2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

By January 6, 2021

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is a new electric crossover SUV. There has never been any kind of Mustang SUV (or four-door) before, let alone electric—so the Mach-E must establish its own identity with strong performance, sharp design, excellent range, smart packaging, lots of features, and comprehensive safety equipment.

When we say strong performance, we’re talking purebred Mustang acceleration: 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds in the base version, and 0-60 in a breathtaking 3.5 seconds in the GT model. That’s quicker than the Mustang Shelby GT500, with its 5.2-liter supercharged V-8.

The rear-wheel-drive Mach-E can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge, with its larger 88-kwh battery pack. With the smaller 68-kwh pack, it can go up to 230 miles. All-wheel drive is available, using a second motor to power the front wheels, which steals some of that range.

The sleek coupe-like shape of the Mach-E doesn’t sacrifice interior room. It seats five adults in comfort, and an available glass roof opens up even more room inside. The rear cargo area houses up to 59.7 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. A tiered cargo floor, neat door handles, and good storage pockets optimize the space.

A 15.5-inch touchscreen serves as a mastermind of controls. The Mach-E pairs with smartphones for wireless charging, to use as a key, and to monitor the vehicle, among other things.

In terms of driving range, the Standard Range battery provides 68 kwh of capacity, enabling a range of 230 miles with single-motor rear-wheel drive, or 210 miles on the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model. The Extended Range battery provides 88 kwh of capacity, good for 300 miles or 270 miles with the dual-motor setup.

It’s possible but not realistic for the Mach-E to be charged on a typical 120-volt Level 1 outlet in your garage, as it will take four days (95 hours) to fully charge the Extended Range model (the Standard Range will take less time). A 240-volt Level 2 charger, as some clothes dryers use, cuts the charge time down to a manageable 14.1 hours. That works out to 21 miles of range for each hour of charging.

Ford’s available Connected Charge Station upgrades a Level 2 charger to 48 amps (from 32). Charge time drops to 10.1 hours, or 30 miles of range per hour.

Away from home, the Fordpass Charging Network provides access to more than 13,500 public charging stations via the Electrify America network, which includes Level 3 DC fast charging that can fill up 80% of the battery in 45 minutes. It’s a program that owners must register for.
The NHTSA and the IIHS have yet to mangle the Mach-E’s metal in their crash tests.

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, adaptive cruise control that can restart from a stop, blind-spot monitors with automatic rear braking, and automatic high beams.

Model Lineup

The Mach-E comes as Select, Premium and First Edition, with the GT coming soon.

Excluding the available $7,500 federal EV tax credit, the Select starts at $43,995, including destination. It’s very well equipped. In addition to the long list of standard safety features, it comes with black synthetic leather upholstery, a 15.5-inch touchscreen, a 10.2-inch digital gauge bar, smartphone compatibility with wireless charging, keyless start, satellite radio, two USB ports, and four cup holders.

The Premium is $48,100. It adds a power liftgate, the hardware for Active Drive Assist, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a nine-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound.

For each model, the larger battery pack adds $5,000, and all-wheel drive adds $2,700.

For $59,400, the First Edition adds branded scuff plates, unique seat stitching, and red brake calipers.

Optional equipment includes Active Drive Assist, which enables sustained hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of mapped divided highways, and it bundles a self-parking feature. The hardware is available now, the software is coming this year.

Other options include a glass roof, an excellent sound system, and a surround-view camera system with a front washer.

The warranty is an average 3 years/36,000 miles, but the battery is covered for 8 years/100,000 miles.

Exterior

The Mach-E adopts a few traditional Mustang styling cues. The wheelbase is long and the track wide, with the 18-inch alloy wheels pushed to the corners. The long ridged hood dips dramatically down into a blunt front end, whose oval grille looks familiar, but strange because it’s a blank with a galloping pony slapped on—there is no grillework, since there’s no engine under the hood that needs air.

Thin LED headlights wrap around to twin parallel body lines running down each side, same as the other Mustang. That upper body line passes wide rear haunches and connects at the tail to signature Mustang sequential indicators in fishbone taillights.

The Mach-E takes inspiration from crossover coupes, as well, with a fast sloping roofline accented with an integrated roof spoiler. Tasteful black cladding rounds the wheel arches and rocker panels.

The sides are further smoothed by a lack of door handles. The doors light up when the key fob approaches, and then pop open by about an inch, until they’re pulled fully open with a lip on the window sill. When the driver and key fob (or smartphone) leave, the doors automatically lock.

Interior

Unlike the exterior styling, the cabin is nothing like any Mustang you’ve ever known. For starters, it seats five people with room for plenty of gear–and with the rear seats folded, there’s nearly 60 cubic feet. The roofline is high enough that there’s plenty of head room inside; there’s even more under the available panoramic sunroof.

A gigantic 15.5-inch touchscreen dominates the instrument panel. A large icon on top of the display acts as a shortcut for driving and vehicle preferences, while the screen layers three categories, with climate controls fixed at the bottom. The upper two categories can be customized, for example between navigation and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or icons of commonly used functions. Being able to see both at once makes it easy to use.

The instrument panel also displays a smaller 10.2-inch-wide digital gauge bar that’s only a few inches tall, but shows a lot of information. It reads kind of like a ticker tape. Its systems are easy to initiate and track with clear icons.

For example, when adaptive cruise control is set, the speedometer shrinks, allowing the symbol of your car and the car ahead of it to be displayed. Or if navigation is active, the arrow for a next turn takes prominence in the display, then retreats when it has passed.

Black synthetic leather and a vinyl-wrapped steering wheel are standard. The front seats are comfortable for long distances—although with a limited range on a road trip, everybody gets out fairly often for a break anyhow, with the Fordpass Charging Network and its charging stations along the Electrify America trail.

The driver gets an 8-way power seat with adequate bolstering and seat bottoms that could be a bit longer, while the passenger gets a 4-way manual seat.

The 60/40-split rear seats fold down to expand cargo volume from 29.7 cubic feet to 59.7 cubic feet. There’s an additional 4.8 cubic feet in the front trunk that can double as a cooler.

A cargo cover comes on the Premium and First Edition. It mounts to the liftgate so it won’t get in the way, or it can be stowed in a two-tiered cargo floor that can be lowered about four inches. A foot-activated power liftgate is optional.

Also optional is a surround-view camera system with a front washer. It relieves the cabin’s limited rear view.

Driving Impressions

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E comes with two battery choices and four power outputs, counting the 480-horsepower GT mode that’s coming soon. It has 634 pound-feet of torque, and can hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, which might even be enough to convert the Mustang faithful.

The base rear-wheel-drive Mach-E Select makes a combined 266 horsepower and hits 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, with linear acceleration like all electric cars. But better than that, its 317 lb-ft of torque with instant delivery will put a grin on anyone’s face.

The Mach-E comes with a 68-kwh battery pack in Standard Range or a 88-kwh pack in Extended Range. The Select comes only with the Standard Range, with a range of up to 230 miles, depending on how heavily the throttle is applied by that grinning driver.

There is also a California Route 1 version that makes 290 hp with a 300-mile range. That’s the highest range but it has the slowest 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds, thanks to a heavier battery pack that adds 333 pounds, for a portly total of 4,727 pounds. This is the most efficient model for warm climates.

In the upcoming GT model, the dual-motor Extended Range has an estimated 250-mile range and hits 60 mph in 3.8 seconds; a GT Performance Edition (235-mile range) targets 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, quicker than the Mustang Shelby GT500.

The second motor for all-wheel drive adds about 200 pounds, while raising the combined horsepower and torque to 346 hp and 428 lb-ft. It drops the 0-60 mph time to 5.2 seconds with Standard Range but cuts the range to 211 miles, or to 4.8 seconds with the Extended Range but cuts the range to 270 miles. The Extended Range with all-wheel drive compromises the least in the tradeoff between quickness and range.

The two-motor all-wheel-drive versions not only have more power, but the handling is different, as the nose tucks in on ramps and turns, and there’s no fear of oversteer with the rear end sliding out. But it tends to plow like a front-drive car until the system adjusts torque to the rear axle.

There are a number of settings for driving the Mach-E. The modes have names like Whisper and Unbridled. Another setting can pipe in make-believe engine rumble that doesn’t exist, as if to connect the occupants to the Mustang’s loud past.

The regenerative braking has two modes, one of them so aggressive that the Mach-E can come to a stop without the brake pedal ever being applied, the other that lets it coast for smooth driving.

The independent suspension with front MacPherson struts and rear multi-links can be comfortable for cruising and nimble for cornering. Overall, with rear- or all-wheel drive, the Mach-E handles more like a sports coupe than an SUV. It benefits from its low center of gravity and hefty battery weight, which is suspended between the axles. It stays lower to the ground and feels more planted than other crossover SUVs, especially compared to the Tesla Model Y.

Final Word

Will you be among the daring first buyers to shell out more than $40,000 to have an electric Mustang Mach-E? If so, how will you decide how deep to plunge? The more you spend, the better it gets, on paper. We like the Premium edition with the longer-range battery pack and all-wheel drive.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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