Electrified Or Electro-Fail? We Spend A Week With The 2021 Mustang Mach-E


Electrified Or Electro-Fail? We Spend A Week With The 2021 Mustang Mach-E

(Photos by the author) – If we want to talk about vehicles that are important to the Ford Motor Company and which indicate what the company’s path forward is, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E is it. The fact is that Ford has had small electric and hybrid cars for a few years now but those cars are largely appliances that were not designed or capable of throwing down with the heavyweights in the electric space, mainly Tesla which to this point continues to be the standard for fully electrified automobiles. The 2021 Mustang Mach-E is the company’s first full push into a mass-market, headlining electrified car and after spending seven days with the machine, I can say with full confidence that they got it right. They got it all right.

But the name. Throngs of traditional Mustang supporters lost their mind when the four door crossover styled Mach-E was released with a charging horse on the nose and the Mustang name. This was about the same as how the lovers of the Porsche brand reacted when the company started making SUVs or selling four door sedans. It echos the same feelings that Mopar devotees had when Dodge had the gall to start selling a four door car named Charger of all things! Can we all remember the way the world reacted at the advent of the Bronco II and a host of other models that have been released across the automotive spectrum using iconic names on machines that were evolutionary and reflective of the current period they were being introduced in rather than the one where they started?

I’d submit that the Mustang hardcores were not ever going to be Mach-E shoppers anyway and the company knew this. Shrewdly they also knew that there are oceans of people who have always wanted a connection to the Mustang brand, the Mustang mystique and could never justify a coupe with the demands of their regular life. Maybe commuting to the office, hauling kids, hauling groceries, and doing regular things that a machine like a GT-500 is not exactly designed to excel at. And lest we not forget that for those who don’t see this as a “true Mustang” you have quite literally the best version of “your” Mustang the company has ever built on dealer lots across America. If anything, whether you want to admit it or not the better the Mustang Mach-E does, the longer life the traditional style and powered Mustang will last.

So let’s be done with the naming chat, shall we? At least in terms of this particular conversation. This is not a car that’s about the Ford marketing department, it is a car that is about the Ford ENGINEERING department and this is  a wonderful tour de force that shows once and for all that Detroit can and will produce electric cars rivaling or besting what anyone else can. Not little appliance cars, but actual fun to drive, technologically advanced, cool looking, dare we say interesting, electric cars. It’s almost like a sleeping giant has finally risen in this genre.

Our 2021 Mustang Mach-E was the Premium AWD model, which means that it has the better battery, a slick interior, and of course, all wheel drive. The retail price on this model is right around $50,000 which places it on the upper end of the Mach-E pricing scale. Depending on how you spec and order one, you can likely leave a dealer for $10,000 less than the cost of the example you see here. This said, these are going to be in incredible demand when released, so plan on dealer markup.

The Mach-E is the first non-Tesla to have a 300-mile battery range. The AWD model takes that range and lowers it to 270-miles but I’d still recommend the all wheel drive to anyone who lives in a climate like mine where snow and ice are a thing each winter. The AWD system works great and the torque vectoring is done seamlessly, especially when you are attempting aggressive acceleration from a stop around a corner or getting into the power coming out of a tight bend at lower speeds. More on that in a minute.

For those looking to get the most raw performance possible out of a Mach-E, the GT model will be your jam. The horsepower rating is 480 but the reality is that the lack of a transmission and the fact that the torque is instant means that the GT will be able to get to 60mph from a standstill in about 3.5 seconds.

Our Premium AWD model as shown here is rated at 4.5-seconds to 60mph and we can say that some unofficial iPhone stopwatch action got us there time and time again on some closed roads we were experimenting. The quickness of the acceleration was fun and the overall driving dynamic is so far superior to typical crossover SUVs that it’s nearly unfair to even try and make a comparison in that vein. More accurately we should say that the quiet speed of the Mach-E makes it far less visceral than a thumping V8 powered traditional Mustang but for the core audience that Ford is looking for, we think the noises which we truly love may be the things that they’re trying to avoid.

In terms of handling and the feedback of the driver experience, the Mach-E delivers as compared to other crossovers which typically inspire about as much passion behind the wheel as a garden tractor. The Michelin 255/55/19 tires on stylish wheels grip the pavement well but again, outside of a class comparison it would be pushing it to say that the Mach-E is some kind of inspired handler. You will not drive a better crossover in the segment than this for dynamics but it is not a low slung sports car with ultra-wide and sticky tires. It is a wonderfully composed crossover with enough grip to be fun and enough steering weight to feel sporting when you want it to.

 

Ultimately I found the most impressive parts of the Mustang Mach-E where I hoped I would. That’s in the passenger compartment, interior, technological integration, and the overall diving experience. The shining points of the Mach-E are not the fun acceleration or even the lithe styling but rather how good a job Ford did in making sure the details that customers in this emerging segment want were executed properly.

By their mechanical nature electrified cars are quiet. The Mach-E is the quietest vehicle I think I have ever driven, especially in the passenger compartment. Devoid of not only mechanical noise but road noise as well, it was a jarring experience for the first 10-15 miles of driving the Mach-E. This will be a feature of the Mach-E that hooks many new buyers, especially those that have never driven electric cars before. Having a fair amount of experience and still being blown away means that those uninitiated will be downright stunned.

Interior quality and space is great and frankly a bit surprising considering the outward design. Normally a roofline like this means that rear passengers do not have a lot of headroom. Not the case here. My 6’4″ son fit back there nicely. This Mach-E had “vegan leather” which is to say it ain’t real. It was nice material and most people would not know the difference. Shifting is done with the dial style unit that so many Ford cars have adopted over the last few model years. Driver and passenger seats could use a little more bolstering from my experience. It would be a safe bet to say that the GT model will have more bolstering in the seats to enhance the performance driving experience.

The massive touchscreen controls all facets and functions of the Mach-E. From the radio to the HVAC controls, to the three different drive modes (Whisper, Engage, Unbridled) and every other setting that the car has to offer. There is a small screen ahead of the steering wheel that serves as the driver’s information center for things like speed and battery charge. This screen is mammoth and certainly captures the attention of all who get in the Mach-E the first time.

Functionality is also in full effect here. The rear storage space  is more generous than is typically found in this class of vehicle and we’re guessing because of the ability to shift interior space when not having to work around other mechanical aspects of the car, engineers were able to free up some room in the rear. We hauled all manner of things, including tractor brake parts around with room to spare. Oh, and yes, the frunk! This front trunk is a neat little storage area which also has a drain hole in the event you wanted to fill it with ice and beverages for a tailgate party or something. Interesting and fun use of the space.

If there is one area that the Mach-E surprised me on it was the recognition that the styling got. Picking my sons up from school brought a load of kids to check the car out, cruising around town got loads of long glances at traffic lights and people staring on the way by. Heck, even in the course of shooting the photos you see here, a guy walking by stopped and was gawking at the Mach-E before saying, “Wait…is that a Mustang?!” There are elements of the traditional Mustang in this one from the look of the head and tail lights to the contours across the hood, but overall this design stands on its own and is distinctive to capture the attention of kids and the normally zombie-like driving public. That’s a good thing for the Ford design department.

In conclusion, this is a milestone car for Ford and one that they literally could not afford to get wrong. Releasing this 2021 Mustang Mach-E with a heritage name, bold looks, and all the technology the company can muster means that they have pushed their chips into the middle of the table. In so many ways, this is a winning gamble in my own eyes and from my own experience. The chips were well spent.

No, this is not the thrill-seeking, visceral thumping experience of a V8 Mustang coupe. No, this is not car designed to replace that. What this Mustang Mach-E is though, will be widely embraced by the buying public who wants a car that fits their lifestyle, is chocked with modern technology, and is sold at a price they can afford.

Driving your Mach-E to work during the week and your Mach 1 to the drags on the weekend doesn’t sound like such bad thing, right?

Hit the images to expand them and scroll on to see ’em all – 2021 Mustang Mach-E

 

 


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26 thoughts on “Electrified Or Electro-Fail? We Spend A Week With The 2021 Mustang Mach-E

  1. Russell

    I am in the that is NOT a MUSTANG! group. I am by no where saying I am like the masses, but I like the idea of an electric car. I don’t buy new cars. I like to buy cars with 50% of their useful life left at 10-25% of the sticker price. When electric cars reach that point I will consider them. The Mustang cross over will not be one of them. By all accounts the Mach-E is a great car. Its a shame the marketing department could not come up with some way to create buzz about a new car with out dragging the mustang name though the mud.

    Reply
    1. green junk

      I was told by a ford contract employee that they tried to call this multiple other things in the focus groups and it bombed BAD. Someone decided to slap the Mustang name on it and send it through testing, to say it scored higher….

      Reply
  2. Whelk

    Calling this thing a Mustang, well I gave it a grimace and a shrug. But Mustang mystique? What the heck is that? I am extremely dubious that anyone who buys the Mach-E will be doing it because the Mustang name was hung on it. It may well soldier along a few years in spite of rather than because of the name. It’ll be like the 4 door Charger. No one gave a rip about it until they started plopping 700 HP monsters in them.

    Reply
    1. Chas

      “……300 mile battery range”. Yes, in optimal conditions. What’s the range when it’s 35 degrees F outside (battery power drops exponentially with temperature drop) and you have the electric heater on? Something like 150?

      Reply
  3. J

    You guys are idiots. The reason this is called or branded as a Mustang is so they can keep the actual Mustang as it is and not defile it by putting a battery in it. The CAFE rules say the “line” has to have a hybrid option or ‘sister’ car with a battery. So, all you morons saying they have soiled the Mustang name by making this a pony, need to adjust your thinking. They actually saved the real Mustang from extinction.

    Reply
    1. Skeptical

      The fact that there are rules forcing such things doesnt bother you? How about if the marketing was truthful instead of pandering and flat out lies of how these things are going to be our environmental saviours? Have you considered what the other motives are behind these? What about who is getting rich pushing this “all electric revolution”? We can pretend all day that we have a say in this but we dont. If the rules are being written by politicians, you can be sure it is not being done in your best interest regardless of how they are marketing it to you.

      Reply
      1. J

        Im just stating why they called this… thing… a Mustang. It does bother me that they arent thinking nor do they care about afterlife of these units, where the energy comes from to charge them and what happens to the gasses when a battery unit shats the bed. I dont agree with RC cars being a savior, they ae not in any way. I agree, if the fed is making policy, you can bet your last dollar its in their own interest.

        I would hate to tell you guys what I do for a living, but, everyone has to earn a living.

        Reply
    2. Russell

      This may be true. I rather see a hybrid or electric option in a real mustang than the mustang name on a cross over. I know it is a one off race car but I like the Cobra Jet 1400. I don’t think an electric mustang would make the gas powered ones extinct. The gas guy would be mad if the electric car was faster.

      Reply
  4. Jeff

    Looks like somebody glued their giant tablet to the dash. Can’t believe that’s the best they could do with the ever distracting and ever growing touch screens they feel necessary to jam in everything these days. I personally have nothing against electric cars, we’ll all have them eventually. Just don’t want this one.

    Reply
    1. green junk

      Mercedes has done it best with their a-e classcars. perfect size screen, easy to read, not distracting, multiple ways to access it.

      Reply
  5. MGBChuck

    I still don’t understand where the electricity is coming from (east coast, south east, midwest, north midwest) mostly nuclear, coal, gas, oil.

    Reply
  6. Hoffman

    Freiburger wrote an article years ago about the amount of energy expended to restore an old car versus creating a new one from scratch. Remember all those ‘Crusher Camaro’ articles, and ‘Cash for Clunkers’ programs? The lefties were marketing new cars as a way of ‘saving the planet’ by reducing consumption of key elements and lowering green house emissions from the tail pipe. Except by Freiburger’s analysis, when you factor in the amount of energy consumed and the emissions generated during the manufacture of the car versus just the parts to restore an existing car, the impact is far lower to restore, even with higher tail pipe emissions after the fact. Ok, so that’s the old versus new part of the argument. Then there’s the gas versus electrons part. So, if I’m a Prius lover and I think there’s absolutely zero environmental impact in generating electricity, (or building the new electric car) then I get to claim I’m saving the planet, right? What about the physics and relative energy efficiency of refined petroleum versus generating and transmitting electricity? What are the environmental hazards and impacts of all those batteries when they wear out? I’m no fan of electric cars and honestly, not many new cars in general. I think what it really comes down to is that the US Government is picking winners and losers and mandating them, and if they weren’t, we wouldn’t have electric cars. Where would Tesla be if it weren’t for all the taxpayer dollars they’ve raked in? We’re supposed to be pleased that the E-job placates CAFE and gives Ford license to keep building something else we would recognize as Mustangs? Mother may I? Right……What a crock.

    Reply
    1. LanceH

      That’s my problem with electric cars as the savior of the world. They exemplify the whole not in my back yard philosophy. Just because it is not polluting when I’m driving it,forget about the tires and brake pads,doesn’t make it clean.
      We all know the electricity has to be generated some how and we know no 1 source can do it all, except nuclear but the US is terrified by that idea,but those darn batteries. When the world wide order takes over what happens when these countries with no health and safety regulations suddenly get them? What happens when the true health effects of those miners becomes known? Will we treat electric cars like the fur industry? “Battery’s are Murder!” The heavy metals are deadly. We are fast approaching the end of life on many electric car battery’s,how will they be disposed or recycled? Will they to be loaded on a barge and sent somewhere that is not here? The .gov loves the idea of e-cars but those darlings need some regulation slapped on them,I propose a cradle to grave tax where the manufacture is required to properly handle and recycle the entire car including the rolling environmental hazard that is the battery. While we are at it make the manufactures train and equip the country’s fire departments and firefighters on the procedure for extinguishing metal fires. When one of these things lights up in a high rise with above ground ,but under the main floors parking we could have….well ain’t puttin that out with water…

      Reply
    2. Russell

      cash for clunkers was there to help the car manufactures. It hurt low income people who depend on good cheap cars to get around.

      Reply
  7. Car lover (but not this thing)

    When I get in a car, I want to sit in front of a dashboard, not a f’n TV set. Not in my garage, thanks.

    Reply
  8. William Fowler

    I appreciate the review as written of the vehicle (SUV, Crossover, whatever) as presented. I’ve owned Mustangs since 1970 so A. I’m old and B. i bet my current two are faster than yours so I get the idea that the name is an issue for some. I don’t care, it’s better than calling it an Edsel. A year ago I when our last SUV lease was up I wanted to get the new Aviator Hybrid which is well appointed, styled and is a rocket ship. We could get one and so we leased another X5, our 6th. I’m hopeful that this will be a choice in two years when we are leasing again. I have an ’03 F150 Harley truck as my daily and the fun cars. The SUV’s are the wife and my safe, dog hauling, under warranty, long trip vehicle. My concern is long trips, I don’t want to stop at the Cabazon Premium Outlet Mall when we head over to Phoenix for two hours to recharge, that will be a huge shopping $$$ penalty. How do the doors open and unlock? Do the rear seats fold down smooth and flat? All important questions. Great review Brian. Let’s see how this goes.

    Reply
  9. Michael Schwartz

    I’m not even a Ford guy and I don’t like the name. When Porsche created their 4-door line they didn’t call it the 9xx sedan, they came up with a completely new name. When Chevy wanted an electric Camaro they electrified the existing car. Ford could have done the same thing if they wanted to.

    Reply
  10. 69rrboy

    Looks just as hideous as every other crossover thing out there. Will never buy anything that ugly.

    I thought most if not all of those batteries were made in coal burning plants but nobody ever seems to mention that. Plus like others have said, what are they gonna do with all the old ones once they’re shot?

    It’s been proven over and over by science that carbon dioxide is what’s causing all these problems and that, by far, the largest portion of that comes from people exhaling. So….. if half the population would just stop breathing for a week or so we could all drive Pro Mods to work. Problem solved!

    Reply
  11. Scott Liggett

    As cross-over Mom Cars go, this one is not the ugliest. The tires look under sized for some reason. And that screen? WTH? It screams after thought. Like someone already said, like someone glued their Ipad to the dashboard.

    The Mustang name is indicative of how car companies too scared to take a chance on anything. They couldn’t come up with a name their stupid focus groups liked. So, they went with a name those people actually heard of. In short, they lacked courage and imagination to go with a different name.

    Reply

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