2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: A Different Kind of Pony Power
The second I was handed the keys to the very first EV-powered Mustang, my thought was, “Well, this is a horse of a different colour if ever there was one…” But is that a good thing? We struggled with the Mustang naming all week, despite the positives this fully electric car brings to the EV market. A rose by any other name … but does it measure up to the feral horse reference the Mustang name carries with it?
So, here’s the thing: This is not a Mustang, not by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a crossover. It’s big. It’s got AWD and it is fully electric. Nothing about this vehicle is related to the Mustang heritage we’ve all come to know and love.
- Also: Ford is Building More Electric Mustangs Than Gas-powered Models
- Also: Watch: Ford Mustang Mach-E Wins at Drifting in the Snow
And that’s OK.
The symbol on the steering wheel and on the front and rear become inconsequential when you actually take a moment to see what the Mustang Mach-E actually has to offer. And truthfully, if makes sense for Ford to have given it the name it did so the company can maintain its streamlined vehicular lineup.
While behind the wheel of the Mustang Mach-E, the Mustang name rarely came up. It was simply the Ford Mach-E. And maybe that’s what they should have called it since anyone who drives it will end up calling it that anyways. It will save them a great deal of time explaining how this is not actually a Mustang, despite carrying the name.
Much Roomier than a Real Mustang
The best part about the Ford Mustang Mach-E is how practical and roomy it is. From the front to the back to the trunk, this thing is great for hauling all the things. No trunk space is lost with batteries and the backseat is super roomy with lots of legroom and headroom, as well. Large windows ensure that no matter where you sit, there’s no sense of claustrophobia.
The seats are cozy, without being overly stiff. The subtle design on the seats is a pleasant touch to an otherwise sparse interior.
In a good way.
The cockpit is so wide open and lovely, it’s like sitting on a padded park bench, unlike most modern vehicles that pack so much into the centre stack and middle console that the driver feels caged in and trapped amongst all the buttons, knobs and doodads.
The Mustang Mach-E simplifies the centre stack beautfilly, instead concentrating on the large 15.5” colour touchscreen that’s front and centre.
Now, we have to say that we did find the screen had some dead space and unused real estate along the botom portion. Perhaps future updates of SYNC will have the screen better protioned off to show relevant information. What we did appreciate was the large volume knob in the middle, and the ease of use for the entire screen and system.
Horsepower of a Different Kind
The most important and interesting bit of information everyone always wants to know about the Ford Mustang Mach-E is, of course, how much range it has and what kind of power the battery has in terms of performance.
Well, there are a few different versions of the Mach-E, but our particular tester had a range of over 400km (about 435km to be exact). It was also the all-wheel drive version, although we weren’t able to test that out as the weather hadn’t turned just yet.
When it came to charging, we weren’t impressed that we couldn’t select a charge rate for the vehicle. In other EVs, like the Chevrolet Bolt for example, you can select a maximum recharge or trickle, depending on your level of battery and what kind of power source you are connecting to. The Mach-E does not allow that choice to be made.
That made charging a bit of an arduous task, and truthfully the best charge result happened after we allowed the battery to dip below the 20% mark before plugging it into a level 2 public charger for a few hours, and then bringing it home to connect it to the regular 110V outlet overnight to get the range up to a 96% fill (which had us around 420km).
In terms of performance - it was immediately evident that the Mach-E is heavy vehicle. Our family car is a Volkswagen eGolf, and going from the hatchback ito the Mustang was a little shocking at first. I felt the weight of the Mach-E and the heaviness in its cornering and deceleration.
However, one of the great driving features about the Mach-E is that no matter which drive mode you choose - Whisper, Engage or Unbridled- your range does not change. Once we discovered that, it was Unbridled all the way, obviously.
The Mach-E Premium eAWD with extended range is capable of 346 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque - and all of that is linear and immediate. Despite that, I didn’t feel like the Mach-E was overly powerful or perform-y. It was sufficient and had decent pickup on the highway when needed, but it didn’t blow me away like some EVs have done in the past.
Alright, we won’t ignore it forever: Let’s talk about that exterior look.
There’s no easy way to say it: This is not the bestlooking Mustang there’s ever been. It’s saving grace (at least this particular tester) was that it came in Grabber Blue,which is a fantastic colour that Ford should never, ever do away with.
Other than that, the whole look is rather bloated and big and just to so anti-Mustang it was hard to wrap our heads around it.
One of the most concering features of the exterior look are the one-touch buttons to open the rear doors. There are no handles. There is nothing to grab onto. You simply touch the button and the door pops out.
Our concern here is: What happens when there is an ice storm in the winter? What happens when that button freezes? How does one get that backdoor open without chipping paint or braking a window if you need to use a scraper to get to it?
The answer is inevitably preconditioing - which makes perfect sense. Ensure your Mach-E is plugged in and heats itself up before you plan to drive it (and apparently the buttons warm themselves in order to prevent any freezing from happening). But what if you can’t plu your Stang Mach-E all day and the weather turns cold and icy … ?
Venturing into Tesla Territory
There’s lots about the Mach-E that sends it into that coveted Tesla territory - specifically the Model Y area - from its range to its price point which sits significantly high, higher than the Tesla crossover, in fact. But does it measure up in terms of design and quality? We have to say: Yes. And its nice to have an alternative to the brand that’s taken over the EV market so entirely.
The Mustang Mach-E not only offers all-weather capability but great range, interior space, and comfort. Plus a host of technology that’s not overly complicated to use or get used to. Overall, it is a solid choice when looking for a fully electric crossover.
|Test drive report|
|Test model||2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E|
|Trim level||1st Edition|
|Price range||$50,495 – $82,995|
|Price as tested||71 995 $|
|Warranty (basic)||3 years/60,000 km|
|Warranty (powertrain)||5 years/100,000 km|
|Fuel economy (city/highway/observed)||N/A|
|Competitive models||Chevrolet Bolt EV, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, Kia Soul, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y|
|Fuel economy||Since it doesn't drink fuel, it gets top marks! And the range is over 400km of EV|
|Comfort||Suspension feels rough at times, but there's plenty of space inside|
|Performance||Great linear power and AWD for winter capabilities, too|
|Infotainment||Gorgeous large screen, and easy-to-use interface|
|Driving||Comfortable and practical all wrapped into an efficient package|
|Overall||Ford has a great product here, albeit confusing with the branding they chose|