(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