conventional Ford models, helping keep the Mach-E's body more aerodynamic. When you're charging on the go, Ford's 4G LTE wifi hotspot enables you to stay productive... or stream a video on YouTube or Netflix. I don't judge.
Yes, as Mustangs do, it still says "Ground Speed" on the speedometer.
Look! There's a volume knob!
Physical buttons for each purpose.
Charging Infrastructure Challenges
Finding a public charging point is a big struggle, even in a tech-centric city as big as Austin. If you aren't a homeowner with a faster charger setup, you're going to feel pain when it comes to juicing up your Mustang Mach-E. There are a couple dozen fast chargers in Austin, but many of them weren't operating properly, leaving me driving several miles to find the next one.
You're also dealing with fragmented charging networks provided by numerous companies, so you'll need a few extra apps on your mobile phone to hook up. I made use of the Ford Pass app, which has helpful filters for charging station searches, and the ability to hook up multiple charging company accounts.
Fast charging comes standard, and took me about an hour and a half to go from 35% to 80%, which is decent. The trouble with most EVs is that charging speed throttles down to take up to four more hours to get the final 20% of juice, which can slow you down on a road trip.
Someone a Ford thinks they're funny.
This Is The EV Crossover To Buy
Ford took its time bringing the Mustang Mach-E to market, and while some Mustang purists gripe about the name, I like the overall package. It's nimble, looks great, and offers an EV to buyers who don't want the clichés associated with its primary competitor. If the Mach-E's price point is a bit above your budget, the Chevrolet Bolt is a fine EV alternative, and it's getting big updates this year.
Should you be obsessed with performance from your EV, you might want to wait until the Mustang Mach-E GT variants arrive later this year. Most drivers will be more than satisfied with the current performance though. Everywhere I went with the Mach-E, it drew a crowd, and the vast majority of people I talked to love the look of it and appreciate Ford launching this model. I'd take the Mustang Mach-E over the Tesla Model 3 or Model Y without hesitation, and I think that many EV buyers will do the same over the next few years.
Petrol station wasteland