Test Drive: The 2021 electric Ford Mustang Mach-E gallops without gas

It’s battery blasphemy!

The Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s first purpose-built electric car, combines the name and mask of its most iconic sports car with the body of a compact commercial vehicle.


Panting … where’s the Alka-Seltzer?

Bringing one of two features into a Mustang would have been enough to give the pony car a faithful indigestion, but both at the same time? Shocking, to say the least.

And that was the point.

The name and face are all about the hype. Many automakers faltered in their initial electric-car efforts with medium-duty fuel-efficient machines, but time is up as the transition from burning to buzzing is imminent and Ford knows it has to be a hit.

Ford CEO Jim Farley had clearly learned from Tesla’s successful strategy of putting performance first when he told the Mach-E team a few years ago “Mustang think” before announcing the model to the world as the Mach 1.


The name has since changed to a name more like an electric car, but Farley’s idea has continued. (Fear not, loyalty. Ford will sell a traditional V8-powered Mustang Mach 1 next year for heritage.)

As for the compact van aspect, you just need to look at today’s sales charts to know that an electric coupé is not enough. Two doors are dying, while small SUVs are the most popular segment in the industry, and grabbing even a small piece of the pie would be a big step for Ford.


The Mexico-made Mach-E is about the same size as a Ford Escape or Tesla Model Y, which will be the closest competitor to the green machines. Pricing starts at $ 43,995, but it qualifies for a federal tax credit of $ 7,500 that will set it back to $ 36,495. That will get you a rear-wheel drive Mach-E Select with a standard battery and an unimpressive range of 211 miles per charge, but there are other models available that can go up to 300 miles for just $ 51,100, or $ 43,600 after depreciation.


The cheapest model Y costs $ 51,190 and offers all-wheel drive, a range of 328 miles per charge, and the ability to accelerate to 100 km / h in 4.8 seconds. That speed makes it a perfect match for a four-wheel drive Mach-E Premium equipped with the optional extended range battery pack, which is rated at 346 horsepower with 428 lb-ft of torque and starts at $ 55,800, or $ 48,300. with the discount. However, the 270-mile EPA range means that the Tesla will eventually leave it far behind.

The Mach-E’s rear and sides have plenty of Mustang style too, with the sports car’s signature three-bar taillights and bulging fenders. Aside from the absence of tailpipes, there isn’t much that visually betrays the drive system, but unique push-button door releases give it concept car flair.


Inside is where the future is clearer. The centerpiece of the Mach-E is a portrait-oriented, 15.5-inch screen with a volume rocker that floats on it and a fast tablet responsiveness. The instrument panel is a smaller rectangular display and the dashboard has simple, horizontal lines and a unique mesh insert that covers the speakers and the spaces between them, giving it the look of an old-fashioned home audio system.


I tested a first edition with limited availability, which is already sold out, but is mechanically identical to the Premium described above and has an all-glass panoramic roof, much like a Model Y. Exactly how much of this Ford will build remains unclear.


Aside from the leather upholstery, which is very good but not as luscious as Model Y’s synthetic skin, the Mach-E’s cabin quality more than holds its own. It’s on the small size for the compact SUV class, but not cramped, although the fastback styling cuts into the trunk. A 4.8 cubic foot “frunk” under the hood provides additional cargo capacity in the form of a watertight compartment with a drain plug that Ford has suggested would be a great place to serve shrimp cocktails at a party.

If you’re interested in knowing how well it actually works as a seafood server, I’m not sorry to say I haven’t tried it.

The Mach-E is certainly more pleasant to move in any case. It gives a lot of kick when you press the accelerator and drive around quietly enough to notice the wind noise generated by the windshield. Considering it weighs about as much as a three-row Ford Explorer and more than some F-150 configurations, it has a surprisingly fleet feel and good cornering handling. It is far from a sports car, but the description of the SUV is appropriate. My only complaints are the slightly abrupt action of the brake pedal and that there is too much of a rocking horse sensation when you come to a full stop. (Our test car was a pre-production example, so it’s possible these tendencies have been tamed.)


At speeds below 20 mph, the Mach-E emits a loud hum to warn pedestrians of its presence, but otherwise the drivetrain is virtually silent. If you can’t deal with dead air, Ford delivers synthetic engine sounds associated with each of the driving modes, with those for the highest performance “Unbridled” programmed to mimic a Mustang’s V8. (Note: You will find the “off” switch in the center display.)

All Mach-Es come standard with the Co-Pilot 360 electronic driver assistance package that includes automatic emergency braking and lane assist and can be upgraded with adaptive cruise control, self-parking and evasive steering assistance, which uses cameras to help you get past obstacles with a gentle push of the wheel.


It can also be ordered with a prep pack that includes the hardware for Ford’s upcoming Active Drive Assist, which uses facial recognition technology, a pack of sensors and hyper-accurate maps to enable hands-free highway driving within a lane, as long as you stick to your own lane . eyes on the road. A software update to activate it will be sent to the Mach-E late next year and more capabilities can be added, but unlike Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature, Ford is not promising to deliver anything close of truly autonomous driving.

What it has delivered is a highly competitive and attractive electric vehicle that can pick up a 61 mile charge in about 10 minutes from a 150 kW DC public fast charging station or fill the battery to 80% in about three quarters of an hour. Unfortunately it can still be difficult to find one and they don’t always give you the maximum power as I’ve learned to test a lot of electric cars. The best thing I saw in my days with the Mach-E was only 85kW, which meant having a longer lunch than planned before heading home.

That’s not Ford’s fault, and the situation is constantly improving. Electric car owners charge most of their charge at home, so it’s only a problem if you plan on taking your modern Mustang for a ride on the open range.


Ford Mustang Mach-E from 2021

Base Price: $ 43,995

As Tested: $ 62,100

Type: 5-passenger, 4-door four-wheel drive SUV

Motor: AC synchronous electric

Power: 346 hp, 428 lb-ft

Transmission: Direct single speed

MPGe / Range: 90 mpg combined / 270 miles