Ford Mustang Mach-e: Presenting the unexpected…
… It’s a tagline from the original 1960s Ford Mustang but it still stands today for the Mach-E is something you would never expect to come out of Dearborn.
Discover EV expert verdict...
- Distinctive looks
- A little pricey
- Standard Range models only capable of charging up to 115kW
- Build quality so-so
Without considering the brief encounter up Goodwood Hill with stunt driver Paul Swift behind the wheel our last stint with the Ford Mustang Mach-E was at its UK reveal and once again as a passenger – ironically over the same sort of distance but being in central London lasted a lot longer and thus gave us a better impression. Back then we said that that ‘from our experience and the car’s stats it all adds up to what could be a revolutionary car for the Blue Oval’. Having now lived with one for a week we can confirm that this is indeed true. It is a radical car for Ford and deserving of its Mustang nameplate, despite what the purists might say.
The all-new platform has been developed by Ford to take full advantage of the weight distribution (with the battery positioned between the axles and beneath the floor) for a low centre of gravity and the torque delivery (all deployed within half a second) of an all-electric powertrain. Battery power is transferred to an all-new, oil-cooled, rear-mounted AC motor to drive the rear wheels and an additional front-mounted motor in the case of our car.
Talking of which there are three models – rear-wheel (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) with either Standard (SR) or Extended Range (ER) or the driver focussed GT in AWD ER format only. We had the ER AWD model with a dual motor setup offering 346bhp and 428lb-ft of torque to deliver a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds, which interestingly is comparable with the V8 Mustang.
Ford has had a bit of fun in naming its three drive modes – Whisper, Active and Untamed – so that drivers can apparently ‘match their driving experience to their mood’. Active mode is basically the most economic and infuses the cabin with soft blue lighting, while Whisper initiates lighter steering controls and a gentler accelerator response, plus optimises brake traction control to help maintain grip on wet and slippery surfaces. Untamed unleashes the full potential of the Mustang Mach-E – sharpening the steering, enhancing the throttle response and even giving the driver the feel of downshifting on deceleration. Matched to the performance is a boosted interior sound (think electric guitar synthesizer married to a V8) and orange lighting.
Despite the unnecessary noise (why pretend it is ICE, what’s wrong with the whine of an electric motor?) with Untamed engaged and traction control switched off the car can be quite fun – and although you’re conscious it’s two tonnes of metal it rides very well. That’s thanks to the unique settings for shock absorbers, springs, anti-roll bars, steering and powertrain which have been tailored for Europe’s typically narrower, twistier roads and higher speed limits. That means that even on the bumpiest of B roads it soaks up the ruts and lumps and doesn’t wallow too much in the corners. It is definitely one of the better riding SUVs we’ve tested.
Mustang Mach-E also offers ‘1 Pedal Drive’ capability, which doesn’t quite allow you to bring the vehicle to a complete stop by lifting off the accelerator but when in this mode it does help return more kinetic energy to the battery, for greater efficiency. We found the car’s hydraulic brakes a little bit grabby so one just needs to consciously make an effort to be smooth.
A range of driver assistance technologies are included as standard such as Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centring, Active Park Assist and 360 Degree Camera, Pre-Collision Assist with Auto Emergency Braking and Lane-Keeping System with Blind Spot Assist.
Range and running costs
The range on offer depends on what model you go for – our car officially has 335 miles, but this is a lab-tested figure, and like so many EVs achieves quite a bit lower in the real world. The Mach-e is significantly down however with it displaying 240 miles after a full charge. This was during the winter months, and as well as other journalists noting a similar range they’ve also reported seeing a further 50 miles during the summer. At least what we had was pretty accurate with the car, which is more enough between charges.
Based on the average cost of a kWh of energy being 18p, charging the Extended Range Mach-E will cost in the region of £18 from an 11kW wall-mounted charger. Talking of which a home wall box can top up the Mustang Mach-E battery from 10 to 80 per cent in approximately 6 hours, while charging at speeds of up to 150kW will add an average of 66 miles of charge within approximately 10 minutes, so a 10 to 80 per cent charge would only take you 45 minutes – and if you’ve got kids you’ll know how easy that time goes at a service station. Charging performance does depend on the battery size, so the smaller capacity model is only able to charge at up to 115kW DC.
It’s doesn’t quite live up to the large and growing network of accessible locations that the Tesla charging Infrastructure boasts but the FordPass Charging Network is one of the largest networks of public charge stations in Europe and customers who placed an order in 2020 and into 2021 received one year of free access to the IONITY fast-charging network.
In terms of depreciation, one US Source – IntelliChoice owned by automotive website Motortrend – reckons the Ford Mustang Mach-E will retain 39.7 percent of its original price over five years, whereas a comparable UK source is saying the car is predicted to hold on to 54 per cent of its value after three years and 36,000 miles. The Mustang Mach-E is rated in insurance groups 33 to 40 and when you compare that to the plug-in hybrid Kuga which falls into groups 19-21, it’s quite a bit more expensive. But like all electric cars, it will be significantly cheaper to run than its petrol or diesel-engined equivalents – PHEV or otherwise, and it'll be cheaper to cover than a Tesla Model 3, which is rated in groups 48 to 50.
Low riding muscle car the Mach-e isn’t, but there is definitely a nod to the iconic nameplate – including the signature long, powerful bonnet, distinctive rear haunches, sweeping tailgate and trademark tri-bar tail lamps. The two-tone colour scheme along the roofline, helps the car to look lower and make it more sports coupe-like rather than SUV. The downside of this is the A pillars are pretty chunky and the rear windscreen thin, therefore significantly limiting visibility. Just like a Mustang, the Mach-e also feels more special than a Ford – we’ve never had so many admiring comments and glances while in an electric SUV. It’s certainly a radical departure from the brand.
Inside traditional Mustang design cues also feature, such as the double-cowl instrument panel. There’s a nice mix of fabric, red stitching and carbon accents in our car, which work well together with the sleek, modern design and smart functionality. We love the pony puddle-lamp which projects down from the bottom of the mirror. The awkwardly positioned large upright screen dominating the dash reminds me of the early Tesla Model S (why not integrate it into the dash or at least mount it landscape?) and it’s no secret that Ford are looking at the car maker to continually up its game, having announced last year it was using its new over-the-air software capacity to follow them into in-car gaming and add Amazon Alexa integration (more on connectivity in the next section!). We like the 10.2 inch digital driver’s display, which sits neatly behind the steering wheel and puts all the key information in your eyeline (such as the speed, battery percentage and the remaining range) – something Tesla doesn’t feature on any of their models with it all displayed on the main screen and therefore just out your line of sight. In terms of build quality – it could be a little better for a car that starts at £47k but again it trumps Tesla in this area.
Comfort and practicality
There’s certainly enough leg and head room for front and rear passengers, but the 420 litre boot (increasing to 1420 with the rear seats folded down) is smaller than some of its rivals (Volkswagen ID.4 has 543 and 1575 litres respectively). There is at least a decent amount of storage in the centre console (although door pockets are a bit slim) and an 81 litre frunk, which is also drainable by the way, so great for storing wet or muddy shoes and clothing, or beach gear. And the practicality doesn’t end there. The panorama fixed-glass roof for example, helps the interior stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and helps protect against ultraviolet rays.
Ford has also reinvented the door handle. This feature is perhaps tech for tech’s sake but if you lost your keys and somehow locked your child inside you wouldn’t need to call the fire brigade, because as well as keyless entry, which allows you to use your key fob (which oddly is Ford badged and the same one they’ve used for well over a decade) or smartphone to pop it open, there is a touchscreen keypad on the door pillar that you can use to input a code to unlock the car. It’s handy if you’ve got your hands full but if you slightly nudge it by mistake (which is easy to do when you’re carrying a child or shopping) and then try and open it again it won’t, so you have to force it shut and try again. Also, just how practical they prove to be in heavy frosts remains to be seen, and if it goes wrong – I dread to think what the repair bill would be. Surely there’s other ways to improve aerodynamic efficiency Ford?
The Ford SYNC 4A, its cloud-connected in-car communication and entertainment system, utilises a 15.5” touchscreen which is intuitive to use and boasts split-screen capability, so you can display and manage different features simultaneously, and has voice control. It has twice the power and processing speed of the previous generation and can learn your preferences automatically so it can adapt what is displayed, and make helpful suggestions as you travel. All in all there are no real complaints but it doesn’t feel particularly premium and it feels like you’re using a tablet with a generic interface, rather than a system purpose-built for the car. We like the fact you still get buttons on the steering wheel for the cruise control (on the left) and media and phone operations (on the right), and permanently displayed temperature controls that span the bottom of the touchscreen which are big and easy to see, as well as a knob for the sound system volume control.
Owners will be able to pre-configure their new vehicle ahead of delivery should they wish using the new Remote Vehicle Setup feature, with the ability to store favourite vehicle settings such as daily departure times, preferred cabin comfort settings and battery charge levels, and frequent locations. Future over-the-air updates will continuously improve the car over its life.
As well as next level connectivity features, the Ford Mustang Mach-e comes with a number of advanced driver assistance technologies as standard including: Reverse Brake Assist, Reverse Sensing System, Rear Camera, Post-Impact Braking, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist, Lane-Keeping System and Evasive Steering Assist.
While some say the Mach-E was likely a desperate attempt from Ford, to react to Tesla bringing the Model Y to market, as well as regulatory reasons of course in terms of CO2 compliance, we think it’s a smart move. In the third quarter of 2021, the electric SUV accumulated 15,602 sales, whereas the Mondeo only shifted 10,427 units. Yes, it’s an indication of the SUV boom, which is far from over, but it also goes to show that EVs are becoming increasingly popular.
We think its case is further strengthened by its sports car name and design traits, too. It’s good to see the iconic pony car live on, that’s for sure. While the original Mustang inspired a host of competition, the 21st century version is a little late to the party, but just as Ford was prepared for the onset of the 1973 oil crisis, having already designed a smaller Mk2 version, the brand has realised the importance of alternatively fuelled cars during the twenty-twenties as we hurtle towards a ban on new petrol and diesel cars.
In the bland sea of SUVs, the Mach-e really stands out; it’s also an excellent all-rounder that’s roomy, practical, safe and very decent to drive. In that sense it rivals the Kia e-Niro, and while the interiors are noticeably more luxurious, it also gives the pricier Audi e-tron, Jaguar i-PACE and BMW iX3 a good run for their money. It is still expensive, don’t get me wrong – but most models leave you wanting for nothing they’re so well spec’d. If you do a lot of miles and have infrastructure anxiety then we’d recommend the Tesla Model 3 as you can always fall back on their excellent widespread Supercharger network, otherwise the Polestar 2 is also worth looking at.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-e AWD Extended Range
Price (RRP OTR): From £47,530, £58,230 (model as tested)
Top speed: 111mph
0-62mph: 5.8 seconds
Power: 346 bhp
Driving range (combined): 335 miles
Charging time: hrs min (7.4kW, 0-100%), 6hrs (11kW, 10-80%), 45 mins (150kW, 10-80%)
Insurance group: 40
Vehicle warranty: 60,000 miles, 3 years
Battery warranty: 100,000 miles, 8 years