2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD
Class: Electric Vehicle
Miles driven: 280
Battery capacity: 88 kWh
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
EPA-estimate MPGe: 96 city/84 hwy/90 combined
EPA-estimated driving range: 270 miles
Consumer Guide range estimate (ideal conditions): 270+ miles
Base price: $49,700 (not including $1100 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clear Coat paint ($400), extended-range battery ($5000)
Price as tested: $56,200
The great: Invigorating acceleration; engaging handling; choice of rear- or all-wheel drive and battery-pack size; high-tech features
The good: Competitive driving range; ambitious design inside and out; respectable passenger and cargo space
The not so good: Lots of unfamiliar controls will require user acclimation; potential for first-of-its-kind teething problems
Prophet . . . or apostate? That’s the judgement car buyers will have to make for themselves about the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Is it a herald of Mustangs for a transformed future age of motoring, or is it a sacrilegious desecration of one of autodom’s holy relics?
New for 2021, it joins the limited-availability Kia Niro EV as the only fully electric vehicles in the subpremium compact-crossover SUV class. From powerplant to platform, the Mach-E is utterly unlike any other Ford that has ever borne the Mustang name. Only a few reinterpreted styling touches and a fairly lively driving character connect it to internal-combustion-engine Mustangs past and present.
Mach-E is Dearborn’s first regular-production vehicle designed from the jump to be an EV, with its battery pack located in the floor between the front and rear axles. Its 117.5-inch wheelbase, 10.4 inches longer than the current gas-engine Mustang’s span, supports a 4-door-hatchback body. Inside there is room for five—though it probably helps if at least one of them is legally considered a child—and 29.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat. Contemporary Mustang coupes and convertibles seat four, two of whom can’t be old enough to drink anything stronger than juice boxes, and the cars hold no more than 13.5 cubic feet of stuff in their trunks.
There is a mix of rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive models (another departure from the Mustangs of popular imagination). Mach-Es also come with a choice of two battery capacities and four horsepower levels—all of which affect potential operating range. Consumer Guide tested a Premium-trim all-wheeler with the 88-kWh extended-range battery, which generates 346 horsepower, 428 lb-ft of torque, and an EPA-projected range of 270 miles. (An extended-range rear-driver makes 290 horsepower and 317 lb-ft but is estimated to go for up to 300 miles on a fully charged battery.)
This driver’s turn in the vehicle came during a stretch of mild early-spring weather that didn’t require running the heater. With a full charge—but an indicated range of only a little over 250 miles—he burned off 45 percent of available power in 146 miles. At the end of his stint, which included a majority of high-speed expressway miles, the Mach-E reported a remaining range of 134 miles and 3.5 miles run for each kilowatt hour of energy used. Indicated time to full recharge on CG’s 240-volt charger was approximately eight hours.
The juicier power source is a $5000 upgrade over the standard 68-kWh unit. In an AWD job like the test car, it boosts output by 80 horsepower and expected range by 59 miles. Per the manufacturer, it also shaves 0-60-mph time from 5.2 to 4.8 seconds. The 88’s big clump of torque is instantly ready to get the Mach-E away from a full stop with what feels like at least as much urgency as a much lighter Mustang with the 4-cylinder EcoBoost gas engine musters. Front and rear motors serve both ends of the electronic AWD system that digs in to help the Mach-E launch. There’s ample reserve for easy expressway cruising and passing.
Ford’s corporate penchant for, uh, interesting drive-mode names continues here with “Whisper”, “Engage,” and “Unbridled” settings. An Unbridled Mach-E has a higher weightier steering feel but also an undeniably stiffer ride that doesn’t filter out road jolts all that well. Engage softens the blow to a more pleasant level for daily commuting. The quiet cabin is a calming influence as well. The Mach-E—at least the one we drove—handles pretty well for a compact crossover, but not like a low-slung Mustang.
The new crossover has been turned into a showcase for tech features. Its interior is dominated by a Tesla-like vertically oriented 15.5-inch central touchscreen. One of the things you can touch there is a SYNC4A infotainment with smartphone-linked user profiles, over-the-air software updates for future upgradability, and features such as machine learning to adapt to individual driver preferences. Everything is done there, from inputting audio settings to selecting drive modes, locating trip information, and even working the climate controls that run across the bottom portion of the giant screen. (Maybe we worry too much, but with so many operational eggs in the same electronic basket we’d hate to imagine that thing going on the fritz.) A FordPass phone app turns a smartphone into the vehicle key and allows remote locking/unlocking and starting, as well as monitoring the current state of charge and driving range, finding nearby charging stations, and a host of other handy connected features.
The AWD Mach-E Premium starts at $50,800. In look and feel inside, it’s about comparable to higher-level Mustangs, but with distinct materials. Upholstery is perforated “ActiveX” imitation leather. The heated steering wheel is wrapped in vinyl. Front passengers settle into comfortable heated 8-way-power seats with driver’s seat memory. Above all is a single-pane panoramic sunroof—without a shade, so occupants had better enjoy everything from sunshine all day to overhead street lights at night. The climate system is dual-zone; the sound package is a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen unit. Wireless charging is included in the console. Doors unlatch upon the press of a button that pushes them open by a few inches. Standard wheels are 19-inch alloys. Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 includes auto high-beam headlamps, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-keeping system, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, reverse brake assist, and reverse sensing. Also included is adaptive stop-and-go cruise control.
Aside from the good passenger room, the cargo space gains another 30 cubic feet when the rear 60/40 seats fold flush with the load floor. The rear hatch has hands-free operation. Personal-item space is just middling, though, with small glove and console boxes, pouches on the backs of the front seats, door pockets, and cup holders in the console and pull-down center-rear armrest.
No, the Mach-E certainly isn’t like any Mustang anybody has ever seen before. But does that mean it won’t ever be the one true Mustang someday?
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E