Driven: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-e, the Conversation Starter
Ford has gone through an expensive failure in its history, and it was a spin-off brand called Edsel. It did not end well, and it was not cheap. It is clear that the Blue Oval thought this through, and that the decision to name its first electric SUV a Mustang, regardless of whatever comes before or after that name, was justified.
If you allow it, the result is a car that is the most Tesla-like vehicle that was not made by the brand from California. Instead, it is a Ford, and it tries to scream Mustang with every pore of its body. They even added the “Ground speed” tagline next to the digital speedometer. Ford is trying to prove a point here, and that point is that the Mach-e is, indeed, a Mustang.
Before you head out to the comments section to prove me wrong, ask yourself, what is a Mustang? What exactly does “pony car” mean? Are those two terms synonymous? Once the soul-searching is concluded, we must remind everyone that the first Mustang ever was based on a four-door sedan, was offered with an inline-six engine that did not offer that much horsepower, and had many “parts bin” components.
The first Mustang ever was an affordable car, and Ford expected to sell about 100,000 units. In just eighteen months, Ford sold over one million Mustangs, and the world was not the same ever again. It became an iconic car for the American automaker, and Ford has refrained from taking advantage of this and spinning the Mustang name into a sub-brand.
The biggest thing that matters with the Mustang Mach-e is that it is not the replacement of the Mustang. The two can coexist, and it seems that Ford wants to stick to this plan for a while. Instead of being mad that the Mach-e is out there, be happy that the conventional Mustang is still available. Purists would have been angrier if the Mach-e had directly replaced the Mustang, if you asked us.
So, what is it like? Well, before you get in, you will observe the lack of door handles. While the front doors do have small fins next to the windows, the rear doors do not have any handle to open them. Instead, you push a button on the door, and it pops out a bit to allow access.
The cabin has a high-tech feel to it, without being impossible to understand. You can get used to the large touchscreen in a few hours, and you do not need that much to get going. The volume can still be controlled with a traditional rotary knob, instead of having to slide your finger on the screen. That is a nice touch.
Another interesting element, this time on the inside, is the fact that the doors are opened using a switch, instead of a more conventional element. That is also something that you also find in a Tesla, so it seems that Ford has a clear target audience in mind for the Mustang Mach-e.
The front seats are comfortable, even though they do not excel in the matter of side bolstering. The interior feels roomy and well organized, and the ergonomics are good despite the replacement of conventional buttons and switches with a portrait-style touchscreen interface.
What is it like to drive? We will assess the Mustang Mach-e for what it is, an electric SUV. It comes with a dedicated platform, so it will not be like anything else in the Ford range. At least, not like anything else launched until this model.
The Mustang Mach-e feels best when driving in a relaxed manner, but it packs a punch when you floor the accelerator. It feels at home on the highway, but it does not disappoint reasonable expectations when corners are involved.
Just remember that this is an electric SUV, not a sports car, and adjust your driving accordingly. You will find that it is pleasant to drive, even though it is not meant to carve apex after apex. It can be driven in a sportier manner, but that is not its goal in life.
put together by Teknikens Varld of Sweden. The Swedish magazine explained that Ford let the Mustang Mach-e's electronic stability control system be too “tail-happy,” which made the car fail their test.
During our test drive, we found that its all-wheel-drive configuration acts accordingly when needed, and you can feel it doing its thing when exiting corners. The Mustang Mach-e can be a car that is fun to drive, which should calm people on the whole “but is it a Mustang” dispute.
This variant of the Ford Mustang Mach-e, called Extended Range AWD, has a maximum WLTP-estimated range of 540 kilometers (335 miles), and an average energy consumption of 18.7 kWh/100 km (62 miles).
We started our day in the Mustang Mach-e with a full battery and a displayed range of 411 km (255 miles). After driving 275 kilometers (170 miles), the battery had a remaining charge of 22 percent, which the car estimated was enough for another 84 kilometers (52 miles).
We took advantage of a stop for refreshments and topped up the battery to 45 percent and drove on with an estimated remaining range of 220 kilometers (136 miles). Upon reaching our hotel for the day and leaving the Mustang Mach-e in the parking lot to fill up its battery at a destination charger, we had a total trip of 287 kilometers (178 miles) with an average speed of 58 kph (36 mph).
The energy consumption calculated by the vehicle's computer was 23.0 kWh/100 km (62 miles). If you take its size and weight into account, as well as the fact that we did not drive it like we were on our Sunday drive to church, it is a reasonable value.
You can count on the Mustang Mach-e to drive at least 350 kilometers (217 miles) with a full charge if you have a route that mostly consists of highway miles, but otherwise, it can easily do 400 kilometers (248 miles) without having to recharge.
Ford fitted the Mustang Mach-e with a one-pedal driving mode, but you can also drive it like a normal vehicle with an automatic transmission and count on its regenerative braking to slow you down. The single-pedal mode felt more appropriate in the city and in conditions with frequent stop-and-go traffic, while the normal driving mode is more suitable for the open road.
Using the Mustang name for its first electric SUV was a clever idea on Ford's part, as the car also got to borrow a bit of personality from the iconic car without diluting the brand. The Mustang Mach-e has enough power and torque to convince you of its link to the Mustang family, without losing out on being a grand tourer.
Editor's note: Our test drive of the Ford Mustang Mach-e was part of an electric road trip with eight electric vehicles over eight days, called ROCHARGE by Vitesco Technologies. The point of the project was to test drive some of the latest electric vehicles on the market in real traffic conditions.